Unformatted text preview: 1. Cf permission to do something and that this is the widest meaning of amr, which is common to all three of the foregoing concepts. [4. Badran, Usul, p. 361; Shawkani, Irshad, p. 91.] According to the majority opinion, however, a command by itself, that is, when it is not attended by clues or circumstances that might give it a particular meaning, implies obligation or an emphatic demand only. But this may change in the event of other indications being present, which might reduce a command to permissibility, recommendation, or indeed to a variety of other meanings. Thus when we read in the Qur'an commands such as kulu wa'shrabu (`eat and drink') (al-A'raf, 7:31), the indications are that they amount to no more than permissibility (Ibahah). For eating and drinking are the necessities of human life, and a command in respect of them must logically amount to a permissibility only. Similarly the Qur'anic permission in respect of hunting after the completion of the hajj ceremonies given in sura al-Ma'idah (5:2 - wa idha halaltum fastadu) and its address to the believers to 'scatter in the land' (fa'ntashiru fi'l-ard) after performing the Friday prayers (al-Jumu`ah, 62:10) are both in the imperative form. But in both cases the purpose is to render these activities permissible only. Muwafaqat, III, 88.] A command may likewise convey a recommendation should there be indications to warrant this conclusion. This is, for example, the case with regard to the Qur'anic command which requires the documentation of loans: `When you give or take a loan for a fixed period, reduce it into writing' (alBaqarah, 2:282). However, from an indication which occurs in the next ayah in the same sura, it is concluded that the command here implies a recommendation (nadb) only. This ayah reads: `and if one of you deposit a thing on trust, let the trustee [faithfully] discharge his trust'. Here the use of the word 'trust' (amanah) signifies that the creditor may trust the debtor even without any writing. The majority of ulema have held the same view regarding the requirement of witnesses in commercial contracts, which is the subject of another Qur'anic command occurring in the same passage, known as the ayah al-mudayanah (2: 282): 'Whenever you enter a contract of sale, let it be witnessed and let neither the scribe nor the witness suffer harm.' The Zahiri ulema have upheld the obvious meaning of these provisions and have made documentation a requirement of every loan, or any form of deferred payment, and have made witnesses a requirement of every contract of sale. This, in their view, is more conducive to the fulfillment of contracts and the prevention of disputes among people. p.75; Badran, Usul, p.362.] A command may, according to the indications provided by the context and circumstances, imply a threat, such as the Qur'anic address to the unbelievers: 'Do what you wish' (i`malu ma shi'tum-al-Nur, 24: 33) and to the devil: 'Lead to destruction those that you can' (wastafziz man intata'ta) (Bani Isra'il, 1...
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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