- Nature and Purpose of Sharia
- Sharia is a word derived from the Arabic term ‘Shara’a which literally means “the straightpath or road leading to a watering place.”
- The word has been refered to in the Qura’n as Shir’ah (law, rules of practical conduct).[Q 5:48]
- Technically, it is the Islamic code of law ordained by Allah for his servants as derived from the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (hadith) of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH.)
- The law is composed of a divinely ordained path of conduct showing Allah’s commands to guide the Muslim society.
- The major purpose of Islamic Sharia is to guide man's search for truth.
- Therefore, shari’ah touches on all aspects of every person's spiritual or moral relations with other humans and with the rest of Creation.
- In these dealings, there are six broad areas expounded on by the Sharia.
- These are:
- Matters of faith (Iman)
- Acts of worship (Ibadah)
- Family relations (Muammalat)
- Business transactions (Tijara)
- The concept of crimes and punishments(Uqubat)
- International laws.
- The word fiqh is an Arabic term meaning "a deep understanding" or "full comprehension" of what is intended.
- An example of this is found in the supplication of Prophet Musa (AS) when he asked Allah (SWT) to remove impediment from his speech so that Firaun and his people could understand him.
- Prophet Musa (AS) said to Allah (SWT), “And remove the impediment from my tongue so that they may understand my speech(yafqahu-qawly).”[Q 20: 27-28]
- The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whomever Allah wants good for, He will grant him Fiqh (deep understanding) of the religion.”(Bukhari)
- Technically the word Fiqh is used to signify deep understanding of matters related to Islam.
- It is the knowledge and the understanding of Sharia.
- Fiqh refers to the study of Islamic sources of Sharia (i.e. Qur’an, Hadith, Ijma and Qiyas) in order to understand them.
- It is an expansion of the code of conduct (Sharia) dealing with the observance of acts of worship, morals and social legislation in Islam using the rulings and interpretations of Muslim Jurists.
- These jurists are kown as Fuqah(singular, faqih).
|Body of revealed laws found in both Qura’n and Sunnah.||Body of laws deduced from sharia to cover specific situations not directly mentioned in the Sharia.|
|It is God given and its main aim is to lead on to a meaningfull life.||Refers to the effort employed to the understanding of the sources of Sharia.|
|Most parts are general||They tend to be specific|
|They lay down basic principles in Islam||They give details in the understanding and application of the Sharia.|
|They are fixed, unchangeable and eternal.||Certain components are fixed while others are subject to change according the situation.|
|Embrace all human beliefs activities and actions.||Deals with legal rulings and acts.|
- We have earlier learnt that Sharia is a path leading to a watering point.
- The purpose of Sharia is to guide man to the straight path so that he can attain peace of mind and co-exist harmoniously with the other creations.
- This guidance is derived from the Allah (SWT) and through the guidance of the Prophet (PBUH).
- There are four sources of Islamic Sharia but are categorized into two: The Primary sources and secondary sources.
Primary sources of Sharia
- Anything that is referred to as ‘primary’ usually forms the basis, foundation or pillar upon which others depend on.
- The structure of Islamic law is based on foundations known as ‘the roots of law.’
- They form the primary sources of Sharia.
- These are the main pillars guiding the Muslims on all aspects of life.
- These sources include: Qura’n and Hadith.
- We are to discuss each of these sources in details.
- In Book 1, we studied the reasons why the Qur’an was revealed.
- Among them is to offer guidance to the humankind.
- Allah (SWT) says: “This (Qur’an) is a plain statement for mankind, a guidance and instruction to those who are Al Muttaqun (the pious).”[Q 3:138]
- Revelation of the Qur’an came at a time when the society was practicing many social evils like worshiping idols, performing shirk, gambling, taking intoxicants among others.
- The Qura’n is the fundamental and main source of Sharia from which all other sources derive authority.
- Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), to whom the Qur’an was revealed, had the duty of teaching the society good morals and ridding it off the evils.
- Allah (SWT) therefore sent Angel Jibril (AS) with the Qur’an to the Prophet as the first source of Islamic Sharia.
- Allah (SWT) says,
“Say (O Muhammad) Ruhul Qudus (Angel Jibril) has brought it (the Qur’an) down from your Lord with truth, that it may make firm and strengthen (the faith of) those who believe, and as a guidance and glad tidings to those who have submitted (to Allah as Muslims).” [Q 16:102]
- The above verse points out that indeed Angel Jibril (AS) was in charge of revelation which was given by Allah (SWT).
- The Qur’an was revealed within duration of 23 years divided into Makkan and Madinan period.
- We shall study more about these periods in Book 4.
- Throughout these revelation, the verses were necessitated by the certain events or questions asked to the Prophet which he had to respond to.
- We shall therefore find most of the legislations discussed in the Qur’an responding to questions or events that took place either during the life time of the prophet or concerning the previous nations.
- Let us consider the following examples:
- When the Makkans asked the Prophet about wine and gambling, Allah revealed the following verse:“They ask you about wine and gambling say, ‘there is great evil in them as well as benefit to man. But the evil is greater than the benefit.” [Q 2:219]
- The Makkans at one time asked the Prophet about the day of Qiyama. Allah revealed the following verse: “They ask you about the Hour: “When will be its appointed time?” Say: “The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (Alone). None can reveal its time but He. Heavy is its burden through the heaven and the earth. It shall not come upon you except all of sudden.”They ask you as if you have a good knowledge of it, say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with Allah (Alone) but most of mankind know not.” [Q 7:187]
- Allah (SWT) teaches the Prophet previous events in the Qur’an by use of stories. Almighty Allah (SWT) says: “We relate to you (Muhammad) the best of stories through our revelations to you, of this Qur’an. And before it (.ie. the coming of Divine revelation to you), you were among those who knew nothing about it (Qur’an). [Q 12:3]
- The stories mentioned here are narrated to the Prophet so that he can learn about the previous nations so that he could offer guidance to the people.
- We are going to learn more about the use of narratives in the Qur’an when we study the language and style of the Qur’an in Book 1.
- Allah says: “And this is a Book which We have reveal as a blessing: So follow and be righteous, that you may receive mercy.” [ Q6:155]
- From the above examples, we discover that the Qur’an as a source of law outlines legislations on various issues at length. It makes it in a simple way so that they can be understood.
- We shall discuss them in two main categories:
1. Laws dealing with Allah and human beings.
- The relationship between Allah (SWT) and His creations is based on belief and worship. Allah (SWT) say: Muslims should establish a strong relationship by believing in the pillars of Iman. They include; believeing in Allah (SWT), the Angels, His Books, His Messengers in the Day of Judgment and in Qadar.
- Muslims should also perform the acts of Ibadah as prescribed in the Qur’an. They include performing Swalat, giving Zakat, observing Saum and going for Hajj.
- Verses of the Qur’an outline complete details on punishments to be awarded for crimes committed. For example, punishments for murder, theft, adultery among others.
2. Laws dealing with human relations.
- In this case, the Qur’an has well established legislations on how man should govern himself and his affairs.
- It oulines the following:
- The family law on marriage, divorce and roles of the family members.
- It has a well established system of inheritance with each heir having specific shares allocated.
- Trade and business laws are clearly stated.
- It directs man on how to relates with the international community and avoid conflicts.
- The moral expections of a Muslim are laid out proportionately with punishments on social evils like theft, adultery, taking of intoxicants among others.
Why the Qur’an is considered as a major source of Sharia.
- It is the external miracle of Allah that cannot be imitated.
- It outlines legislations dealing with man, his creator and other creations.
- It addresses all humankind without distinction of race, region or time.
- It rules are simple and easy to follow as they were gradually reaveled.
- It seeks to guide humankind in all aspects of life.
- It gives guidance on the modes of worship.
- It gives solutions to the daily challenges of man and guides him to the right path.
- It gives the criterion to distinguish between good and evil.
- It gives knowledge of the unseen world like the description of hell and paradise.
- It contains rules dealing with all aspects of life i.e. social, economic, political and moral.
- In Form 2, we mentioned that Hadith are the sayings, actions, approvals and qualities of the Prophet.
- Allah (SWT) says, “He who obeys the apostle assuredly obeys Allah.” [Q 4:56] He further says, “Whatever the messenger gives you, take it and whatever he forbids you, leave it.”[Q 57:9]
- The two verses are emphasizing on the importance of following the teachings of the Prophet.
- Can you recall what the Prophet (hBUH) said about the Qur’an and Hadith during his farewell address?
- He stressed to the believers thus, “… verily I have left among you the book of Allah (SWT) and the Sunnah of His apostle which if you hold fast you shall never go astray…”.
- A believer observes that Hadith is the second most important source of Sharia after the Holy Qur’an.
- Hadith offers the best explanation to the verses of the Qur’an.
- Allah (SWT) tells the Prophet in the Qur’an, “And We have sent down unto you also the message, that you may explain clearly to men what is send for them, and that they may give thought.” [Q 16:44]
- The Prophet therefore gave his swahabas the practical teachings of the Qur’an through his exemplary life and character.
- Even today Muslims still learn this exemplary character through the hadith that were collected and compiled by the Muslim scholars.
Hadith as a source of Sharia
1) Hadith explains verses of the Qur’an.
- The Qur’an states that the every Muslim should establish prayer but it does not explain the details.
Allah (SWT) says:“And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night.”[Q 11:114]
Hadith of the Prophet clarifies on the number of rak'as in each Salat, their times, conditions, and the Sunnah prayers.
Let us consider the following examples;
Abdullah bin Amr (RA) narrates that the Prophet said, “The time of noon prayer is when the sun passes the meridian and the shadow of the man (is of the same length) as his height and it (last) as long as the time of the afternoon prayer has not come: The time of the evening prayer is as long as the twilight does not disapper and the time of the night prayer is upto the middle of the night. The time of the morning prayer is from the appearance of the dawn as long as the sun has not risen, but when the sun has risen, referain from prayer, for it rises between the horns of the devil.” (Muslim)
- The Quran ordains believers to pay Zakat but the details on the time for paying it, items payable for zakat among others are explained by the Prophet in his Hadith.
Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “No zakat is to be paid on one’s horse (that he rides)or one’s slave.” (Bukhari)
In another narration, Ali (RA) says that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) says, “When you posses two Dirhams at the end of the year (if you still have all of them), five Dirhams are levied on them as zakat. There is nothing upon you (to be paid) in gold until it reaches (the value of) twenty Dinars. When you posses twenty Dinars, at the end of the year, then there is half a Dinar levied on it as zakat. Any additional amount will be calculated in the same manner. No zakat is to be paid on monotery holdings, until they have been owned for one year.” (Abu aaud)
2) Hadith also explains and gives guidelines on economic, business transactions and commercial ethics.
- Rifa’ah bin Rafi’ (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) was asked, “Which type of earning is the best? He said, “A man’s earning through working with his own hands, and every business transaction which is approved.” (Al-Bazzar)
3) Hadith guides Muslims onmoral traits, virtues which regulate people's lives.
- Below are some examples in Hadith:
Anas bin Malik (RA) relates that:The Prophet (PBUH) used to repeat his words three times to make sure that they are understood; and when he met people and greated them, he used to repeat his greatings three times.” (Bukhari)
Abu Qadata (RA) relates that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “The one who serves drinks to people should be the last to drink.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
Aisha (RA) relates, “I never saw the messenger of God (PBUH) laughing in a way that the inside of his mouth is apparent; he only used to smile.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Secondary sources of Sharia
- Apart from the two main sources of Sharia, we have others which supplement the rules of the Qur’an and Hadith.
- These are refered to as secondary sources of Sharia.
- They include Ijma(the consensus of the companions of the Prophet) and Qiyas(general consensus of the scholars).
- Let us discuss in details each of these sources.
- Ijma is a verbal word from the Arabic term Ajma’, which means to determine or to agree upon something.
- Literally,Ijma means assembling, coming together or collecting.
- The process of Ijma therefore involves bringing together different materials or information.
- Technically, Ijma refers to the unanimous agreement or consensus of opinion of various Muslim jurists who are refered to as Mujtahidin on an issue concerning the Sharia in the light of the Qur’an and Hadith.
- Ijma is the the third source of Islamic Sharia.
- Allah (SWT) directs the Muslims in the Qur’an to obey the Him, His Prophet and those in authority.
- Allah (SWT) says,“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the messenger and those charged with authority among you…”[Q 4:59]
- In another verse, Allah (SWT) says, “When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear, they divulge it. If they had only referd it to the messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigation would have tested it from them (directly)…” [Q 4:83]
- Muslims should therefore refer to the Qur’an and the Hadith when looking for solutions.
- An heir who kills the bequeathed or a person he or she should inherit from is prohibited from inheritance. This is following the Prophet’s hadith reported by Abu Huraira (RA), “A murderer doesn’t inherit.” Likewise, a bequeathed who kills the person who wrote a will in his favour shall not inherit.
- If a guardian burns the orphan’s property, he shall be regarded as one who has squandered the wealth himself. This is based on the verses of the Qur’an when Allah (SWT) says, “Lo! Those who devour the wealth of orphans wrongfully, they do not but swallow fire into their bellies, and they will be exposed to burning flame.”[Q 4:10]
General rules for valid application of Qiyas
- The rules should not be found in the Qur’an, Hadith or issue agreed upon by Ijma.
- The person engaged in Qiyas should be Mujtahiduns.
- The Qiyas must reasoned out well and conform to the teachings of Islam.
- It must be applicable to the relevant situation.
- The term Ijtihad is rooted from Arabic word Ijtahada, Juhd which means to strive, to endeavour, to struggle or to employ effort in performing certain activities.
- Technically, the term Ijtihad refers to the process of making legal decisions through independent interpretations of the legal sources of Sharia i.e. Quran and Hadith.
- The person who carries out the process of Ijtihad is refered to as a Mujtahid who should have the following qualities:
- Mastery of the Arabic language. This is meant to minimize the possibility of misinterprating the revelation.
- Mastery of the Ulumul Hadith (Science of Hadith.)
- Good mastery of the Quran and Sunnah.
- Should be logical and have sound reasoning.
- Should have vast knowledge on the views of the Swahabas (hrophets’ companions)
- Should have knowledge of Qiyas, its types and conditions for its application.
- Knowledge of one’s own society and of public interest.
- He should understand the fundamental principles of fiqh.
- Know the general objectives of Sharia.
- He should be of good moral character.
i) During the time of the Prophet (610-632 C.E)
- This period begins from the time when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) started receiving wahyi (revelation) upto the time when he passes away, a period of 23 years.
- At the beginning of Prophethood, Allah (SWT) revealed to His noble Prophet verses emphasizing on Tawheed (Oneness of Allah).
- These verses condemned evils like shirk among other vices.
- However, after Hijra (migration)the first Muslim community was established in Madina under the headship of the Prophet (PBUH) in 622 C.E.
- At this period Allah revealed more verses but had a lot of emphasison rules and regulations in order to govern the Muslims.
- The Muslim community was under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who was also their supreme judge.
- The Prophet (SWT) started teaching his companions the basic principles of the Islamic conduct as laid down in the Holy Qur’an.
- He also heped resolve all legal problems that arose in his community.
- During this time the Qur’an was the main source of Islamic Sharia and the Prophet used to interprate and explainon the verses of the Holy Qur’an.
- The Prophet’s swahaba (companions) made sure that they learned the Holy Qur’an and the Prophets Hadith by heart and applied their teachings in their day-to-day life.
- The Prophet had a number of scribes who wrote down the verses of the Holy Qur’an to for the purpose of preservation.
- They would consult the Prophet in case of doubt or to seek clarification.
ii) During the era of the righteous caliphat (632-661 C.E.)
- This is during the time of the four rightly guided caliphs (Sayyidna Abubakar, Umar, Uthman and Ali) and the major companions of the Prophet.
- The Prophet encouraged his companions to memorise the whole Qur’an.
- By the time he died, the whole Qur’an had been revealed and most of his swahaba had memorized it.
- After the death of the prophet, his companions continued to use the Qur’an and Hadith as the main sources of reference.
- It was during the period of caliphate Sayyidna Abubakar that the Qur’an was compiled into one volume.
- Then caliph Uthman standardized the Qur’an by using the Quraish dialect.
- He did this in order to bring uniformity in its recitation.
- Then the companions collected the Prophet’s Hadith and preserved them in writing.
- Islam continued to expanded far and wide and received many converts.
- Most of the converts brought into new cultures and patterns of behavior which had never been experienced before in Islam.
- This became a big challenge to the caliphs since the new problems could not fetch solutions directly from the Holy Qur’an and the Prophets traditions.
- In order to solve them the righteous caliphs depended on on decisions by Ijma (consensus) as well as Ijtihad.
- The Caliphs extensive use of Ijma and Ijtihad in tackling the new challenges made them establishe procedures which later became the foundation for Islamic legislation.
- This later resulted to the well established madhabs, namely; Shafi, Hanafi, Hanbal and Maliki schools of thought.
iv) Era of Abassid
- This was a period that came immediately after the decline of the Ummayyad Dynasty.
- It covers the rise of the Abasssid extending from 750-950 C.E.
- During this period Fiqh took place as an independent Islamic science.
- All the Muslim Caliphs gave significant support to the scientific, philosophical and theological scholarly work which had great influence to Islamic thought.
- It was also during this period that various compilations of Hadith and Fiqh were made.
- The various schools of thought (madhabs) gained popularity and students of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) learnt from their specific imams.
- We learnt earlier in this chapter that Ijtihad is a valid source of Islamic Sharia applied by Muslim jurists to explain areas where the Quran and Hadith are explicit.
- The right of proper reasoning and ijtihad, or the exercise of judgement can only be left in the hands of proper Muslim scholars who are well versed with the Holy Quran and the hadith.
- There were many Muslim jurists who practiced Ijitihad but those theologians highly recognized with the knowledge of Fiqh were four i.e. Abu Hanifa, Maliki, Shafii and Hanbal.
- These four Jurists came up with the prominent schools of Islamic thought refererd to as Madhabs.
- All these four schools of thought had their reference to the Holy Qur’an and Hadith.
- These schools are in good agreement on all fundamental aspects of Islam.
- We are ball aware that the schools of thought did not exist during the time of the Prophet but were prompted by the following reasons:
- he need to have a Muslim scholar to rely on in matters of the Sharia. Some Muslims opted to rely on the Ahlul Hadith (the people of Hadith) while others prefered Ahlul Ra’ay (people of opinion.)
- The need to resolve the difference that arose in the interpretation and understanding of some of the verses of the Holy Qur’an.
- The need to remove the differences in the interpretation and understanding of the Hadith and Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH).
- Emergence of new situations that had not exsisted during the earlier times led to differences in opinion among scholars.
- The Muslim empire expanded to far areas which had unique problems that required solutions based on their Geographical positions or cultural backgrounds.
i) Imaam Abu Hanifah
- He was in born 699 C.E in Kufa Iraq in the era of the swahabas.
- His full name is Nu’man ibn Thabit Ibn Zuta Ibn Maah.
- He was of Persian origin.
- He lived during the era of the Tabi’ns at a time when the Umayyad dynasty was in charge of the Muslim empire.
- A time when the Muslim scholars were denied the opportunity to study or give rulings based on the Sharia.
- He acquired basic Islamic teachings as a child from his father who was of Persian origin and a silk merchant.
- Subsequently, he supported the family business as a silk merchant.
- He then learnt Philosophy and Ilmul Kalam (knowledge of dialects).
- At the age of 22 years, he spent much of his spare time in debating and associating himself with scholars in search of knowledge.
- He had mastered the Art of deriving rulings by Qiyas (Analogy).
- For 18 years, he joined the debate gatherings of lmam Hammad bin Abi Suleiman, a student of Anas bin Malik.
- Imam Hammad taught him Islamic Fiqh.
- Other teachers of Imaam Abu Hanifa include the following: Aamir Ibn Shurahbeel, Sha’abi Kufi, Ziyaad Ibn Ilaqa, Muhammed Ibn Munkadir Madni Alqama Ibn Marthad Adi Ibn Thabit, Simaak Ibn Harb, Qays Ibn Muslim Kufi, Mansoor Ibn Umar and Qataada Basri. He also attended lessons of Hadith from Imam Malik even though he was thirteen years younger than him.
- Imam Abu Hanifa was also a student of Imaam Aamir Sha’bi, who taught him Hadith.
- As a scholar of Hadith, Abu Hanifa came up with the following principles for accepting Hadith:
- The Hadith should be remembered in its correct form since the day of its hearing to the the very time of narration.
- The hadith must have been projected by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and narrated onwards through reliable persons.
- The Hadith should not contradict the Qur’an or other famous hrophet’s traditions.
- He was God fearing, generous, knowledgeable, thoughtful and virtuous.
- He spent most of his time reciting and teaching the Qur’an, giving out sadaqa, visiting the sick among other acts of ibadah.
- Imam Abu Hanifa started the /first school of thought called, Hanafi school of thought.
- He taught several students but never asked for any payment.
- In fact he would pay fees for the poor students.
- Among his famous students include: Qazi Abu Yusuf, Muhammad Ibn Hasan,Abu Ismat Mugheera Ibn Miqsam, Zufar Ibn Huzayl, Hammad Ibn Abu Hanifah, eunus Ibn Is‘haaq, Ja’ far Ibn Awn, Abu Bakr Ibn Ayyaash, Abdullah Ibn Mubarak, Ali Ibn Aasim and Ubaydullah Ibn Musa.
- In his school of thought, he introduced the principle of Istihsan (preference of two things on the basis of the public good).
Formation of the Hanafi Madhab
- Imam Abu Hanifa based his method on Shura (consultations).
- His students would discuss a problem posed to them by the Imam and would then present their agreements to the Imam.
- They would also debate on hypothetical problems and work out on solutions based on the principle of preparing for a problem before its occurrence.
- He considered the Quran and Hadith to be the main source of Islamic Sharia.
- He also used Ijma of the Swahaba, individual opinions of the Swahabas, Qiyas, Istihsan and local customs.
Features of Hanafi School of Thought
- He named his school the Hanafiyya School.
- he Hadith he accepted had to be both Sahih and widely used.
- He accepted to use Ijma applied by Muslim scholars of any age as long as all the Muslims abide by it.
- He prefers the Qiyas of sahabas but not that of Tabiins to his own Qiyas.
- He laid less emphasis on oral traditions.
- He developed the supplementary law which he called Istihsan (preference of two things on the basis of the public good).
- He advocated for the acquisition of knowledge for the betterment of Islam and not for material gain.
- He formed a committee of experts in legal matters (shura) which comprised of forty scholars of hadith, tafsir and grammar. Its role was to compile a book of complete set of rules on Islamic legal matters.
- Apart from teaching many students, Imam Abu Hanifa left behind several literary works of Islamic Jurisprudence for the Muslim Ummah.
- Among these books are:
- ‘Kitaab-ul-Aathar’ - compiled from a total of 70,000 Hadith
- ‘Aalim-wal-muta ‘allim’ (the scholar and the student)
- ‘Fiqh Akbar’(the great Fiqh)
- ‘Kitaabul Rad alal Qaadiriyah’
Challenges faced by Imam Abu Hanifa
- During the reign of Ibn Hubaira as a ruler of Kufa, Imaam Abu Hanifah rejected his request of the post of Chief Justice because he did not want to be involved with corruption and also feared being unjust in judgement.
- He was therefore persecuted by passing through the city mounted upon a horse, while being whipped 10 times a day for eleven consecutive days.
- Caliph Abu Jaafar Mansoor again offered him the same position which he again rejected.
- He was imprisoned and violently beaten.
- He was lashed, 30 times until blood seeped to his heels.
- He was again imprisoned for fifteen days, with restricted rations of food.
- During this time, he was forced to drink a poison that led to his death.
- He died in the month of Rajab 150 A.H in the state of prostration.
- His funeral prayer was offered five times, because of the multitude of people.
- Hammad, his only child led the funeral prayer.
- The Hanafi laws are mostly applied in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Russia, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries in the Middle East.
ii) Imam Malik bin Anas
- Malik ibn Anas was born in Madina 717 C.E during the time of the Umayyads at the era of the Tabiin.
- He is the second of the four major imams.
- He belonged to the Arab family of Humayir from Yemen.
- He is the second among the four major Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence.
- His family had a deep educational background and this gave Imam Malik an advantage to acquire basic Islamic knowledge from his grand father (‘Amr) and uncle (Abu Suhail Nafi’) at an early age.
- He was knowledgeable in Qur’an, Hadith and fiqh, spoke the truth fearlessly and advocated for the doing of good.
- He had a very strong memory and memorised the Qur’an at the age of seven.
- Imam Malik was very simple in character, pious and had no favouritsm when making legal decisions.
- He spent his time reciting the Qur’an and was engrossed in prayer during the night.
- He would take wudhu before narrating any hadith as a sign of respect.
- Abu Radim Nafi’ bin Abd al- Rahman taught him how to recite Qur’an according to Tajweed.
- Other prominent teachers of Imam Malik include, Ja’afar Al- Swidiq, Mohammad bin Yahyah al- Ansari, eahaya bin Sai’d, Hisham bin Urwa among others.
- He was famous for his piety and integrity and courageously stood up to oppose suppression.
- For example, when the governor of Madina demanded and forced people to take the oath of allegiance to Khalifa al-Mansour, Imam Malik issued a Fatwa that such an oath was not binding, because it was given under duress.
- This resulted in many people finding courage to express their opposition, but the Imam was arrested, found guilty of defiance and publicly flogged.
- When the caliph learnt of this outrage, he apologized to the Imam and dismissed the governor.
Formation of Malik school of Thought
- Imam Malik’s method of teaching was based on the narration of hadith and the discussion of their meanings in the context of the problems of that day.
- He would either narrate Hadith or statements of the Swahabas on various topics to his students then discuss their implications, or he would inquire about problems which had arisen in the areas from where his students came and then narrate appropriate hadith or statements of the swahabas which could be used to resolve them.
- He used the following sources of law; Qura’n, Sunnah, Amal (practices of the Madinites), Ijma of the sawhabas, individual opinions of the Swahabas, Qiyas, Urf (Customs of the Madinites), Istislah (Welfare) and customs or social habits of people throughout the world not contrary to Islam.
Main features of the Malik School of Thought
- He named his school of thought Malikiya.
- He accepted both Qur’an and Hadith as the primary sources of Sharia.
- He formulated the supplementary law called Urf (Rules based on the traditions and practices of the people of Madina).
- He collected his works in his book called al- Muwatta (the path made plain) which contained issued on Fiqh, Hadith and Islamic theology.
- He accepted Ijma of scholars of any age as a source of Sharia.
- He applied his own Qiyas but with a lot of caution and would prefer the opinion of the swahabas to his own.
- He accepted Istihsan but referred to it as Istislah i.e. laws made in public interest.
Death of Imam Malik
- Imam Malik became ill for three weeks he passed away on 10th RabiulAwal in 795C.E. and was buried in Jannatul Baqi in the Holy city of Madina.
- The followers of the Malik School of thought are found in North Africa, al-Andalus, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, and Khurasan.
iii) Imam Shafi’
- His full name is Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Idris al- Shafi’.
- He was a descendant from the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraish.
- He was born in 150 A.H/767A.D in Gaza, Palestine but moved to Makkah at the age of 2 years.
- He was pious, generous and a very good Arabic orator.
- Because of his sharp memory, he learnt the Holy Qur'an by heart at the age of seven.
- When he reached fifteen, his knowledge was so thorough that he had mastered Imam Malik’s al Muwatta.
- He was very keen in learning and mastering the Traditional Islamic Sciences like Qur’an, Hadith and Fiqh.
- Al-Shafi' traveled extensively for the sake of spreading and acquiring knowledge.
- He went to Madinah where he met Imam Malik and memorised many hadith from him.
- He also visited Iraq twice and met Imam Al-Shaybani from whom he acquired knowledge especially on the Hanafi school of thought.
- While in Iraq, he taught the jurisprudence of the Qur'an and Sunnah.
- He also taught linguistics, poetry and genealogy, and held debates with people who were fanatically following their madhahib (schools of thought).
- During these debates, he never argued nor showed anger.
- He then left for Egypt where he intended to study under Imam Al-Layth but before he reached there, the Imam had died.
- He remained in Egypt where until his death in 204 A.H.
Formation of his the Shafii School of Thought
- Imam Shafii integrated the systems of the Malikiyya (Maliki school of thought) and Hanafiyya (Hanafi school of thought).
- The integration’s outcome was a book called Al Hujja (the evidence) which he dictated to his students as they memorised.
- Among his students were Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ismail ibn Yahyah Al- Muzany, Ar-Rabii al Maradii, Hassan bin Muhammad Az-Zaffarani,Yussuf ibn Yahya al-Buwayti and Abu Thaur.
- He holds the merit of being the first Imam to systemize the essential principles of Fiqh.
- He used the Qur’an and Hadith as the main sources of law.
- He also applied Ijma of the swahaba (prophet’s companions), Qiyas, individual opinions of the swahabas, Qiyas and Istishab (linking).
Features of the Shafii school of thought
- He called his school the Shafii School of Thought.
- He accepted Qur’an as the first source of Sharia and the basis on which all the other sources of Islamic Sharia rely upon.
- He introduced the fundamentals of jurisprudence (usul Al-Fiqh). This earned him the title ‘the revivalist of the second century’ because he collected hadith from different countries and scholars.
- Shafii wrote his famous book, Al-Risalah (the message), purely based on the literal meaning of the Qur'an, then on the authentic Sunnah. It is considered by Muslim scholars as the foundation of Islamic jurisprudence.
- He also wrote Al-Umm (the essence/ the mother) in which he dictated the new school of thought to his students.
- He accepted a hadith provided they were authentic and considered following and applying the Sunnah as equally important as following the Qur'an.
- He supported the use of consensus (ijma) and discouraged the use of one's personal judgment without relying on the three sources of Sharia.
- Imam Shafi’ considered his Qiyas to be inferior to the swahabas opinions.
- He preferred the use of the supplementary law of Istishab i.e.linking a past ruling on Fiqh to the present events happening then deriving a judgement.
His works include:
- Kitab-ul-umm (the essence)
- Al-Risala Fi Usul al Fiqh. (the message)
- Al Hujja (the evidence) Death of Imam Shafii
- Imam Shafii suffered an intestinal attack in the last years of his life and died on 30th Rajab 204 A.H. in Egypt and was buried near Mount al Muqattam.
- The Governor of Egypt led his Janaza prayers.
- His two sons Abul Hasan Muhammad and Uthmaan were present for the funeral rites.
- Imam Shafii has followers all over the world including; Indonesia, Egypt, Yemen, East Africa, Malasya, Oman, South America and Hadhramout.
iv) Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal
- His full name is Ahmad bin Mohammad bin Hanbal bin Hilal bin Idrees Asheybaany.
- He was born on 20th of Rabi` Awwal 164 A.H. /780 C.E in Baghdad, Iraq.
- His father passed away before his birth and was brought up by his mother.
- She was keen that he learns the different disciplines of knowledge prevalent at that time.
- So, he memorised the Qur’an and dedicated himself to the study of knowledge of Hadith from various teachers.
- During his early age, he joined the classes of Abu Yusuf, a student of Imam Abu Hanifah for a period of four years.
- He recorded in writing all what he learnt. Imam Hashim ibn Basheer, the grand scholar of Hadith in Baghdad also taught Imam Abu Hanifa.
- Moreover, whenever he heard that a knowledgeable scholar came to Baghdad, he would seek to acquire knowledge from him.
- In this regard, he learned from the great scholars like Na`eem ibn Hammad, Abdul-Rahman ibn Mahdi, and `Umayr ibn Abdullah ibn Khaled.
- He dedicated himself to studying at the hands of Shafi` for a period of time, during which he learned fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and its principles.
- Imam Ahmad used to teach and issue fatwa (legal rulings) in Baghdad in 204 A.H. / 819 CE, just after Imam Ash-Shafi died.
- He would hold two knowledge-imparting circles: a special one at his home for his keen students and a general one in the mosque after the `Asr Prayer for ordinary people and knowledge-seekers in general.
- Among his students are; Abu Bakr Al-Maruzy, Abu Bakr Al- Athram, Al-Bukhari, Ibrahim ibn Ishaq Al-Harbi, Ishaq ibn Mansur At-Tamimi, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Baqi ibn Makhlad.
Formation of the Hanbal School of Thought
- Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal is well known for his book called Musnad (supported).
- He used to discuss and issue Fatwa (legal ruling) based on the Qur’an, the traditions of the Prophet found in the Musnad and the opinions of the Swahabas.
- He also used the Ijma (verdicts by the companions), opinions of the swahabas supported by divine texts and Qiyas.
Features of the Hanbal School of law
- He called his school Hanbali School of thought.
- He accepted Qur’an as the first and most authoritative source of law.
- On hadith, he would only accept it if it was Marfu (directly attributed to the Prophet)
- He would only accept Ijma agreed on during the Swahabas time.
- He reluctantly applied the Qiyas. He preffered to use a weak hadith where it was available as long as the weakness was not due to a narrator being a liar or Fasiq (degenerated) to his Qiyas.
Challenges faced by Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal
- Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal in the later years of his life, was imprisoned and tortured by the rulers who wanted him to support their un-Islamic belief that the Qur’an was a creation of Allah (SWT).
- Caliph Mutasim billah forced the Imam to accept the beliefs of the "Mu'tazalis" but he refused, and was beaten to such a degree that his joints were dislocated.
- He was chained for 30 months in a prison in Baghdad.
- He still refused to accept these beliefs and was again beaten till he fell unconscious.
- On the 25th of Ramadhan in the year 221 A.H, Caliph Mutasim, in fear of the sin he committed, repented and set the Imam free.
- He passed away on 12th, Rabi` Thani 241 A.H/ 855 CE at the age of 77 and was buried in Baghdad.
- He started the Hanbali school of thought which has its followers mainly in Palestine, Saud Arabia, Syria and Lebanon.
- Al-Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal (The Authenticated) is the most prominent book among his writings. It is the biggest record of the Prophet’s Sunnah as it includes about twenty eight thousand traditions.
- As-Sunnah, handles the hadiths on matters of belief.
- Kitab-us- Salat (on the discipline of prayer)
- Al-Wara` wa Al-Iman (Piety and Faith) focuses on the hadiths and narrations tackling piety and awareness of Allah (SWT).
- Fada’il As-Sahabah (Virtues of the Companions) contains almost 2000 narrations about the virtues of the Prophet’s rompanions.
Imam Jafar as-Sadiq
- Jafar Mohammad as-Sadiq was born on the eighth of Ramadan in the 83 A.H. /702CE.
- He is the son of the fifth Imam of the Shia, Muhammad Al-Baqir who was also known as Zainul Abideen.
- He succeded his father as the sixth Imam of the Shia.
- In his early life, he lived with his father and grandfather who taught him good morals and Islamic principles.
- He increased his knowledge of hadith by visiting prominent scholars like `Urwa, `Aata, Nafi` and Zuhri.
- He was a mufassir (of the Qur'an, a scholar of jurisprudence, and one of the greatest mujtahids (qualified to give legal decisions) in Madinah.
- Once he had acquired knowledge, he began holding lecture sessions to
thousands of Muslims in Masjidu Nabawi (Prophet’s mosque).
- Other than religious knowledge, Imam Ja’far was well versed in the Sciences like Al-kemy, astronomy, Geography and Geology.
- This advanced study of sciences is attributed to his producing scholars like Jabir bin Hayyan, Suffyan Athawry and Said al Ansari.
- He spent his life in worship and acts of piety for the sake of Allah.
- He rejected all positions of fame offered to him by both the Umayyad and the Abassid caliphs and prefered to stay in isolation from the world.
- He did not support either of the Dynasties and was gaining popularity from the people.
- When Caliph Mansoor took over the Caliphate, he kept ImamJa’farunder close supervision since he feared the respect and love that Jafar enjoyed from the people.
- Eventually the Imam was allowed-to return to Medina where he spent the rest of his life in hiding until he was poisoned.
- He died on 15th Rajab 148 A.H.
- He was washed and shrouded by his son musa al- Kadhimy.
- Islam came to the world to revive, and rekindle the greatest human values and qualities that had long been neglected and forgotten.
- Its message came with clear rules enumerating the rights of Allah (SWT), the rights of the human being – the rights of the governed and those who govern; the rights of the young and old; the rights of the student and the teacher; the rights of the man, woman, and child; the rights of the employee and the employer among other relationships.
- Allah only wants mankind to worship Him alone and ascribe no partners with Him in worship, and truly be His slaves.
- He wants them to surrender to His will, as they surrender to His control for their livelihood.
- It is only fair to worship only the One who holds the existence of everything and everyone is in His Hands.
- One should thank Allah who, alone, provides for him by worshipping Him alone.
- Mu`âdh b. Jabal relates that the Prophet (P.B.U.H) said to him: “O Mu`âdh! Do you know what Allah’s right is over His servants and what their right is over Him?”
I said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.”
He said: “Allah’s right over His servants is that they worship Him without associating any partner with Him in worship, and their right over Him is that He does not punish anyone who worships Him without associating any partner with Him in worship.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
- This hadith speaks about Allah’s rights over the people and their rights over Allah.
- It only mentions the right to worship Allah (SWT) alone.
- Muslim scholars have discussed this topic, and concluded that the rights of Allah (SWT) are based upon leniency and pardon since He is the Creator and Sustainer.
- There are numerous rights of Allah, but here we shall only discuss a few as follows:
i. Tawheed (Oneness of Allah)
- In Book One, we discussed the pillars of Iman in Islam.
- These pillars are based on belief and should be put into practice by all believing men and women.
- Among the pillars of Iman is Tawheed (monotheism).
- This is the act of directing all acts of worship to Allah (SWT) alone.
- It is the right of Allah (SWT) to be worshipped and not to be associated with anything. Allah (SWT) says,
إِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۚ فَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ قُلُوبُهُم مُّنكِرَةٌ وَهُم مُّسْتَكْبِرُونَ
لَا جَرَمَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْتَكْبِرِينَ
“Your god is one God. As to those who believe not in the Hereafter, their hearts refuse to know, and they are arrogant. Undoubtedly, Allah does know what they conceal, and what they reveal; Verily He loves not the arrogant.” [Q 16:22-23]
ii. Ibadah (worship)
- We have seen that Allah (SWT) asks all mankind to believe in Tawheed.
- In this belief, mankind is expected to practice acts of Ibadah (worship) which include; performing swalat, saum, zakat, hajj among others.
- The Qur’an and Hadith give directions on the performance of these acts of worship in the correct manner.
- However, these acts should also be directed to the correct Deity, who is none other than Allah (SWT).
- In the world today, we see people performing shirk by observing acts of worship to their ancestors, the sun, idols, animals and other creatures.
- Allah (SWT) has directed all his creations to worship Him.
- He says:
"And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and mankind except they should worship Me (alone). I seek not any provision from them nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong." [Q 51:56-58].
- The above verse mentions the word ‘serve’. This involves all actions done for the sake of Allah (SWT) and to earn His pleasure.
- Allah (SWT) says
وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ
“And your Lord says: ‘call on Me; I will answer your (prayer): But those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell-in humiliation!” [Q 40:60]
iii. Giving thanks to Allah (SWT)
- Allah (SWT) says, "And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah)." [Q 16:78]
- Giving thanks is one of the rights of Allah (SWT).
- In Sura a Rahman, Allah discusses the favours and bounties He Has given to man.
- He keeps on reminding and emphasizing on the amazing creations He Has put to the service of man.
- It is therefore man’s responsibility towards Allah (SWT) to show gratitude for all such favours.
- There are various ways of giving thanks.
- Among them are:
- Observing the acts of worship
- Making supplication
- Sharing the knowledge we have acquiredwith others.
- Using our parts of the body to worship Allah (SWT) and avoid any form of vice.
- Using our heath in the service of Allah (SWT)
- Giving out out wealth as prescribed by Allah (SWT) for zakat and sadaqah.
iv. Obedience to the Prophet (P.B.U.H)
- Allah (SWT) sent many messengers to the world to guide mankind but for Muhammad (PBUH), he came as a blessing to the creations.
- Muslims should show obedience, love and abide by the guidance sent down on him.
- Allah (SWT) says: “He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad) indeed obeys Allah.” [Q 4:80]
- In Book 2, we learnt about the principles of Islamic morality.
- We mentioned that man is dignified in the creations of Allah (SWT) and has been given the intellect and divine guidance.
- He therefore has the will to choose between the good and the evil.
- Allah says:
“We showed him the way: Whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will).” [Q 76:3]
- Likewise, man has the potential to better himself and prosper when compared with the other creations.
- He therefore has certain rights over his own body and soul that will enable him to develop spiritually, economically and socially.
- Let us now look at some of these rights:
i. Source of livelihood
- Every individual has a right to earn a living through the lawful means that the Sharia has outlined.
- Wealth earned lawfully will help a Muslim perform acts of worship that will be rewarding.
- Allah blesses the wealth of that person who earns legally and punishes the one who uses foul means to earn a living.
- In a Hadith Qudsi Allah has commanded the believers what He Has commanded the Messengers, for He said; O Messengers! Eat from the pure foods, and do right, and He said, O ye who believe! Eat from pure and good foods We have given you. (Muslim)
ii. Good health and strength
- From an Islamic perspective a strong body yields a strong spirit, thus better performance of the acts of Ibadat.
- Health is also viewed as a major blessing that Allah has bestowed to mankind.
- Hadith: The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) mounted the pulpit, then wept and said, “Ask Allah (SWT) for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health” (Tirmidh).
- Health is one of the greatest favours from Almighty Allah and should not be taken for granted.
- Thus we must be grateful by keeping our bodies healthy.
- We can do this by maintaining good eating habits and avoid any harmful drinks and food such as intoxicants and drugs.
- Our bodies should get proper nourishment and rest.
- On the Day of Judgement a Muslim should also be ready to account for how he utilized his body and health.
- Hadith: It is narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “No one will be allowed to move on the Day of Judgement until he has been asked how he spent his life, how he used his knowledge, how he earnt and spent his money and in what persuits he used his health” (Tirmidh).
iii. Controlling the desires of the soul
- The human needs are endless despite Allah (SWT) bestowing on him all the bounties.
- The souls will always yern for more and for that which is unlawful.
- Sins and crimes are committed in our society due to the weakness of man’s spirit to control the desires of the soul.
- Allah (SWT) says: “Yet I do not absolve myself (of blame) the (human) soul certainly invites evil.” [Q 12:53]
iv. Fulfilling sexual desires through marriage
- Allah (SWT) has created all things in pairs for reproduction.
- Mankind is no exemption to this.
- However, the world today has challenges of fulfilling the sexual urge through either unnatural means or by being adulterous.
- Marriage has been availed as a legal channel of fulfilling the sexual desire legally.
- The Prophet (P.B.U.H) says, “O young man, those among you who can support a wife should marry for it restrains eyes (from casting evil eyes) and preserves one from immorality. But he who cannot afford it should observe fast for it is a means of controlling sexual instinct.”
- The theory of human rights in Islam has a strong spiritual dimension.
- The human being is directly accountable to his Creator.
- It is not just a matter of accountability before the law.
- Honouring the rights of other human beings is a means by which a person can become elevated in the sight of his Creator.
- In other words, the issue of upholding human rights becomes a means by which a person’s fate in the hereafter can be sealed.
- Indeed, the Prophet (P.B.U.H) describes how a person can arrive “bankrupt” on the Day of Judgment without any good deeds to his credit, simply because he failed to uphold the rights of others.
- A Muslim is therefore expected to observe the following rights over other Muslims:
- Greetings: We should greet one another when we meet and reply to the salaam (greetings) in a good way. The Islamic greetings are: As-salaamu Alaikum waramatullahi wabarakatuh.
As Allah (SWT) says:
“When a courteous greeting is offered you meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or at least of equal courtesy.” [Q 4:86]
- Accepting their invitation.
- Attending their funeral rites
- Making du’as (supplication) for scholars, leaders and authors of Islamic works.
- Accept the excuse and apologies of others and always wish for their good.
- Visit others when they sick and assist them in any need
- Accept the gifts that are sent by friends, fellow and Muslims
- Saying, 'Yarhamukallah' (may Allah bless you) when they sneeze and say Alhamdulillah' (All praise be to Allah).
- Speak to them with kindness and with soft and pleasant word
- If they take a pledge while relying on you, then fulfill their pledge.
- If two Muslims fight then create peace between them.
- Do not cause him any harm, neither in his honour nor in his wealth.
- Rights of other creatures
- Greetings: We should greet one another when we meet and reply to the salaam (greetings) in a good way. The Islamic greetings are: As-salaamu Alaikum waramatullahi wabarakatuh.
- Islam has not only laid down the rights of human beings but has also emphasized on the rights of animals, plants and other creations.
- Prophet Mohamad (PBUH) was not only sent as a mercy to mankind but as a blessing to all creatures as Allah (SWT) says, “We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures.” [Q 21:107]
- Allah (SWT) further says, “There is not an animal (that lives) on earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you…” [Q 6:38]
- The above verses indicate that Allah (SWT) has put every creation in communities and human beings live among other creationsof Allah (SWT).
- These creations include plants and animals.
- Allah has created them for the soul purpose of assisting man.
- Since we benefit from them, it is our duty to ensure that we treat them with kindness and give them their due rights.
- Anas bin Malik (RA) narrated that the prophet said, “If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or and animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much charity.” (Bukhari).
- We shall learn more on the hadith of the prophet on care for plants and animals in Book Four.
- The following are some of the rights of other creatures:
- Animals should be ridden in a humane way, carry a load they can bear, be given enough food and have a good place to live.
- They should not be abused and beaten.
- They should not be hunted as a sport or targeted during practice.
- Do not mutilate or cut parts of an animal’s body when still alive.
- Plants should be given enough water and manure.
- Plants should not be uprooted without any good reason.
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