The Principle of Leniency in Evidences for Non-Obligatory Acts and its Jurisdiction – The View of Shi’a Jurists from the Occultation to the Fourteenth Century After Hijra
By Syed Mohammad Hadi Rizvi[vc_custom_heading text=”Abstract” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”abstract”]
This research looks at the highly influential principle that advocates applying leniency in accepting evidences for non-obligatory acts. It examines the emergence of this principle and its development within a tradition that otherwise scrutinises narrations related to divine legislation. While a predefined set of conditions must be met for scholars to accept a narration during the process of extrapolation or deducing law, an exception has been made by some scholars for instances where non-obligatory acts are included.
In this paper, major opinions and contributions over one millennia of scholarship are presented in hopes to better understand this principle and some of its possible implications.
The principle, though not accepted by all scholars, is credited for the emergence of different rituals, practices and religious observations among the Shias. Furthermore, some modern day researchers believe the principle has overstepped its bounds and is now applied outside of its original jurisdiction. We wish to see if the principle was always so influential and how it was treated or addressed (if at all) by classical and latter scholars.
This is the first independent work in English on the topic, and therefore effort has been made to keep the discussions at an introductory level and it is hoped that the project will lead to further interest in the issue and act as a starting point for future research in this area.[vc_custom_heading text=”Introduction” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”introduction”]
According to Twelver Shi’a scholars, the two main independent sources of Islamic laws, practices and rituals are the Qur’an and Sunnah of an Infallible which is represented and recorded in the form of hadith. The laws or practises that are derived from these sources are placed primarily in one of two categories; obligatory and non-obligatory. The first category is divided into two further classifications; acts that are compulsory (wājib) and acts that are prohibited (harām). It is obligatory, by definition, to perform compulsory acts and to stay away from that which is prohibited. The second category has also been divided by jurists into three additional groupings; the desirable or encouraged (mustahab), the disliked or discouraged (makrūh) and the licit or purely permissible (mubāḥ). Although there are various ways to present these classifications (e.g. one may begin with the primary categories of permissible and impermissible, and then divide these into sub-categories of obligatory and non-obligatory), the result is usually the five categories of Islamic law as presented by Hasan ibn Yusuf Al-Hillī (d.726AH), more famously known as Al-Allāmah Al-Hillī.
As far as extrapolating legal rulings from the authoritative sources and with the use of the acceptable tools (whatever they may be as per the varying legal schools), there is a general consensus that the evidence for any verdict must meet a specific standard. The reliability of the Qur’an and its status is unanimously agreed upon by the Muslims, and for many, it is the primary source of Islamic law. No source matches the Qur’an’s authority when deriving God’s law, and in fact, other sources or tools must attain their legitimacy through the Qur’an. Such is the status of the Qur’an.
This, however, does not imply that all scholars or schools believe it is permissible for everyone to use the Qur’an as a source of law.
In regards to the second source, the hadith, there are issues of authenticity and reliability that arise as they are not surrounded by the same certainty of the Qur’an (in and of themselves), nor do they enjoy the promise of divine protection. They must therefore meet a standard of acceptability in bringing about certitude or surety.
Scholars adopt various methodologies or standards of verification, and regardless of what they are, if a report does not meet the set criterion, it cannot be taken authoritatively. In fact, in many cases, the narration may be disregarded and not considered in any form or religious discourse (except possibly for historical reasons).
To explore the numerous methodologies employed in verifying the authenticity of a report is beyond the scope of this paper and is also unnecessary for the topic at hand. All that needs to be accepted is that if a narration does not meet a pre-defined standard of acceptability, then its value is largely decreased in extrapolating any laws or verdicts.
From the inception of works in the study of Usul Al-Fiqh (principles of jurisprudence), Shi’a jurists as early as Murtahda and Ṭūsī (4th-5th Hijri century scholars) were debating the probative force of solitary reports (khabar al-wāhid) that at the least enjoyed a reliable chain of transmission. The debate continues and is still discussed by contemporary scholars, who may spend many pages of their usul works to examine this topic. The probative force of solitary reports is in fact a necessary discussion which acts as the preliminary and grounds for other matters of usul. Al-Khū’ī (d.1413AH) describes the discussion as one of the most important subject matters of usul, upon which understanding and extrapolating the Islamic legal code is dependant. Furthermore, Al- Khū’ī says in the discussion of the probative force of a ijmā’ (consensus of scholars) that, ‘It is more suitable for this matter to be discussed after the examination of solitary reports, for its discussion is dependent upon the conclusion we reach regarding the probative force of solitary reports, for if we rule that there is no probative force or authority for a solitary report, there remains no room to discuss ijmā’ manqūl (a reported consensus)’. The case of reports that do not fit the conditions of reliability in transmission suffer a much dire state, and are not so easily, if at all, awarded probative force.
It may then come as a surprise that Shi’a jurists have accepted a principle which advocates leniency in standards when dealing with narrations describing non-obligatory acts, particularly considering the jurists resolve in maintaining the criterion stringently in other areas.
This practice of applying leniency to such reports has come to be known as ‘the principle of leniency in evidences for non-obligatory acts (Qā’idah Al-Tasāmuḥ Fī Adilat Al-Sunan)’. In this paper we aim to look at the definition of this principle (referred to in short as ‘the principle of leniency’), its jurisdiction (where can it be used and by whom), and its history and development in the Shi’a Twelver legal school over one millennium, from the fourth to the fourteenth century. We will not be conducting a detailed discussion on the proofs for this principle nor trying to make any conclusions about its validity. We will also not enter any discussions regarding the differences in the methodology of different Shi’a jurists or sub-legal schools, and leave those topics for the audience to familiarise themselves with elsewhere. In this short study, we do not wish to offer judgements about the different arguments that we shall be quoting. Our goal is simply to trace the roots of the principle and follow its development.
Furthermore, it is not our objective to cover the view of all Shi’a jurists, but rather we will limit our examination to Shi’a jurists through the occultation period. We begin with the occultation period not because there were no Shi’a jurists or written works before that, but because of our lack of access to them. As Murtaḍa Mutahharī (d.1399AH) aptly puts it “We will begin the history of the Shi’ite jurisprudents from the period of the Imam’s “minor occultation” (260-320 A.H.), and this we will do for two reasons: First, the period previous to the “minor occultation” was the period of the presence of the holy Imams, and in the period of their presence, although there were jurisprudents and mujtahids who were able to make their own verdicts, who had been encouraged by the Imams to do so, yet due to the presence of the Imams they were nevertheless outshone by the brilliance of the Imams… Second, in the formal, classified jurisprudence, we are limited to the period of the minor occultation, for none of the actual books in jurisprudence from that period have reached us, or, if any have, I have no information about it.”
Also, books that discussed topics of usul developed in this post-occultation period among the Shi’as, and discussions on principles of fiqh began at later dates, particularly in independent works, as will be mentioned later. These two fields are where this principle is discussed by the majority of scholars who have directly approached it.
It is clear that it would not be possible to collect the views of all the Shi’a scholars in the history of the school, even if we were to limit ourselves to the period of occultation. Therefore, we may not present the view of every Jurist who has written on the topic, particularly if they have not offered anything new to the subject and have only repeated and used the argument of other jurists. We will focus on important figures in Shi’a scholarship, and may mention views of some renowned figures even if they have not added to the discussion. This is similar to the approach taken by Al-Muḥaqiq Al-Hillī (d.676AH), when he states the reason for limiting the scholars considered in his work, and the criterion in choosing from among that category as “Our jurists, may God be pleased with them, are so large in number that it is extremely difficult to enumerate them, or gather their views… [we limit ourselves] to a group among the later (occultation period) scholars…those who are famous for their scholarship, their superior judgement, their reputation of reliability… and (from) their books we choose those in which their extrapolation has been relied upon.”
The criterion we will use to consider scholars from the occultation period until the 14th century will be based on the scholars mentioned by Murtaḍa Mutahharī as discussed in his ‘Jurisprudence and Its Principles’. We will also consider other scholars in this period, who may not fall under the classification of ‘jurists’, or be famously known as such, but we believe deserve attention in this discussion.
Through this examination, we wish to become reasonably familiar with the discussion among the Shi’a jurists.[vc_custom_heading text=”The Principle of Leniency in Evidences for Non-Obligatory Acts” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”the_principle_of_leniency_in_evidences_for_non_obligatory_acts”]
The principle of Leniency, as mentioned before, is considered an exception to the necessary standards required by a solitary report to have probative force. Muhammad Bāqir Al-Sadr (d.1400AH) introduces the principle by saying, ‘We stated that if the solitary reports with non-trustworthy chains of transmission (khabar ghayr al-thiqah) do not have other evidences to back their truth, then these reports are not authoritative (do not hold probative force). Nonetheless, an exception has been made for the reports signifying recommended acts, or generally indicating non-obligatory positive or negative commands. It is said that these reports are authoritative in establishing recommended (mustahab) or discouraged (makrūh) acts, as long as one does not have certainty in the invalidity of their content.’
The principle is used to give authority to unreliable reports to establish a non-obligatory ruling, or to validate the promised rewards mentioned in weak reports.
We have chosen to translate ‘sunan’ as ‘non-obligatory acts’ to accommodate the multiple meanings of the term and also the differing opinions regarding the jurisdiction of the principle in question, as will become clear later.
The reason for studying this particular principle is its wide spread use, impact and influence in the daily life of modern day Shi’as. Even those jurists who have not accepted the principle or its implications, have allowed their followers (muqalidīn) to act upon the contents of such report with the hope of reward. The reports have also been used to justify different rituals or social phenomenon that have appeared within the Shi’a communities. In fact, the principle has entered discussions of history, traditional medicine and even discussions on ethics and morals. The narrations have laid the grounds for all types of practises, beliefs and customs to enter the Shi’a school, even in presenting narrations for topics as important as people’s relationship with the Islamic (political) system. It is not possible in this paper to discuss the impact of the principle in each of these areas independently, but we wish to at least become better accustomed with this highly influential principle.
Before we continue our discussion on the principle itself, we would first like to mention the different views regarding the nature of this theorem and which field of Islamic studies it falls under. This is because the conclusions can impact the scope of the principle, particularly in regards to who may employ it.[vc_custom_heading text=”The Two Types of Theorem” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”the_two_types_of_theorem”]
One of the deliberations we observe regarding the practical implication of theories in Islamic Jurisprudence, is related to two types of theorems that jurists discuss; one related directly to usul while the other to fiqh.
A theorem by definition is ‘A general proposition not self-evident but proved by a chain of reasoning; a truth established by means of accepted truths.’
The theorem presents us with a principle or maxim which when applied, give us a specific result through which we uncover our stance (direct or indirect) in relation to a particular problem or issue associated with Islamic jurisprudence.
Each theorem is considered to have its own function and role in relation to Islamic law, hence why it is important to present a criterion that differentiates between them.
In comparison to usul, the phenomenon of independent books focusing solely on the theorems related to fiqh, is a relatively new development. With growing independent attention to the theorems of fiqh, though they existed in the earliest Islamic texts, jurists have been driven to discuss the difference between these two types of theorem and offer theories as to what separates them from one another.[vc_custom_heading text=”Difference Between Theorems of Usul and Fiqh” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”difference_between_theorems_of_usul_and_fiqh”]
The Shi’a jurists have attempted to differentiate between the two theorems in various ways, including focusing on aspects like the function, result or scope of usage for each type of theorem (the scope may include discussions on how widely the theorem may be used or whom is permitted to use the theorems). We will mention some of the main views in this chapter without going into explanations as to what the differences entail, as that is the role of books written independently on this topic.
Some of the main differences mentioned are:
- The theorems of Usul can only be applied by a jurist while the theorems of Fiqh can be mutually used by jurists and laymen.
- Though both theorems act as major premises in syllogisms for derivation of law, the result or conclusion from a theorem of Usul is only ever a universal (Kullī) ruling, while the conclusion from a theorem of Fiqh is not restricted in this way, but rather, it is usually a particular (Juzz’ī)
- The theorems of Usul have the capacity to be applied widely and across many or all chapters and varying issues of Islamic law, while the theorems of Fiqh are specific to one or a few chapters. The jurisdiction for both differs.
- The theorem of Usul is for extrapolation (istinbāṭ), meaning it reveals a legal ruling to us when employed, whilst the theorem of Fiqh is for (direct) application (taṭbīq).
- A theorem of Fiqh results in a direct legal ruling, while a theorem of Usul leads to a legal ruling indirectly, and instead establishes a principle that after being applied when necessary, results in a legal ruling. This presents the theorem of Fiqh as a maxim (which often conveniently appears as a dictum). As a difference it may be seen to be similar to the one mentioned above as number four, but we have mentioned them separately because of the focus and argumentation presented by the two scholars.
- A theorem of Usul focuses on the probative value of matters and discusses whether or not they have probative force, while theorems of Fiqh discuss the five categorisations of prescriptive rulings (ḥukm taklīfī) or the descriptive or declaratory rulings (ḥukm waḍ’ī).
Considering the difference in between the two theorems, the jurists have differed as to whether ‘the principle of leniency’ is a theorem of fiqh or a theorem of usul.
Not all those who have analysed this principle have given attention to what type of theorem it is, but for those who have touched upon it, there is no unanimous view. Scholars have discussed the principle either in works of usul or fiqh, without clarifying whether they are doing so because they believe that is the place for the principal or due to its relation to other discussions in those subjects. Only a small number of scholars have clearly stated their opinion on the matter.
The views and some of their proponents are as follows:[vc_custom_heading text=”The Principle is a Problem of Usul” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”the_principle_is_a_problem_of_usul”]
Murtaḍa Ansari (d.1281AH) held that this principle was a problem of usul and argued that; (a) it was to be used by jurists and was not for the layman, (b) the conclusion of the reports related to the principle of leniency, otherwise known as ‘that which reaches’ (Akhbār ‘Man Balagh’), is the probative force of weak reports, which is a discussion of usul, (c) its discussion is not to dissimilar to those on ‘Presumption of Continuity’ (Istisḥāb) or ‘Precaution’ (Iḥtiyāṭ), which are both problems of usul. This view has also been recalled as the popular view among Shi’a scholars by Aqā Hussain Khwansārī (d.1099AH) in his book ‘Mashāriq Al-Shamus Fi Sharh Al-Durūs’. Nasir Makārim Shīrāzī states that if the discussion is in relation to whether weak reports are to be treated as authoritative reports, then the problem would be one of usul.[vc_custom_heading text=”The Principle is a Problem of Fiqh” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”the_principle_is_a_problem_of_fiqh”]
This view has been adopted by Sayyid Muhammad Mujāḥid (d.1242AH) in his disagreement on the matter with the view of Khwansārī. Muhammad Hussain Al-Nā’īnī (d.1355AH) argues for this view, as does Muhammad Hussain Al-Iṣfahānī (d.1361AH) in his rebuttal of the argument that the principle is one of usul. Nasir Makārim Shīrāzī mentions that if the principle speaks about whether a report stating a reward for an action can be taken to imply that the action in question is recommended (mustaḥab) or not, then it would fall under the category of a fiqh theorem, since it is speaking about one of the five categories of rulings (mustaḥab).[vc_custom_heading text=”Proofs for the Principle of Leniency” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”proofs_for_the_principle_of_leniency”]
Two types of evidence have been presented as the basis for the principle of leniency; rational and textual. Not all scholars who have discussed this principle have agreed that both evidences, if any, can be used to establish the principle at hand. We will look at these two separately and group other evidences mentioned by scholars into these categories where it may be more suitable for them to be rather than discussed as independent evidences.[vc_custom_heading text=”Rational Evidence” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”rational_evidence”]
The rational evidence presented for this principle is based on the grounds that trying to attain benefit, albeit potential, and being precautious in avoiding even possible harm, are both inherently good. Therefore, the greater the potential reward, the greater the goodness found in trying to achieve that reward. This premise then leads onto a theological discussion regarding doing acts for the pleasure of God and in hopes of obeying Him and His messenger, and further evidencing the desirability of this behaviour through previously established or accepted textual or ideological proofs. When the second (major) premise is built upon the first (minor), the result is getting rewarded for an act (legitimate in nature) that we became aware of through a source that may not otherwise pass the tests of reliability or be acted upon.
Or, as some have argued, the rationally certain desirability of a slave doing an act to win the favour and pleasure of their master.
Social convention also shows us acceptance of this principle and examples of people acting upon it widely can also be observed. The social convention in this regard is useful only if it stems from one of the two other categories (rational or textual), and in the way it is mentioned by the scholars, it can be understood that the root in this case is the intellect or rational.[vc_custom_heading text=”Textual Evidence” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”textual_evidence”]
The textual evidence for the principle of leniency can be traced to the Shi’i corpus of hadith, and is derived explicitly or implicitly from numerous traditions. However, not all of these reports share the same level of reliability in their chains of transmission (isnād), and those with a reliable chain are very limited. Nonetheless, Murtaḍa Ansari has claimed that in totality the reports when considered together, could possibly meet the standard of granting certainty due to their quality of being widely reported/successive (mutawātir) in relaying a common meaning. The earlier work of Mashāriq Al-Shamus of Khwansārī seems to suggest that the narrations are not only not widely reported (mutawātir), but in fact do not even enjoy three separate noteworthy chains (mustafīḍ), and hence fall into the category of solitary reports (khabar Al-wāhid).
The claims of consensus (ijmā’) or popular view shuhrah) in accepting this principle among the Shi’i scholars can be linked to the textual proofs available for the theorem and hence cannot be treated as a separate piece of evidence. The acclaimed ‘consensus’ also does not enjoy all the necessary qualities stipulated by modern scholars like Al-Khū’ī, to be considered a true consensus, let alone having probative force.
Here we will only present the reliable and authenticated (saḥiḥ) traditions that are key narrations used as evidence for this theory, and leave out the reports with questionable chains or sources, for weak narrations themselves cannot independently establish the authority of other narrations. Although they may act as clues alongside the stronger narrations and gain value through them, were someone to practice such a methodology.[vc_custom_heading text=”Narrations for the Principle of Leniency” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”narrations_for_the_principle_of_leniency”]
Muhammad b. Ya’qūb Al-Kulaynī (d.238AH/239AH), who according to the bibliographer, Al-Najāshī (d.450AH), was the most trustworthy among the people in hadith, includes the following narration in his momentous work ‘Al-Kāfī’ (the earliest of the famous four books of Shi’i hadith):
The Chapter: He, For Whom Reaches (News/A Report of) Reward From God For An Act
Ali b. Ibrahim, from his father, from Ibn Abi Umayr, from Hishām b. Salim, from Abu ‘Abdillah who said, ‘Whoever hears anything of reward for any act, and he acts according to it, he will have the reward, even if there was no reward (in reality) for what reached him.’
Muhammad b. Ali (d.381AH), famously known as Ibn Babawayh or Shaykh Ṣudūq, was considered among the most knowledgeable of the scholars from Qum, and unmatched in his memory, and with almost 300 written works.
In his famous work ‘Thawāb Al-A’māl’ (a book collecting the narrations mentioning the rewards for different actions), he reports the following narration:
Reward For He Whom Reaches Something of Reward, and Thence He Acts Upon It
My Father (God’s mercy be upon him) said ‘Ali b. Musa narrated to him from Ahmad b. Muhammad from Ali b. Al-Hakam from Hāshim b. Safwan from Abu ‘Abdillah (a) who said, ‘He, for whom reaches something of reward for something good, and he acts upon it, for him will be the mentioned reward, even if the Messenger of Allah (s) had not said such a thing.’
Muhammad b. Al-Hasan Al-Hurr Al-Amilī (d.1104AH) lists nine reports that he believes are supportive for his principle. Ja’far Subhānī adds one more narration from Sunni sources, but admits that some of these reports (mentioned by Muhammad b. Al-Hasan) are without a complete chain of transmission, and that there is a noticeable difference in the wordings of the narrations, but nonetheless, he states that the report of Hishām b. Salim (mentioned above) has a reliable chain without any issues.
Muhammad Bāqir Al-Majlisī (d.1110AH), after quoting the narration of Hishām b. Salim from the book Al-Maḥāsin (an early book of Shi’i hadith attributed to Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid Al-Barqī (d.274AH)), says ‘This report is from the well-known reports, having been reported by the Shi’as and Sunnis with many chains of transmission.’
Those who have discussed this principle have accepted one or more of the evidences in this section as their argument.[vc_custom_heading text=”The Principle of Leniency in the View of Shi’a Jurists” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”the_principle_of_leniency_in_the_view_of_shi_a_jurists”]
Before presenting the views of the earliest scholars, we want to mention two important points relevant to the classical period. Firstly, we do not find in the works of the classical scholars that they used the term ‘the principle leniency’, so unlike later scholars, there is not a separate discussion under that title in their writings. This does not mean that they did not accept or employ the principle, however, to know whether they did would require a survey of all their relevant works with the intention of seeing the principle in use, while also being confident that the instances are examples of weak reports being used according to a criterion accepted by the author or compiler. Due to the many limitations (including time, ability, access to entire works etc.), we will not be able to take this route, and since it is very difficult to locate the scholars discussion or final view on the topic, we may only mention indicators that we have found in their works, or not mention them at all. The second point is that not all of the classical scholars wrote texts consisting of their own views, but rather, some simply collected narrations with a particular theme, and presented a book of narrations. In this case, it is again difficult to attribute a definite view to the scholar, even if they have included or discluded the narrations that others have used to prove the principle of leniency. In this case, if the scholar has mentioned the principle, we may report his inclusion of it, but not make any judgements as to what their view is regarding the principle, unless we have other evidence that suggests a specific stance. What makes this task more difficult is our lack of knowledge regarding some of the classical authors’ criterion and opinion regarding the methods of evaluating and judging a narration, and what they considered to be the conditions of reliability. This means that even if we find them using narrations that we may judge as weak, or may be weak as per the standards of some later scholars, we cannot assume that the author in question also considered them to be weak. Of course this will be very difficult to determine without a direct reference to the narrations of ‘man balagh’ or the principle of leniency.[vc_custom_heading text=”History of the Principle” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”history_of_the_principle”]
There have been different understandings amongst the Shi’a scholars regarding what the narrations of ‘man balagh’ establish. They have differed as to whether the reports establish istiḥbāb (recommendation – one of the classifications of rulings), or are only a promise of reward without giving the act itself a particular classification. Some may say that even if the weak narration cannot make something mustahab just by ‘reaching’ a person, it is still possible for them to have a reward. Others have said that they make the act a recommended one. There are views in between these two, and of course other views, most of which we hope to cover through looking at the history of the discussion in history.
We will now look at the views of the jurists as per our previously mentioned criterion.
Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Bābawayh Al-Qummī (Shaykh Ṣudūq)
As we mentioned above, Shaykh Ṣudūq (d.381AH) has reported the narration of ‘man balagh’ with a reliable chain in his work ‘Thawāb Al-A’māl’. However, this alone is not proof enough to establish that he was a supporter of the principle since he has not mentioned it in his major works of jurisprudential narrations; Kitāb Man Lā Yaḥdharahu Al-Faqīh, and Al-Muqana’. The importance of this fact is realised when we look at the introductions for each of these books and learn of the author’s intention behind writing them. In his Man La Yaḥdharahu Al-Faqīh, which is the most famous surviving work of the scholar, Ṣudūq writes in the introduction ‘I intended to bring (in this book) that which I give verdicts according to, and rule for the correctness/authenticity of, and I believe that which is in it (this book) has probative force (is hujjah) between me and my lord’. In his Al-Muqana’, which is another important jurisprudential work, he writes in the introduction ‘What I have mentioned in this book is in the books of usul (collections of narrations) that are present and clear from our teachers (al-mashā’ikh) who are scholars (al-`ulamā), jurists (al-fuqahā) and trustworthy (al-thiāat)’. This is while in his introduction to ‘Thawāb Al-A’māl’, after mentioning a report that equates the inviter of good acts to the doer of the good act itself, he states the reason for writing this work is ‘I named this book ‘Thawāb Al-A’māl’ (The Reward For Acts) in hope that Allah does not deprive us of this reward, for I did not intend to write it except out of the desire for God’s reward, and to attain His pleasure, and I did not intend anything else in authoring it’.
The language used to explain the intentions or methodology of the author in the first two introductions is evidently quite different from that in the third introduction. While his words offer some type of authority (at least in his eyes) for the contents of the first two books, we get no such impression from his language in the third work. His intention, as he mentioned, was simply to attract people towards doing good deeds in order to receive the pleasure and satisfaction of God. He does not refer to the narrations as hujjah (with probative force) nor does he describe the reporters in the chains of transmission as ‘trustworthy’ (an important term in hadith terminology). The narration for the principle is mentioned in this final work (Thawāb Al-A’māl) and therefore, we cannot come to a definitive conclusion regarding his views on the principle. We also cannot use his inclusion of weak reports containing rewards in the former two works because it is not known whether he accepted them based on this principle or because he found other supporting evidence for them being hujjah. We also do not know if all the reports in Thawāb Al-A’māl are weak or do not have supporting evidence from other narrations. We are also unaware of whether Ṣudūq believed that he would achieve his goal or desires for rewards by someone acting on anyone of the acts that he mentioned, or if the reward would only be achieved if they acted on one of the hadiths in the book that were reliable. Furthermore, Ṣudūq could have only included actions that were already known to be recommended, hoping to encourage people towards them, without believing or knowing whether the rewards mentioned in the narrations were actually available for the doer of the act.
Considering all of these possibilities, it is not possible to attribute a particular view regarding the principle of leniency to al-Ṣudūq.
Although Al-Ṣudūq narrates the tradition through his father, Ali b. Al-Husain Bābawayh Al-Qummī (d.329AH), we could not find anything directly related to the narration in the work attributed to him (Fiqh Al-Riḍā).
Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Al-Nu’mān Al-Baghdadi (Shaykh Mufīd)
Among the statements in the writings of Shaykh Mufīd (d.413AH), works that could possibly indicate his stance on this matter, are those found in his discussion the number of days in the month of Ramadhan and whether it is a set amount or not (e.g. thirty days no matter the state of the moon). After mentioning a report with Muhammad b. Sinan in the chain, Shaykh Mufīd comments ‘This narration is odd (shādh), unique (nādir), not relied upon, in its chain is Muhammad b. Sinan, who is discredited, our group has not differed in accusing him and weakening him, and that which has such a chain is not acted upon in the religion.’ A possible understanding of Mufīd’s comment could be that he does not consider it permissible in the religion to act upon narrations with weak reporters like Muhammad b. Sinan. Although, we cannot conclude that Shaykh Mufīd had a problem with all weak reporters or if he had a particular problem with Muhammad b. Sinan. This is because Al-Mufīd has accepted narrations from weak reporters in some of his discussions and works, and even more surprisingly, he has accepted a report with Muhammad b. Sinan in it regarding another issue related to the month of Ramadhan. However, if we were to find that the other weak narrators that Mufīd accepted narrations from, including Muhammad b. Sinan, were only accepted because they reported information also found in other reliable traditions, we could be lead to believe that he did not accept narrations regarding religious issues if they were only reported by a weak chain.
After mentioning a narration by Muhammad b. Ismā’īl from a group from Imam Al-Sādiq regarding the same issue, Al-Mufīd says ‘This hadith is odd (shādh) with an unknown chain of transmission, if it came regarding the merits of charity or fasting, or a good act, it would be necessary to pause (without acting upon it).’ This statement of Shaykh Mufīd suggests that even if a report contains the merits of a good act, it cannot be acted upon if the narration is odd or with an unknown chain of narrators. This would mean that he does not accept that the principle of leniency could be used to act upon weak narrations for non-obligatory acts.
Ali ibn Al-Husayn ibn Musa Al-Sharif Al-Murtaḍa (‘Alam Al-Huda)
Sharif Murtaḍa (d.436AH) was particularly strict when it came to accepting narrations that dealt with jurisprudential issues and were related to legal rulings (aḥkhām). He is famously known for not accepting solitary reports in jurisprudence, even if they have a reliable chain of narrators. In fact he criticised those who narrated whatever they had heard and used reports for jurisprudential issues that did not bring about any certainty. He says about a group of scholars, ‘They reported what they had heard, and spoke about it, transmitting it (to others), reporting from their predecessors, and they (the reports) did not have probative force or evidence… so whoever from among them relied upon a report that did not bring certainty in its reliability for religious law, erred and was mistaken’. Al-Murtaḍa states in various places that he does not accept solitary reports as authoritative to act upon in Islam without distinguishing between obligatory and non-obligatory acts.
As such, it is unlikely that Al-Murtaḍa would have accepted the principle to legitimise actions through weak reports, and especially to classify them under one of the categories of law.
Muhammad ibn Hassan ibn Ali Al-Tusī (Al-Shaykh Al-Tusī)
Shaykh Tusī (d.460AH) has not spoken directly about the principle in his works. He has spoken about solitary reports in depth and has mentioned conditions that they must meet to be acceptable. However, using the usul book, Al-Uddah, of Shaykh Tusī and also observing his discussions regarding hadith in jurisprudential matters across his various books, leaves us at odds as to the exact criterion implemented by the Shaykh. In volume six of Al-Tahdhīb Al-Aḥkhām, when speaking about the rewards of visiting the graves of holy figures and personalities, he has used very weak narrations, including reports from narrators who are recorded as weak, liars and fabricators, such as Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al-Balwī, for whom Khū’ī records condemnation of from Najāshī and Ibn Al-Ghaḍā’erī. Nonetheless, this example cannot be used to say Tusī accepted weak narrations in non-obligatory acts, because, as Khū’ī notes, Tusī has not recorded any condemnation for Al-Balwī, and has in fact referred to him as one of the jurists.
For this reason, we cannot conclude that Shaykh Tusī included reports with weak chains of transmission in his work because he believed in the principle of leniency.
Hamza ibn Ali ibn Zuhrā Al-Halabī (Ibn Zuhrā)
Like the previously mentioned scholars, Ibn Zuhrā (d.588AH) also does not tackle the issue of leniency in using reports for non-obligatory acts, and has only spoken in general about what types of reports may or may not be used to establish a religious ruling, without differentiating between obligatory and non-obligatory actions. After stating that a report is a solitary report, he goes on to say, ‘And we have previously clarified that there is nothing that proves we must follow solitary reports in religious affairs’. In multiple other places, he rejects a view or report because it is or is based on a solitary report, however, these are all cases where the ruling is related to obligation.
Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Idris Al-Hillī Al-Ijlī (Ibn Idris)
Ibn Idris (d.598AH) has repeated on different occasions that he believes the sources for religious law are only four things, making sure to single out widely reported narrations (mutawātir) as the type of sunnah that he accepts. In fact, he clearly states ‘it is not permissible to act on solitary reports, even if their narrators are trustworthy persons (thiqāt)’, going on to explain that their reports do not lead to certainty. Furthermore, in one instance he launches a scathing attack on solitary reports saying, ‘Has anything damaged Islam more than those (solitary reports)’. Interestingly though, in one particular discussion regarding the use of methods or tools that help a person choose from options based on chance, Ibn Idris says, ‘The scholars of our sect have not accepted except that which I have accepted, and they do not mention Al-Banadūq, Al-Riqā’, and Al-Qur’ah except in the books of worship (Al-‘Ibadāt), and not in the books of jurisprudence’. It is not clear what Ibn Idris is exactly implying by this differentiation between of books of worship and books of jurisprudence. Although this could be an indication of scholars using weak reports, or lowered standards for religious acts outside of strict jurisprudential rulings, we cannot attribute a definite position to Ibn Idris in this regard.
Sayyid Radhi Al-Din Ali ibn Musa ibn Ja’far ibn Ṭāwūs (Sayyid Ibn Ṭāwūs)
Sayyid ibn Ṭāwūs (d.664AH) was the first scholar to clearly state he was relying on the narrations of ‘man balagh’ (according to the research of this author) for a few of the non-obligatory acts he mentioned in his book. After speaking about the rewards for actions on the night of Ashura (10th Muharram), and staying awake in that night worshipping, he says, ‘That which we have mentioned just before this was based on our reliance on these type of narrations because of what has been reported by Al-Sādiq (a) ‘He, for whom reaches something of reward for something good, and he acts upon it, for him will be the mentioned reward, even if what has been reported is not in accordance to reality’.’
This is the earliest explicit example of the principle being applied that we have access to today.
Ja’far ibn Al-Hasan ibn Yaḥya Al-Hillī (Al-Muḥaqqiq Al-Hillī)
Muḥaqqiq Hillī (d.676AH) has not made particular reference to the narrations of ‘man balagh’, but he has made statements that seem to share the same spirit as the principle extracted from them. After mentioning a report about the call to prayer (Adhān) he says ‘In this report there is a weakness for in it is one of the Fataḥīyah (follower of the Fataḥī sect), but its contents are regarding the recommendation of repeating the Adhān and Iqāmah, and they are (forms of) remembrance of Allah, and the remembrance of Allah is good.’ In this comment, Muḥaqqiq downplays the weakness in the narration due to it being about a good action. This is similar to what seems to be the apparent message of the narrations for the principle of leniency. Likewise, in another discussion (performing the ritual bath of Friday after the time has passed, he overlooks the weakness in the reporters of a narration (two non-Twelver reporters) because the act itself is good.
These instances seem to suggest that Muḥaqiq Hillī accepted this principle, or something similar to it; which entails that a weak report for a practice that has been established as good (from elsewhere) can be acted upon.
Al-Hasan ibn Al-Yusuf ibn Mutahhar Al-Hillī (Allāmah Hillī)
It has been claimed that Allāmah Hillī (d.726H) did not believe in establishing non-obligatory acts through weak reports, and that he opposed this practice in two places in this book ‘Muntaha Al-Matlab’. However, this claim can be contested through examples indicating that Allāmah did allow the establishment of a recommended act through a weak report, although it is possible that his view may have changed at some point. In his Mukhtalaf Al-Shi’ah he says, after mentioning that a report is weak because of a particular narrator, ‘I say; it is possible that this report was implying istiḥbāb (recommendation of the action)’. In this way, he resolved the apparent problem with the narration by taking the meaning to be a non-obligatory ruling.
It therefore seems that Allāmah Hillī falls into the category of scholars whose view is not clear, at least for the author of this paper.
Muhammad ibn Makkī ibn Muhammad Al-Amilī (Shahīd Awwal)
Shahīd Awwal (d.786AH), was the first Shi’a scholar to use the term ‘leniency’ (although he used it in its verb form) in describing how the scholars dealt with weak reports related to recommended actions. After quoting a scholar mentioning views of various other scholars regarding a particular issue, Shahīd Awwal says ‘The narrations that have been reported regarding it (the issue) are weak, however, narrations about merits and rewards are treated with leniency by the people of knowledge (scholars)’. The usage of leniency in this context by Shahīd Awwal is what possibly lead to the principle gaining its particular name among latter scholars. It can also be observed that the message of the ‘man balagh’ narrations was now gradually becoming recognised as a principle.
The tone of Shahīd Awwal seems to suggest that he has also accepted this principle.
One point to consider is that it does not seem the case that Shahīd Awwal applied this principle to all non-obligatory acts, and may have limited its usage (where he applied it) to recommended acts, without including discouraged (makruh) acts. In his book speaking of a thousand obligatory and recommended acts related to prayer, he does not let a ‘nadir’ (unique, uncommon) report establish an act to be makruh.
Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Fahd Al-Hillī (Ibn Fahd Al-Hillī)
After mentioning a variation of the ‘man balagh’ narration, and also a version from Sunni narrations, Ibn Fahd Al-Hillī (d.841AH) says ‘This idea has become agreed upon in consensus by both sects’. Ibn Fahd has claimed that the narration and its meaning has been accepted by both the Shi’a and Sunni sects.
Ali ibn Husain ibn ‘Abd Al-Aāli Al-Karakī Al-Amili (Muḥaqqiq Karakī)
In the discussion of acts relevant to burial rituals, Muḥaqqiq Karakī (d.940AH) says ‘the reports regarding non-obligatory acts are based on leniency, so weak reports are accepted regarding them.’
This is a clear reference to leniency and also to the fact that weak reports are accepted among these types of reports.
Zayn Al-Din ibn Nur Al-Din Ali ibn Ahmad Al-Amili (Shahīd Thānī)
Shahīd Thānī (d.966AH) states that the majority (of scholars) have permitted acting upon weak reports in the likes of stories, good council, the rewards of actions, but not in regards to the attributes of God or in regards to the permissible or impermissible (obligatory laws). After mentioning this view, he says that this is a good view (to take), as long as the weakness of the report does not reach the level of it being a fabrication. He continues to explain the reason for accepting this view as ‘due to what is famous among the scholars as leniency in the evidences for non-obligatory acts, and there is not in admonishment or stories except pure goodness.’ He then continues to present the narrations of ‘man balagh’ as the proofs for his stance, saying they have been reported both by Shi’as and Sunnis. He repeats the claim later in the same book, but this time adding ‘to encourage and attract (to good acts) and discourage and repel (from discouraged acts)’ and instead of mentioning ‘permissible and impermissible laws’ he mentions religious laws (which would in reality include recommended and discouraged actions too). In the second instance, it seems that Shahīd Thānī is also including reports about discouraged acts into those for which leniency is allowed (because of his mentioning discourage and repel). This is more clearly observed in his statement after taking issues with a report but ending with ‘furthermore, relying on these types of poor reports for religious rulings is not free from problems, if there was not leniency in statements related to discouraged actions (kirāhah).’
This is the first clear inclusion of reports about makruh acts into the principle.
Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husain Al-Mūsawī Al-Amili (Sayyid Muhammad)
Sayyid Muhammad (d.1009AH), author of Madārik Al-Aḥkhām, says, after commenting on the weakness in the chains of transmission for a few reports, ‘that which is said that in the evidences for non-obligatory acts there is leniency in a way that does not exist in other than them (non-obligatory act) is questionable, for istiḥbāb is a religious ruling and is dependent on religious proof like all other religious rulings.’ Sayyid Muhammad then says to open this topic further will require lengthy discussions, and says he shall address it elsewhere.
We can see that there is still some resistance among some scholars to accept this principle and to keep to a standard for the reports that may be used to establish religious rulings.
Bahā’ Al-Din Muhammad ibn Hussain ibn ‘Abd Al-Ṣamad (Shaykh Bahāī)
While discussing the attitude of scholars towards solitary reports, Shaykh Bahāī (d.1030AH) says, ‘It has become common to act upon the reports of weak transmitters in narrations for non-obligatory acts…and we Shi’a do not act on those reports for the sake of those reports but because of reports that have conveyed that whoever hears something good and acts upon it shall have its reward.’ Shaykh Bahāī makes these comments in an attempt to harmonise the view of specific requirements required for proving a religious ruling under any classification of the five aḥkhām, and using the reports of ‘man balagh’.
In his book on forty narrations, Shaykh Bahāī dedicates a whole chapter to this principle and the narrations associated with it, breaking down the phrases in the narration and offering a detailed commentary on them. He speaks about how the narration reaches the person, and what ‘balagha’ entails or includes (through a narration, or verdict etc.). He includes acting upon the contents or refraining from the act mentioned in the narration (which would make space to include discouraged acts into the principle). After mentioning the relevant narrations, he says ‘And this is the reason why our scholars have been lenient in the discussion regarding evidences for non-obligatory acts, and why they have issued rulings of recommendation (istiṣḥāb)’. He then goes on to explain that this does not mean the jurists are using weak narrations to establish one of the five laws, but rather they are relying on a principle that has been previously been proved through reliable traditions, which permits them to give rulings based on these weak reports. He then offers an important interpretation that these reports do not in fact prove actual recommendation, or require a person to act according to an order (albeit not a compulsory order) as if it is from the divine lawmaker. The reports merely mean a person will be rewarded for acting accordance to their contents. However, it is possible that the weak reports give the possibility of recommendation, which itself can be acted upon according to religious law. 
This means that a person would not have neglected a recommended act if they did not act upon the contents of a weak narration inviting to a non-obligatory act, but it is possible that they did not act in accordance to precaution.
Muhammad Saleh ibn Ahmad Shams Al-Din Mazandarani (Mulla Saleh Mazandarani)
Mullah Saleh Mazandarani (d.1081AH) comments on the reports of ‘man balagh’ saying, ‘What is meant by this report (man balagh) is that whoever hears a report, that he believes to be true according to his suspicions, indicating reward for doing an action or avoiding it, and he acts accordingly (to the report), and he does so hoping to attain this reward, he shall have the mentioned reward even if in reality there was no such report ordained for that action.’ He then goes on to quote the discussion of Shaykh Bahāī on the topic.
It is noteworthy that Mullah Saleh mentioned that the person whom the report reaches, should at least suspect it to be true, meaning if he knows it to be false, then the promise of the ‘man balagh’ report does not apply. He also mentions that the person should be acting in hope of achieving that reward, although he brings this condition into question further along in the discussion.
Husain ibn Jamal Al-Din Muhammad Al-Khwansārī (Muḥaqiq Khwansārī)
We had previously mentioned Muḥaqiq Khwansārī (d.1099AH) in our discussion regarding what type of theorem the principle of leniency was, but we bring him up again to note three points. Firstly, Muḥaqiq Khwansārī does not make a definite statement regarding his opinion of the principle of leniency, but rather mentions arguments against the principle and offers some counter-arguments in favour of the principle. He also concludes that the only actual proof for the principle of leniency is the popular acceptance of the jurists. This weakening of the proofs and doubts created about the legitimacy of the principle was not easily forgotten, and later scholars dedicated some pages in their works to answer these criticisms.
The second important point is that it appears (according to the extent of this author’s research) Muḥaqiq Khwansārī was the first person to refer to the principle with its currently popular and recognised name ‘leniency in the evidences for non-obligatory acts’. Although the principle was spoken about in different ways, it was this name that was coined to represent it in future discussions. Previous scholars had used noun or verb forms of ‘tasāmuḥ’, or synonyms such as ‘tasāhul’ (taking lightly).
Lastly, Muḥaqiq Khwansārī is among the earliest scholars (if not the earliest) to mention that this principle is from the matters related to usul al-fiqh. Although he states this as the popular view, it is not seen in previous discussions from past scholars that they textually classified this principle as one of usul (or any other science).
Muhammad Bāqir ibn Muhammad Akmal Al-Bihbahānī (Wahid Bihbahānī)
Wahid Bihbahānī (d.1205AH) defended the principle of leniency in non-obligatory acts (he also includes discouraged acts along with recommended acts). He spends a few pages trying to answer the arguments against the principle, making use of principles from usul al-fiqh, rational, theological and customary examples to prove that it is not problematic to accept the principle. In fact he argues that such a principle is appropriate and endeavours to bring proof against the critics by citing other evidences that unconditionally encourage good acts as per his understanding.
Murtaḍa ibn Muhammad Amin Ansari Dizfulī (Shaykh Ansari)
Shaykh Ansari (d.1281AH) deals with the principle of leniency in detail, to the extent that he has an independent treatise on the topic.
Ansari begins by introducing the principle as such, ‘Popularly accepted among our scholars and the Sunnis is the principle of leniency in evidences for non-obligatory acts. Meaning that which we mentioned as conditions for acting on solitary reports (Islam, justice, accuracy in recording) are not considered in reports speaking of non-obligatory acts (performing or refraining).’ Ansari then quotes the different scholars who support the principle. He then begins to bring arguments against the principle and answers them one by one, at times going through a number of arguments and counter-arguments. Ansari begins to enumerate the differences between the principle of leniency and the principle of precaution (while discussing the possible rational proofs for the principle).
As we mentioned earlier, Ansari claims that the narrations for the principle of leniency are mustafīḍ (three different chains or more), but rather it is not farfetched to claim they are mutawātir (widely reported to the extent they bring certainty), continuing then to present the narrations from the Shi’as and the Sunnis. After recording the narrations, Shaykh Ansari confidently says that these reports, even though some are reliable in their chain, are needless of authentication in their chains because they have been accepted by the greats among the scholars.
For the next few pages, Ansari speaks about whether or not the principle is a uṣūlī one, and addresses the arguments against it if it were, and then starts to explain the difference between principles of usul and principles of jurisprudence. He concludes by stating it is a discussion of usul and is specific to jurists, and that it is impermissible for laymen to use.
Shaykh Ansari argues that a command to an action does not necessitate (from the language) reward, but the intellect rules that a person is deserving of a reward for acting upon a command, further adding that according to common understanding, reports requesting something, are by necessity also promising rewards.
Ansari goes onto answer the arguments that say the principle goes against the Quranic verse requiring research and evaluation if something is reported by a fāsiq (someone who openly sins, but mainly referring to liars). He says this research into the claim of a fāsiq is only necessary in regards to issues of obligation and prohibition (not non-obligatory matters).
Regarding whether or not leniency can be applied to reports about discouraged actions, Shaykh Ansari says that with the principle of precaution, it can, or if we uncover the cause behind such a principle (leniency) existing, we may find that we can find the same effect when including reports for makruh acts.
Shaykh Ansari then continues a lengthy discussion on the different aspects of the principle, keeping to his style of presenting an argument, counter-argument, a response to the counter-argument and his own opinion in the end. In conclusion, he relied on rational proofs, textual proofs (narrations of ‘man balagh’), and the claim of consensus reported by Shahīd Awwal as evidences for the validity of this principle.
This is one of the most detailed discussions on the principle until that time in the history of the Shi’a jurists, or at least among the works that have reached us.
Abdullah ibn Muhammad Hasan ibn Abdullah Mamāqanā (Abdullah Mamaqānī)
Shaykh Abdullah Mamaqānī (d.1351AH) argues that reports about recommended (mustahab) or discouraged (makruh) acts have to be dealt with in the same way as acts reporting obligatory practises or rulings. He says that at most we can say it is permissible to act on weak reports regarding religious rulings because of the mere possibility that they may be in accordance to reality in their statement of the rulings, but this does not establish religious laws (even non-obligatory ones).
This shows that he believes in the permissibility to act upon the reports, but is not of the opinion that a religious ruling can be derived from them, nor does he mention anything about actually obtaining the rewards for doing or refraining from the act mentioned in the narration.
Mirza Muhammad Husain ibn Abd Al-Rahīm Gharawī Na’eeni (Mirza Nā’īnī)
Shaykh Na’īnī (d.1335AH) supports the view that the narrations of ‘man balagh’ give probative force (hujīyah) to the mere reaching of reward for an action (bulūgh).
This means that as soon as the report reaches a person, it gains authority and can be acted upon.
This brings our discussion on the history of the principle in the works of the scholars to an end.[vc_custom_heading text=”An Overview of Discussions Regarding the Principle” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”an_overview_of_discussions_regarding_the_principle”]
During the period that we examined, we can see various approaches to the narrations and principle, and differing opinions as to what the theorem in question entails.
In this section, we would like to present an overview of the variety of opinions (some derived from the implicit discussions in previous sections).
The views we discovered from this survey of scholars opinions:
- The reports do not prove anything independently and must be coupled with other reliable reports, or themselves reach a level of reliability.
- It is not permissible to use these acts to establish any religious laws.
- Weak reports may be used in certain discussion (books of worship) and not others (books of jurisprudence).
- The reports can be used to establish only recommended (mustahab) acts.
- The weak report can be accepted if it encourages an act that has been previously established as good.
- It is permissible to use this principle for issues such as stories, good council, rewards for actions (as long as the report is not clearly fabricated), but not for attributes of Allah or the permissible and impermissible.
- The reports can be used to also establish discouraged (makruh) acts.
- The reports do not establish a recommended act, but only promise reward for an act.
- The reports can be acted upon as long as it is not known they are fabrications.
- The report should be acted upon with the intention of receiving the reward mentioned in it.
- Only jurists may act on the contents of this report, or permit laymen to do so.
- The principle can be acted upon by laymen and jurists alike (without one needing the permission of the other).
- The reward is not because of the report but because of the reward one deserves for acting upon an order.
- The contents of the report can be acted upon based on precaution, but not because of the act becoming/being recommended or discouraged.
- The reaching of the reward to a person creates probative force for that person to act upon that report.
Al-Sadr says “these reports (of ‘man balagh’) primarily present a few possibilities:
- They are arguing to establish probative force for any sort of ‘bulugh’ (reaching of the report).
- They create real and actual istiḥbāb upon bulūgh. (The reaching of istiḥbāb for an action calls for the act to become mustahab in reality).
- The reports direct a person to a rational argument regarding the goodness in precaution, and that the precautionary person deserves reward (for their precaution).
- This is a divinely decreed promise due to their being a greater benefit in such a promise, even if this greater benefit lies in encouraging people towards precaution, due to it being rationally good.”
He then rejects the first possibility saying that it is actually in contrast to what the reports are actually relaying. He also dismisses the second possibility, eventually accepting a fifth possibility bringing together the third and fourth possibilities to offer a more comprehensive option.[vc_custom_heading text=”Conclusion” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”conclusion”]
In this thousand year period of Shi’a scholarship, we see the development of this principle and the discussions it sparked within the Shi’a intellectual circles. Of course as time developed so did the variety of views, but, unfortunately, to look at all of the examinations of this principle is beyond the scope of this paper. What we wished to examine was the progress of this concept from one or a few narrations into an actual principle, and how the scholars approached and dealt with it. We observed that the principle was not independently analysed by the classical scholars (except in mentioning the narrations related to it) nor those immediately after them.
From the seventh century onwards we begin to see direct references to the narrations. Following this period, we start to see both the supporters and opponents of employing these narrations in Islamic law each claiming that the popular practice of the scholars is to act in line with the position they have taken regarding these reports and principle (whether negative or positive). This develops into focused discussions on the principle, which eventually turn into independent treatises, where scholars review and comment on the arguments and counter arguments for the principle, and presenting their own conclusions.
While scholars expanded the discussions on the principle (as we see in the segment above), an idea once mentioned in passing turned into a principle discussed in independent and dedicated treatise. There has even been a third view added in regards to the classification of the principle and what type of theorem it is; Makārim Shīrazī and Ja’far Subḥānī, have both added that if the discussion surrounding this principle is focused on the rewards for precautionary worship or reward and punishment, then the theorem would be a problem within the scope of scholastic theology (Kalām), which is the view adopted by Subḥānī in this discussion.
Nonetheless, there is still room for further discussion and case studies on the impact that this principle has had on various fields and how it has helped further discussions or become an obstacle for progress in areas. It is therefore refreshing to see that the discussions is still very much alive.
The jurisdiction of the principle has clearly expanded from a theorem for discussions in jurisprudence and relating to recommended or discouraged acts, to a widely applied one across various fields. It is important to identify these fields and clearly outline the role, if any, of the principle in those areas. A cursory looks at the use of the principle in some of these fields will show that in cases there is no mention of actual rewards for actions, but rather the narrations are being used for issues with serious consequences in the physical world. This paves the room for a deeper discourse regarding the scope of the principle (for those who accept it), and to clarify whether the contents of the report may be used to create and spread customs and cultures among the Shi’a community, or are they simply limited to promises of personal reward for individual actions. As a word of caution, Shaykh Bahāī, who we found to be a staunch supporter of the principle, mentions that it is better for a possible sunnah to be forgotten or unacted upon, then for an innovation to appear in the religion. This warning is even more relevant when we accept views that state the principle may be used by jurist and layman alike.
In hope that discussions of a serious nature regarding the practical outcomes of this principle continue, expand and bear fruit, we end with the following quote for consideration ‘Many of the beliefs and actions of people are shaped by these recommended acts and customs, for this reason, if we take the approach of leniency in acting upon and accepting mustahab actions, it is possible from one aspect that we protect and maintain many recommended actions, and society benefits from them, but from another angle, it is also possible that irreparable damage is done to the culture and soul of religion.’. [vc_row content_placement=”top”][vc_column][vc_column_text] [vc_custom_heading text=”Bibliography” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_id=”bibliography”]
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Hossein Modarressi Tabataba’i, An Introduction to Shi’a Law, (Ithaca Press, 1984).
Norman Calder, Structure of Authority in Imami-Shi’i Jurisprudence – PhD thesis (SOAS, 1980)
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Aqā Ḍhiyā’ Al-Din Al-Iraqi, Bidā’i Al-Afkār Fi Al-Usul, v.1, (Al-Muṭba’at Al-Ilmīyah, 1370AH).
Muhammad Ishāq Fayāḍ, Muhadhiraat Fi Usul Al-Fiqh, v.1, (Mu’assasat Ahyaa Athaar Al-Imam Al-Khū’ī, 1422AH).
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Al-Shaykh Al-Ansari, Rasā’il Fiqhīyah, (Al-Mu’tamar Al-‘Alimī Bi-Munāsibāt Al-Zhikr Al-Meu’wīyah Li-Milād Al-Shaykh Al-Ansari, 1414AH).
Hussain Khwansārī, Mashāriq Al-Shamus Fi Sharh Al-Durūs, p.34, (Mu’assasat ā-Bayt Li-Ahyaa Al-Turaath, 1311AH).
Nasir Makārim Shīrāzī, Anwār Al-Usul, v.3, (Madrasat Al-Imam Amir Al-Mu’minīn, 1416AH).
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Muhammad b. Hasan Al-Tusī, Al-Fehrist, (Mu’asasah Nashr Al-Fiqāhah, 1417AH).
Muhammad b. Ali (Al-Sudūq), Thawāb Al-A’māl, (Manshārāt Al-Radhi, 1398).
Muhammad b. Al-Hasan Al-Hurr Al-Amilī, Wasā’il Al-Shi’a, v.1, (Mu’assasat Aal Al-Bayt Li-Aḥyā Al-Turāth, 1416AH).
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Ibn Zuhrā Al-Halabī, Ghunyah Al-Nazu’, (Mu’assasat Al-Imam Al-Sādiq, 1417AH).
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Al-Muḥaqqiq Al-Karakī, Jāmi’ Al-Maqāṣid, v.1, (Mu’assasat Aal Al-Bayt Li-Aḥyā Al-Turāth, 1408AH).
Al-Shahīd Al-Thānī, Sharḥ Al-Bidāyah Fī ‘Ilm Al-Dirāyah, (Maktabah Chehl Sutūn, 1982).
Al-Shahīd Al-Thānī, Masālik Al-Afḥām, v.7, (Mu’assasat Al-Ma’ārif Al-Islāmīyah, 1416AH).
Al-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Amilī, Madārik Al-Aḥkhām, v.1, (Mu’assasat Aal Al-Bayt Li-Aḥyā Al-Turāth, 1410AH).
Al-Shaykh Al-Bahāī, Al-Arba’ūn Hadith, (Mu’assasat Al-Nashr Al-Islāmī, 1431AH).
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Abdullah Al-Mamaqānī, Miqbās Al-Hidāyah Fī ‘Ilm Al-Dirāyah, v.1, (Dalīl Mā, 1428AH).
Muhammad Jawad Fadhil Lankarānī, Qā’ideh Tasāmuḥ Dar Adilleh Sunan, (Markaz-i Fiqhī A’imeh Athār Alay-him Al-Salām, 2014).
Murtaḍa Muahharī, Jurisprudence and Its Principles:
Al-Mazāherī, Porsish Va Pāsokh Pīrāmūn Imam Husayn (a); http://www.almazaheri.org/Farsi/PublicUC/moharram87/moharram1-4%20.htm
Riḍā Islāmī, Qā’ideh Tasāmuḥ, Naql-hāī Ḍa’īf Tārīkh Rā Taṣḥīḥ Na-Mīkunad http://ijtihadnet.ir/%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%8C-%D9%86%D9%82%D9%84%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%B6%D8%B9%DB%8C%D9%81-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AE%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AA/
Esra – Off al site for Esra International Institution for Revealed Sciences:
Oxford (online) Dictionary:
The Merriam Webster Dictionary:
Ja’far Subhānī, Barā’at Dar Shubahāt-i Muḍū’īyeh Wa Tasāmuḥ Dar Adilleh-ye Sunan: http://www.tohid.ir/fa/index/lessonview?aId=5424&cId=52
Muhammad AlimZādeh Nūrī, Tasāmuḥ Dar Adilleh Sunan Na-Guzashteh Haq Masā’il Akhlāqī Rā Adā Kunīm:
 Al-Mufīd, Al-Tadhkirah Bi-Usul Al-Fiqh, p. 28, (Dār Al-Mufīd,1414AH/1993).
Consensus of scholars (Ijmā’) and reason (‘Aql) are not unanimously accepted as independent sources, and their status as sources is contested. See; Riḍā Islāmī, Madkhal-i ‘Ilm-i Fiqh.
 Al-Shaykh Al-Bahāī, Al-Wajīzah Fī ‘Ilm Al-Dirāyah, p.4, (Basīratī, 1390AH).
 Al-Allāmah Al-Hilli, Mabādī Al-Wusūl Ila ‘Ilm Al-Usul, p. 84, (Maktab Al-A’lām Al-Islāmī, 1404AH).
 This discussion is one of the major topics of works in the principles of jurisprudence (Usul Al-Fiqh).
 Riḍā Islāmī, Madkhal-i ‘Ilm-i Fiqh, p. 81-94, (Markaz-i Mudīrīyat-i Hawzeh, 2010).
 Wael B. Hallaq, A History of Islāmīc Legal Theories, p.1, (McGill University, 1997).
 Muhammad Riḍā Muẓhaffar, Usul Al-Fiqh, v.3, p.54, (Jām’iah Al-Mudarrisīn, 1431AH). Muhammad Husayn Ṭabāṭabāī, The Qur’an in Islam, p.9-10, (Zahra Publications, 1987).
 Muhammad Amin Al-Astrabadi, Al-Fawā’id Al-Madanīyah, v.1, p.104, (Mu’assasat Al-Nashr Al- Islāmī, 1426AH). Limiting the ability to understand the Qur’an to a divine guide.
 Hossein Modarressi Tabataba’i, An Introduction to Shi’a Law, p.3, (Ithaca Press, 1984). Norman Calder, Structure of Authority in Imami-Shi’i Jurisprudence – PhD thesis (SOAS, 1980), p.172-173.
 Al-Mufīd, Al-Tadhkirah Bi-Usul Al-Fiqh, p. 28.
 See Shaykh Ṭūsī, Uddat Al-Usul (vol.1) and Al-Sharīf Al-Murtaḍa, Rasā’il Al-Murtaḍa (vol.1).
 Sayyid Muhammad Sarūr Al-Bahsūdī, Misbāḥ Al-Usul, v.1, p.171, (Mu’assasat Al-Khū’ī Al-Islāmīyyah, c.1401AH). The views of Sayyid Abu Al-Qāsim Al- Khū’ī as recorded by Sayyid Muhammad Sarūr Al- Bahsūdī.
 Ibid, p. 156.
 Ali Akbar Mishkīnī, Iṣṭalaḥāt Al-Usul Wa Mu’aẓam Abḥāth-Ha, p.190, (Nashr Al-Huda, 1413AH).
 Murtaḍa Mutahharī, Jurisprudence and Its Principles. https://www.al-islam.org/jurisprudence-and-its-principles-ayatullah-Murtaḍa-mutahhari/jurisprudence-fiqh#brief-history-jurisprudence-and-jurisprudents
 Robert Gleave, Scripturalist Islam, p.5, (Brill, 2007).
 Al-Muḥaqqiq Al-Hillī, Al-Mu’tabar Fī Al-Sharh Al-Mukhtaṣar, v.1, p.33, (Madrasat Al-Imam Amir Al-Mu’minīn, 1985).
 Muhammad Bāqir Al-Sadr, Durūs Fī ‘Ilm Al-Usul, v.2, p.143-144, (Intisharāt Dār Al-’Ilm, 1433AH).
 Kaẓim Mudīr Shānechī, ‘Ilm Al-Hadith Wa Dirāyah Al-Hadith, p.23, (Daftar Intisharāt Islāmī, 1997). See also: Hadī Hujjat, Dānish-i Hadith, p.81-82, (Nashr-i Jamāl, 2011), the book is a collection of essays from a number of contributors.
 Sayyid Ali Husaynī Sistani, Minhāj Al-Ṣaliḥīn, v.1, p.15, (Dār Al-Badhrah, 1431AH).
 See Murtaḍa Fātimī, Aasīb Shināsī-i Azādārī, (Mu’assaseh Intisharāt A’imeh (A), c.2006). Muhammad Ismā’īl Abd-Illahi, Ashurāī Barāi-ī Ashura, (Hātif, 2011). Muhammad Rahmānī, Bu’d Siyāsī Wa Aḥyāī-i Ashura Az Manzar Fiqh, in Quarterly Journal of Islāmīc Government, issue 27, 2003
 Al-Mazāherī, Porsish Va Pāsokh Pīrāmūn Imam Husayn (a); http://www.almazaheri.org/Farsi/PublicUC/moharram87/moharram1-4%20.htm (accessed 06/09/2017). Riḍā Islāmī, Qaa’ideh Tasamuh, Naql-hai Dha’eef Tareekh Ra Tahseeh Na-Mikunad, http://ijtihadnet.ir/%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%8C-%D9%86%D9%82%D9%84%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%B6%D8%B9%DB%8C%D9%81-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AE%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AA/ (accessed 25/10/2017).
 Muhammad Qurbān-Zādeh, Tasāmuḥ Dar Sanad Riwāyāt Ṭibbī, in Semi-annual Journal of Qur’an and Hadith, Issue 89, 2013 (spring and winter).
 See Muhammad Taqī Islāmī, Akhlāq-i Islāmī Wa Kārbast-i Qā’ideh Tasāmuḥ Dar Adileh Sunan, (PajuhishGāh ‘Ulūm Wa Farhang Islāmī, 2011).
 See KhudāMurad Salimīyān, Tasāmuḥ Dar Naql Riwāyāt, Bastarī Baraī-i Inḥirāf, in Intizār Maw’ūd Journal, issue 53 (2016).
 On the official site for Abdullah Jawādī Amoulī, there is an admission that some narrations in his book ‘Mafātīh Al-Hayāt’, in the section on people’s relation with the Islāmīc (political) system, were included based on the principle of leniency. http://www.portal.esra.ir/Pages/Index.aspx?view=1&id=MjI3NQ%3D%3D-6898uzT079E%3D&kind=1 (accessed 06/09/2017).
 https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/theorem (accessed 10/06/2017). The Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as ‘an idea accepted or proposed as a demonstrable truth often as a part of a general theory.’ (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theorem) (accessed 10/06/2017).
 Bāqir Irwānī, Durūs Tamhīdiyyah Fī Al-Qawā’id Al-Fiqhīyyah, v.1, p.10-13, (Dār Al-Fiqh, 1432AH).
 See Ja’far Subhānī, Al-Iyḍaḥāt Al-Sinīyah li-l-Qawā’id Al-Fiqhīyah, v.1, (Mu’assasat Al-Imam Al-Sādiq, 2016).
 Murtaḍa Ansari, Farā’id Al-Usul, v.2, p.544-5, (Intishārāt Al-Islāmī, 1416AH).
 Muhammad Ali Al-Kaẓimī Al-Khorāsānī, Fawā’id Al-Usul, v.1, p.19, (also v.4, p.309) (Mu’assasat Al-Nashr Al-Islāmī, 1404AH). The view is of Mirza Nā’īnī recorded by his student in this work.
 Aqā Ḍhiyā’ Al-Din Al-Iraqi, Bidā’i Al-Afkār Fi Al-Usul, v.1, p.26 (Al-Muṭba’at Al-Ilmīyah, 1370AH). The Usul classes of Aqā Ḍhiyā’ recorded by Hāshim Amulī.
 Muhammad Ishāq Fayāḍ, Muhadhiraat Fi Usul Al-Fiqh, v.1, p.8-10, (Mu’assasat Ahyaa Athaar Al-Imam Al-Khū’ī, 1422AH). The views of Sayyid Abu Al-Qāsim Al-Khū’ī as recorded by Muhammad Ishāq Fayāḍ.
 Rouhullah Al-Musawā Al-Khomaynī, Anwār Al-Hidāyah Fī Al-Talāqah ‘Ala Al-Kifāyah, v.1, p.44-45, (Mu’assasat Tanzīm Wa Nashr Athār Al-Imam Al-Khomaynī, 1415AH). Muhammad Hussain Al-Hāj Al-Amilī, Irshād Al-‘Uqūl Ila Mabāḥith Al-Usul, v.1, p.38, (Mu’assasat Al-Imam Al-Sādiq, 1422AH). The Usul classes of Ja’far Subhānī as recorded by Muhammad Hussain Al-Amili. The view is mentioned by Ja’far Subhānī, but he does not himself accept it as a conclusive difference between the two types of principles.
 Subhānī, Al-Iyḍaḥāt Al-Sinīyah li-l-Qawā’id Al-Fiqhīyah, v.1, p.13-14.
 Al-Shaykh Al-Ansari, Rasā’il Fiqhīyah, p.149, (Al-Mu’tamar Al-‘Alimī Bi-Munāsibāt Al-Zhikr Al-Meu’wīyah Li-Milād Al-Shaykh Al-Ansari, 1414AH).
 Hussain Khwansārī, Mashāriq Al-Shamus Fi Sharh Al-Durūs, p.34, (Mu’assasat ā-Bayt Li-Ahyaa Al-Turaath, 1311AH).
 Nasir Makārim Shīrāzī, Anwār Al-Usul, v.3, p. 90, (Madrasat Al-Imam Amir Al-Mu’minīn, 1416AH).
 Sayyid Muhammad Mujāḥid, Mafātīḥ Al-Usul, v.1, p. 348 (Mu’asaseh Taḥqīqāt Wa Nashr Ma’ārif, 1296AH (solar)).
 Abu Al-Qāsim Al-Khū’, Ajwad Al-Taqrīrāt; Taqrīr Baḥth Al-Nā’īnī, v.2, p.208, (Al-Ghadīr, 1989).
 Muhammad Hussain Al-Isfāhānī, Nihāyah Al-Dirāyah Fī Sharḥ Al-Kifāyah, v.4, p.174, (Mu’assasat Aāl Al-Bayt Li-Aḥyā Al-Turāth, 1414AH).
 Shīrāzī, Anwār Al-Usul, v.3, p. 90.
 Muhammad Bāqir Al-Waḥīd Al-Bahbahānī, Masābīḥ Al-Ẓulām Fi Sharḥ Mafātīḥ Al-Sharā’i, v.2, p.126-127, (Mu’assasat Al-Allāmah Al-Mujadid Al-Waḥīd Al-Bahbahānī, 1423AH).
 Muhammad Hasan Al-Najafī, Jawāhir Al-Kalām, v.4, p.224, (Dār Aḥyā Al-Turāth Al-Arabī, 1981).
 Al-Bahbahānī, Masābiḥ Al-Ẓulām, v.2, p.126.
 Ansari, Rasā’il Fiqhīyah, v.1, p.142. Ansari states that the reports meet the standard of being narrated through three or more separate chains (mustafīḍ), and it is not unreasonable to claim they reach the level of being mutawātir.
 Khwansārī, Mashāriq Al-Shamus, p.34.
 Ja’far Subhānī, Al-Rasā’il Al-Arba’ Qawā’id Usūlāyah Wa Fiqhīyah, p.13 (fourth treatise), (Mu’assasat Al-Imam Al-Sādiq, 1415AH).
 Al-Bahsūdī, Misbāḥ Al-Usul, v.1, p.156-173,
 There is a difference of opinion regarding the year of Al-Kulaynī’s death. Hussain Ali Maḥfūz, whose introduction to Al-Kulaynī and Al-Kāfī has been quoted by Ali Akbar Ghaffārī in his edited and annotated work on Al-Kāfī, quotes the different opinion of the bibliographers, historians and hadith scholars regarding Al-Kulaynī’s year of death (Kulaynī, Al-Kāfī, Edited and Annotated by Ali Akbar Ghafārī, v.1, Preface, p.39-40, Dār Al-Kutub Al-Islāmīyah publishers, 1984).
 Ahmad b. Ali Al-Najāshī, Rijāl Al-Najāshī, p.377, (Mu’assat Al-Nashr Al-Islāmī, 1407AH).
 Bahā’ Al-Din Muhammad Husain, Al-Habl Al-Matīn, (Al-Bahā’ī Al-Aamilī), p.7, (Basīratī, 1321AH).
 Al-Kulaynī, Al-Kāfī, v.2, p. 87.
 Muhammad b. Hasan Al-Tusī, Al-Fehrist, p.237 (Mu’asasah Nashr Al-Fiqāhah, 1417AH).
 Muhammad b. Ali (Al-Sudūq), Thawāb Al-A’māl, p. 132, (Manshārāt Al-Radhi, 1398).
 Muhammad b. Al-Hasan Al-Hurr Al-Amilī, Wasā’il Al-Shi’a, v.1, p.80, (Mu’assasat Aal Al-Bayt Li-Aḥyā Al-Turāth, 1416AH).
 Subhānī, Al-Rasā’il Al-Arba’, p.15-16 (fourth treatise).
 Muhammad Bāqir Al-Majlisī, Biḥār Al-Anwār, v.2, p.256, (Mu’assasat Al-Wafā’ Beirut, 1403AH/1983).
 Shaykh Sudūq, Man Lā Yaḥdharhu Al-Faqīh, v.1, p.3, (Jām’iah Al-Mudarrisīn, c.1392AH).
 Shaykh Sudūq, Al-Muqna’, p.5, (Mu’assasat Al-Imam Al-Hadī, 1415AH).
 Sudūq, Thawāb Al-A’māl, p.30.
 Muhammad ibn Muhammab ibn Al-Nu’mānī, Jawābāt Ahl Al-Mousul, p.20 (1414AH/1993).
 Ibid, p.30.
 In some manuscripts, instead of the word ‘merits’ the word meaning ‘giving of/doing of’ is used.
 Ibid, p.22.
 Al-Sharif Al-Murtaḍa, Rasā’il Al-Murtaḍa, v.1, p.211, (Matba’ah Sayyid Al-Shuhadā’ Qom, 1405AH).
 Ibid, p.24, p.25.
 Sayyid Abu Al-Qasim Al-Khū’ī, Mu’jam Rijal Al-Hadith, v.11, p.324 (Mu’assasat Al-Khū’ī Al-Islāmī, 1413AH).
 Ibn Zuhrā Al-Halabī, Ghunyah Al-Nazu’, p.76, (Mu’assasat Al-Imam Al-Sādiq, 1417AH).
 Ibid, p. 118, p.339, p.345.
 Ibn Idris Al-Hillī, Al-Sarā’ir, v. 1, p.46, p.377, (Jām’iah Al-Mudarrisīn, 1410AH).
 Ibid, p.495.
 Ibid, p.51.
 Ibid, p.314.
 Sayyid Ibn Ṭāwūs, Iqbāl Al-A’māl, p.29, (Al-‘Alamī Library Beirut, 1418AH).
 Al-Muḥaqqiq Al-Hillī, Al-Mu’tabar, v.2, p.137.
 Ibid, v.1, p.354.
 Mujāhid, Mafātīḥ Al-Usul, v.1, p.346. This stance has been attributed to Allāmah by Sayyid Muhammad, but he does not specify where in Muntaha he takes this approach.
 Al-Allāmah Al-Hillī, Mukhtalaf Al-Shi’a, v.7, p.131, (Jām’iah Al-Mudarrisīn, 1418AH).
 Al-Shahīd Al-Awwal, Dhikra Al-Shi’a Fi Aḥkhām Al-Sharī’ah, v.2, p.34, (Mu’assasat Aal Al-Bayt, 1419AH).
 Al-Shahīd Al-Awwal, Al-Alfīyah Wa Al-Naflīyah, p.87, (Al-Maktab Al-A’lāmī, 1408AH).
 Ibn Fahd Al-Hillī, Uddat Al-Dā’ī, p.12-13, (Dār Al-Kutub Al-Islāmī, 1407AH/1987).
 Al-Muḥaqqiq Al-Karakī, Jāmi’ Al-Maqāṣid, v.1, p.440, (Mu’assasat Aal Al-Bayt Li-Aḥyā Al-Turāth, 1408AH).
 Al-Shahīd Al-Thānī, Sharḥ Al-Bidāyah Fī ‘Ilm Al-Dirāyah p.96, (Maktabah Chehl Sutūn, 1982)
 Ibid, p.168.
 Al-Shahīd Al-Thānī, Masālik Al-Afḥām, v.7, p.39, (Mu’assasat Al-Ma’ārif Al-Islāmīyah, 1416AH).
 Al-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Amilī, Madārik Al-Aḥkhām, v.1, p.13, (Mu’assasat Aal Al-Bayt Li-Aḥyā Al-Turāth, 1410AH).
 Al-Bahāī, Al-Wajīzah Fi ‘Ilm Al-Dirāyah, p.5.
 Al-Shaykh Al-Bahāī, Al-Arba’ūn Hadith, p.387-392, (Mu’assasat Al-Nashr Al-Islāmī, 1431AH).
 Mullah Muhammad Al-Saleh Al-Mazandarani, Sharḥ Usul Al-Kāfī, v.8, p.276, (Dār Aḥyā Al-Turāth Al-‘Arabī, 1421AH/2000).
 Khwansārī, Mashāriq Al-Shamus, p.34.
 Muhammad Bāqir Al-Wahid Al-Bihbahānī, Al-Hashiyah ‘Ala Madārik Al-Ahkhām, v.1, p.20-24, (Mu’assasat Aal Al-Bayt Li-Aḥyā Al-Turāth, 1419AH).
 Ansari, Rasā’il Fiqhīyah, p.137-174.
 Al-Shaykh Abdullah Al-Mamaqānī, Miqbās Al-Hidāyah Fī ‘Ilm Al-Dirāyah, v.1, p.162, (Dalīl Mā, 1428AH).
 Al-Khorāsānī, Fawā’id Al-Usul, v.3, p. 412.
 Sadr, Durūs Fī ‘Ilm Al-Usul, p.144-145.
 Classical here refers to the scholars known as ‘Qudamā’ (also referred to as the early scholars). It suggests the scholars until the time of Al-Tusī. See Modarressi, An Introduction to Shi’a Law, p.23.
 Shīrāzī, Anwār Al-Usul, v.3, p. 91. Ja’far Subhānī, Bara’at Dar Shubahāt-i Muḍū’īyeh Wa Tasāmuḥ Dar Adilleh-ye Sunan, http://www.tohid.ir/fa/index/lessonview?aId=5424&cId=52 (accessed 03/11/2017).
 Subhānī, Al-Rasā’il Al-Arba’ Qawā’id Usulīyah Wa Fiqhīyah, p.11 (fourth treatise).
 As an example, the head of the Centre for Ethics and Moral Education in the Islamic Sciences and Cultural Academy, Muhammad AlimZādeh Nouri, says ‘it is because of the principle of leniency that we have not been able to fulfil the rights (properly approach) the discussions on ethics and morality’. Muhammad AlimZadeh Nouri, Tasamuh Dar Adilleh Sunan Na-Guzashteh Haq Masaa’il Akhlaaqi Ra Ada Kuneem, http://www.rasanews.ir/detail/News/314129/43, (accessed 03/11/2017).
 Al-Bahāī, Al-Arba’ūn Hadith, p.391.
 Muhammad Jawad Fadhil Lankarānī, Qā’ideh Tasāmuḥ Dar Adilleh Sunan, p.7-8, (Markaz-i Fiqhī A’imeh Athār Alay-him Al-Salām, 2014). Recorded by Hasan Mahdawī.