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Unformatted text preview: move the ambiguity, the Mujmal turns into a Mushkil, which is then open to research and ijtihad. An example of this is the word riba which occurs in the Qur'an (al-Baqarah, 2:275) in the form of a Mujmal, as when it reads: 'God Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 99 permitted sale and prohibited riba', the last word in this text literally meaning 'increase'. Since not every increase or profit is unlawful, the text remains ambivalent as to what type of increase it intends to forbid. The Prophet has clarified the basic concept of riba in the Hadith which specifies six items (gold, silver, wheat, barley, salt and dates) to which the prohibition applies. But this explanation is insufficient for detailed purposes in that it leaves room for reflection and enquiry as to the rationale of the text with a view to extending the same rule to similar commodities. The Hadith thus opens the way to further ijtihad and analogy to the goods that it has specified. Badran, Usul, pp. 414-415.] II.4 The Intricate (Mutashabih) [36. Muslim, Sahih Muslim, I, 252, Hadith no. 949; Khallaf, 'Ilm, pp.173-175; This denotes a word whose meaning is a total mystery. There are words in the Qur'an whose meaning is not known at all. Neither the words themselves nor the text in which they occur provide any indication as to their meaning. The Mutashabih as such does not occur in the legal nusus, but it does occur in other contexts. Some of the suras of the Qur'an begin with what is called al-muqatta'at, that is, abbreviated letters whose meaning is a total mystery. Expressions such as alif-lam-mim, ya-sin, ha-mim and many others which occur on 29 occasions in the Qur'an, are all classified as Mutashabih. Some ulema have held the view that the muqatta'at are meant to exemplify the inimitable qualities of the Qur'an, while others maintain that they are not abbreviations but symbols and names of God; that they have numerical significance; and that they are used to attract the attention of the audience. According to yet another view, the Mutashabih in the Qur'an is meant as a reminder of limitations in the knowledge of the believer, who is made to realise that the unseen realities are too vast to be comprehended by reason. The Holy Qur'an (Yusuf Ali's trans.) p. 118; Denffer, 'Ulum, p. 84; Abdur Rahim, Jurisprudence, p. 100.] Some ulema, including Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri, have held the view that with the exception of the muqatta'at there is no Mutashabih in the Qur'an. Others have maintained that the passages of the Qur'an which draw resemblances between God and man are also in the nature of Mutashabih. [38. Badran, Usul, p. 416.] Thus the ayat which provide: 'the hand of God is over their hands' (al-Fath, 48:10); and in a reference to the Prophet Noah where we read: 'build a ship under Our eyes and Our inspiration' (Hud, 11:37) and in sura al-Rahman (55:27) where the text runs 'and the face of your Lord will abide forever', are instances of Mutashabih as their precise meaning cannot be known. One can of course draw an appropriate metaphorical meaning in each case, which is what the Mu'tazilah have attempted, but this is neither satisfactory nor certain. To say that 'hand' metaphorically means power, and 'eyes' means supervision is no more than a conjecture. For we do not...
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