Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Mujtahid Definition:

A scholar of Muslim lawyer.

A roaming, legal expert unique to Islamic law.

A scholar with special standing in Muslim courts due to long study of ancient religious or classical texts.

In an article published in the Journal of Law and Religion, mujtahid was defined as an:

"... independent jurist."

Still another referred to a mujtahid as:

"... an independent interpreter of the law (mujtahid)."1

There are different ranks of mujtahids, to some, called restricted mujtahid and absolute mujtahids:

... some (are) capable of issuing fatwas, (others) qualified to release ordinary Muslims from a collective duty that is too difficult to fulfil...."2


  • General Applications of Islamic Law, 15 J. L. & Religion 397 (2000-2001)
  • NOTE 1: Mohammad, Fadel, Social Logic of Taqlid and the Rise of the Mukhatasar, 3 Islamic L. & Soc'y 193 (1996)
  • NOTE 2: Legal Doctrines in Conflict, 3 Islamic L. and Soc'y 241 (1996)
  • Rahim, Abdur, The Principles of Muhammadan Jurisprudence (Westport, Connecticut: Hyperion Press, 1981), pages 118-119.

Categories & Topics:

Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only)

If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!