Islam and the Issue of Jurisprudency (Ijtihad)
The actual school of the Akhbaris is no more than four centuries old. Its founder was a man by the name of Mulla Muhammad Amin alAstarabadi [d. 1033/1624], who was, personally, a gifted man who found many followers among the ulama'. The Akhbaris themselves claimed that the original Shiis, up to the time of the Shaykh alSaduq  , were all followers of the Akhbari doctrine, but the truth is that Akhbarism as a school with basic postulates did not exist more than four centuries ago. These postulates were: the denial of the possibility of arriving at certainty through exercising reason (aql); the denial of the validity and the proof (dalil) of the Qur'an on the pretext that the understanding of the Qur'an lay exclusively in the hands of the Prophet's ahl albayt, and that our duty is to consult the hadith of the ahl albayt [for its interpretation and understanding]; the assertion that ijma was the innovation of the Sunnis; the assertion that, of the four valid proofs (adilla), i.e., the Book, the Sunna, ijma and aql, only the Sunna is able to lead to certainty, the assertion that all the hadith that appear in the "four books"" are true and valid, and of categorical provenance [from the Imams] (qati alsudur).
In his book, ''Uddat alUsul", the Shaykh alTusi mentions a group of former Shii scholars under the name of the "Muqallida", and adversely criticises them; but they had no school of their own, and the reason that the Shaykh called them "Muqallida" was that even in the fundamentals of dogmatics (usul aldin) they constructed their proofs with hadith.
At any rate, the school of the Akhbaris took its stand against the school of ijtihad and taqlid. They denied the legal competence, jurisdiction and technical expertise that the mujtahids believed in; they considered taqlid of anyone else than the masumin  to be illegal. According to them, only the hadith are authoritative, and since there is no right of ijtihad or deriving of opinions, people must necessarily have recourse directly to the texts of the traditions and act upon them, no scholar calling himself a mujtahid or a marja altaqlid  can act as an intermediary.
Mulla Amin alAstarabadi, the founder of this school, and personally a very gifted man, learned and welltravelled, wrote a book called "al-Fawa'id alMadaniya" in which he went to war with the mujtahids with astonishing stubbornness. He particularly tried to refute the principle of the authority of aql. He claimed that it was only a proof in matters which had their origin in the senses, or which were related to sensory objects (such as in mathematics), and that in matters other than these it was inadmissible as a proof.
It so happens that this idea was practically contemporary with the appearance of empirical philosophy in
I remember that in the summer of 1322 [Sh./1943] I went to Burujird, and at that time the late Ayatullah Burujirdi was still living there, not yet having come to Qum. One day, the talk was of this idea of the Akhbaris, and he criticised it, saying that the appearance of this idea among them was the effect of the wave of empiricism that had arisen in
The struggle with Akhbarism
In brief, Akhbarism was a movement in opposition to aql. An amazing ossification and inflexibility ruled in their doctrine. Fortunately, some discerning individuals like Wahid Bihbihani  , famous as "Aqa", whose descendants are even now known as "Ali Aqa (Family of Aqa)", and his pupils, and afterwards the late Shaykh Murtada alAnsari  , took a stand and fought against this doctrine.
Wahid Bihbihani lived in
Of course, the author of the ''Hada'iq'' was a moderate Akhbari; he claimed that his doctrine was identical with that of Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi  , half way between Akhbari and Usuli. Moreover, he was a pious and godfearing man of faith, and although Wahid Bihbihani fought against him vociferously and forbade congregational prayers behind him, he, quite the contrary, said that congregational prayers behind Aqa Wahid were valid. It is said that at the time of his death he left in his will that Wahid Bihbihani should recite his funerary prayer.