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18 — The Status of Those Who Engage in Diligent Inquiry

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Diligent inquiry is to go to the limits of one’s ability to achieve one’s objective. If a fully competent practitioner of diligent inquiry inquires diligently into the branches of law and judges correctly, he is rewarded twice. If he inquires diligently and errs, he is rewarded once. Some say that all who inquire diligently into the branches of law judge correctly, but it cannot be said that all who inquire diligently into fundamental issues judge correctly, because that would require us to declare correct those who are in error – Christians, Magians, infidels and atheists. The proof of those who say that not all who exercise diligent inquiry concerning the branches of law judge correctly is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said “whoever inquires diligently and judges correctly is rewarded twice, and whoever inquires diligently and errs is rewarded once.” This is a proof because the Prophet (God’s prayers and peace be upon him) declared the practitioner of diligent inquiry to be in error in one instance and declared him to be correct in another.

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Key terms

  • diligent inquiry: ijtihād
  • practitioner of diligent inquiry: mujtahid
  • branches of law: furūʿ
  • to judge correctly: aṣāba
  • to err: akhṭaʾa
  • fundamental issues: uṣūl
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Source: http://waraqat.vishanoff.com/e/e18/