The International Centre for Collective Ijtihad (ICCI) proposes that the most accurate method of deriving Sharia regulations engages the collaborative efforts of religious scholars (mujtahids) and experts in various fields. Whilst Muslims concur that Sharia rulings are revealed by God in order to lead humankind towards perfection, modern day advancements often raise complex questions about the appropriate religious stance that ought to be taken to sufficiently deal with new, arising situations in human life.
Traditionally, an individual mujtahid is tasked with deducing Sharia regulations by utilising and interpreting evidences that are considered to be authoritative, which is a process known as ijtihad. However, owing to constant developments in fields such as medicine, economics and technology, it is rather difficult, if not impossible, for a mujtahid to arrive at an accurate understanding of different subject matters and deduce Sharia regulations in relation to them. As such, the collective model of ijtihad upholds that conclusions deduced by a body of mujtahids, who have consulted with subject matter experts, provides a more accurate understanding of the regulations intended by God.
ICCI’s understanding of ijtihad is rooted in the statement of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s), who said: “Indeed the life of knowledge is sustained through constant discussion and critique”. In light of this view, ICCI not only explores new questions, but it also reconsiders issues that have previously been concluded upon within traditional jurisprudence but continue to pose great challenges to Muslim communities.
The conclusions of ICCI are published as statements of guidance, with justifications that provide an in-depth rationale of how they were deduced. This enables readers to gain a complete understanding of the process involved behind determining each statement of guidance, so that they can make an informed decision and either accept or reject the guidance of ICCI.