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Unformatted text preview: lema and transmitters of Hadith have even equated the fatwa of a Companion with the Sunnah of the Prophet The most learned Companions, especially the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, are particularly noted for their contributions and the impact they made to the determination of the detailed rules of fiqh regarding the issues that confronted them. [1. Khallaf, `Ilm, p. 94; Mahmassani, Falsafah, p.98; Isma'il, Adillah, p. 281.] This is perhaps attested by the fact that the views of the Companions were occasionally upheld and confirmed by the Qur'an. Reference may be made in this context to the Qur'anic ayah which was revealed concerning the treatment that was to be accorded to the prisoners of war following the battle of Badr. This ayah (al-Anfal, 8:67 is known to have confirmed the view which `Umar b. al-Khattab had earlier expressed on the issue. [2. Ghazali, Mustasfa, I, 136.] The question arises, nevertheless, as to whether the fatwa of a Companion should be regarded as a proof of Shari'ah or a mere ijtihad, which may or may not be accepted by the subsequent generations of mujtahidun and the rest of the community as a whole. No uniform response has been given to this question, but before we attempt to explore the different responses which the ulema have given, it will be useful to identify who exactly a Companion is. According to the majority (jumhur) of ulema, anyone who met the Prophet, while believing in him, even for a moment and died as a believer, is a Companion (sahabi) regardless of whether he or she narrated any Hadith from the Prophet or not. Others have held that the very word sahabi, which derives from suhbah, that is 'companionship', implies continuity of contact with the Prophet and narration of Hadith from him. It is thus maintained that one or the other of these criteria, namely prolonged company, or frequent narration of Hadith, must be fulfilled in order to qualify a person as a sahabi. Shawkani, Irshad, p. 70.] Some observers have made a reference to custom (urf) in determining the duration of contact with the Prophet which may qualify a Companion. This criterion would, in turn, overrule some of the variant views to the effect that a sahabi is a person who has kept the company of the Prophet for Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 210 [3. specified periods such as one or two years, or that he participated with the Prophet in at least one of the battles. [4. Isma'il, Adillah, p. 282.] But notwithstanding the literal implications of the word sahabi, the majority view is to be preferred, namely that continuity or duration of contact with the Prophet is not a requirement. Some ulema have held that the encounter with the Prophet must have occurred at a time when the person had attained the age of majority, but this too is a weak opinion as it would exclude many who met the Prophet and narrated Hadith from him and attained majority only after his death. Similarly, actual eye-witnessing is not required, as there were persons among the Companions like Ibn Umm Maktum, who were blind but wer...
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