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The End of Akhbari School and the Beginning of Asuli School in Karbala: The Co-Relation between Sheikh Yousuf Al-Bahrani and Al-Wahid Al-Bahbahni
Prof. Dr. Robert Gleave

Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter


Toward the end of the 18th. Century there was a heated debate between the two schools: the Akhbari and the Usuli. The Akhbaris, headed by Al-Bahrani, believed that the sources of Islamic jurisprudence were only The Quran and the Sunnah (The Prophet's Traditions). Their school was firm and solid at that time. Yet, the Usulis, led by Al-Bahbahni, thought that such two sources need elucidation and interpretation. Thus, they put forward the theory of ''Ijtihad'' (i.e. independent reasoning or the thorough exertion of a jurist's mental faculty in finding a solution to a legal Islamic question; the independent effort used to arrive at the rulings of sharia).

This present study would investigate the reason why the Akhbaris were well known in Karbala, why it was weakened at the hands of Al-Bahbahni, in the last decades of the 18th. century, whose knowledge and published works with the efforts of his students paved the way to originate for the doctrines of Twelver Shi'ism in modern era.

Key words: Asuli School, Akhbari School, Al-Wahid Al-Bahrani, Sheikh