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Unformatted text preview: qadiyat) to fall within the ambit of ijma`, some have expressed the view that ijma` may not be invoked in support of such subjects as the existence of God or the truth of the prophet hood of Muhammad. The reason is that such beliefs precede ijma` itself. Ijma` derives its validity from the nusus on the infallibility (`ismah) of the ummah. These nusus, in turn, take for granted the existence of God and the Prophethood of Muhammad. Now if one attempts to cite ijma` in support of these dogmas, this would amount to circumlocution. To illustrate the point further, it may be said that the Qur'an cannot be proved by the Sunnah, because the Qur'an precedes the Sunnah. [4. According to one view, attributed to the Qadi `Abd al-Jabbar, matters pertaining to warfare, agriculture, commerce, politics and administration are described as worldly affairs, and ijma` is no authority regarding them. One reason given in support of this view is that the Prophet himself precluded these matters from the scope of the Sunnah and the same rule is to be applied to ijma`. Amidi, however, confirms the majority view when he adds (in his Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 156 Ihkam, I, 284) that these restrictions do not apply to ijma'.] Matters of a practical type witch do not partake in the nature of tashri` (legislation) do not constitute the proper subject of ijma`. For example, the agreement of the Companions to send out troops to Syria or to Persia, or their agreement on setting up certain government departments, etc., did not constitute ijma`. For these were practical decisions which were valid in connection with particular circumstances and did not bind the succeeding generations of Muslims. Ijma' on a shar`i ruling, on the other hand, has a quality of permanence and its validity is not confined by a time limit. [5. Abu Zahrah, Usul, p. 165.] Although the theory refuses to impose any restriction on the subject-matter of ijma`, in actual terms the application of ijma` is bound to be subject to some reservations. For example, ijma' must be of a somewhat limited application in regard to rational and linguistic matters. To say that lying is evil, or that `hand' also means `power', need not be supported by ijma'. In actual terms, ijma' has always been selective in determining its own subject-matter. It was perhaps in view of the dynamic nature of ijma` and its infallibility that the ulema were persuaded not to impose any advance reservations on its scope. It is clear from its definition that ijma' can only occur after the demise of the Prophet. For during his lifetime, the Prophet alone was the highest authority on Shari'ah, hence the agreement or disagreement of others did not affect the overriding authority of the Prophet. In all probability, ijma` occurred for the first time among the Companions in the city of Madinah. Following the demise of the Prophet, the Companions used to consult each other over the problems they encountered, and their collective agreement was accepted by the community. After the Companions, this leadership role passed on to the next generation, the Successors (tabi'un) and then...
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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