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Unformatted text preview: one difference, namely that Muhkam is not open to abrogation. An example of Muhkam in the Sunnah is the ruling concerning jihad which provides that 'jihad (holy struggle) remains valid till the day of resurrection'. [27. Abu Dawud, Sunan, II, 702, Hadith no. 2526; Abu Zahrah, Usul, p. 96.] The ulema of usul have given the Qur'anic ayah on slanderous accusation as another example of Muhkam, despite some differences of interpretation that have arisen over it among the Hanafi and Shafi'i jurists. The ayah provides, concerning persons who are convicted and punished for slanderous accusation (qadhf): 'And accept not their testimony ever, for such people are transgressors' (al-Nur, 24:4). Once again the occurrence of abadan ('for ever') in this text renders it Muhkam and precludes all possibility of abrogation. The Hanafis have held that the express terms of this ayah admit of no exception. A qadhif, that is, a slanderous accuser, may never be admitted as a witness even if he repents. But according to the Shafi'is, if the qadhif repents after punishment, he may be admitted as a witness. The reason for this exception, according to the Shafi'is, is given in the subsequent portion of the same text, which reads: 'Unless they repent afterwards, and rectify themselves.' The grounds of these differential interpretations need not be elaborated here. Suffice it to point out that the differences are over the understanding of the pronouns in the text, whether they refer to the qadhif and transgressors Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 95 both, or to the latter only. There is no difference of opinion over the basic punishment of qadhf, which is eighty lashes as the text provides, but only with regard to the additional penalty disqualifying them as witnesses forever. It would thus appear that these differences fall within the scope of tafsir rather than that of ta'wil. The Muhkam is not open to abrogation. This may be indicated in the text itself, as in the foregoing examples, or it may be due to the absence of an abrogating text. The former is known as Muhkam bidhatih, or Muhkam by itself, and the second as Muhkam bighayrih, or Muhkam because of another factor. [28. Abu Zahrah, Usul, p. 96; Badran, Usul, p. 406.] The purpose of the foregoing distinction between the four types of clear words is to identify their propensity or otherwise to ta'wil, that is, of admitting a meaning other than their obvious meaning, and whether or not they are open to abrogation. If a word is not open to either of these possibilities, it would follow that it retains its original or primary meaning and admits of no other interpretation. The present classification, in other words, contemplates the scope of ta'wil in that the latter is applicable only to the Zahir and Nass but not to the Mufassar and Muhkam. The next purpose of this classification is to provide guidelines for resolving possible conflicts between the various categories of words. In this way an order of priority is established by which the Muhkam prevails over the other three varieties of clear words and the M...
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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