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Unformatted text preview: other hand, not received the kind of attention that has been given to the authentication of Hadith through a reliable isnad. The only form of ijma' which has been generally upheld is that of the Companions of the Prophet, which is partly due to their special status and not always due to their participation and consensus. With these introductory remarks, then, we may begin to examine the meaning and definition of ijma', and then proceed to discuss some of the issues we have raised. Ijma` is the verbal noun of the Arabic word ajma'a, which has two meanings: to determine, and to agree upon something. To give an example of the former, the expression ajma `a fulan `ala kadha, means `soand-so decided upon such-and-such'. This usage of ajma`a is found both in the Qur'an and in the Hadith. [1. In the Qur'an the phrase fajma'u amrakum which occurs in sura Yunus (10:71) means 'determine your plan'. Similarly fajma'u kaydakum in sura Taha (20:64), where the Prophet Noah addresses his estranged followers, means 'determine your trick'. The Hadith la siyama liman lam yajma'al-siyama min al- layl means that fasting is not valid unless it is determined (or intended) in advance; i.e. from the night before. For details see Amidi, Ihkam, I, 195; Shawkani, Irshad, p.70.] The other meaning of ajma'a is `unanimous agreement'. Hence the phrase ajma'a al-qawm ala kadha means `the people reached a unanimous agreement on such-and-such'. The second meaning of ijma` often subsumes the first, in that whenever there is a unanimous agreement on something, there is also a decision on that matter. Ijma` is defined as the unanimous agreement of the mujtahidun, of the Muslim community of any period following the demise of the Prophet Muhammad on any matter. [2. Amidi, Ihkam, I, 196, Shawkani, Irshad, p.71. Abu Zahrah and `Abd al-Wahhab Khallaf's definition of ijma` differs with that of Amidi and Shawkani on one point, namely the subject matter of ijma `, which is confined to shar'i matters only (see Abu Zahrah, Usul, p.156 and Khallaf, `Ilm, p. 45).] In this definition, the reference to the mujtahidun precludes the agreement of laymen from the purview of ijma`. Similarly, by reference to the mujtahidun of any period, is meant a period in which there exist a number of mujtahidun at the time an incident occurs. Hence it would be of no account if a mujtahid or a number of mujtahidun become available only after the occurrence of an incident The reference in the definition to any matter implies that ijma` applies to all juridical (shar'i), intellectual (aqli), customary (urfi,) and linguistic (lughawi) matters. [3. Shawkani, Irshad, p.71.] Furthermore, shar'i, in this context is used in contradistinction to hissi, that is, matters which are perceptible to the senses and fall beyond the scope of ijma`. Some ulema have confined ijma' to religious, and others to shar'i matters, but the majority of ulema do not restrict ijma` to either. Although the majority of jurists consider dogmatics (iti...
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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