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Level 3: Legal Theory 2: Rational Discussions

Time limit: 365 days
20 credits

£400 Enrol

Full course description

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This course explains and critically assesses the second chapter of Muḥammad Riḍā al-Muẓaffar’s Uṣūl al-fiqh on rational correlations (al-mulāzimāt al-ʿaqliyya). This course will engage in a detailed study of the role of rationality (ʿaql) in Muslim legal theory both as an independent source (al-mustaqillāt al-ʿaqliyya), as well as its validity as a subsidiary tool (ghayr al-mustaqillāt al-ʿaqliyya). It will demonstrate, through practical examples, how jurists employ interpretive devices in deriving and explaining laws from their sources. This course will encourage students to engage with the secondary literature on the subject and to draw parallels with classical and contemporary meta-ethical discourses. It also aims to acquaint and familiarise students with the Arabic terminology employed in Muslim legal discourse.


Lesson Breakdown

Lesson 1      Section 2: Rational Correlations (al-mulāzimāt al-ʿaqliyya)

Introduction (tamhīd)

1. Types of rational evidences (dalīl al-ʿaqlī)

2. Why is this discussion called rational correlations? (li-mādhā summiyat hādhihi al-mabāḥtih bi-l-mulāzimāt al-ʿaqliyya)


Chapter 1: Independent rational judgements (mustaqillāt al-ʿaqliyya)

Introduction (tamhīd)

Lesson 2      Theological ethics

Contrasting views of God’s justice in different schools (ʿAdliyya and ʿAshāʾira)

Ontology and epistemology of goodness and badness

Lesson 3      Discussion on Youcef Soufi’s article on Historiography of Sunnī uṣūl al-fiqh

                   1.  Rational intelligibility of goodness and badness (al-taḥsīn wa al-taqbīḥ al-ʿaqlīyān)

Lesson 4      - Discussion of types of propositions

i. The meaning of goodness and badness and the conception of the dispute in them (maʿnā al-ḥusn wa al-qubḥ wa taṣwīr al-nizāʿ fīhimā)

ii. Ontology of goodness and badness according to the ʿAshāʾira

iii. Practical and theoretical reason (ʿaql al-ʿamalī wa al-naẓarī)

Lesson 5      iv. Causes of judgement of practical reason with regards to goodness and badness (asbāb ḥukm al-ʿaql al-ʿamalī bi-l-ḥusn wa al-qubḥ)

Lesson 6      Causes of judgement of practical reason with regards to goodness and badness (asbāb ḥukm al-ʿaql al-ʿamalī bi-l-ḥusn wa al-qubḥ) (continued)

- Discussion on specific certainty and general certainty (yaqīn bi-l-maʿnā al-ʿamm wa al-akhaṣṣ)

v. Meaning of essentially praiseworthy and essentially blameworthy (maʿnā al-ḥusan wa al-qubḥ al-dhātiyayn)

vi. Justifications offered by the ʿAdliyya and the ʿAshāʾira (adillat al-ṭarafayn)

Lesson 7      2. Perception of reason of goodness and badness (idrāk al-ʿaql li-l-ḥusn wa al-qubḥ)

Lesson 8      3. The establishment of the rational correlation between the judgement of reason and the judgement of revelation (thubūt al-mulāzima al-ʿaqlliya bayn ḥukm al-ʿaql wa ḥukm al-sharʿ)

- Reasons for correlation, devotional command (al-amr al-mawlawī) vs. directive command (al-amr al-irshādī)

Further explanation (tawḍīḥ wa taʿqīb)

Lesson 9      Recap of independent rational judgements (mustaqillāt al-ʿaqliyya)

                   Reading from Muḥammad Bāqir al-Ṣadr’s al-Ḥalaqat al-thālith

Lesson 10    Recording of student presentations

Lesson 11    Chapter 2: Non-independent rational judgements (ghayr mustaqillāt al-ʿaqliyya)

Introduction (tamhīd)

Five instances where this is applied:

1. Sufficiency (al-ijzāʾ)

                    i. Constrained command (al-amr al-iḍṭirārī)

Lesson 12    - Student presentation on the hadith of lifting the pen (ḥadīth rafʿ al-qalam)

                    - Method/methodology in Islamic legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh)

                    ii. Apparent command (al-amr al-ẓāhirī)

(a) Sufficiency of relying on mistaken principle (al-ijzāʾ fī al-amāra maʿ inkishāf al-khataʾ yaqīnan)

Lesson 13    (a) Sufficiency of relying on an indicator with the discovery of its error (al-ijzāʾ fī al-amāra maʿ inkishāf al-khataʾ yaqīnan) (continued)

(b) Sufficiency of relying on a principle with the discovery of its error (al-ijzāʾ fī al-uṣūl maʿ inkishāf al-khataʾ yaqīnan)

(c) Sufficiency of relying on an indicator and a principle with the discovery of its mistake by a validated conjecture (al-ijzāʾ fī al-uṣūl maʿ inkishāf al-khataʾ bi-ḥujja muʿtabar)

Note on the exchange of certainty (tanbīh fī tabadul al-qaṭʿ

Lesson 14    What makes a good essay

Lesson 15    2. Prerequisites to obligation (muqaddimāt al-wājib)

                   - Point of dispute (taḥrīr al-nizāʿ)

- Which section of uṣūlī discussions is the discussion of prerequisites to an obligation from? (muqaddimat al-wājib min ayy qism min al-mabāḥith al-uṣūliyya?)

Implication of the dispute (thamarat al-nizāʿ)

i. Necessary due to another and necessary due to itself (al-wājib al-ghayrī wa al-nafsī)

Lesson 16    ii. Meaning of sequentially in the necessary due to another (maʿnā al-tabiʿiyya fī al-wājib al-ghayrī)

iii. Specificities of necessary due to another (khaṣāʾiṣ al-wājib al-ghayrī)

Lesson 17    iv. Pre-requisites to an obligation (muqaddimāt al-wujūb)

v. Internal prerequisites (muqaddimāt al-dākhiliyya)

                    vi. Legislated condition (al-sharṭ al-sharʿī)

vii. Delayed condition (al-sharṭ al-mutaʾʾakharr)

Lesson 18    vii. Delayed condition (al-sharṭ al-mutaʾʾakharr) (continued)

viii. Three theories of resolving a problem (al-muqaddimāt al-mufawwita)

Lesson 19    Pre-requisites of worship (al-muqaddimāt al-ʿibādiyya)

Lesson 20    Student presentation on the intention of proximity to God (qaṣd al-qurba)

                    Conclusion: the issue of prerequisites of an obligation and the positions on it (al-natīja: masʾala muqaddimat al-wājib wa al-aqwāl fīhā)

Lesson 21    3. Does a command necessitate a prohibition on opposite? (masʾalat al-ḍidd)

                    - Point of dispute (taḥrīr maḥal al-nizāʿ)

                    i. General opposite (al-ḍidd al-ʿāmm)

Lesson 22    Recording of student presentation on the prerequisites of necessity from Maʿālim al-dīn

                    ii. Specific opposite (al-ḍidd al-khāṣṣ)

                    (a) Method of co-concommitance (maslak al-talāzum)

                    (b) Method of prerequisition (maslak al-muqaddimiyya)

Lesson 23    - Implications of issue (thamarat al-masʾala)

Lesson 24    - The theory of sequentially (al-tarratub

Lesson 25    4. Simultaneity of prohibition and command (ijtimāʿ al-amr wa al-nahī)

                   - Point of dispute (taḥrīr maḥal al-nizāʿ)

                   - An issue regarding non-indpenedent rational correlations (al-masʾala min al-mulāzimāt al-ʿaqliyya ghayr al-mustaqilla)

                   - The discussion of Kifāya regarding the point of dispute (munāqishat al-Kifāya fī taḥrīr al-nizāʿ)

Lesson 26    - The restriction of mandūḥa (qayd al-mandūḥa)

                    - The difference between conflict of evidence and conflict of duty and the issue of simultaneity (al-farq bayn bābay al-taʿāruḍ wa al-tazāḥum wa masʾalat al-ʿijtimāʿ)

Lesson 27    - The difference between conflict of evidence and conflict of duty and the issue of simultaneity (al-farq bayn bābay al-taʿāruḍ wa al-tazāḥum wa masʾalat al-ʿijtimāʿ) (continued)

Lesson 28    The truth in the matter (al-ḥaqq fī al-masala)

Lesson 29    - The truth in the matter (al-ḥaqq fī al-masala) (continued)

                    - Multiple labels do not necessitate multiple referents (taʿaddud al-ʿunwān lā yūjab taʿaddud al-muʿanwan)

                    - Implications of issue (thamarat al-masʾala)

                    - Simultaneity of a command and a prohibition (ijtimāʿ al-amr wa al-nahī)

- With the lack of mandūḥa (maʿ ʿadam al-mandūḥa)

Lesson 30    - With the lack of mandūḥa (maʿ ʿadam al-mandūḥa) (continued)

                    - The prohibition of exiting a misappropriated land or its obligation (ḥurmat al-khurūj min al-maghṣūb aw wujūbihi)

                    - The validity of prayer in the state of exiting [the misappropriated land] (ṣiḥat al-ṣalāt ḥāl al-khurūj)

Lesson 31    5. Indication of prohibition upon the corruption of act (dalālat al-nahī ʿalā al-fasād)

                    - Point of dispute (taḥrīr maḥal al-nizāʿ)

                    i. Prohibition from devotional acts (al-nahī ʿan al-ʿibāda)

Lesson 32    ii. Prohibition from contractual acts (al-nahī ʿan al-muʿāmala)



Please note that level three courses are only available to those who have completed all courses in levels one and two. This is because the topics covered in level three require the historical and conceptual foundations which are built in levels one and two.


Hours of Study

80 hours


Assessment Method

Oral Exam (50%)

Essay (50%)


Course Instructors

Dr Ali-Reza Bhojani (Lecturer)

After completing an undergraduate degree and professional qualifications in Optometry, Dr Ali-Reza Bhojani began his engagement with the Islamic Intellectual traditions through four years of study at the Al-Mahdi Institute, graduating from its Hawza programme in 2008. He then moved to Durham University for 1+3 ESRC funded doctoral programme with the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW). He was awarded a distinction for an MA in Research Methods (International Relations and Politics) and graduated from the doctoral programme at the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies in 2014. The thesis was published as Moral Rationalism and Sharī‛a (Routledge, 2015). He has since held academic posts at the Al-Mahdi Institute, the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, the University of Nottingham, and the University of Oxford. He is currently a Teaching Fellow in Islamic Ethics and Theology at the University of Birmingham and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Al-Mahdi Institute.


Professor Seyed Mohammad Seyed Ghari Fatemi (Tutor)

Professor Seyed Mohammad Seyed Ghari Fatemi spent thirteen years studying in the Ḥawza ʿIlmiyya of Qom between 1981 and 1994, completing his advanced studies (dars al-khārij) in Arabic literature, legal theory, jurisprudence, philosophy, and Islamic theosophy under prominent scholars such as Ayatollah Ḥusayn ʿAlī Muntaẓarī, Ayatollah Sayyid Muḥammad Rūhānī, and Ayatollah ʿAbd Allāh Javādī Āmulī. Alongside his seminary studies, he also completed an LLB (1984) and LLM (1991) in Public Law at the University of Tehran. He received his PhD from the Faculty of Law at the University of Manchester in 1999.

He has been working with AMI since 1995 and currently lectures on Islamic legal theory. He is a Professor of Comparative Human Rights, Islamic Hermeneutics and Legal theory, and Philosophy in the Faculty of Law at Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran) where he supervises masters and doctoral students researching a range of topics. Seyed Fatemi is also a full member of the Academy of Sciences of Iran and a member of the Department of Biomedical Ethics at the Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences. He has previously taught in the Ḥawza ʿIlmiyya of Qom, at Mofid University (Qom), the University of Birmingham, and was a Visiting Associate Professor at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.

He has numerous publications to his name in Persian and English and has organised and presented at dozens of conferences in the fields of law, Islamic studies, and bioethics. He is the author of Human Rights in the Contemporary World (Ḥuqūq-i bashr dar jahān-i muʿāṣir). The first volume of this work (An Introduction to Theoretical Issues: Concepts, Foundations, Scope and Sources) was first published by the UNESCO Chair for Human Rights and Shahid Beheshti University and is now in its eighth edition. The second volume (Analytical Essays on Right and Liberties) is in its fifth edition, and a third volume (Islam and Human Rights) is forthcoming.