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Fiqh in the Middle Centuries

During the 6th Century AH/12th Century AD the fiqhi circles exhausted a significant part of their potential on inter-sectarian conflicts while the conflicts between the Shāfeis and the Hanafis that had begun in the 4th Century AH/10th Century AD turned into devastating and bloody conflicts in the 6th Century AH/12th Century AD adversely affecting the two Sunni fiqhi schools. As regards the Imāmiyah school of fiqh the views of Sheikh Tusi had dominated the fiqhi circles for over a century after his death to the extent that at times doubts would even be raised about his views were being emulated and about the Imāmiyah fiqh having lost its dynamism.

Besides, the Mongol invasion of Iran in the early 7th Century AH/13th Century AD inflicted a severe blow upon the fiqhi circles of this country, leading to the emergence of a period of inactivity that was unprecedented in its history. During the period between the 7th-9th Centuries AH the Sunni fiqhi schools gradually faced deterioration and many influential personalities of the Shāfei and Hanaf’i schools like the members of Āl-e Tarakah and Āl-e Khojand were mainly political figures. As a result, very few scholars such as Qāzi Beizāvi, (d. 685 AH/1286 AD), Serāj al-Din Ormavi (d. 682AH/1283 AD), and ‘Ez al-Din Ardabili (d. 775 AH/1373 AD) emerged during this period who could produce important works in the fields of fiqh and osul.

As regards the Imāmiyah school, even though personalities like Qotbal-Din Rāvandi and Sadid al-Din Hamasi Rāzi were the first to criticize the existing stagnation in the Imāmiyah fiqh, with the emergence of a new fiqhi movement in Hellah which influenced all Imāmiyah circles, the Iranian fiqhi circles, too, came to be influenced by it from the 7th Century AH/13th Century AD onwards. From among the earliest prominent jurists affiliated to the Hellah school mention can be made of Hasan Abi Tāleb Ābi (d. 672 AH/1273 AD).

In the 10th Century AH/16th Century AD in which the Safavid dynasty came to power in Iran a significant change occurred in the fiqhi circles of this country. While on the one hand the Sunni schools faced an unprecedented deterioration and their activities became very limited, the grounds were prepared for the Imāmiyah school, on the other hand, to avail of the opportunity and begin a period of rehabilitation and growth.

* source: Pakatchi , Ahmad " Iran Entry " The Great Islamic Encyclopedia . Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.10 , pp. 662


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