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Unformatted text preview: h only renders the Sunnah of the Prophet binding on the believers, and no other individual, whether a Companion or otherwise, has been accorded a status similar to that of the Prophet. [16. Shawkani, Irshad, p. 214.] Abu Zahrah has, however, criticised al-Shawkani's conclusion, and explains that when we say that the saying of a Companion is an authoritative proof, it does not mean that we create a rival to the Prophet. On the contrary, the Companions were most diligent in observing the Qur'an and Sunnah, and it is because of this and their closeness to the Prophet that their fatwa carries greater authority than that of the generality of other mujtahidun. 299.] [17. Abu Zahrah, Usul, p.172; Isma'il, Adillah, p. 3. The third view, which is attributed to Abu Hanifah, is that the ruling of the Companion is a proof when it is in conflict with qiyas but not when it agrees with qiyas. The explanation for this is that when the ruling of a sahabi conflicts with qiyas, it is usually for a reason, and the fact that the Companion has given a ruling against it is an indication of the weakness of the qiyas; hence the view of the Companion is to be preferred. In the event where the ruling of the Companion agrees with qiyas, it merely concurs with a proof on which the qiyas is founded in the first place. The ruling of the Companion is therefore not a separate authority. [18. Zuhayr, Usul, IV, 194; Isma'il, Adillah, p. 301.] There is yet another view which maintains that only the rulings of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs command authority. This view quotes in support the Hadith in which the Prophet ordered the believers, 'You are to follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Khulafa' Rashidun after me' This is even further narrowed down, according to another Hadith, to include the first two caliphs only. The Hadith in question reads: `Among those who succeed me, follow Abu Bakr and 'Umar'. The authenticity of this second Hadith has, however, been called into question, and in any case, it is suggested that the purpose of these ahadith is merely to praise the loyalty and devotion of these luminaries to Islam, and to commend their excellence of conduct. [19. Ibn Majah, Sunan, I, 37, Hadith no. 97; Ghazali, Mustasfa, I, 135; Amidi, Ihkam, IV, 152.] Imam Shafi'i is on record as having stated that he follows the fatwa of a Companion in the absence of a ruling in the Qur'an, Sunnah and ijma'. Al-Shafi'i's view on this point is, however, somewhat ambivalent, which is perhaps why it has been variously interpreted by the jurists. In a conversation with al-Rabi', al-Shafi'i has stated: 'We find that the ulema have sometimes followed the fatwa of a Companion and have abandoned it at other times; and even those who have followed it are not consistent in doing so.' At this point the interlocutor asks the Imam, 'What should I turn to, then?' To this al-Shafi'i replies: 'I follow the ruling of the Companion when I find nothing in the Qur'an, Sunnah or ijma', or anything which carries through the implications of these sources.' Al-Shaf...
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