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Unformatted text preview: y guidance and solutions to problems were obtained either through divine revelation, or his direct ruling. Similarly, during the period following the demise of the Prophet, the Companions remained in close contact with the teachings of the Prophet and their decisions were mainly inspired by his precedent. Their proximity to the source and intimate knowledge of the events provided them with the authority to rule on practical problems without there being a pressing need for methodology. [Khallaf, 'Ilm, p. 16; Abu Zahrah, Usul, pp. 16-17] However, with the expansion of the territorial domain of Islam, the Companions were dispersed and direct access to them became increasingly difficult. With this, the possibility of confusion and error in the understanding of the textual sources became more prominent. Disputation and diversity of juristic thought in different quarters accentuated the need for clear guidelines, and the time was ripe for al-Shafi'i to articulate the methodology of usul al-fiqh. AlShafii came on the scene when juristic controversy had become prevalent between the jurists of Madinah and Iraq, respectively known as Ahl al-Hadith and Ahl al-Ra'y. This was also a time when the ulema of Hadith had succeeded in their efforts to collect and document the Hadith. Once the fuqaha were assured of the subject matter of the Sunnah, they began to elaborate the law, and hence the need for methodology to regulate ijtihad became increasingly apparent. The consolidation of usul al-fiqh as a Shariah discipline was, in other words, a logical conclusion of the compilation of the vast literature of Hadith. [Cf. Badran, Usul, P. 12.] Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 14 [Cf. Abu [Khallaf, 'Ilm, p. 16; And finally among the factors which prompted al-Shafi'i into refining the legal theory of usul al-fiqh was the extensive influx of non-Arabs into Islamic territories and the disconcerting influence that this brought on the legal and cultural traditions of Islam. Al-Shafi'i was anxious to preserve the purity of the Shariah and of the language of the Quran. In his Risalah, al-Shafi'i enacted guidelines for ijtihad and expounded the rules governing the Khaas and the 'Aam, the nasikh and the mansukh, and articulated the principles governing ijma' and qiyas. He expounded the rules of relying on the solitary Hadith (khabar al-wahid) and its value in the determination of the ahkam. Al-Shafii refuted the validity of istihsan and considered it to be no more than an arbitrary exercise in law-making. Admittedly al-Shafii was not the first to address these matters, but it is widely acknowledged that he brought a coherence to usul alfiqh, which had hitherto remained scattered and unconsolidated. [Cf. Badran, Usul, P. 14.] It will be noted in this connection that the Shi'i ulema have claimed that their fifth Imam, Muhammad al-Baqir, and his son and successor, Ja'far al-Sadiq, were the first to write on the subject of usul. According to Abu Zahrah, who has written ext...
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