IJTIHAD – MUJTAHID
Literally: The word ijtihad stems from the Arabic root word جَهْد Jahd, which means striving, effort, labour. A striving. Exerting one's self. Doing one's utmost. Using one's best endeavours. Trying strenuously to do or accomplish or overcome a thing.
In the Sharî’ah: An exerting his utmost acumen to form a correct legal opinion in the sphere of Sharî’ah. Unveiling the profound meanings about secondary matters of the Sharî’ah. The definitive rulings of Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm and the Sunnah are openly laid out for everyone by ijtihad.
Those who unveil the profound meanings and subtle rulings from the âyahs of Qur’an and Sunnah are called a mujtahid. The madhabs have originated through ijtihad.
The door is closed for individuals to try and form a new legal opinion, all points having been already settled by the elders.
Ijma’ and jumhur are the first condition of accepting an ijtihad as a Sharî’ah law. Jumhur is the majority of mujtahids and ‘ulamâ. Ijma’ is the consensus of the Jumhur.
“Ijtihad, that is, in deducing its ordinances, that is, in understanding what pleases Janâb-i Haqq from His Word.” The Words ( 507 )
“The Sharî’ah is samâwî, and since ijtihads of Sharî’ah make known its hidden ordinances, they also are samâwî.” The Words ( 497 )
“Ijtihad may not be made about the dharûriyyah of religion, for they are specified and definite. Moreover, dharûriyyah are like basic food and sustenance. Although at this time all effort and endeavour should be expended on their being upheld and raised to life, they are being abandoned and degraded. So to give them up, despite their being among the nadhariyyah of Islam and due to being the pure and sincere ijtihads of As-Salaf of Islam are not inadequate for the needs of all times, and to make new ijtihads arbitrarily, is bid’ah and betrayal of Islam.” The Words ( 495 )
All Those Qualified May be Mujtahid,
But They Can Not Be Musharri’1
Everyone capable who is qualified to practise ijtihad, may ijtihad matters for himself which are not nass2 ; and they are binding on himself, but not on others.
He cannot make laws and call on the Ummah to conform to them. His ideas are from the Sharî’ah, but they are not the Sharî’ah. He may be a Mujtahid, but he cannot be the Musharri’.
The Sharî’ah is ratified through the ijma’ and jumhur. The first condition for calling on others to accept an idea is the surmised acceptance of the jumhur.
Such a call is otherwise bid’ah; it gets stuck in the gullet, never again to emerge!” The Words ( 738 )