IJTIHAD – MUJTAHID
Literally: The word ijtihad stems from the Arabic root word جَهْد Jahd, which means striving, effort and labour. Exerting one's self. Doing one's utmost. Using one's best endeavours. Trying strenuously to do or accomplish or overcome a thing.
As a term of the Sharî’ah: Exerting his utmost to form a correct legal opinion in the sphere of Sharî’ah. Unveiling the profound meanings of secondary matters (Nadhariyyah) of the Sharî’ah. Dharûriyyah of religion or muhkamât cannot be changed in any way and cannot be the subject of ijtihad. The madhabs originated through ijtihad.
Those who unveil the profound meanings and subtle rulings from the âyahs of the Qur’an and Sunnah are called mujtahid. For being a mujtahid, having knowledge of Islamic sciences is not enough. A mujtahid should possess ma’nawî perfections gained through taqwâ and following the Sunnah. Since the rank of a mujtahid is the rank of the legacy of nubuwwah, a mujtahid should resemble the Prophet through his life and actions.
(Please refer to The Twenty-Seventh Word – The Risale On Ijtihad and the Compilation - Ijtihads Are Not To Be Made On The Dharûriyyah Of Religion)