0707-Sources of the Law, Masadir Al Shariat

Lecture by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. for Year 3 medical students at the Kulliyah of Medicine UIA Kuantan on Saturday 20th July 2007


The Qur'an is 'Allah’s words revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) in Arabic, transmitted to us in continuity, written in the mashaf, whose recitation is worship, commencing with surat al fatihat and ending with surat al nas. Verses of the Qur’an were revealed adhoc each associated with the reason for revelation, sabab al nuzuul. It was memorized and also written down immediately. Abubakar collected the written records and Othman issued one official version in the Quraishi dialect that is used all over the world.


The Qur’an is practical, rational, and miraculous. Its 3 themes are ‘aqidat, spiritual refinement, and practical guidance. Legal rulings, ayat al ahkaam, are a minority of its more than 6000 verses being distributed munakahaat 70, mu'amalat 70, jinayaat 30, iqtisaad 10 verses, qadha 13 verses, government 10 verses, and international law 25 verses. The Qur’an is comprehensive and complete but deals with issues in a generic and not specific way. Its verses are muhkamat or mutashabihat. It challenges the intellect, does not indoctrinate, and gives room for opposing views.


The Qur’an is divided into 114 surats. Each surat starts with the basmalah except surat al baraa. It is divided into 30 juz’us each divided into 2 hizbs. Rub'u or thumun are subdivisions of the hizb. The Makkan verses, dealing with aqidat, are short, poetic, and powerful. Madinan verses are longer dealing with details of societal organization. The prophet read the Qur’an in 7 different ways, The Qur’an can be recited as tartiil or as tajwid.


As a source of legislation the Qur’an provides general foundations and principles. Qur'anic evidence for legal rulings is either qatui, or dhanni. The Qur'an is the primary source of law. All other recognized sources are secondary to the Qur'an and are validated by it.



Sunnat, a subgroup of hadith and part of wahy, is defined as words, actions, and tacit agreement of the Prophet. A hadith consists of a sanad, and matn. It can be hadith nabawi or hadith qudsi.


Writing of hadith started late because it was feared that hadith writings could be confused with Qur’an writing. Hadith was written only after the text of the Qur’an was well established with no room for confusion. Hadith collections are classified as sihaah, sunan, masanid, and muwatta’at.


Hadith is described as mutawatir if narrated by many, mash'hur if reported by at least 2, and aahaad if reported by only 1 sahabi. It be tashri'i if legislative or ghayr tashri' if it is not. The grades of hadith authenticity in descending order are: sahiih, jayyid, and hasan. Muttafaq ‘alayhi is reported by both Bukhari and Muslim. Musnad has a chain of narrators to the prophet. Muttasil has an unbroken chain of narrators. The sanad stops at a sahabi in mawquf and at a tabi’e in a marfu’u hadith. In mursal the tabi’e reports directly from the prophet. Munqati’u has an incomplete sanad. Dha’if lacks the attributes of the sahiih and hasan.


Sunnat can affirm, explain, or elaborate the Qur'an or bring up matters not mentioned in the Qur’an. Obedience of the prophet implies following his sunnat. The sunnat comes second to the Qur'an as a source of law. The daliil of the sunnat may be definitive, qatai, or probable, dhanni. The sunnat is interpreted in the light of general principles of the Qur'an, the social situation in the prophetic era, and the Arabic language.



Ijma is agreement of all mujtahids existing at one time on a particular legal ruling based on nass. It can be ijma sariih or ijma sukuuti. Qiyas is use of a ruling of one matter for another matter when the two share the same illat.



Pre-Islamic laws, shara'u man qablana, were either abrogated or confirmed by the Qur’an. The word of the companion, qawl al sahabi, is a source of law under specified conditions. Custom or precedent, ‘aadat or 'urf, is a source of law if it does not contradict nass, there is ijma on it, and is in the public interest, and closes the door to evil. Istishaab is continuation of an existing ruling until there is evidence to the contrary. Istihsaan is preference for one qiyaas by a mujtahid. Istislaah is assuring a benefit or preventing a harm used in mu’amalat but not ‘ibadat. Maslahat mursalat is public interest based on ra’ay when there is no nass. Sadd al dhari'at is prohibition of an act that is otherwise mubaah because it has a high probability of leading to haram.



Nass can be muhakkam or mutashabih. The muhakkam can be ‘aam, khaas (amr and nahy), or mushtarak. Amr can be wajib, manduub, or mubaah. Nahy can be haram or makruh. Nahy implies both batil and fasid in ibadat. In mu’amalat a fasid transactions is irregular but not batil and has some legal effect. Legal reasoning uses the tools of agreement, ashbaahu, difference, furuuqaat, or exceptions, nadhair, Conflict of evidences is apparent and not real and is due to different views of mujtahidiin. It is resolved by the tools of nasakh, tarjih, or tawfiq. Nasakh is abrogation of one daliil. by another. Tarjiih is an intellectual effort to compare two or more rulings and select the best of them on the basis of strength of daliil. Tawfiq is combining two contradictory daliil to give one ruling.

ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. July 2007