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Islamic Law in the Contemporary Age: The Sources

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Presentation on theme: "Islamic Law in the Contemporary Age: The Sources"— Presentation transcript:

1 Islamic Law in the Contemporary Age: The Sources

2 The Sources The Qur’an The Sunnah Ijma’ Qiyas/Ijtihad

3 The Qur’an O ye who believe! Obey God, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to God and His Messenger, if ye do believe in God and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination. [4:59]

4 Qat‘i vs. Zanni 3:7 He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.

5 The Definitive (qat‘i) and the Speculative (zanni)
A ruling of the Qur’an may be conveyed in a text which is either unequivocal and clear, or in language that is open to different interpretations. A definitive (Qat’i) text is one which is clear and specific; it has only one meaning and admits of no other interpretations. An example of this is the text on the entitlement of the husband in the estate of his deceased wife, as follows: 'In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child" (al-Nisa', 4:12). The speculative (zanni) ayat of the Qur’an are, on the other hand, open to interpretation and ijtihad. Most qur’anic verses are zanni.

6 Abrogation: Nasikh and Mansukh
None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Do you not know that God Has power over all things? (2:106)

7 99. We have sent down to thee Manifest Signs (ayat); and none reject them but those who are perverse. 100. Is it not (the case) that every time they make a covenant, some party among them throw it aside?- Nay, Most of them are faithless. 101. And when there came to them an apostle from God, confirming what was with them, a party of the people of the Book threw away the Book of God behind their backs, as if (it had been something) they did not know! 102 … 103. If they had kept their Faith and guarded themselves from evil, far better had been the reward from their Lord, if they but knew! 104. O ye of Faith! Say not (to the Messenger. words of ambiguous import, but words of respect; and hearken (to him): To those without Faith is a grievous punishment. 105. It is never the wish of those without Faith among the People of the Book, nor of the Pagans, that anything good should come down to you from your Lord. But God will choose for His special Mercy whom He will - for God is Lord of grace abounding.

8 In an example of Zanni, the ‘ulema have differed on the definition of the term quru’
2:228 Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods (quru’). Nor is it lawful for them to hide what God Hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in God and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And God is Exalted in Power, Wise. Some suggest that it is the menstral period, others suggest that it is the time in between the mensus.

9 The Authority of the Sunnah/Hadith
53:2. Your Companion is neither astray nor being misled. 3. Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. 4. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him: 5. He was taught by one Mighty in Power,

10 "The Prophet peace be upon him said to Mu'adh ibn Jabal when he was about to send him to Yemen: 'How will you judge (between the people) if it so happens that you must judge?' He replied: 'I will judge according to the Book of God.' The Prophet then said: 'What if (the legal ruling) is not found in the book of God?' He replied: 'Then (I will judge) according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of God.' The Prophet then said: 'What if (the legal ruling) is not found in the Sunnah of the Messenger of God?' He replied: 'Then I will use my independent judgment and I won't spare any effort (to try to come to the correct solution).' The Prophet then struck me on my chest and said: 'All praise be to God who rendered suitable the messenger of the Messenger of God and caused him to be in agreement with that which pleases His Messenger.'“ (Imam Tirmidhi and Imam Abu Dawood)

11 Hadith or Sunnah: Chains of narrators going back to the Prophet Muhammad This is the most debated source of Islamic Law.

12 Ijma’ "If anyone contends with the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that of the believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell,- what an evil refuge!“ (4:115) Surely God will never unite my community upon falsehood. (Tirmidhi)

13 Qiyas/Ijtihad A woman came to him and said that her father had died without performing the hajj. Would it benefit him if she performed the hajj on her father's behalf? The Prophet asked her: 'Supposing your father had a debt to pay and you paid it on his behalf, would this benefit him?' To this her reply was in the affirmative, and the Prophet said, `The debt owed to God merits even greater consideration. [Shawkani, Irshad, p. 212; Ibn Qayyim, I`lam, I, 200.]

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