LET US CORRECT OUR ISLAMIC FAITH

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نظرة عامة على الفقه الإسلامي

        AN OVERVIEW OF ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE

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                                                              The First compiled Quran

QURAN - The work on compilation of Quran was started in Hazrat Abu Bakr's (RU) Caliphate and the first compiled Quran in the handwriting of Hazrat Osman (RU) is preserved even today and is available for public viewing in Hast Imam locality, Old Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Central Asia.

 

The Quran was compiled by As-hab-e-Rasulullah (SAWS) on the instructions by Prophet Mohammad (SAWS).     

Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) used to depute Quran teachers for various places in the Islamic territory to teach reading and writing of Quran to people. This way Quran was taught and published during the time of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS). There were hundreds of Quran conners (Huffaz) who had memorized Quran during Prophet’s (SAWS) time. Thus, the narration of Quran from Prophet’s (SAWS) time till today is authentically and uninterruptedly established beyond doubt. The people of 7 recitals and 10 recitals from the time of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) are still existing and this chain of continuous narration will Inshallah continue for ever. It is in Quran – ‘We (Allah SWT) have descended Quran and We only will preserve it’.

AHADITH
 
Ahadith were collected by the companions of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) during his life time. It was the practice of As-hab-e-Rasulullah (SAWS) to write and / or memorize his traditions. These traditions were later compiled in book forms by prominent Imams of Ahadith. Those who collected Ahadith, scrutinized the trustworthiness of the narration and evaluated the chain of narrators stringently. This way, the traditions of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) were preserved from the time of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) in an authentic uninterrupted way. Hadith scholars have divided Ahadith collection into three main categories; (i) Continuous Narration (Hadith-e-Mutwatir), (ii) Acceptable Narration (Hadith-e-Mustafeedh), and (iii) Infrequent Narration (Ahad).

Continuous Narration (Hadith-e-Mutwatir) - The Continuous Narration is that Hadith which has been narrated by so many people that the mind does not contemplate that all of them might have concord with lie. Thus the continuous narration is believable. A narration against it, is not acceptable. There are two types of continuous narration, as follows.

(a) Continuous by word – A Hadith whose words are more or less identical in all the narrations is known as continuous narration by word (Hadith-e-Mutwatir bil lafz).

(b) Continuous by meaning – A Hadith whose words may be less or more in various narrations but the narration carries the same meaning is known as ‘continuous by meaning’ (Hadith-e-Mustafeedh). This narration is also believable. The denial of the Ahadith which comes under the category of ‘continuous narration (Hadith-e-Mutwatir) is equal to the denial of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS).

Acceptable Hadith (Hadith-e-Mustafeedh) – A Hadith that has frequently been narrated but did not reach to the extent of the continuous narration is known as ‘Acceptable Hadith (Hadith-e-Mustafeedh). However, in this Hadith, presumption has been dominant.

Infrequent Hadith (Ahad) – The narration that has been narrated by one or two persons and has not reched to the extent of the ‘Acceptable narration’ (Mustafeedh) is known as Infrequent narration. All disputes are related to the infrequent narration.   

It is the consensus opinion of Muslims that Bukhari and Muslim are the most authentic Hadith collections. Therefore their books are called (i) Sahih Bukhari and (ii) Sahih Muslim, meaning most authentic and correct Ahadith.

There are four other collections of books that are held in great reverence by Muslims throughout the world. These are (iii) Sunan At-Tirmizi, (iv) Sunan An-Nasa'ii, (v) Sunan Abu Dawud, and (vi) Sunan Ibn Majah.

All these Ahadith collection books together; (i) Sahih Bukhari, (ii) Sahih Muslim (iii) Sunan At-Tirmizi, (iv) Sunan An-Nasa'ii, (v) Sunan Abu Dawud, and (vi) Sunan Ibn Majah, are known as Saha Sittah (the authentic six).


Arabic versions with English translations of all Saha Sitta Ahadith books; (i) Sahih Bukhari ( 9 Volumes ), (ii) Sahih Muslim ( 7 Volumes ), (iii) Sunan At-Tirmizi ( 6 Volumes ), (iv) Sunan An-Nasa'ii ( 6 Volumes ), (v) Sunan Abu Dawud ( 5 Volumes ), and (vi) Sunan Ibn Majah ( 5 Volumes ) insha-Allah will be available on our site soon.


There are other collections of Ahadith, although, not as popular as the above, but contain many authentic Ahadith that are referred by people all over the world. These include, (i) Muwatta, by Imam Malik, (ii) Musnad of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, (iii) Sahih of Ibn Khuzaima, (iv) Sahih of Ibn Hibban, (v) Mustadrak of Al Haakim, and (vi) Musannaf of Abdul Razzaq.

Hadith scholars recommend all Hadith readers that, while they study the books of Ahadith, they should also go through Hadith guides like (i) Fatahul Bari, (ii) Umdatul Qari, (iii) Qustalani, (iv) Bazlul Juhood, etc., for better comprehension of Prophet’s (SAWS) traditions.

Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) 
 
The famous historian Ibn Khaldun describes fiqh as ‘knowledge of the rules of Allah (SWT) that concern the actions of persons who are bound to obey the law, respecting what is required (Wajib), forbidden (Haraam), recommended (Mandoob), disapproved (Makruh) or permitted (Mubah).

Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) covers two main areas, (i) Rules in relation to actions (Amaliyya) and (ii) Rules in relation to circumstances surrounding the actions (Wadia’).

Rules in relation to actions (Amaliyya) covers five areas; (i) Obligation (Fardh), (ii) Recommendation (Mandoob), (iii) Permissible (Mubah), (iv) Approved but not recommended (Makrooh), and (v) Prohibited (Haram).

Rules in relation to circumstances (Wadia) consist of (i) Condition (Shart), (ii) Cause (Sabab), (iii) Preventor (Ma'ni), (iv) (a) Permission with relaxation (Rukhsah), (b) Enforcement (Azeemah) (v) (a) Valid (Sahih), (b) Corrupt (Faasid), (c) Invalid (Batil), and (vi) (a) Performance in time (Adaa), (b) Delayed Performance (Al-Qadha), (c) Repeat (I'ada).

Muslim Jurists are called ‘Alim’ (plural - ‘Ulama’), from the Arabic word ‘Ilm’ (knowledge). They are also known as ‘Faqeeh (plural ‘Fuqahaa’) from the Arabic word ‘fiqh’.

The important fields of Islamic Jurisprudence are (i) Islamic economical jurisprudence, (ii) Islamic political jurisprudence, (iii) Islamic marital jurisprudence, (iv) Islamic criminal jurisprudence, (v) Islamic etiquette jurisprudence, (vi) Islamic theological jurisprudence, (vii) Islamic hygiene jurisprudence, and (viii) Islamic military jurisprudence.

The approach of the Muslim Jurists towards deciding specific issues is known as the ‘Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence’ (Usul-e-Fiqh). There are different approaches used in Fiqh to derive Sharia from the Islamic sources. These approaches are known as Islamic Schools of Thought.

Schools of Thoughts in Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) 
 
There are 4 schools of thought in Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh); (i) Hanafi, (ii) Maliki, (iii) Shafi’i, and (iv)Hanbali. These schools represent clearly spelled out methodologies for interpreting the Shari'a. It is a consenses opinion that a Muslim should choose a single School of Thought and follow it in all matters. However, rulings from other Schools of thoughts can be sought as relaxation (Rukhsa) in exceptional issues. The basic Islamic law (Sharia) does not change but Fiqh rulings can change as per requirements. For instance, when tobacco appeared in the market it was declared 'disliked' because of its smell. When it was known that smoking was injurious to health, that ruling was changed to 'forbidden'.
 
A school of thought (Maktab-e-Khiyaal) is not to be considered a religious sect. As per Webster English Dictionary, sect means ‘a group of people sharing a particular religious, philosophical or political opinion, who have broken away from the main body’.

The Muslims Sects should not be confused and overlapped with the School of thoughts of Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh).
When we talk of different sects of Muslims, it means that these groups have broken away from the ‘Correct Islamic Faith’, though they claim themselves to be truthful Muslims.

Historical perspective 
 
The Islamic schools of thoughts were developed as a natural evolution in the Umayyad time (661-750) when Judges were sent by the Central Government to the newly acquired territories of the Muslim Empire. These Qadhis faced totally new environment and new issues to deal with in these new territories. They tried to base their decisions on Quran and act according to Sunnah. When they could not relate a clear evidence about a specific case in both these resources, they had to judge cases as per their Jurisprudential abilities. This usually included considerations of what was customary in that area. This practice was later known as ‘Opinion or Analogical Reasoning’ (Ra’y and Qiyas).

The recognition of Ra'y or Qiyas, as an approved source of law, was based on the instructions of the Prophet (SAWS) and the early Caliphs given to the officials who were sent to administer justice in newly acquired territories.

The Hanafi school came from Kufa, Iraq. Hazrat Ali (RU) had transferred Islamic Capital to Kufa during his Caliphate which resulted in migration of many As-hab-e-Rasulullah (SAWS) to Kufa. The Hanafi school developed under the patronage of Hazrat Ali (RU) and other Ahl-e-Baith-e-Rasulullah (SAWS) and many companions of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) who settled in Kufa.

Maliki school came from the people of Madina who were heavily inclined in favor of the Islamic practice (Sunnah) of the local community of Medina.

Both these schools, especially the Hanafi, were countered by a movement which was known as Traditionists (Ahl-e-Hadith) movement. The Traditionists opposed the inclusion of Ra'y in Islamic Jurisprudence. They relied only on Prophet’s (SAWS) Ahadith they were collecting at that time.

The “Traditionists’ movement is the most important single event in the history of Islamic jurisprudence in the second century Hijra. They opposed the practice of earlier schools alleging them to be based heavily on Ra’y (opinion). According to them, fiqh had to be based exclusively on Ahadith of Prophet (SAWS). Traditionists existed in all great centers of Islam where they formed groups in opposition to, but nevertheless in contact with, the local schools of law, and the polemics (theological disputes) between them and the ancient schools occupied most of the second century Hijra.

The adherents of old schools, Hanafi and Maliki found it difficult to contain the rising tide of Traditionists. They defended their schools by explaining that their schools of thoughts were not personal emulations, rather their alleged analogical reasonings were per the Prophet’s (SAWS) traditions. This may be the reason that the main contents of the Kitab Al-Athar of Imam Abu Yusuf and the Kitab Al-Athar of Imam Shaybani explained in detail that the Hanafi traditions have been derived from Imam Abu Hanifa, and from Hammad Ibn Abi Sulayman (d. 736), and from Ibrahim Al-Naka'i and further backwards from Hazrat Ibn Mas'ud (RU) and others.
 
 
Imam Shafi'i belonged to the school of Madina, but he accepted the contentions of Traditionists, defended them in vigorous polemics (theological disputes) with the followers of the earlier schools, and composed in his Risala (booklet) the first treatise on the method of Islamic Jurisprudential reasoning.
 
 
 
Thus, he became the founder of the science of ‘the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence’ (Usul-e-fiqh) in a written format. Imam Shafi'i was not a Traditionist to the core, rather he deplored their faulty reasoning, and himself relied on traditions from the Prophet (SAWS) by systematic legal thought of exceptional quality, excluding Ra'y and Istihsan (compassion) and insistence on strict Qiyas (Analogical reasoning).

It happened, however, that some of his disciples, particularly, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, emphasized the traditionist element in Imam Shafi’i’s ‘principles of Islamic Jurisprudence’ (Usul-e-Fiqh) and derived their legal teaching exclusively from traditions of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS), avoiding human reasoning as far as possible.

The avoidance of drawing conclusions on the basis of Qiyas and Ra'y was put up as a 'principle of Jurisprudence' by Dawud Ibn Khalaf (d.884) who was known as Az-Zahiri (literalist) because he relied exclusively in the literal meaning (zahiri ma’ana ) of Qur'an and hadith and rejected not only ra'y (opinion) and Istihsan (compassion) but reasoning by as well.

Notwithstanding their divergent roots, the orthodox schools of law share a common legal theory which asserted itself in the 9th century, and which accepted Shafi'i and the Traidtionists' principle of overriding authority of the traditions of Prophet (SAWS) as the only evidence of Sunna but subordinated its practical application to the consensus of the scholars.

All four Islamic schools of thoughts, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafe’i and Hanbali, are respected as valid legal schools of Islam that have arrived through their analysis of the Qur'an and Sunnah. In fact the differences between the schools are considered a blessing in disguise as it gives freedom of choice to the people as per their personal inclination.

By tenth century the primary law-making activity was not considered necessary and activity of the jurists remained limited to interpretation and explanation of the existing 4 schools, bringing it up-to-date with life as the conditions changed. The scholars used to put their own doctrines under guidance the of their Imams.

This way, the main contents of the Kitab Al-Athar of Abu Yusuf and of the Kitab al-Athar of Shaybani (both students of Imam Abu Hanifa) represent themselves as having been derived from Abu Hanifa, and from Hammad bin Abi Sulayman (d. 736), and from Ibrahim al-Naka'i and further backwards from Hazrat Ibn Mas’ud (RU) who was a companion of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) settled in Kufa, Iraq.

The Madinese claimed their teachings to derive from the ‘seven lawyers of Medina’ (Fukaha Al-Madina As-Sab'a, namely, (i) Sa'id b. Al-Musayyib. (ii) Urwa b. al-Zubair, (iii) Abu Bakr b. 'Abd ar-Rahman, (iv) Ubayd Allah Ibn Abdullah Ibn Utba, (v) Kharija Ibn Zaid Ibn Thabit, (vi) Sulaiman Ibn Yasar, and (vii) Al-Kasim Ibn Mohammad Ibn Abi Bakr. Their original authority was Abdullah bin Umar (RU).

By the middle of the 9th century the schools of law had transformed themselves into Islamic schools. The bulk of the first school of Kufa transformed itself into the school of the Hanafis. Another group of scholars went into the school of Sufyan at-Thauri. The ancient school of Madina became the school of the Malikis. And the ancient school of Syria became Awza'i School.

Although Imam Shafi'i had disclaimed any intention of founding a school, his disciples, being neither mere Traditionists nor members of another school, became his personal followers, and the movement started by him became Shafi'i school.

The school of Islamic Jurisprudence originated by Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, too, became known as the school of the Hanbalis. This school was a little different from its 'parent Traditionists movement' as it did not absorb the movement fully.

It is the consensus of Islamic Ummah that the 4 schools of thought are alternative and equally valid interpretations of the religious laws of Islam. Notwithstanding their divergent views, they share a common legal theory which asserted itself in the 9th century, and which accepted Shafi'is (and the Traidtionists') principle of the overriding authority of the traditions from the Prophet (SAWS) as the only evidence of Sunna but subordinated its practical application to the consensus of the scholars.

From the middle of the 9th century, the idea began to gain ground that only the great scholars of the past had the depth to independent reasoning in law (Ijtihad). During tenth century a consensus gradually established itself in orthodox Islam to the effect that all future activity would have to be confined to the explanation, application and interpretation of the 4 Schools of thought. This implied that the people should follow these existing schools.

The above continued till 1300 AD. Towards the end of 13th century, Ibn Taymiyyah rejected all these schools alleging them to be personal emulation (Taqleed) of 4 Imams and became the founder of neo Islamist movement called Salafism. After his death, the Salafi doctrine was adopted by a very few people for the following 500 hundred years, until the birth of Ibn Abdul Wahhab in early 18th Century who propagated Salafism on the back of military conquests of Sauds, the tribal ruler of Najd. By early 20th Century Salafism became the official religion of newly formed Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On the back of oil wealth and the occupation of Islamic important places, Khana-e-Ka’aba and Masjid-e-Nabawi, Salafism thrived in the world during the last century.

In the same way, religious doctrines of the Kharijis ('Ibadis of Oman), and of the Shi'a (Ja'faari in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon and Zaidi in Yemen), which split from the Muslim majority on political grounds about the middle of the first century of Islam (660 AD), differed on the question of the leadership of the community and consequential questions of  Usul.


In the following we have provided a brief account of the 4 Imam’s of Islamic Jurisprudence.


Imam Abu Hanifah ® (699 – 767 AD) – (81-151 H)
 
Imam Abu Nahifah the first of the 4 Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence. His real name was Nu’man Ibn Thabit. He is famous by the name of one of his daughters named Hanifah. He was born in Kufa in 81 H (699 AD) to a businessmen family who had migrated to Iraq from Iran.

Hanafi school of thought is generally considered as compassionate towards people. It is known for its open hearted religious orientation that elevates True Islamic Faith and is tolerant for differences within Muslim communities. Some people believe that this school of thought appeals more to reason. This kind of allegations were made even during the life time of Imam Abu Hanifa ®. When we look at his life history, these allegations prove to be totally false. Sometimes it happens that the Imam deduces an imperative from Quran and Hadith but people are incapable of comprehending it because of their inability to scan minute things and consider it to be based on his personal opinion.

Hanafi Jurisprudential views were preserved primarily by two most important disciples of Imam Abu Haniifa ®, Abu Yusuf ® and Mohammad Al-Shayban ®. The latter's works, known collectively as Zahir Al-Riwaya, remained authoritative for later Hanafis.

A unique feature of the Hanafi school is the method in which the law was codified. Imam Abu Hanifa ® would convene and preside over a board of Jurists (consisting of about 40-50 of his students) and each would give his opinion on a particular legal issue, Imam Abu Hanifa ® would then decide which is the opinion that is to be selected by corroborating it or sometimes would offer his own unique opinion. The sources from which the law is derived by Hanafis, in order of importance and preference are, (i) the Qur'an, (ii) the authentic narrations of the Prophet (Hadith), (iii) Consensus (Ijma) and (iv) Analogical reasoning (Qiyas). Analogical reasoning was applied when a decision could not be arrived at an issue directly from Qur'an or Hadith.

The Hanafi School had based many of its rulings on Prophetic narrations (Hadith) transmitted by his companions residing in Iraq. Thus it came to be known as the Kufan or Iraqi school. The fourth rightful Caliph, Hazrat Ali (RU) had transferred the Islamic capital to Kufa, Iraq and many of the companions of Prophet (SAWS) had settled there. Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (RU) and Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud (RU) formed much of the base of this school. In addition, Imam Abu Hanifa ® studied under many Imams of Prophet’s (SAWS) household. His teachers, among others, included Imam Mohammad Al-Baqir (RU), Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq (RU), Imam Zayd Ibn Ali (RU) and Hammad Ibn Sulayman ®.

Hanafi methodology involved the logical process of examining Quran and all available knowledge of the Sunna and then finding an example in them that analogous to the particular case under review. It thus entails the use of reason in the examination of Quran and Sunna so as to come to the logical conclusion necessary for the implementation of Islamic jurisprudence in that case. This made it an ideal legal tool for the central Governance of widely varied Muslim populations.

Today, the Hanafi school is predominant in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and the Caucasus. This school is also followed by major chunks of populations in other parts of Muslim world.

Imam Malik Ibn Anas® (711-795 AD) - (93 – 179 H)
 
Imam Maalik was the second Imam of Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh). His full name was Abu Abdullah Malik Ibn Anas Ibn Malik Ibn Abi Amir Ibn Amr Ibnul-Harith Ibn Ghaiman Ibn Khuthail Ibn Amr Ibnul-Haarith. He was son of Anas Ibn Malik (not the Sahabi) and Aaliyah bint Shurayk Al-Azdiyya. He was born in Medina. His family belonged to Al-Asbahi tribe of Yemen, but his great grandfather Abu Amir relocated to Madina after converting to Islam in 623 AD. Imam Malik died at the age of 89 in Madina in 795 AD and is buried in the famous Jannatul Baqi cemetery.

Imam Shafi'i ®, who was one of Malik's ® student for nine years and a scholarly giant in his own right, stated, ‘when scholars are mentioned, Malik is like the star among them’. Imam Malik is the second of the 4 Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence. His school is based on the Madina consensus of opinion and uses Hadith as a guide. It appeals to the idea of common good of people. Imam Malik ® did not record the fundamental principles in a written format on which Maliki school of thought is based. In this respect, he resembled his contemporary, Imam Abu Hanifa ®. The Maliki school of thought is predominant in north, central and west Africa and Egypt.

Imam Malik developed his ideas in Madina, where he knew some of the last surviving companions of the Prophet (SAWS) or their immediate descendents. His doctrine is recorded in Muwatta (the book of Hadith written by him) which has been adopted by most Muslims of Africa except in Lower Egypt, Zanzibar and South Africa.

Imam Muhammad Ibn Idris Al-Shafi'i ® (767-820) – (150-204 H)
 
Imam Al-Shfi'i is the third of the 4 Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence. His full name was Abu Abdullah Mohammad Ibn Idris Al-Shafi’i. He was born in Gaza, Palestine. His family moved to Makka when he was about ten years old. He is reported to have studied with the School of Makka and then moved to Madina. Afterwards he lived in Makka, Baghdad and finally in Egypt. His prominent teachers include Imam Malik Ibn Anas and Mohammad Ibn Al Hasan Al Shaybani. He died at the age of 54 on the 30th of Rajab, 204 H (820 AD). He was buried in al-Fustat, Egypt.

He developed the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence in a written format. The sources of Islamic Jurisprudence (Usul-e-Fiqh), in order of priority in Shafi’i school are (i) Quran, (ii) Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) based on Hadith narrated by companions of Prophet (SAWS), (iii) Consensus of the Muslim community (Ijma), and (iv) Reasoning (Ra’y). Reasoning is divided into two areas; (a) Analogical reasoning (Qiyas), and (b) Compassion (Istihsan). His principles became the basis of Islamic Jurisprudence which were subsequently used by all the schools.


Muslims in Indonesia, Lower Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, Somalia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, India, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Yemen and Kurds in the Kurdish regions follow Shafi’i school.

Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal ® ( 780 – 855 AD ) - ( 164 -241 H )

Imam Hanbal was born in Central Asia to Arab parents. His full name was Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Abu Abdullah Al-Shaybani. After the death of his father, he moved to Iraq where he completed his religious studies. He was a student of Imam Shafi’i. Despite persecution, he held to his belief that the Qur'an was not a creation of Allah (SWT). His school of law is followed primarily in the Arabian Peninsula. He is the last of the 4 Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence. Hanbali School of thought is the smallest of all the four schools. It derives its decrees from the Qur'an and the Sunnah, which it places above all forms of consensus, opinion or inference. The school accepts as authoritative an opinion given by a Companion of the Prophet, provided there is no disagreement with another Companion. In the case of such disagreement, the opinion of the Companion nearest to that of the Qur'an or the Sunnah is taken into consideration.

 

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

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