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Unformatted text preview: Sunnah. Thus it is said that this or that ruling is a Nass, which means that it is a definitive injunction of the Qur'an or Sunnah. But Nass as opposed to Zahir denotes a word or words that convey a clear meaning, and also represents the principal theme of the text in which it occurs. An example of Nass in the Qur'an is the Qur'anic text on the priority of debts and bequests over inheritance in the administration of an estate. The relevant ayah assigns specific shares to a number of heirs and then provides that the distribution of shares in all cases is to take place 'after the payment of legacies and debts' (al-Nisa', 4:11). Similarly, the Qur'anic text which provides that 'unlawful to you are the dead carcass and blood' (al-Ma'idah, 5:3), is a Nass on the prohibition of these items for human consumption. [13. Badran, Usul, p. 403; Abu Zahrah, Usul, p. 94.] As already stated, the Nass, like the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 90 Zahir, is open to ta'wil and abrogation. For example, the absolute terms of the ayah which we just quoted on the prohibition of dead carcasses and blood have been qualified elsewhere in the Qur'an where 'blood' has been qualified as 'blood shed forth' (al-An'am, 6:145). Similarly, there is a Hadith which permits consumption of two types of dead carcasses, namely fish and locust. Hadith no. 4132.] (See full version of this Hadith on page 131.) Another example of the Nass which has been subjected to ta'wil is the Hadith concerning the legal alms (zakah) of livestock, which simply provides that this shall be 'one in every forty sheep'. [15. Abu Dawud, Sunan, II, 410, Hadith no. 1567.] The obvious Nass of this Hadith admittedly requires that the animal itself should be given in zakah. But it would seem in harmony with the basic purpose of the law to say that either the sheep or their equivalent monetary value may be given. For the purpose of zakah is to satisfy the needs of the poor, and this could equally be done by giving them the equivalent amount of money; it is even likely that they might prefer this. [16. Khallaf, 'Ilm, p. 165; Amidi (Ihkam, III, 57) considers this to be a ta'wil which is far-fetched.] The Hanafis have offered a similar interpretation for two other Qur'anic ayat, one on the expiation of futile oaths, and the other on the expiation of deliberate breaking of the fast during Ramadan. The first is enacted at feeding ten poor persons (al-Ma'idah, 5:92), and the second at feeding sixty such persons (al-Mujadalah, 58:4). The Hanafis have held that this text can be implemented either by feeding ten needy persons or by feeding one such person on ten occasions. Similarly, the provision in the second ayah may be understood, according to the Hanafis, to mean feeding sixty poor persons, or one such person sixty times. [17. Khallaf, 'Ilm, p. 166.] [14. Tabrizi, Mishkat, II, 1203, As already stated, Nass is stronger than Zahir, and should there be a conflict between them, the former prevails over the latter. This may be illustrated in the following two Qur'anic passages, one o...
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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