English · International Law

Islamic law – Correct misconception! (Chapter 2 – Part 2)

In the last part, we have already known that not only Quran but the Sunnah is regarded as the sources of Shari’ah as well. And at the end of the last part, we raised a question that how to transmit the hadiths (the record of Sunnah) between generations. That is to say, one of the concerns of the legal theory was to provide criteria by which the subject matter of the hadiths might be transmitted from one generation to the next in a reliable manner.

Thus, a hadith that had been passed down via a defective or interruptive chain of transmitters, or by transmitters known to be untrustworthy, was held to lack any effect even though its language might be clear and unequivocal. For example, if I know that a hadith was transmitted to me, from A, B, C, D and F, but the identity of E is unknown to me or, even I know him or her, but that is the untrustworthy information, then, I can not use the hadith for reasoning about the law. Or, if the hadith pass the test of sound transmission but consists of ambiguous words whose exact meaning I am unable to determine with any precision, then the hadith seems to be useless as the basis of legal reasoning.

Taking into account this factor can pose an issue, that is the Quran, Hadith, after several generations and the holy words itself, was not always clear and unequivocal. Metaphorical words and overly general language had to be interpreted to yield specific meanings and to do so, the jurists developed linguistic rules in order to solve such problems.

The aim of the reasoning jurist was to establish, for every new case he encountered, a legal norm. The Shri’ah recognizes five such norms, intended to take control the entire range of human activities and to set human life in good order. It organizes them into various categories ranging from the moral to the legal, but with not conscious distinctions between the moral and the legal.

The first of these is the category of the forbidden, the second one is the obligatory, the third one is the recommended and, the two remaining categories are the neutral and disapproved.

These five categories of human behavior, known as five pillars constituted Shari’ah, is waiting for us in the next part. The more you know about it, the closer to Shari’ah you are.

Move to Chapter 2 – Part 3.

Back to Chapter 2 – Part 1.

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