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Unformatted text preview: n in the Hanafi distinction between fard and wajib. The former is founded in the definitive authority of the Qur'an, whereas the latter is founded in the definitive Sunnah, but is one degree weaker because of a possible doubt in its transmission and accuracy of content. These are some of the factors which would explain the general agreement of the ulema to the effect that the authority of Qur'an overrides that of the Sunnah. [57. Shatibi, IV, 4.] There should in principle be no conflict between the Qur'an and the authentic Sunnah. If, however, a conflict is seen to exist between them, they must be reconciled as far as possible and both should be retained. If this is not possible, the Sunnah in question is likely to be of doubtful authenticity and must therefore give way to the Quran. No genuine conflict is known to exist between the Mutawatir Hadith and the Qur'an. All instances of conflict between the Sunnah and the Qur'an, in fact, originate in the solitary, or Ahad, Hadith, which is in any case of doubtful authenticity and subordinate to the overriding authority of the Qur'an. [58. Cf. Badran, Usul, p. 102.] It has, however, been suggested that establishing such an order of priority is anomalous and contrary to the basic role that the Sunnah plays in relation to the Qur'an. As the familiar Arabic phrase, al-Sunnah qadiyah 'ala al-kitab (Sunnah is the arbiter of the Qur'an) suggests, it is normally the Sunnah which explains the Quran, not vice versa. The fact that the Sunnah explains and determines the precise meaning of the Quran means that the Qur'an is more dependent on the Sunnah than the Sunnah is on Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 60 [55. the Quran. [59. While quoting Awza'i on this point, Shawkani (Irshad, p. 33) concurs with the view that the Sunnah is an independent source of Shari'ah, and not necessarily, as it were, a commentary on the Qur'an only See also Shatibi, Muwafaqat, IV, 4.] In the event, for example, where the text of the Qur'an imparts more than one meaning or when it is conveyed in general terms, it is the Sunnah which specifies the meaning that must prevail. Again, the manifest (Zahir) of the Qur'an may be abandoned by the authority of the Sunnah, just as the Sunnah may qualify the absolute (mutlaq) in the Qur'an. The Qur'an on the other hand does not play the same role with regard to the Sunnah. It is not the declared purpose of the Qur'an to explain or clarify the Sunnah, as this was done by the Prophet himself. Since the Sunnah explains, qualifies, and determines the purport of the Qur'an, it must take priority over the Qur'an. If this is admitted, it would follow that incidents of conflict between the Qur'an and Sunnah must be resolved in favor of the latter. Some ulema have even advanced the view that the Hadith of Mu'adh b. Jabal (which clearly confirms the Qur'an's priority over the Sunnah) is anomalous in that not everything in the Qur'an is given priority over the Sunnah. [60. See Shatibi, Muwafaqat, IV, 5.] For one thing, the Mutawatir Hadith stands on the same footing as the Qur'an itself. Likewise, the manifest (Zahir) of the Qur'an is ope...
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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