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Unformatted text preview: ard and advantage of its injunctions. Since the Quran addresses the conscience of the individual with a view to persuading and convincing him of the truth and divine origin of its message, it is often combined with an allusion to the benefit that may accrue by the observance of its commands or the harm that is prevented by its prohibitions. This is a feature of the Qur'anic legislation which is closely Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 27 associated with ratiocination (ta'lil) and provides the mujtahid with a basis on which to conduct further enquiry into ta'lil. However, of all the characteristic features of Quranic legislation, its division into qati and zanni is perhaps the most significant and far-reaching, as it relates to almost any aspect of enquiry into the Qur'anic legislation. I shall therefore take up this subject first. I. The Definitive (qati) and the Speculative (zanni) A ruling of the Quran may be conveyed in a text which is either unequivocal and clear, or in language that is open to different interpretations. A definitive text is one which is clear and specific; it has only one meaning and admits of no other interpretations. An example of this is the text on the entitlement of the husband in the estate of his deceased wife, as follows: 'In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child" (al-Nisa', 4:12). Other examples are 'The adulterer, whether a man or a woman, flog them each a hundred stripes' (al-Baqarah, 2:196), and those who accuse chaste women of adultery and fail to bring four witnesses [to prove it], flog them eighty stripes' (al-Nur, 24:4). The quantitative aspects of these rulings, namely one half, one hundred, and eighty are self-evident and therefore not open to interpretation. The rulings of the Quran on the essentials of the faith such as salah and fasting, the specified shares in inheritance and the prescribed penalties, are all qati their validity may not be disputed by anyone, everyone is bound to follow them, and they are not open to ijtihad. The speculative ayat of the Quran are, on the other hand, open to interpretation and ijtihad. The best interpretation is that which can be obtained from the Quran itself, that is, by looking at the Quran as a whole and finding the necessary elaboration elsewhere in a similar or even a different context. The Sunnah is another source which supplements the Quran and interprets its rulings. When the necessary interpretation can be found in an authentic Hadith, it becomes an integral part of the Quran and both together carry a binding force. Next in this order comes the Companions who are particularly wellqualified to interpret the Qur'an in light of their close familiarity with its text, the surrounding circumstances, and the teachings of the Prophet. [Khallaf, Ilm, P. 35; Abu Zahrah, Usul, P. 71] An example of the zanni in the Quran is the text which reads, 'Prohibited to you are your mothers and your daughters' (al-Nisa 4:23). The text is definitive in regard to the prohibition of marriage with ones mother and d...
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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