Usul Ash-Shashi Principles Of Islamic Jurisprudence
  • Book Title:
 Usul Ash Shashi Principles Of Islamic Jurisprudence
  • Book Author:
Nidham ud Din Sashi
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  • The legacy of Imam Abu Hanifah -­‐ 7
  • Introduction to Usul ul-­‐Fiqh according to the Hanafi School -­‐ 12

Discourse One: The Book of Allah

  • Khass (Specific) and ‘Aam (General) -­‐ 14
  • Mutlaq (Non-­‐conditional) and Muqayyad (Conditional) -­‐ 20
  • Mushtarak (Many meanings) and Mu’awwal (Selected meanings) -­‐ 25
  • Haqiqat (Literal) and Majaaz (Metaphoric) -­‐ 28
  • Al-­‐Isti’ara (An utterance that means something else) -­‐ 34
  • Sareeh (Clear) and Kinayah (Unclear and ambiguous) -­‐ 37
  • Mutaqaabilaat (Opposites) -­‐ 39
  • -­‐ The ‘Open’ terms (Dhahir, Nas’, Mufassar and Muhkam) -­‐ 39
  • -­‐ The ‘Closed’ terms (Khafee, Mushkil, Mujmal and Mutashabihat) -­‐ 43
  • Where the literal (Haqiqi) meaning of the word has been omitted -­‐ 46
  • Understanding meanings from texts -­‐ 50
  • -­‐ ‘Ibaarat an-­‐nas’ -­‐ 50
  • -­‐ Ishaarat an-­‐nas’ -­‐ 50
  • -­‐ Dalalat an-­‐nas’ -­‐ 52
  • -­‐ Iqtidaa an-­‐nas’ -­‐ 54
  • Amr (Commands) -­‐ 57
  • Amr Mutlaq (A command without a mention of its necessity) -­‐ 59
  • Muqtada Al-­‐Amr (A command that does not give a meaning of repetition) -­‐ 61
  • Al-­‐Ma’moor bihi (That which is being commanded) -­‐ 64
  • -­‐ Mutlaq an al-­‐waqt (No specific time has been given) -­‐ 64
  • -­‐ Muqayyad bihi (A specific time has been given) -­‐ 65
  • Husnil Ma’moor bihi (The good in that which is being commanded) -­‐ 67
  • -­‐ Hasan bi-­‐nafsihi (Inherently good) -­‐ 67
  • -­‐ Hasan li-­‐ghairihi (Good due to a justifiable reason) -­‐ 68
  • Al-­‐Ada wa Al-­‐Qada (Acting upon a command exactly as commanded, or acting
  • upon it with a deficiency) -­‐ 69
  • -­‐ Ada (Exactly as commanded) -­‐ 69
  • -­‐ Qada (With a deficiency) -­‐ 73
  • An-­‐Nahy (Prohibitions) -­‐ 75
  • The varying interpretations of the nas’ -­‐ 78
  • Examples of weakly derived rulings -­‐ 80
  • The letter waw ( -­‐ )وو83
  • The letter faa ( -­‐ )فف86
  • The word thumma -­‐ 89
  • The word bal -­‐ 90
  • The word lakinna -­‐ 91
  • The word aw -­‐ 93
  • The word hatta -­‐ 96
  • The word ila -­‐ 98
  • The word ‘ala -­‐ 100
  • The word fee -­‐ 102
  • The letter baa ( -­‐ )بب105
  • Categories of Bayaan -­‐ 107
  • Bayaan at-­‐Taqreer -­‐ 108
  • Bayaan at-­‐Tafseer -­‐ 109
  • Bayaan at-­‐Taghyeer -­‐ 110
  • -­‐ Ta’leeq (Conditions) -­‐ 100
  • -­‐ Istithnaa (Exceptions) -­‐ 112
  • Bayaan ad-­‐‘Daroorat -­‐ 114
  • Bayaan al-­‐Haal -­‐ 115
  • Bayaan al-­‐‘Atf -­‐ 116
  • Bayaan at-­‐Tabdeel -­‐ 117

Discourse Two: The Sunnah

  • Categories of Narrations -­‐ 119
  • -­‐ Mutawatir -­‐ 119
  • -­‐ Mashhoor -­‐ 120
  • -­‐ Ahad -­‐ 120
  • Categories of Narrators -­‐ 121
  • Conditions in acting upon a Khabar Wahid -­‐ 123
  • Where a Khabar Wahid can be used as an evidence (hujjat) -­‐ 126

Discourse Three: Ijma

  • The categories of Ijma based upon who performs it -­‐ 128
  • The categories of Ijma based upon the status of its proofs -­‐ 129
  • Where a principle for one ruling is used for a separate ruling (‘adam al-­‐qa’il bin
  • fa’sl) -­‐ 131
  • The obligations on the Mujtahid in deriving rulings -­‐ 133
  • The role of a Mujtahid when two evidences (daleels) are seemingly contradictory

Discourse Four: Qiyas

  • Evidence for the validity of Qiyas -­‐ 137
  • Conditions required for Qiyas to be correct -­‐ 138
  • The Shar’i definition of Qiyas -­‐ 143
  • Objection that have been brought against Qiyas -­‐ 148
  • -­‐ Al-­‐Mumaana’at -­‐ 148
  • -­‐ Al-­‐Qawl bi-­‐wujoob al-­‐illah -­‐ 149
  • -­‐ Al-­‐Qalb -­‐ 150
  • -­‐ Al-­‐‘Aks -­‐ 151
  • -­‐ Fasaad al-­‐wada’ -­‐ 151
  • -­‐ An-­‐Naq’dI -­‐ 152
  • -­‐ Al-­‐Mu’ara’daat -­‐ 152
  • The Sabab, Hukm, Illah and Shart’ -­‐ 153
  • The connection of the Shar’i rulings with its sabab -­‐ 157
  • Mawaani’ (Barriers to an illah) -­‐ 160
  • The Fard, Wajib, Sunnah and Nafl -­‐ 162
  • The ‘Adheema and the Rukhsa -­‐ 163
  • Rulings given without daleels -­‐ 164
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The Legacy of Imam Abu Hanifah

Nu’man ibn Thabit ibn Zuta ibn Marzuban, also known as Imam Abu Ḥanifah (d. 150AH), was born during the reign of the Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malik ibn Marwan (reign. 65AH-­‐86AH), when a few remaining Sahaabah (RA) were still alive. Although he was not to study or narrate any hadith from any of them, the majority of historians and muhadditheen agree that he had at least seen some of them – thus, ‘technically’ making him a part of the Tabi’in. As Daraqutni writes: “Abu Hanifah saw Anas (ibn Malik) with his eye, but he did not hear (hadith) from him” (as cited in Suyuti, Tabyid, 4).

Growing up in Kufah, Imam Abu Hanifah came from a financially stable family. However, upon recommendation by the great Tabi’i al-­‐Sha’bi, he decided to leave his work/study balance, to focus firmly on his study of the religious sciences. Initially interested in the early-­‐kalaam arguments that were a common sight, he left these debates to focus on specialising in the science of fiqh – embarking on mastering his knowledge of both hadith and fiqh with the most reputable of teachers in both fields.

He acquainted himself with the study of the available scholars in hadith and fiqh in Iraq, as well as travelling many times to Makkah and Madinah – the lowest number recorded being 15. It is said that his teachers in hadith alone numbered approximately 300, whilst he attached himself in fiqh mainly to his teacher Hammad ibn Sulayman (d. 120AH) for 18 years. His teacher had been the star student of Ibrahim an-­‐Nakha’i (d. 96AH), and had inherited the leadership of the Kufan School. It is worthy to note here, that Ibrahim an-­‐Nakha’i had also been the star student of ‘Alqamah (d. 62AH), who in turn had been the star student of Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (RA) (d. 32AH). Upon the death of Imam Hammad, Imam Abu Hanifah took up the leadership of the Kufan School for himself. The fiqh of Kufah – from even before his time – was to be later attributed to his name, due to his stature.

From amongst the vast number of teachers that Imam Abu Hanifah had, these included: Hammad ibn Sulayman (d. 120AH), Amir al-­‐Sha’bi (d. 104AH), Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah (d. 115AH), Imam az-­‐Zuhuri (d. 124AH), Amr ibn Dinar al-­‐Makki (d. 126AH), Qatadah ibn Di’amah as-­‐Sadusi al-­‐Basri (d. 118AH), Abu Ishaq as-­‐Sabi’i (d. 127AH), Sulayman ibn Mihran al-­‐A’mash (d. 148AH), al-­‐Hakam ibn Utaybah (d. 115AH), Salim ibn Abdullah ibn Umar (d. 106AH), Nafi’ al-­‐Madani Mawla ibn Umar (d. 117AH), Hisham ibn Urwah ibn az-­‐Zubayr (d. 146AH), Sulayman ibn Yasar Mawla Umm al-­‐Mu’mineen Maymunah (d. 110AH), Salamah ibn Kuhyal (d. 121AH),  Mansur  ibn  al-­‐Mu’tamir  as-­‐Sulami  (d.  132AH),  and  Ikrimah  Abu Abdillah (d. 107AH).

His reputation for analogy, critical thinking, and originality was established very early. However, coming from Kufah – the hotbed of polemical discussions – this often raised a few eyebrows regarding his stature. Despite this, upon meeting Imam Abu Hanifah, no contemporary would be left being able to critique his approach to fiqh as having being in error. There are many stories on how fellow scholars of the day had their doubts regarding Imam Abu Hanifah, only for these apprehensions to be quashed upon realisation of the reality of his mode of thinking. (See figure. 1).

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It has also been asserted by some critics that Imam Abu Hanifah (RH) was weak in hadith – with even a mention that he only knew seventeen hadith. This accusation is laughable – as even in the basic prayer, one would need the knowledge of at least 300 hadiths to pray properly. To know his knowledge of hadith, one must realise that Imam Abu Hanifah (RH) learned hadith from some of the most exceptional hadith scholars of his day. This includes five of the six scholars that are considered by Ali ibn al-­‐Madini and others, as the ‘six pillars of hadith’ – through whom the majority of the chains of hadith went through. In contrast, Imam Malik (RH) who is respected for his contributions to hadith, only studied with one from these six. (See figure. 2).

The difference is that Imam Abu Hanifah (RH) did not teach hadith in the same manner that Imam Malik (RH) used to teach hadith, as his speciality was in fiqh. Further to this, when one quotes hadith when teaching fiqh, the purpose is not to prepare the narration of a hadith. Because of this, there may have been mistakes in those who wrote down these hadith from him. Further to this, how can it be possible for one to even give rulings on fiqh, without having understanding and knowledge of hadith?

An example of a criticism is that of Imam Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah (d. 235AH), also from Kufah, who wrote a treatise in order to refute 125 places in which he believed that Imam Abu Hanifah had erred (and should have followed a hadith) -­‐ out of the 80,000 matters that he had talked about. From the 125 apparent places of error, later scholars say that 60 of them are places where Imam Abu Hanifah does follow a hadith – but those that Imam ibn Abi Shaybah does not, in 20 places -­‐ he preferred a Qur’anic ayah or a mutawaatir hadith. From the remaining, there are some that are mistaken attributions to Imam Abu Hanifah, and another 10 in which the hadith can be understood in more than one way. Thus, leaving a few ‘possible’ errors out of the 80,000 verdicts given – even if it were true. Saying this, there was no personal enmity, as Imam ibn Abi Shaybah’s book itself contains 42 reports that include Imam Abu Hanifah amongst its narrators.

The later scholars in their biographical dictionaries affirmed the strength of Imam Abu Hanifah in hadith, with many of his students also becoming masters in the science of hadith. These students included: Abdullah ibn al-­‐Mubarak (d. 181AH), Waki’ ibn al-­‐Jarrah (d. 197AH), Yahya ibn Sa’eed al-­‐Qattan (d. 198AH), Yazid ibn Harun (d. 206AH), Hafs ibn Ghiyath al-­‐Nakha’i (d. 196AH), Abu Asim al-­‐Dahhak al-­‐Nabil (d. 212AH), and Abd ar-­‐Razzaq ibn Hammam ibn Nafi’ (d. 211AH). (See figure. 4).

As for his fiqh, unlike what his critics understood of it as being too rational, this could not be further from the truth. His preference of the Qur’an not being allowed to be changed by an ahad hadith – rather reconciling between both if possible, nor for ahad hadith to be used for creedal issues, attest to this.

Furthermore, he never exercised qiyas where there existed proofs from either the Qur’an or Sunnah – in contrast to what his critics may have accused him of. In fact, where he did exercise qiyas – he made it a point to only exercise it matters that were not related to worship (ibaadat) in any way (such as mu’amalaat). In this regard, he only exercised qiyas over ahad hadith, where doing so served the benefit of both the individuals concerned, as well as the greater community. Further to this, in line with seeking the greater good for society, he also had a preference of reports by jurists – even preferring the fatwas of Umar (RA) and ibn Mas’ud (RA) as narrated by Ibrahim an-­‐Nakha’i, over ahad hadith narrated by non-­‐jurists.

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It is for this reason that Imam Abu Hanifah is credited with developing qiyas into a well-­‐ordered discipline within fiqh – with a clear excellence in its use of subtlety and refined analogy. He knew from both his experience in trade, as well as from the arising legal queries, for the need to develop a systematic approach to fiqh. He felt that the rise in conflicting verdicts based on single-­‐reports (ahad), as well as a lack of understanding of the context of reports were being felt negatively in legal implications. He devoted himself to this cause, and made sure that his students also developed this same mind-­‐set – allowing cases to be discussed and debated, with differences of opinion being allowed to be written down.

It is not certain if he had written any books himself, as nothing has reached us from him today with full certainty. However, there are many references and attribution to these in other works. As for his fiqh, all of it is compiled from the writings of his students. As already mentioned, he was a thinker, and he taught his students to learn and think without following him blindly – thus allowing for the development of a new generation of forward thinkers. He made it a point to make sure that his arguments and sources were known before his fatwas could be taken. It is for this reason that approximately thirty per-­‐cent of Hanafi fiqh is taken from his two main students, Imam Abu Yusuf (d. 182AH) and Imam Muhammad ash-­‐Shaybani (d. 189AH) – and this attests to the greatness of Imam Abu Hanifah as a teacher. These two star students also went on to influence other schools -­‐ see figure. 3. As well as these two students, the other star student was Zufad ibn al-­‐Hudhayl ibn Qays (d. 158AH) – who himself went on to become an influential qadi.

From amongst the students of Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Muhammad’s writing was  considered  as  being  very  eloquent.  So  much  so,  that  Imam  Shafi’i commented that the Qur’an has been revealed in his language – despite being Qurayshi himself. From amongst Imam Muhammad’s writings, his six major books form the Kutub Dhahir al-­‐Riwayaat collection, consisting of Al-­‐Mabsoot, Az-­‐Ziyaadat, Al-­‐Jami’ As-­‐Sagheer, Al-­‐Jami’ Al-­‐Kabeer, As-­‐Seeyar As-­‐Sagheer, and Al-­‐ Seeyar Al-­‐Kabir – these form the foundations of Hanafi fiqh. The rare books are referred to as Ar-­‐Riwayah Kutub Nadir Ar-­‐Riwayah, and the opinions from the former collection are preferred over those found within the latter.

Imam Abu Hanifah spent his lifetime trying to understand the laws of the Qur’an and Sunnah for the betterment of the needs of society in line with the law of Allah. As for his character, countless people have testified to his piety and fear of Allah – often spending full nights in worship from isha till fajr with the same wudhu. It is for his sincerity in taking on the burden of responsibility that people admired him – for which they titled him Al-­‐Imam Al-­‐A’zam, the greatest of those worthy to be followed. For all of his contributions, the ummah hold a great debt

to him. May Allah be pleased with him. Ameen.

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