Translator's Introduction

I was first introduced to the Masa'il Fiqhiyya when I was a student in Qumm, Iran. Sayyid 'Ali Asgher Milani, the grandson of the late Ayatullah Milani, gave me a copy of the book, and urged me to translate it so as " let the world know the truth of the Twelver Shi'i practices."

When I read the book, I was impressed by the author's erudite and academic approach. Although he was dealing with very delicate and sensitive issues regarding Muslim liturgies, he approached them in a non-polemical, non-rhetorical and non-provocative manner. I was also impressed by his copious citations of his sources, in virtually every issue he dealt with.

I decided to translate this book as it deals with questions on ritual issues which Muslims frequently ask about. I believe that both Muslim, and non-Muslim scholars of Islam will benefit immensely from the translation of this work especially as many of them are not aware of the genesis of the Twelver Shi'i practices.

Translating a text on Islamic jurisprudence is fraught with difficulties. I have remained as faithful as possible to the original Arabic version. However, where necessary, I have used square brackets to insert words in a sentence so as to elaborate through paraphrase. The normal brackets have been used to translate, or, explain Arabic terms.

The translation of this work would not have been possible without the help by many people. I am indebted to Sayyid Fadhil Milani, Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Jalali, and Dr. Mahmud Ayoub for their help in dealing with some difficult parts of the text.

Shaheen Lakhani helped by typing the parts of the text. Hasanain Kara was instrumental in designing the cover of the book. Taha Jaffer and Tehsin Takim both made invaluable contributions towards compiling the final text.

In the end, I am indebted to my wife, Fatima, and our two children for their sacrifices so that I could devote time to the translation. Needless to say, I am entirely responsible for any errors that may have occurred in this work.

Liyakatali Takim
Toronto, Canada.
May 1996
Dhu'l Hijja 1416