Extent of Ijtehaad??

Below is selection of couple of questions asked to Imam al-Qaim (atfs) and the reply of the Imam (atfs) via a letter.

A close look at the questions and the replies from the Imam (atfs) give us an indication as to what extend can we go to derive rulings in matters of religion (Ijtehaad).

In response to the first question Imam (atfs) does not raise objection because the opinion was being derived from a hadith of the Imam's of the AhlulBait (as).
While in response to the second question, Imam (atfs) uses strong words against deriving opinion which go against established narrations and traditions of the AhlulBait (as).

وسأله عن القنوت في الفريضة إذا فرغ من دعائه أن يرد يديه على وجهه و صدره للحديث الذي روي أن الله عز وجل أجل من أن يرد يدي عبده صفرا بل يملاها من رحمته أم لا يجوز؟ فان بعض أصحابنا ذكر أنه عمل في الصلاة.

فأجاب عليه السلام رد اليدين من القنوت على الرأس والوجه غير جائز في الفرائض والذي عليه العمل فيه إذا رفع يده في قنوت الفريضة، وفرغ من الدعاء أن يرد بطن راحتيه مع صدره تلقاء ركبتيه على تمهل، ويكبر ويركع، والخبر صحيح وهو في نوافل النهار والليل، دون الفرائض، والعمل به فيها أفضل


Question 1:
Can a person in an obligatory prayer pass his hands over his face and chest after reciting the Qunut; because it is mentioned in a tradition that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime is much beyond that He should turn away His servant empty-handed. On the contrary, He fills with mercy the hands of one who supplicates. Or it is unlawful, because some of our associates say that it is an additional act in Prayers?

Reply from the Imam (atfs):
"After the Qunut of obligatory prayer, it is not allowed to pass the hands over the face. What is allowed is that he can pass his hands from his chest and pass it till his knees. Then he should say Takbeer and go into Ruku. The above tradition is correct, but it applies to the recommended daily prayers and not for obligatory prayers."

وسأل عن سجدة الشكر بعد الفريضة، فان بعض أصحابنا ذكر أنها بدعة فهل يجوز أن يسجدها الرجل بعد الفريضة؟ وإن جاز ففي صلاة المغرب هي بعد الفريضة أو بعد الأربع ركعات النافلة.

فأجاب عليه السلام: سجدة الشكر من ألزم السنن وأوجبها، ولم يقل إن هذه السجدة بدعة إلا من أراد أن يحدث في دين الله بدعة، وأما الخبر المروي فيها بعد صلاة المغرب والاختلاف في أنها بعد الثلاث أو بعد الأربع، فان فضل الدعاء والتسبيح بعد الفرائض على الدعاء بعقيب النوافل، كفضل الفرائض على النوافل والسجدة دعاء وتسبيح، والأفضل أن يكون بعد الفرض، فان جعلت بعد النوافل أيضا جاز

Question 2:
According to some of our associates to perform Sajdah Shukr after obligatory prayers is an innovation (Bidah). Please tell us if it is lawful? If one can perform it after the three rakats of Maghrib or after the four rakats of Nafila of Maghrib?

Reply from the Imam (atfs):
Sajdah Shukr is the most recommended Sunnah; one who says it is an innovation (Bidah), himself intends to spread innovation (Bidah) in religion. And the tradition narrated about it is that Sajdah Shukr should be performed after Maghrib prayers although there is difference whether it should be after the three rakats of Maghrib or after the four rakats of Nafila. Like the obligatory prayer is having preference over Nafila, in the same way, reciting Tasbih and supplication after obligatory prayer is having preference over Tasbih and supplication after Nafila. And it is better to perform Sajdah Shukr after obligatory prayers. Although it is allowed even if one performs it after Nafila.

[Source: al-Ihtejaaj, Vol.2, Pg. 486-487 & Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 53, Pg. 160-161]