Unformatted text preview: to the reported ijma' of the Companions and the accepted norms of Arabic, the words of the Qur'an and Sunnah apply in their general capacity unless there is evidence to warrant a departure from the general to an alternative meaning. [43. Khallaf, 'Ilm, p. 178; Badran, Usul, p. 375.] To say that the 'Amm has a single meaning differentiates the 'Amm from the homonym (Mushtarak) which has more than one meaning. Similarly, the statement that the 'Amm applies to an unlimited number precludes the Khass from the definition of 'Amm. p. 370.] A word may be general either by its form, such as men, students, judges, etc., or by its meaning only, such as people, community, etc., or by way of substitution, such as by prefixing pronouns like all, every, entire, etc., to common nouns. Thus the Qur'anic ayah which provides that 'every soul shall taste of death' (Al-'Imran, 3: 185), or the statement that 'every contract consists of two parties' are both general in their import. The 'Amm must include everything to which it is applicable. Thus when a command is issued in the form of an 'Amm it is essential that it is implemented as such. In this way, if A commands his servant to give a dirham to everyone who enters his house, the proper fulfillment of this command would require that the servant does not specify the purport of A's command to, say, A's relatives only. If the servant gives a dirham only to A's relatives with the explanation that he understood that this was what A had wanted, the explanation would be unacceptable and the servant would be at fault. When a word is applied to a limited number of things, including everything to which it can be applied, say one or two or a hundred, it is referred to as 'specific' (Khass). A word of this kind may denote particular individual such as Ahmad, or Zayd, or an individual belonging to a certain species such as a horse or a bird, or an individual belonging to a genus such as a human being. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 102 [44. Badran, Usul, [45. Abdur Rahim, Jurisprudence, p.79.] As opposed to the general, the specific word applies to a limited number, be it a genus, or a species, or a particular individual. So long as it applies to a single subject, or specified number thereof, it is Khass. But if there is no such limitation to the scope of its application, it is classified as 'Amm. Legal rules which are conveyed in specific terms are definite in application and are normally not open to ta'wil. Thus the Qur'anic ayah which enacts the 'feeding of ten poor persons' as the expiation for futile oaths is specific and definite in that the number 'ten' does not admit of any ta'wil. However, if there be exceptional reasons to warrant recourse to ta'wil, then the Khass may be open to it. For example, the requirement to feed ten poor persons in the foregoing ayah has been interpreted by the Hanafis as either feeding ten persons or one such person ten times. The Hanafis have, however, been overruled by the majority on this point who say that the Khass, as a rule, is not amenable...
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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