Unformatted text preview: . This variety of Sunnah, referred to as al-Sunnah al-muassisah, or 'founding Sunnah', neither confirms nor opposes the Qur'an, and its contents cannot be traced back to the Holy Book. It is only this variety of Sunnah which lies in the centre of the debate as to whether the Sunnah is an independent source of law. To give some examples: the prohibition regarding simultaneous marriage to the maternal and paternal aunt of one's wife (often referred to as 'unlawful conjunction'), the right of pre-emption (shuf'), the grandmother's entitlement to a share in inheritance, the punishment of rajm, that is, death by stoning for adultery when committed by a married Muslim all originate in the Sunnah as the Qur'an itself is silent on these matters. 40; Siba'i, Al-Sunnah, p. 380.] [69. Ibn Qayyim, I'lam, II, 233; Khallaf, 'Ilm, p. There is some disagreement among jurists as to whether the Sunnah, or this last variety of it at any rate, constitutes an independent source of Shari'ah. Some ulema of the later ages (al-mutaakhkhirun), including al-Shatibi and al-Shawkani, have held the view that the Sunnah is an independent source. Shawkani, Irshad, p. 33; Siba'i, Al-Sunnah, p. 380.] They have further maintained that the Qur'anic ayah in sura al-Nahl (16:44 - quoted above) is inconclusive and that despite its being clear on the point that the Prophet interprets the Qur'an it does not overrule the recognition of the Sunnah as an independent source. On the contrary, it is argued that there is evidence in the Qur'an which substantiates the independent status of Sunnah. The Qur'an, for example, in more than one place requires the believers to 'obey God and obey His Messenger, (al-Nisa. 4:58; 4:80; al-Ma'idah, 5:92). The fact that obedience to the Prophet is specifically enjoined next to obeying God warrants the conclusion that obedience to the Prophet means obeying him whenever he orders or prohibits something on which the Qur'an might be silent. For if the purpose of obedience to the Prophet were to obey him only when he explained the Qur'an, then 'obey God' would be sufficient and there would have been no need to add the phrase 'obey the Messenger'. Shatibi, Muwafaqat, IV, 7.] Elsewhere the Qur'an clearly places submission and obedience to the Prophet at the very heart of the faith as a test of one's acceptance of Islam. This is the purport of the ayah which reads: 'By thy Lord, they will not believe till they make thee the judge regarding disagreements between them, and find in themselves no resistance against the verdict, but accept it in full submission' (al-Nisa, 4:65). Furthermore, the proponents of the independent status of the Sunnah have quoted the Hadith of Mu'adh b. Jabal in support of their argument. The Hadith is clear on the point that the Sunnah is authoritative in cases on which no guidance can be found in the Qur'an. The Sunnah, in other words, stands on its own feet regardless of whether it is substantiated by the Qur'an or not . [72. Shatibi, Muwafaqat, IV, 8; Siba'i, Al-Sunnah, p. 383...
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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