SOURCES OF SHARIAH (ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE)
Muslims follow the Shariah (Islamic Law) from two primary sources and two secondary sources.
(a) Primary sources:
1. Al Quran – The sacred scripture revealed from Allah Almighty to Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him).
2. Al Hadith – The books containing “the words, actions and practices of Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) and his tacit approval of something said or done in his presence.”
(b) Secondray sources:
1. Ijma – The consensus of the scholars of Islam
2. Qiyas – The process of analogical reasoning
WHAT IS AL QURAN?
The sacred scripture revealed from Allah Almighty to Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) through Angel Gabriel (Peace be upon him) over a period of 23 years. It contains 114 chapters and approximately 6666 verses which explain the power of Allah, guidance for humanity and the historical events. This is the Holy Scripture for Muslims. This is not only the guidance for Muslims, but also for Non-Muslims too. When these verses were revealed, most of the companions memorized them and wrote down. Later it was compiled as a book in the governing period of Uthman ibn Affan (May Allah be pleased with him). Therefore, it does not contain any words of human like in other religious scriptures. It contains purely words of Almighty Allah. Neither scribal errors nor scientific errors could be found in Al Quran.
WHAT IS AL HADITH
“Al Hadith means the words, actions and practices of Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) and his tacit approval of something said or done in his presence.”
Al Hadith is the second source for Islamic Jurisprudence. The Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) life is the practical explanation for the Divine Law. A person can not obey the religion without follow the path of our beloved Prophet Peace and blessings be upon him).
Simple example: It has been mentioned in Al Quran that the prayers are compulsory for every Muslim. However, how to pray, what are rules pertaining to the prayers, what are the benefits can be achieved through the prayers and what are the punishments for missing the prayers were not mentioned in Al Quran. Answers for all these questions can only be obtained from Al Hadith, that is, through the practices of beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him). Hence, following Al Hadith is the compulsory for a Muslim.
There are six Hadith collections which are considered as the most authenticated books by Muslims.
(a) Sahih Al Bukhari
(b) Sahih Al Muslim
(c) Sunan Abu Dawood
(d) Sunan Al Tirmidhi
(e) Sunan Al Nasai
(f) Sunan Ibn Majah
However, there are many more hadith books available with the authenticated hadith of the Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him)
WHAT IS IJMA
The great scholar Imam al-Shafi`i defines the ijma` thus in his Risala:
The adherence of the congregation (jama`a) of Muslims to the conclusions of a given ruling pertaining to what is permitted and what is forbidden after the passing of the Prophet, Peace be upon him.
By “congregation of Muslims” he actually means the experts of independent reasoning (ahl al-ijtihad) and legal answers in the obscure matters which require insight and investigation, as well as the agreement of the Community of Muslims concerning what is obligatorily known of the religion with its decisive proofs.
Imam Shafi`i continues (Risala p. 253): “The Prophet’s order that men should follow the Muslim community is a proof that the Ijma` of the Muslims is binding.” Later on (p. 286) he quotes the hadith whereby the Prophet said: “Believe my Companions, then those who succeed them, and after that those who succeed the Successors. But after them falsehood will prevail when people will swear to the truth without having been asked to swear, and testify without having been asked to testify. Only those who seek the pleasures of Paradise will keep to the Congregation…” Shafi`i comments: “He who holds what the Muslim Congregation (jama`a) holds shall be regarded as following the Congregation, and he who holds differently shall be regarded as opposing the Congregation he was ordered to follow. So the error comes from separation; but in the Congregation as a whole there is no error concerning the meaning of the Qur’an, the Sunna, and analogy (qiyas).”
Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“My community (ummah) will not agree on an error.”
Books – Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad
WHAT IS QIYAS
It refers the process of analogical reasoning in which the teachings of the Hadith are compared and contrasted with those of the Qur’an, i.e., in order to make an analogy with a known injunction (nass) to a new injunction. As a result of this method, the ruling of the Sunnah and the Qur’an may be used as a means to solve or provide a response to a new problem that may arise.
For example, Qiyas is applied to the injunction against drinking wine to create an injunction against cocaine use.
1. Identification of a clear, known thing or action that might bear a resemblance to the modern situation, such as the wine drinking.
2. Identification of the ruling on the known thing. Wine drinking is haraam, prohibited.
3. Identification of the reason behind the known ruling (‘illah). For example, wine drinking is haraam because it intoxicates. Intoxication is bad because it removes Muslims from mindfulness of God. This reason behind the reason is termed hikmah.
4. The reason behind the known ruling is applied to the unknown thing. For instance cocaine use intoxicates the user, removing the user from mindfulness of God. It is therefore prohibited.