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Science of Sources

Qur'an Hadith Science of sources


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Lesson 27

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Main Points

This science deals with deducing the legal rulings based on evidence derived from Shari`ah sources.

Evidence that can be applied:

        ·  Shari`ah sources are utilized in the following order: Qur’an, Sunnah, consensus (Ijma`), and reasoning based on analogy (Qiyas).

        ·  The Qur’anic rulings are unquestionable, as each word was revealed by Allah to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and is preserved from corruption, until the end of time.

        ·  The Qur’anic texts concerning meaning are either conclusive or presumptive.[1]

        ·  Sunnah is defined as all that was said, done, or tacitly approved by the Prophet (peace be upon him).

        ·  Sunnah confirms a ruling in the Qur’an, explains in detailed form, all that was mentioned in the Qur’an in broad terms, restricts what is mentioned in categorical terms, and specifies what is mentioned generally, and establishes a ruling that was not outlined in the Qur’an.

        ·  Concerning the number of transmitters, the Sunnah is either Mutawatir (well-known) or singular (Ahad).

        ·  The Sunnah which is Mutawatir is a narration from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that can be traced back to the Prophet himself without any doubt. The well-known Sunnah is where the transmission can be traced back to the Prophet with great probability of its being authentic, along with great conclusiveness of its attribution to the Companions. The singular (Ahad) Sunnah is not confirmed in its authenticity. All the above types should be accepted, either as a certain or predominant evidence.

        ·  The Prophet's (peace be upon him) personal thoughts, inclinations, personal habits, and the way in which he dealt with his everyday affairs, are not considered abiding legislation, unless they contain some element of guidance to be followed.[2]

        ·  Consensus is to be resorted to only where there is no legal ruling included in the authentic texts, i.e. Qur’an and authentic Sunnah. Consensus is the agreement of the majority of Muslim scholars of those who exercise Ijtihad (independent reasoning based on religious sources), after the Prophet's death, pertaining to a legal ruling. There is some disagreement on the validity of this method of deriving Islamic rulings.[3]

        ·  Analogy means to draw a similitude between two similar incidents. One can be judged directly according to the authentic text while the other can not, and both have common attributes relevant to the same ruling.

        ·  The use of analogy is considered an authentic means of deducing Islamic rulings according to the majority of scholars.

        ·  The pillars on which analogy is built are: the source (on which the analogy is based), the branch (what is to be equated to the source), the ruling of the source (based on an authentic text), the “effective case” (an attribute of the source which was the cause of the ruling, and which is shared by the branch)

        ·  The effective case should be a characteristic which is: obvious, accurately defined, conducive to the wisdom behind the ruling, and not restricted to the source alone.

        ·  The scholars of jurisprudence differ regarding the validity of the following evidence: application of discretion, public interest, prevalent customs, presumption of continuity, the laws of (pre-Islamic) predecessors, and the particular school of thought of a Companion.

        ·  The application of discretion means to prioritize: an exceptional ruling over a common one due to a more substantiated proof, a special ruling over a general one, or a latent analogy over an evident one.

        ·  Public interests are those interests for which no explicit ruling exists to allow or forbid.

        ·  Prevalent customs are practices that are known and followed by people, but which do not contradict a piece of evidence, do not permit what is prohibited, do not prohibit what is permitted, and do not annul a religious duty.

        ·  Presumption of continuity means to maintain a ruling that was valid in the past until a real need to change it emerges.

        ·  The (sacred) law of (pre-Islamic) predecessors, is what is proven to be in conformity with our law.

        ·  The school of thought of a Companion is what is pertinent to him other than his narrations of the Hadith


Evidence of the Qur'an and Sunnah

Legislative Evidence:

When the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) intended to send Mu`adh Ibn Jabal to Yemen, he asked: How will you judge when you are asked to rule on something? He replied: I shall judge in accordance with Allah’s Book. He asked: (What will you do) if you do not find any guidance in Allah’s Book? He replied: (I shall act) in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him). He asked: (What will you do) if you do not find any guidance in the Sunnah of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) and in Allah’s Book? He replied: I shall do my best to reach a ruling and I shall spare no effort. The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) then patted him on the breast and said: Praise be to Allah Who has helped the messenger of the Messenger of Allah to find something which pleases the Messenger of Allah.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi)

The validity of Sunnah:

Allah says:

]يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ[
(النساء: 59)

This means: “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (SAW).” (4, An-Nisa’: 59)

Allah says:

]فَلاَ وَرَبِّكَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىَ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لاَ يَجِدُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُواْتَسْلِيمًا[
(النساء: 65)

  This means: “But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad SAW) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” (4, An-Nisa’: 65)

Allah says:

]وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا[
(الحشر: 7)

This means: “And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it).” (59, Al-Hashr: 7)

Allah says:

]قُلْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ[
(آل عمران: 32)

This means: “Say (O Muhammad SAW): Obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad SAW).” (3, Al-`Imran: 32)

Allah says:

]مَّنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللّه[
(النساء: 80)

This means: “He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), has indeed obeyed Allah.” (4, An-Nisa’: 80)

Allah says:

]وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ[ (الأحزاب: 36)

This means: “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision.” (33, Al-Ahzab: 36)

The validity of consensus:

Allah says:

]يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ[
(النساء: 59)

This means: “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority.” (4, An-Nisa’: 59)

Allah says:

]وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَى أُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنبِطُونَه مِنْهُمْ[  (النساء: 83)

This means: “If only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them (directly).” (4, An-Nisa’: 83)

Allah says:

]وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَى وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْر سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّى وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ وَسَاءت مَصِيرًا[
(النساء: 115)

This means: “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers' way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell - what an evil destination.” (4, An-Nisa’: 115)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“And that you could not all agree on an error.” (Reported by Abu Dawud)