In reply to this query, we shall analyze some points:
First, we should know why Fiqhahat and Ijtihad came into practice? The term“Ijtihad” has been taken, by the Shias, from the Sunnis. Otherwise, in the Shia culture, the term“Tafaqquh” is used instead of“Ijtihad” .
During Hazrat’s era, Fiqhahat would not be as prevalent as it is today, and its level would thus differ.
Ghaibat (absence) of our immaculate Imams (a.s.) has given entry to Fiqhahat and Ijtihad. As Imams (a.s.) are not present amongst all the people, the door of Fiqhahat is opened for implementing the divine ordinances. This is because the honourable Faqihs measure the diverse traditions, remove any contradictions if any and deduce the necessary decree. For this reason, from the viewpoint of the Shia Fiqh, the Ahkam (decrees) of Faqihs are exoteric.
It should be known that during occultation, the door of knowledge and certainty for attaining real Ahkam (ordinances) is closed and the people practice the exoteric Ahkam (decrees) only. However, during Hazrat’s era, due to direct contact with him and widespread communication means, the uncertainties in Ahkam would not be like in the past and the Ahkam would be the divine and real Akham. Imam himself shall say,“Such is the decree of so and so matter” . His words (that are Hadith and Vahy) would be heard and practiced by all and“Taqiyyah” (dissimulation) would cease to exist during his time.
This hasn’t been the case before reappearance. The Faqihs have been in charge of explaining the ordinances based on their inference from the Usul (principles). Thus, during Imam’s era, there wouldn’t be any more need for such Fiqhahat and inference. Instead, there would exist certain phases of Fiqhahat and inference but different from the past. For instance, Imam’s representatives and his successors would explain to the people the Ahkam. Of course, a tenderly type Fiqhahat and inference would exist at that time, but not as extensive as our time because in every nook and corner of the world, detailed explanation of ample decrees depends on a Faqih’s inference and his acquaintance with the subject.