Sunday, August 9, 2015

Introduction to Shariah (Islamic Law)

Shariah (Islamic Law)
The word Shariah, literally translated from Arabic, refers to 'the straight way' or 'the way to a watering-place'. It comes from the verb shara'a, meaning to be apparent and clear.  
In terminology this word means or refers to: "What has been revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) as Islamic rulings in the Quran, Sunnah, and other sources which branch out of them."

Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)
The Arabic term for jurisprudence (Fiqh) literally means: 'knowledge about something and understanding it.'
Fiqh's literal definition does not only mean understanding a word, instead it is a deep or profound knowledge about it.
In scholarly terms, Fiqh is defined as "the knowledge of the practical rules of the Shariah, which are derived from the detailed evidence in the sources."

What is the Relationship between Shariah and Fiqh?
Shariah is mostly general principles and maxims from which guidance for all aspects of our daily life is deduced. Fiqh, on the other hand, is the opinion of scholars of Islam, known as Fuqaha (jurists), in many cases. For the most part Shariah provides guidelines which are elaborated in Fiqh, which is the application of Shariah in real life.

The Sources of Shariah
The four fundamental sources of Shariah are the Noble Quran, Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad), Ijma' (consensus), and Qiyas (analogy) respectively.

¨The Noble Quran: is defined as "the word of Allah, as revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the Arabic language; its wording is miraculous in nature; to recite it is an act of worship; and it is that which is related in Mutawatir form (i.e., it was narrated from so many people by so many people that it is inconceivable that they could all have agreed upon a lie)."

Examples of laws derived from the Quran:
-         The obligation of Hajj (Pilgrimage); Allah says:
﴿وَلِلَّـهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿97
"Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah,- those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures." Aal-Imran [3:97]

-         Prohibition of Maytah (the meat of dead animals or carrion); Allah says:
﴿حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ
"Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat,..." Al-Ma'idah [5:3]

¨The Prophetic Sunnah: is "what has been established from the Prophet (PBUH) of his sayings, actions, tacit approvals, or attributes whether physical or moral." Allah says:
﴿وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ ﴿3 إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَىٰ ﴿4
"Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him." Al-Najm [53:3-4]

Therefore, Sunnah can be classified into three main categories: verbal utterances of the Prophet or Hadith, acts of the Prophet and the tacit assent of the Prophet.
1.     Sunnah Qauliyah (verbal Sunnah)
For example: What was narrated by Al-Nu'man bin Bashir: that The Prophet (PBUH) said: "What is lawful (Halal) is evident and what is unlawful (Haram) is evident, and in between them are (suspicious) doubtful matters..." [Bukhari #50]
2.     Sunnah Fi'liyah (practical Sunnah or Sunnah by action)
For example: The saying of Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, when she described the Ghusl (ritual bath) of the Prophet: "Whenever the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) intended to take a bath (Ghusl) because of Janabah (sexual defilement), he started by washing his hands and then performed ablution (Wudhu') as is done for Salaah (prayer). After that he would put his fingers in water and run them through the roots of his hair, and then pour water over his head with his hand three times, and then pour water all over his body. And this after making Istinjaa (cleaning the outlets of impurity)." [Ar-Rabee#138]
3.     Sunnah Taqririyah (Sunnah by agreement)
This is taken from the Prophet's silence or tacit approval regarding deeds which occurred with his knowledge.
For example: Narrated Khalid bin Al-Walid: "Allah's Messenger (PBUH) and I entered the house of Maimuna. A roasted mastigure was served. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) stretched his hand out (to eat of it) but some woman said, "Inform Allah's Messenger (PBUH) of what he is about to eat." So they said, "It is mastigure, O Allah's Messenger (PBUH)!" He withdrew his hand, whereupon I said, "O Allah's Messenger (PBUH)! Is it unlawful?" He said, "No, but this is not found in the land of my people, so I dislike it." So I pulled the mastigure towards me and ate it while Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was looking at me." [Bukhari#5537]

¨Ijma' (Consensus): is defined as "the unanimous agreement of mujtahidin (independent jurists) from the Ummah (nation) of Muhammad (PBUH), after his death, in a determined period upon a rule of law (hukm shar'i)."

Evidence for Ijma': The Prophet (PBUH) said: "Allah will not gather my Ummah (nation) upon deviation." [Ar-Rabee#39]

Example: The unanimous agreement among the Companions (Sahabah) of the Prophet (PBUH) that one's grandmother receives one-sixth of one's legacy.

¨Qiyas (Analogy or analogical deduction): is "a process to deduce a rule for a new issue that has a common Illah (effective cause) with a known rule."
Illah can be defined as "an attribute of the original case and it is found to be in common between the original and the new case."

Evidence for Qiyas: The Prophet's saying to the Khath'amiyyah woman:' You see that if your father had died in debt, would you not pay the debt on his behalf?' She said: 'Yes.' He said: 'So this is (like) that.'" [Ar-Rabee#392]

Example: According to the Hadith: "When a fly alights in anyone’s vessel, he should plunge it all in, for in one of its wings there is a disease, and in the other is a cure; and it puts the disease first and holds back the cure." [Ar-Rabee#371], the Maytah (a dead animal) of flies is pure. Therefore, the Wudhu' of one who touches it is not broken. The Illah is the lack of flowing blood in the flies. By analogy, the same rule is extended to scorpions and all other insects that have no flowing blood. 

The Approved in the Jurisprudence of Prayer (Al Mu'atamad), by Al Mu'tasam Al Ma'awali

1 comment:

  1. Assalamualaikum, I am jazuly from Indonesia, I ask for help to explain what halal and haram foods are according to the Ibadi mazhab? if you are willing to answer my question, I am very grateful