Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence by MH kamali

To ascertain the consensus of the ulema on any matter

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Unformatted text preview: part positive knowledge is not feasible. Since the mujtahidun would normally be located in distant places, cities and continents, access to all of them and obtaining their views is beyond the bounds of practicality. Difficulties are also encountered in distinguishing a mujtahid from a non-mujtahid. Since it is the mujtahidun whose consensus constitutes ijma`, one must be able to identify them with certainty. Apart from the absence of clear criteria concerning the attributes of a mujtahid, there are some among them who have not achieved fame. Even granting that they could be known and numbered, there is still no guarantee to ensure that the mujtahid who gives an opinion will not change it before an ijma` is reached. So long as this is possible, no ijma` can be realised, for it is a condition of ijma' that all the mujtahidun be simultaneously in agreement. Khallaf, `Ilm, p.49.] It is mainly due to these reasons that al-Shafi'i confines the occurrence of ijma` to the obligatory duties alone as he considers that on matters other than these, ijma' is not a realistic proposition at all. [54. Shafi'i, Risalah, p.205; Abu Zahrah, Usul, p.158.] It is due partly to their concern over the feasibility of ijma` that according to the Zahiris and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal ijma' refers to the consensus of the Companions alone. Imam Malik on the other hand confines ijma` to the people of Madinah, and the Shi'ah Imamiyyah recognise only the agreement of the members of the Prophet's family (ahl al-bayt). In Shi'i jurisprudence, ijma` is inextricably linked with the Sunnah. For the agreement of the ahl al-bayt (that is, their recognised Imams), automatically becomes an integral part of the Sunnah. `In the Shi'ite view', as Mutahhari explains, `consensus goes back to the Sunnah of the Prophet [...]. Consensus is not genuinely binding in its own right, rather it is binding inasmuch as it is a means of discovering the Sunnah. [55. Amidi, Ihkam, I, 230. Mutahhari, Jurisprudence, p.20.] In support of their argument that ijma is confined to the ahl al-bayt, the Shi'i ulema have referred to the Qur'an (al-Ahzab 33:33): `God wishes to cleanse you, the people of the house [of the Prophet], of impurities.' The Shi'i doctrine also relies on the Hadith in which the Prophet is reported to have said, `I am leaving among you two weighty things, which, if you hold by them, you will not go astray: The Book of God, and my family.' The reference in this Hadith, according to its Shi'i interpreters, is to 'Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn. The Sunnis have maintained, however, that the ayah in sura al-Ahzab was revealed regarding the wives of the Prophet and that the context in which it was revealed is different. Similarly, while quoting the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 169 [53. foregoing Hadith, al-Amidi observes: `doubtlessly the ahl al-bayt enjoy a dignified status, but dignity and descent are not necessarily the criteria of one's ability to carry out ijtihad. [56. Amidi, Ihkam, I, 246ff.] There is yet another argument to suggest that ijma' is neither possible nor, in fact, necessary. Since ijma` is fou...
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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.

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