All praise is due to Allah, the Most High. Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon His servant and messenger Muhammad. Sall Allahu alayhi wasallam.
In this generation of ours, there is much talk about Islamic Law. Certain modernized Muslim ‘scholars’ are confusing Muslims in general about the main sources of Islamic Law. Let us not be misled by such evil mischief-makers. They are interpreting the Qur’an to suit their own whims and fancies and are making a mockery of the Ahaadith (sayings) of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They also degrade the great companions of our beloved Prophet and ridicule the illustrious ulama of Islam. They look at every aspect of Islam from their corrupt modern materialistic point of view. To them, spirituality is a complete novelty and a hindrance to progress. It is for this very reason that they reject Sufism completely. Their claim is that they will follow the Qur’an alone. But regrettably, they cannot even recite it properly and fluently, besides understanding it correctly. Their claim is that they know the Arabic language and therefore play verbal gymnastics with certain words of the Glorious Qur’an trying to adapt it to suite their corrupt modern thoughts. This, however, results in a complete detachment from the real essence of the Qur’an. These so-called ‘scholars’ are rejecting the Ahaadith (sayings of our beloved Prophet) completely. They fail to realize that the rejection of the Ahaadith amounts to the rejection of the purpose of the prophethood (risaalah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) i.e. to explain the Qur’an to mankind in detail. By rejecting the Ahaadith, many commandments of the Qur’an cannot be put into practice. They degrade the companions (ashaab) of our beloved Prophet on mere historical events. They fail to realize that the companions of our beloved Prophet do not depend on historians. They depend on what the Qur’an says about them. These westernized Muslim ‘scholars’ will very aptly accept the historians without any question about its authenticity. But they are not prepared to accept the Ahaadith, demanding all proof of its authenticity, which it readily provides in the form of the chain of narrators (isnaad). What a corrupt mentality! They ridicule and criticize the great jurists of the Hanafee, Shafe'i, Maliki and Hanbali schools of Islamic Law and the illustrious true scholars (ulama-e-haqq) of Islam.
It is claimed that no one is above criticism. But they fail to understand that to criticize an expert of a particular science, it is essential that the critic be superior or equal to him in that branch of knowledge. Therefore, to criticize the great Jurists and the illustrious ulama on the basis of bits and pieces of information is an exhibition of one's own ignorance and shameless audacity. When these modernists cannot comprehend certain rulings of these great Jurists and the ulama, they begin to mock and criticize them.
The reason for this criticism is that these westernized Muslims are morally and mentally retarded. They readily accept the teachings of Islam by orientalists without demanding any proof from them. But when the teachings of these great Jurists and ulama are presented to them, they consider it below their dignity to accept such teachings and brand it very quickly as 'blind imitation’ and ‘mental slavery’. What a high degree of hypocrisy! The result is that unwary Muslims are being enmeshed in the 'satanic tentacles' of these westernized Muslim 'scholars' who are wholly deficient in Imaan and Islamic morals.
The following is a humble attempt to present the truth to Muslims who sincerely desire to be rightly guided. As it is evident from the Glorious Qur’an, guidance (hidaayah) comes from Allah alone. We have to make the change within ourselves first. Read the following with an open and unbiased mind and try to understand it. Recall what our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace is upon him) said: "He for whom Allah desires goodness, Allah endows him with the understanding of the Deen (Religion)".
MAIN SOURCES OF ISLAMIC LAW:
What are the main sources of Islamic law? The main sources of Islamic Law are the following:
1. The Glorious Qur’an
2. The Sunnah (i.e. authentic traditions of our beloved Prophet)
3. Ijmaa (i.e. the consensus of opinion of the companions of our beloved Prophet)
4. Qiyaas (i.e. judgement upon juristic analogy)
The first two are the chief sources of Islamic law and are binding and was recognized as such even during the lifetime of our beloved Prophet. The last two sources are supplementary and must be subordinated to the Qur’an and the Sunnah and can not be placed above them.
THE GLORIOUS QURAN:
The Qur’an is the very Word of Allah and the authority from which springs the very conception of legality and every legal obligation. The vehicle of this Divine Message was the sacred personality of our beloved Prophet Muhammad. Peace be upon him. It was absolutely necessary for this human vehicle to be pure and untainted. It is for this very reason that our beloved Prophet was not able to read and write (ummi). This Divine Message can be written only on the pure and untainted tablet of the human recipient. This unlettered nature of our beloved Prophet shows how the recipient was completely passive before the Divine. If this purity of the soul did not exist, the Divine Word would become tainted with human knowledge and the Divine message would not have been presented to mankind in its pristine purity. Our beloved Prophet was purely passive in the face of the Revelation he received from Almighty Allah. He added nothing to this revelation himself. He did not write a book but conveyed the Sacred Book (the Qur’an) to mankind. This was the first and everlasting miracle of Muhammad’s prophethood. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family and all his companions.
The form of the Qur’an is the Arabic language, which is inseparable from it. Arabic is the sacred language of Islam in the sense that it is an integral part of the Our’anic revelation. Its very sounds and utterances play a vital role in the ritual acts of Islam. Furthermore, the Qur’an cannot be translated into any other language for ritual purposes. The Qur’an should not be compared with any form of human writing because precisely it is a Divine Message in human language.
The power of the Qur’an lies in its possessing a language, which has the efficacy of moving the souls of men now, as much as it did at the beginning of its appearance on earth. A Muslim (except for the hypocritically westernized one) is moved by the very sounds of the Qur’an. It is also mentioned in the Qur’an itself that a test of a person's faith is whether he is moved by its recitation (tilaawah) or not. The very word ‘QURAN’ means recitation.
The Qur’an is the main source of knowledge in Islam, not only metaphysically and religiously, but also in the domain of particular fields of science. The Qur’an contains essentially three types of messages for mankind:
a) Doctrinal messages i.e. a set of doctrines, which reveals knowledge (ILM) of the structure of Reality and man's Position in it. As such it contains a set of moral and juridical injunctions that are the basis of Islamic Law and which concerns the life of man in every detail. It also contains metaphysics about the nature of Godhead. In a nutshell, it bears all the teachings necessary for man to know who he is, where he is, where he is going and where he should be going.
b) Historical messages i.e. a message, which superficially is like the vast book of history. It recounts the stories of peoples, tribes, kings, prophets and saints over the ages of their trials and tribulations. This message is in historical terms but addressed to the human soul. In these are lessons for man, which he must take heed of.
c) Quality i.e. the Qur’an contains a quality, which is difficult to express in the English language. One might call it a Divine magic metaphysically not literally. The formulae of the Qur’an, because they come from Allah, have a power, which protects and guides man. It is for this very reason that even the physical presence of the Qur’an carries a great Grace of Barakah with it. When a Muslim is in difficulty, he reads certain verses of the Qur’an, which pacify and comfort him. And when he wants something or is in dire need of something, he turns again to appropriate verses from the Qur’an. Because of this Divine Grace or Barakah, it endures from generation to generation. Muslims (adults and infants) read and memorize it by heart. They chant and recite it daily because the Divine Presence sensed in the Qur’anic text provides food for the souls of men. It is indeed a sacred act to recite the Qur’an regularly. Let not the selfish, self-appointed westernized Muslim 'scholars' turn us away from this sacred act. They say that we should not recite it without understanding its meaning. It is true that every Muslim must learn to understand the Qur’an and obey what Allah commands him to do. But this does NOT mean that Muslims must stop reciting the Qur’an regularly if they do not understand.
Thus it is seen that the Qur’an is a 'world' of knowledge in which a Muslim lives and breathes. A world in which there is no differentiation but essentially integration and unification. Many of these self-appointed westernized 'scholars' who claim to follow the Qur’an receive no more from it than the literal message. This is simply because no Sacred text opens itself to human scrutiny and reveals its secret so easily. One has to be prepared to be able to penetrate its meaning. It is only in the inspired commentaries (tafseer), based on proper clarification afforded by the authentic Ahaadith, that man comes to understand explicitly what is contained often implicitly in a contracted form in the Glorious Qur’an. These commentaries are written by those who have lived their lives as true and sincere Muslims and are qualified in the true sense to write commentaries of the Qur’an. These commentaries are a penetration into the inner meanings of the sacred text. They are written by traditional authorities who have themselves penetrated into the inner meanings and dimensions of their own self. A very important point to note here is that man sees in the Qur’an what he is himself and the type of knowledge he can derive from the text depends precisely on who he is. If we approach the Qur’an superficially and we ourselves are superficial beings floating on the surface of our existence, then the Qur’an will also appear to us as having only a surface meaning. It hides its mysteries from us and we are unable to penetrate it. The Qur’an possesses an inner dimension, which no amount of literal and logical analysis can reveal. It is precisely this aspect of the Qur’an that is least known to our ignorant westernized Muslim 'scholars'.
It has to be admitted that the Qur’an is basically a book of religious guidance. It is more particularly an appeal to faith and the human soul rather than a classification of legal prescriptions. Such prescriptions are comparatively limited and few. The major portion of the Qur’an is a code of Divine exhortation and moral principles.
Sunnah is an Arabic word, which literally means "method". This term was used by our beloved Prophet himself as a legal term, which comprised of what he said, did or agreed to. The authority of the Sunnah is derived from the prophethood of Muhammad. Peace be upon him. His mission is stated in the Qur’an by the following words:
"And we revealed to thee the Reminder so that you may make clear to men that which has been revealed to them, so that haply they may reflect". (Qur’an 16:44).
This verse implies the Prophet’s supreme authority in the interpretation of the Qur’an, be it by word or by action. The Qur’an explicitly declares the proof that this authority is binding on all Muslims in the following words:
"0 you who believe! Obey Allah and obey His messenger". (Qur’an 8:20)
“Whoever obeys the messenger, he indeed obeys Allah”. (Qur’an 4:80)
It is true that our beloved Prophet generally did not encourage his companions to write down what he said as a strict measure to avoid a possible confusion of his sayings with the Qur’anic texts. But this does not affect the status of the Sunnah. It only rendered its later recording more difficult. This was the price Muslims had to pay for keeping their Holy Book unquestionably authentic and unique. Therefore, it was no great risk to leave the recording of the Sunnah for a later generation of the Faithful, who were more pious, God conscious and more thoughtful of the hereafter than our westernized perverted Muslim "scholars" of today. Thus, for early Muslims, there was no problem in keeping to the Traditions of their beloved Prophet. Actual adherence, devotion and memory were strong guarantees for the authority and authenticity of the Sunnah.
to an expert on Islamic Law, the famous Dr H Hamidullah, says that the later
famous compilations of Hadith were by no means the first written documents
relating to the Sunnah. In his book called Al-Wathaiq Al-Siyasiyyah (
As regards the criticism of our Western educated Muslim “scholars" regarding the forgery of many Ahaadith let them know that as a counter-balance to forgery, there were the great works of Muslim scholars in the field of compilation and authentication of the Sunnah. Each hadith was prefaced by a chain of authorities (Sanad) that goes back to its original narrator i.e. our beloved Prophet, and this process was called ISNAD. These westernized Muslim "scholars" will accept any historical fact without proof of its authenticity but will reject the Ahaadith of our beloved Prophet for which all the necessary authenticity is provided.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the founder of Islam and the messenger of Allah’s revelation to mankind is the best interpreter of the Glorious Qur’an. His Ahaadith and Sunan i.e. his sayings and actions are, after the Qur’an, the most important source of Islamic Law. In order to understand the excellence of our beloved Prophet, it is not sufficient to study from the outside, historical texts pertaining to his life. One must view him also from within the Islamic point of view and try to discover the position he occupies in the religious consciousness of Muslims. Our beloved Prophet is the prototype of the spirituality of Islam which is not the rejection of this world but the transcending of it through its integration and the establishment of a harmony upon which the quest for Almighty is based. Our beloved Prophet had displayed these qualities so eminently that he is at once the only prototype of human and spiritual perfection. Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an:
"Verily in the messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow". (Qur’an 33; 21)
Since our beloved Prophet is the prototype of all human perfection to the extent hat one of his titles is the "most noble of all creations" (ashraful makhlooqaat), it may be asked: in what way can men emulate him? How can the Prophet become a guide for human life? How can the Prophet's life, deeds and thoughts serve as a guide for all Muslims? The answers to these fundamental questions lie in the sayings, which he left behind and is known as Hadith, and his daily life and practice known as the Sunnah. The collection and recording of these prophetic sayings (Ahaadith) was done only by the most devoted of men who examined the chain of transmitters for each saying. It was the result of this hair-splitting task that the six major collections of Ahaadith became assembled such as those of Bukhari and Muslim. The Hadith literature is a monumental treasury of wisdom, which is at once a commentary upon the Qur’an and a complement to its teachings. The prophetic sayings concern every domain of life from pure metaphysics to table manners.
It is against this basic aspect of the whole structure of Islam that a severe attack has been made by our westernized Muslim "scholars". This attack is an attempt to try and undercut the very foundations of Islam. These westernized Muslim "scholars' who criticize the hadith do not realize that they are projecting the kind of agnostic mentality prevalent in many academic circles today onto the mentality of a traditional Muslim scholar of the Hadith. These westernized Muslims think that the questions of religion was treated by the traditional Muslim scholars in such a detached manner so as to enable them to 'forge' the sayings of our beloved Prophet. Nothing is less scientific than to project the modern mentality onto a period when man lived and thought in a traditional world. A world in which men sought first and foremost to perform the most important duty placed upon their shoulders i.e. to save their own souls, as Allah says:
"0 believers! Save yourselves and your family from the fire of Hell" (Qur’an 66: 6).
These westernized Muslim "scholars" are trying to lower the value of the Hadith in the eyes of innocent Muslims. These pervert and mentally paralyzed "scholars" are misleading the Muslims by trying to get them to accept the fatally dangerous conclusion that the body of Hadith is not the sayings of our beloved Prophet and therefore does not carry his authority. In this way one of the foundations of Divine law and a vital source of guidance for the spiritual life is destroyed. What would be left in such a case would be the Qur’an, which, being the Word of Allah, is too sublime to interpret and decipher without the aid of the Prophet. Left entirely by themselves; men would in most cases read their own limitations into the Holy Book of Allah. This will then result in the disruption of the harmony, which exists between the Qur’an and the religious life of Islam.
Thus, let it be known that the Hadith is, after the Qur’an, the most important source of Islamic Law. It is the vital integrating factor in Muslim society because the daily lives of millions of Muslims all over the world have been modelled upon the Prophetic Sunnah and Hadith. For over fourteen hundred years, Muslims have been tiring to awaken in the morning as our beloved Prophet awakened, to eat as he ate, to wash as he washed himself, and even to cut their nails as he did. There has been no greater force for the unification of the Muslims than the presence of this common model for the minutest acts of daily life.
Through the Hadith and Sunnah, Muslims come to know both their beloved Prophet and the message of the Qur’an. Without the Hadith, much of the Qur’an would be a closed book. We are told in the Qur’an to pray but were it not for the Prophetic Sunnah we would not know how to pray. Something as fundamental as the daily prayers, which are the central rite of Islam, would be impossible to perform without the guidance of the prophetic practice. This applies to many more situations so that it is almost unnecessary to emphasize the vital connection between the Qur’an and the Hadith of our beloved Prophet whom Allah chose as its messenger and interpreter to mankind.
Ijmaa is defined as the consensus of opinion firstly of the companions of our beloved Prophet, and then the agreement reached by the learned Jurists, on various Islamic matters not dealt with explicitly by the Qur’an and Sunnah. The practice of Ijmaa can be traced back to the days of the Sahabas as can be seen from the example of the type of punishment for drinking alcohol.
The practice of Ijmaa is substantiated by Allah’s words in the following verse of the Glorious Qur’an:
But whoever makes a breach with the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him, and follows a way other than that of the believers, We shall leave him in what he has chosen and We shall land him in the Fire of Jahannam – an evil refuge. (Qur’an 4:115).
O Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. If you differ on anything, then refer it to Allah and the Messenger. (Qur’an 4:59)
Qiyaas, in Islamic theological terminology, is defined as analogy or analogical deduction. In other words, Qiyaas is the legal principle introduced to derive at a logical conclusion of a certain law on a certain issue that has to do with the welfare of the Muslims. In exercising this, however, it must be based on the Qur’an, Sunnah and Ijmaa. This principle was introduced by Imam Abu Haneefa (rahmatullahi alayhi). The reason why he introduced it was connected with the intention of curbing excessive thinking and subsequent digression of the people from the real essence of Islamic Law. He supported his practice of Qiyaas on the following words of Allah: Think deeply, O you who are understanding. (Qur’an 59:2).
The Islamic Jurists (Fuqahaa) have laid down the following conditions on which Qiyaas can be practised:
a) Qiyaas must be applied only when there is no solution to the matter in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
b) Qiyaas must NOT go against the principles of Islam.
c) Qiyaas must NOT go against the contents of the Qur’an and it must NOT conflict with the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet.
d) It must be a strict Qiyaas based on either the Qur’an, Sunnah or Ijmaa.
THE FIQH (ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE):
The verb FAQIHA means, "to comprehend or understand". Therefore FIQH (its noun) means “comprehension". Fiqh is also the name given to the whole science of jurisprudence, because it implies the exercise of intelligence in deciding a point of law not specified explicitly in the Qur’an or the Prophetic Tradition. The very permission of exercising one's intelligence is granted by Allah, the Most High, in the following verse of the Qur’an:
"It is not desirable that all of the believers take the field (in time of war). From within every group in their midst, some shall refrain from going forth to war, and shall exert themselves in acquiring a deeper knowledge of the Deen. And teach their home coming brethren so that they too might guard themselves against evil." (Qur’an 9; 122)
In the verse just quoted above, the Glorious Qur’an has shown us the very essence and principle of Knowledge of the Deen. The words used by Allah is ‘LI-YATAFAQQAHOO-FID-DEEN’ meaning to exert oneself in the knowledge of the Religion. Allah, the Most High, could have used the words LI-YATA'ALLAMOO-NAD-DIN i.e. to acquire the knowledge of the Religion. But Allah used the word TAFAQQUH instead of TA'ALLUM. This is not accidental usage of words but a deliberate use of the word TAFAQQUH. This is done specifically to convey the message to men that mere acquisition of Islamic knowledge is not enough because this task is and has been done by many Jews and Christians, and the Shaitan has acquired the most of it. But what Allah wants to emphasize here is the exertion of one’s self in the understanding and comprehension (Fiqh) of the knowledge of the Religion. This is what is meant by the word TAFAQQUH and it is this word from which FIQH is derived.
It is also worth noting that Allah did not use the words LI-YAFQAHOO-FID-DEEN i.e. to understand the Islamic knowledge. But he used instead the more emphatic LI-YATAFAQQAHOO-FID-DEEN i.e. to exert oneself with all efforts to understand the Islamic knowledge. This means that we must exert and use our intelligence to understand from the Islamic knowledge itself that all our speech and actions will be accountable on the Day of Judgement. How we should spend our life on this earth in view of this accountability. This is what is meant by the use of the word TAFAQQUH.
Therefore, it must be emphasized that TAFAQQUH was the very basis on which the great Fuqaha (Islamic Jurists) worked and it was on this basis that the enormous wealth of Islamic Jurisprudence came into being.
Imam A'zam Abu Haneefa (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) is reported as saying that FIQH means that man understand all those tasks which are absolutely necessary for him to do, and similarly understand all those tasks which are forbidden for him to do. He also said that in the terminology of the Qur’an and Ahaadith, a man will not be called an AALIM if he merely learns all of the Islamic knowledge but fails to exert himself in understanding the knowledge he acquired.
Throughout the period of nearly hundred years of the Umayyad rule, the responsibility of preserving and administering the Shari’ah lay upon the shoulders of individual 'judges' (qaadis). They were the real interpreters of the law at this time. These judges dealt with the questions of law on a day-to-day basis, trying to apply the Qur’an and Hadith, and the precedents of earlier Muslim generations to whatever new situations confronted them.
But there was a reaction on the part of the religious community against the practices of the Umayyad which, of course, contributed to their downfall. Towards the end of the Umayyad period everyone realized that the Muslim community and especially the State were moving away from Islamic ideals. With the coming of the Abbasid rule, there was a sudden burst of activity to purify political and social practices and codify the Divine Law as established in the Qur’an and Hadith. It was at this crucial stage that several men of great genius and religious integrity came upon the scene to codify the Islamic law.
this time, two cities were particularly important in the codification of
Islamic Law, i.e. Madinah and Kufa.
Madinah was an Arab city where some of the old tribal and family bonds
still survived. Kufa, in
These great men (Fuqahaa) of Islamic Jurisprudence excelled in all aspects of Zuhd (abstinence), Taqwa (piety), Khashyah (fear of Allah), Inabah (penitence), Ihsan (good deeds) and Ikhlaas (sincerity). They also excelled in ibadah (worship) and akhlaaq (morality). The Qur’an and the Ahaadith are very explicit that these lofty qualities are essential requirements for men of knowledge. Therefore, to follow men of such a high calibre on specific rulings is completely in accordance with the Islamic Law because the Qur’an and the Ahaadith gives us permission to do so.
Today most of our westernized Muslim "scholars" are devoid of Taqwa (piety) and lack obedience to the Laws of Allah. They have subjugated the Deen to their lustful desires. They mock and jeer at the great Muslim jurists (Fuqahaa) when they cannot comprehend a ruling of these great men of understanding. These so-called “scholars" cannot even understand the Qur’an literally. They explain the Qur’anic verses completely out of context to suit their own desires. Their inability in knowledge is so shocking that they even fail to understand the Qur’an correctly. How can such "scholars" be any authority on Islamic Law? These westernized “scholars" say that it is SHIRK (polytheism) to follow the rulings of any of the four great Muslim jurists, but following the teachings of such corrupt westernized “scholars” is not SHIRK (polytheism). This is a good example of their immature thinking. And taqleed is: the acceptance of a saying of someone, without a proof. So the one who is capable of inductive reasoning, then it is upon him to exercise ijtihaad and istidlaal. As for the one who is incapable, then it is upon him to make taqleed and ask; as Allah has mentioned: “Ask the People of Knowledge if you do not know.” [Surah al-Anbiyaa 21:7].
Let us not be deceived by such hypocrites. They are the real asses in the lions’ skins. These men are restless to assume leadership of Islam. They accuse the well-grounded and authoritative Ulama as men of barren orthodoxy. Their desire is to transform all offices of Islam to conform to their lowly desires. Their tutors are the orientalists and enemies of Islam. Their knowledge and understanding are restricted to the poisonous writings of the enemies of Islam. Let us not be trapped by their "satanic claws".
He (Allah) is the One who has sent His messenger with guidance and the True Deen (way of life), so that He may have it prevail over every other Deen, and Allah is sufficient as a Witness. (Qur'an 48:28)
They want to blow out the Light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah is perfecting His Light, no matter how much the disbelievers may hate it. (Qur'an 61:8)
May Allah accept from me this humble effort and make it beneficial for a better understanding of the sources of Islamic Law for all Muslims. Ameen.
“Glory be to You (O Allah!), we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise”. (Qur’an 2:32).
Abdul Haq Abdul Qadir
Umhlanga Ridge, KZN. South Africa.