Usulis (Arabic: الاصولية) are the majority Twaler Shia Muslim group. They differ frae their nou hintle smawer rival Akhbari group in favorin the uise o ijtihad i.e. raisonin in the creation o new rules o fiqh; in assessin hadith tae exclude traditions they believe unreliable; in considerin it obligatory tae obey a mujtahid when seekin tae determine Islamically correct behavior.
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The Usuli believe that the Hadith collections contained traditions o vera varyin degrees o reliability, an that creetical analysis wis necessary tae assess their authority. In contrast the Akhbari believe that the sole sources o law are the Qur'an an the Hadith, in pairticular the Fower Beuks acceptit bi the Shia: iverything in these sources is in principle reliable, an ootside them there wis nae authority competent tae enact or deduce further legal rules.
In addition tae assessin the reliability o the Hadith, Usuli believe the task o the legal scholar is tae establish intellectual principles o general application (Usul al-fiqh), from which pairticular rules mey be derivit bi wey o deduction: accordinly, legal scholarship haes the tuils in principle for resolvin ony situation, whether or no it is specifically addressed in Quran or Hadith (see Ijtihad).
The dominance o the Usuli ower the Akhbari came in last half o the 18t century when Muhammad Baqir Behbahani led Usulis tae challenge Akhbari dominance an "completely routit the Akhbaris at Karbala an Najaf," so that "anerlie a haundful o Shi'i ulama hae remained Akhbari tae the present day."
An important tenet o Usuli doctrine is Taqlid or "imitation", i.e. the acceptance o a releegious rulin in matters o wurship an personal affairs frae someane regardit as a heicher releegious authority (e.g. an 'ālim) athoot necessarily askin for the technical proof. These heicher releegious authorities can be kent as a "source o imitation" (Arabic marja taqlid مرجع تقليد, Persie marja) or less exaltitly as an "imitatit ane" (Arabic مقلَد muqallad). Housomeivver, his verdicts are no tae be taken as the anerlie source o releegious information an he can be aaways correctit bi ither muqalladeen (the plural o muqallad) which come efter him. Obeyin a deceased taqlid is forbidden in Usuli.
Taqlid haes been introducit bi scholars who felt that Quranic verses an traditions wur no enough an that ulama wur needit no anerlie tae interpret the Quran an Sunna but tae mak "new rulins tae respond tae new challenges an push the bundaries o Shia law in new directions." Creetics anaw say a major motive ahint introducin this wis tae collect Islamic taxes.
- Momen, Moojan (1985), An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver Shi’ism, Oxford: G. Ronald, p. 127, ISBN 0853982015
- Momen, Moojan (1985), An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver Shi’ism, Oxford: G. Ronald, p. 225, ISBN 0853982015
- Nasr, Vali, The Shia Revival, Norton, 2006, p.69
- Twelvers / Ithna Ashari Islamic Schools of Thought
- Andrew J. Newman, The Nature of the Akhbārī/Uṣūlī Dispute in Late Ṣafawid Iran. Part 1: 'Abdallāh al-Samāhijī's "Munyat al-Mumārisīn Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 55, No. 1 (1992), pp. 22–51