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Unformatted text preview: the foregoing ahadith refer to the Companions only. [49. Cf. Hasan, Doctrine, p.59.] And finally, ummah and jama`ah refer to the whole of the Muslim community and not to a particular section thereof. The grace of 'ismah, according to this view, is endowed on the whole of the community without any reservation or specification. Thus is the view of al-Shafi'i, who wrote in his Risalah: 'And we know that the people at large cannot agree on an error or on what may contradict the Sunnah of the Prophet. [50. Shafi'i's Risalah (trans. Khadduri), p.285.] Having discussed the ahadith relating to ijma', Ahmad Hasan observes that they are inconclusive. All of them emphasise unity and integration. Some of them are predictive and others circumstantial: They may mean ijma`, or something else.' Hence the argument that they provide the authority for ijma' is 'definitely subjective'. The same author elaborates that: a. There was no idea of ijma` as a doctrine of jurisprudence in the early period; b. c. The jurists could not determine a definite meaning for 'ummah' or Jama'ah ; and d. e. Ahadith which convey a general meaning should not be restricted to a particular point of f. view. [51. Hasan, Doctrine, pp.59-60.] Notwithstanding the doubts and uncertainties in the nusus, the majority of ulema have concluded that the consensus of all the mujtahidun on a particular ruling is a sure indication that the word of truth has prevailed over their differences; that it is due to the strength of that truth that they have reached a consensus. This rational argument in support of ijma` has been further advanced to the effect that consensus upon a shar'i ruling is bound to be founded on sound ijtihad. In exercising ijtihad, the mujtahid is normally guided by certain rules and guidelines. Ijtihad often consists of an interpretation of the nass, or of a rational extension of its ruling. Even in the absence of a nass, ijtihad still observes both the letter and spirit of the sources which the mujtahid has mastered through his general knowledge. Since ijtihad is founded on sound authority in the first place, the unanimous agreement of all the mujtahidun on a particular ruling indicates that there is clear authority in the Shari'ah to sustain their consensus. In the event of this authority being weak or speculative, we can only expect disagreement (ikhtilaf), which would automatically preclude consensus. Ijma' in other words, accounts for its own authority. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 168 Feasibility of Ijma' A number of ulema, including the Mu'tazili leader Abraham al-Nazism and some Shi'i ulema, have held that ijma` in the way defined by the jumhur ulema is not feasible. To ascertain the consensus of the ulema on any matter which is not obvious is just as impossible as their unanimity at any given moment on what they utter and what they eat. [52. Shawkani, Irshad, p. 79; Khallaf, `Ilm, p.48.] It may be possible to ascertain the broad outline of an agreement among the mujtahidun on a particular matter, but to say that their consensus could be ascertained in such a way- as to im...
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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