Please name some mujtahideen mutlaq (a scholar competent for absolute and all-embracing ijtihaad [independent reasoning]) other than the four well-known Imams. Are there any contemporary mujtahideen mutlaq?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
We cannot state that any of the contemporary scholars have attained the level of mujtahid mutlaq.
As for the past scholars other than the four Imaams (Abu Haneefah, Maalik, Ash-Shaafiʻi, and Ahmad), it has been reported that a number of scholars have reached the rank of mujtahid mutlaq, some of whom are: Abu Yoosuf; Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan; Zufar; Ath-Thawri; Al-Awzaʻi; and the four Muhammads: Muhammad ibn Nasr, Muhammad ibn Jareer At-Tabari, Ibn Khuzaymah, and Ibn Al-Munthir. As-Subki stated in his book Tabaqaat Ash-Shaafiʻiyyah that they reached the status of ijtihaad mutlaq.
Al-Jalaal As-Suyooti allocated a chapter in his book Taqreer Al-Istinaad fi Tafseer Al-Ijtihaad to explain that ijtihaad never ceased. He listed some of the scholars whom he believed have reached the rank of ijtihaad mutlaq; some of whom were: Al-ʻIzz ibn ʻAbd As-Salaam, An-Nawawi, Ibn Daqeeq Al-ʻEed, Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, At-Taqiyy As-Subki, Siraaj Ad-Deen Al-Bulqeeni, and others. He declared himself to have reached that status as well. Al-Qaraafi, on the other hand, said in his book Al-Furooq, "The majority of scholars held that the above-mentioned conditions of ijtihaad mutlaq have not been met in any of the scholars of the fourth Hijri century and onwards..."
Allaah knows best.
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