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Unformatted text preview: lates of Moses the following words: `He said: I did it then [i.e. slayed the Egyptian] when I was in error' (al-Shu'ara', 26:20). In both these instances dalal does not imply disbelief. Similarly the Arabic expression dalla fulan `an al-tariq (so-and-so lost his way) confirms the same meaning of dalal.] It is further observed that the article 'la' in the Hadith under discussion could either imply negation (nafy) or prohibition (nahy). If the latter, it would simply prohibit the people from deviation, and as such the Hadith could not sustain the notion of infallibility for the ummah. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 167 [44. Ghazali, [45 Sadr Ijma', p. 43: An example of the 'la of prohibition' is the Qur'anic prohibition concerning adultery which reads la taqrabu al-zina (do not approach zina). With a la of prohibition the Hadith would simply instruct the community not to agree upon an error.] According to another observer, the manifest (zahir) meaning of the Hadith is that the ummah abstains from a collective agreement on an error. The Hadith, in other words, precludes a general agreement on an error, but not the error itself. These are some of the doubts which have been expressed concerning the precise meaning of the Hadith. They may or may not be correct, but so long as the Hadith is open to such doubts, it cannot provide a decisive proof (dalil qat'i) for ijma'. [46. Sadr. Ijma`, 43.] Muhammad `Abduh has observed that the Hadith in question does not speak of ijma` at all, nor does it sustain the notion of infallibility for the community. It is an exaggerated claim to read ijma' into this Hadith regardless of whether reference is made to the agreement of the jurists or to that of the community at large. [47. Rida, Tafsir al-Manar, V, 205.] It is further suggested that some of the foregoing ahadith (nos. 4, 5 and 6 in particular) simply encourage fraternity and love among the members of the community, and, as such, do not en-visage the notion of ijma' as a source of law. As for our Hadith number seven, although al-Ghazali quotes it, it is not relevant to ijma`, as it obviously means that a group of the ummah shall remain on the right path, not the ummah as a whole. The Shi'ah Imamiyyah have quoted this Hadith in support of their doctrine of the ijma' of ahl al-bayt, which refers to the members of the family of the Prophet. The word `ummah' (or jama'ah) in the foregoing ahadith means, according to one view, the overwhelming majority of Muslims. This view is supported in a number of statements from the Companions. According to another view, jama'ah refers to the scholars of the community only. The masses, it is argued, look up to the scholars from whom they acquire knowledge of law and religion, and it is the latter whose consensus is contemplated in the relevant ahadith. According to yet another opinion, ummah (and jama'ah) refers only to the Companions, who are the founding fathers of the [48. Sadr, Ijma', pp. 44-45.] Muslim community. According to this interpretation, ummah and jama'ah in all...
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