Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence by MH kamali

In addition to its obvious meaning a text may impart

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Unformatted text preview: and yet is a complementary meaning which is warranted by the logical and juridical purport of the text. This is known as dalalah al-nass, or the inferred meaning, which is one degree below the alluded meaning by virtue of the fact that it is essentially extraneous to the text. But as will later be discussed, there is a difference of opinion between the Hanafi and the Shafi'i, jurists as to whether the inferred meaning should necessarily be regarded as inferior to the alluded meaning. Next in this order is the iqtida' al-nass, or the required meaning, which is once again a logical and necessary meaning without which the text would remain incomplete and would fail to achieve its desired purpose. [1. Khallaf, 'Ilm, p.143; Badran, Usul, p. 417.] When there is a conflict between the first and the second meanings, priority is given to the first. Similarly, the second will take priority over the third and the third over the fourth, as we shall presently explain. I. The Explicit Meaning (Ibarah al-Nass) As already stated, this is the immediate meaning of the text which is derived from its obvious words and sentences. The explicit meaning represents the principal theme and purpose of the text, especially in cases where the text might impart more than one meaning and comprises in its scope a subsidiary theme or themes in addition to the one which is obvious. In its capacity as the obvious and dominant Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 118 meaning, the 'ibarah al-nass is always given priority over the secondary and subsidiary themes or meanings of the text. To illustrate this, we refer to the Qur'anic passage on the subject of polygamy, a text which conveys more than one meaning, as follows 'And if you fear that you may be unable to treat the orphans fairly, then marry of the women who seem good to you, two, three or four. But if you fear that you cannot treat [your co-wives] equitably, then marry only one. . .' (al-Nisa', 4:3). At least three or four meanings are distinguishable in this text which are: first, the legality of marriage, a meaning which is conveyed by the phrase fankihu ma taba lakum min al-nisa' ('marry of the women who seem good to you'); second, limiting polygamy to the maximum of four; third, remaining monogamous if polygamy may be feared to lead to injustice; and fourth, the requirement that orphaned girls must be accorded fair treatment, a meaning which is indicated in the first part of the text. All of these are conveyed in the actual words and sentences of the text. But the first and the last are subsidiary and incidental whereas the second and the third represent the explicit themes and meanings of the text, that is, the 'ibarah alnass. Limiting polygamy to the maximum of four is the explicit meaning which takes absolute priority over all the implied and incidental meanings that this text might convey. [2. Khallaf, 'Ilm, p. 145.] Most of the nusus of Shari'ah convey their rulings by way of 'ibarah al-nass. Thus the command to perform the obligato...
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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.

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