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Unformatted text preview: divine revelation. Both sides have quoted the Qur'an and the Sunnah in support of their arguments. They were able to do so partly because the Qur'anic ayat which they have quoted are on the whole open to various interpretation. The Hanafi jurists have mainly quoted two Qur'anic ayahs, both of which employ a derivation of the root word hasuna, and enjoin the believers to follow the best of what they hear and receive. They are as follows: 1. And give good tidings to those of my servants who listen to the word and follow the best of it [ahsanahu]. Those are the ones God has guided and endowed with understanding (al-Zumar, 39:18); 2. And follow the best [ahsan] of what has been sent down to you from your Lord (al-Zumar, 39:55) Qawl (lit.`word' or `speech') in the first ayah could either mean the word of God, or any other speech. If it means the former, which is more likely, then the question arises as to whether one should distinguish between the words of God which are ahsan (the best) as opposed to those which are merely hasan (good). Some commentators have suggested that the reference here is to a higher course of conduct. The Qur'an, in other words, distinguishes a superior course of conduct from that which may be considered as ordinary. Punishing the wrong-doer, for example, is the normal course enjoined by the Shari'ah, but forgiveness may at times be preferable (ahsan) and would thus represent the higher course of conduct. The basic concept of istihsan, in other words, can be seen in the Qur'an, although not in its technical form which the ulema of jurisprudence have developed. [14. Yusuf Ali's commentary to The Holy Qur'an, p.1241 at f.n. 4269.] The following two ahadith have also been quoted in support of istihsan: 1. `What the Muslims deem to be good is good in the sight of God' but it is more likely to be a saying of the prominent companion, 'Abd Allah Ibn Mas'ud; see also Shatibi, I'tisam, II, 319.] 2. 'No harm shall be inflicted or reciprocated in Islam.' Diraz), III, 17, Khudari, Tarikh, p. 199.] [15. Amidi (Ihkam, I, 241) considers this to be a Hadith ; [16. Ibn Majah, Sunan, II, 784, Hadith no. 2340; Shatibi, Muwafaqat (ed. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 221 The critics of istihsan have argued, however, that none of the foregoing provide a definite authority in support of this doctrine. Regarding the first of the two ayahs, for example, Amidi points out that it merely praises those who follow the best of what they hear. There is no indication in this ayah to render adherence to the `best speech' an obligation. Nor does the second ayah bind one to a search for the best in the revelation: if there is an injunction in the revealed sources, it would bind the individual regardless of whether it is the best of the revelation or otherwise. [17. Amidi, Ihkam, IV, p. 159.] As for the Tradition, 'what the Muslims deem good is good in the sight of God', both al-Ghazali and al-Amidi have observed that, if anything, this would provide the au...
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2013 for the course ISLAM 101 taught by Professor Islam during the Spring '13 term at Harvey Mudd College.
- Spring '13