In Medina and Kufa, as well as other cities of early Muslim rule, schools of law had to be developed, but it took the genius of Muhammad b. Local sights will also be visited. Risala has had a major historic impact which continues to reverberate to modern times. You are commenting using your WordPress. Views Read Edit View history. The latter part of the Risala covers the remaining important subjects of Islamic jurisprudence: Significance of the Risala 5.

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Muslims have the obligation to know what Allah wants in order to fulfill this obedience. This knowledge must cover the entire problem that Muslims face. To fulfill this need, a specific knowledge is required in order to reach the correct answer. Initially, Muslims had the ability to derive rules for problems they faced during their time.

Later, Muslims started to abandon and neglect this issue. They became unable to derive new rules for new problems, thus becoming stagnant as a result of acquiring more problems and no solutions. Many reasons caused this stagnation and decline, which is going on until now. This decline resulted in the misunderstanding of Usul-ul Fiqh.

Therefore, studying Usul-ul Fiqh is a must in order to move from the stagnation and to make sure that the answer for the problem is Islamic. Without Usul-ul Fiqh the process of deriving rules will never be defined. In the past, many Muslim scholars wrote books about Usul-ul Fiqh. Imam Shafii is the first scholar who laid down and documented rules of Usul-ul Fiqh. His book, Al-Risala is considered the first written book about this field that exists today. This article will review and analyze the book that Shafii wrote.

In any legal system, the impact of any book of law is measured by its influence on the course of law historically and presently.

A distinguished book is one which sets a landmark renowned for how it turned the course of the legal system forever. By that standard and by any other, The Risala is perhaps the most influential book in Usul-ul Fiqh.

At an early age, he left Gaza and moved to Mecca. He developed full command in Arabic language with all of its various styles used by the major tribes. Later, he moved to Medina where he studied under Imam Malik and learned from him Al Muwatta by the age of ten. This experience had a tremendous impact in moulding his own legal thinking since it brought to light the weaknesses in the Maliki school of thought.

After moving back to Makkah for a short time and then returning to Baghdad, he finally decided to leave for Egypt where he could finally settle down to do more work in Fiqh and its methodology. It is here where he produced a final version of Al-Risala and eventually died on the last day of Rajab A. The original version of Al-Risala was produced in Baghdad and was probably less complete than the new version produced in Egypt.

The progress of the Risala shows how Imam Shafii himself progressed from a strict follower of the Maliki school to becoming the founder of the Shafii school of thinking. His thoughts and method were tested by scholars of both the Hanafi school and the Maliki school through many debates where he not only excelled but refined his own thinking. In summary Shafii went through three stages: 1. The first stage in Medina where he encountered with Malik. The second stage in Baghdad where he was exposed to the Hanafi school.

In this stage he wrote the first version of Risala. The final stage in Cairo where redefined his own method and wrote the final version of Al-Risala. Factors of changing his method Some think that Shafii changed his Fiqh because of the change in time and environment.

This is very often taken as a justification to keep changing Fiqh. It is very obvious that Shafii changed his Usul and not just the Fiqh. By changing his Usul, the Fiqh was changed automatically. There could only have been two possibilities for changing The Risala: Either Imam Shafii may have had a preset mind and wanted to change the Usul into the new one that would serve him with the predetermined conclusion, or Imam Shafii discovered that the old Usul was wrong and thus found it necessary to abandon it.

The first possibility would imply that Shafii twisted the procedure of Ijtihad because in Ijtihad, the Usul precedes the Fiqh. This possibility assumes that Shafii first decided on the Fiqh and then searched for a new Usul that would serve him, after which he tailored his Usul to accomodate the Fiqh he already decided on. While this could happen from those who lack objectivity, such an action cannot be imagined or expected from Imam Shafii, who was very sincere and objective.

Therefore, the only possible reason for the change is the fact that Imam Shafii discovered, after extensive debates with many schools, that his own Usul was wrong.

After all of these debates, Shafii became more mature in his thinking and realized that he could not confine himself to the old Usul which he had previously adopted. The Arrangement of the Risala The Risala is arranged into a series of sections with general titles. The complexities of each subject are then explored either directly or by way of a third-party questioner who asks questions about various aspects of an issue such as abrogation.

A Al-Risala The book starts with a overview of the different types of Bayan explicit declaration or explanation of a principle by Allah swt.

When Allah swt obligated or prohibited certain things, He did so in a variety of ways. And He has forbidden disgraceful acts, both visible and hidden, such as the textual prohibition of Zina, wine, Eating blood, pork and the flesh of dead things.

The number of the prayers and the amount of the Zakah are cases of this point". The obedience in this is a must, and he who accepts what the Prophet obligated is indeed obeying Allah. The water, the graze kala , and the fire includes power resources. Shafii puts Islamic knowledge into categories.

No one can ignore it or has an excuse to neglect it. This type of Ilm contains no error in either transmission or authenticity of narration.

However, if there exists a Hadith then it will be from the Sunnah that is not well known such as Khabar Ahad, which are Hadiths that are reported by fewer number of persons. Also, this type of Ilm includes issues based on Qiyas Analogy. This knowledge is obligatory on some but not on others. If some individuals learn and practice this knowledge, then the Ummah is not sinning; however, if no one seeks to learn it then the entire Ummah is in error. An example given in the book is joining the army, which is considered a Fard Kifayah collective duty and is derived from the following two ayahs: "Such believers who sit at home, unless they have an injury, are not the equals of those who fight in the path of Allah with their possessions and their selves.

Allah has given precedence to those who fight with their possessions and their selves over those who sit at home. Allah has promised the best of things to both. And He has preferred those who fight over those who sit at home by granting them a mighty reward" [An-Nisaa 4: 95] "If you do not go forth He will inflict upon you a painful punishment" [At-Tauba 9: 39] The first ayah indicates that both the choice of fighting and sitting at home are acceptable since Allah has promised the best to both.

However, fighting is preferred because there is a promise of "a mighty reward. The acceptable conclusion is that if a certain amount of people fulfill the obligation of fighting, then they fulfil the obligation for the Ummah. The following ayah verifies this concept: "It is not for the believers to go forth all together, but why should not a party of every section of them go forth to become learned in religion, and to warn their people when they return to them?

Perhaps they will beware" [At-Tauba 9: ] This ayah mentions a group of people going forth to perform a task rather than the whole Ummah and fulfilling it for the Ummah. Many of the sources for differences of opinion in analyzing the text are addressed. Translations are useless for legal purposes. The section discusses the sources of differences in opinions based on the language whereas other sections discuss the source of differences of opinions based on the sources themselves.

Imam Shafii further emphasizes this issue: "Every Muslim is obligated to learn the Arabic tongue to the utmost of his power in order [to be able] to profess through it that "There is no Ilah but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger" and to utter what is mandated upon him, the takbir, and what is commanded, the tasbih, and the tashahhud and others. Why does Imam Shafii state this? Arabic is associated with every act of worship and all aspects of the Deen. Thus, a Muslim must know the language not only in order to worship but also in order to understand the Deen enough to perform Ijtihad.

Understanding Islam without understanding Arabic will be incomplete and cannot lead to a creative understanding of Islam through Ijtihad. Today, some people undermine the Arabic language, to the extent of claming that just reading the translation is sufficient to make an Ijtihad. And others claim that one can perform prayers by reciting in English. If adopted by the Muslims, such notions will not elevate the Ummah but will further degrade it. Imam Shafii leaves no doubt by clarifying the role of the Sunnah.

However Muslims in the past and the present witness people who reject the Sunnah as a source. Rejecting the Sunnah could be done openly, which is an act of clear Kufr. However rejecting the Sunnah could also be done implicitly.

These claims ignore the fact that the Prophet saaw received revelation from Allah Who knows the best. Thus, the Sunnah is not his own experience. In contrast, books such as the Bible, have entire books written describing their contradictions in addition to other books that "apologize for them. Abrogation is the revoking of an earlier command with a newer command. One example that Imam Shafii uses is the example of the Qiblah.

He guides whom He wills to a Straight Way. We have seen the turning of your face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah that shall please you. So turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid al-Haram. Thus, it abrogated the previous command.

What is important to mention is that Shafii pointed out the importance of having evidence to decide that any previous rule was abrogated by the later rule. Simply looking at the ayahs is not enough to decide that there is abrogation.

The proof of this are the following ayahs: "For whatever We abrogate or delay, We bring something better or the like of it. Do you not know that Allah is powerful over everything? Therefore nothing else from mankind could come to abrogate it. Such a statement, while on the surface looks feasible, is ultimately impossible.

If anyone were permitted to take such a stance then he could endanger the entire Sunnah. Based on this line of argument, any restrictions in any Sunnah should be abrogated. Shafii disagreed with this argument, and he did not want anyone to use this argument at all. This is another example Shafii brings to prove his points and invalidate these false arguments.


Al-Shafii’s Risala





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