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Topic initiated on Friday, February 23, 2007  -  6:03 AM Reply with quote
Is Shariah absolute?

would like to ask the views of my learned friends on the Shariah. Is Shariah absolute for all times or it can evolve or modify with time.

I am asking in referance to issues like surah Nissa quoting punishment for a wife and its three stages. The last stage would be deemed against the law in a non islamic country and at present would seem inaplicable in society. Similarly; the issue of slaves women and having permisisble relations with them.

Posted - Friday, February 23, 2007  -  6:52 AM Reply with quote
Thanks Brother Waseem for asking a very relevant question. As I understand the issue, the fact probably is that, regardless of whether 'The Shariah' is absolute or not, the 'understanding of the Shariah' has been evloving with time. Not only that the 'understanding of the Shariah' has been different for scholars of the same time. See for example the difference of opinion on certain matters among the four Imams as well, although one can claim that the disagreement was on minor matters.

As time changes, different social issues arise which inturn lead to different intellectual tendencies, changing the angle of looking at Quran and Sunnah and their directives. For example, one can trace the academic development of Quranic Tafseer as well. There was a time that Quran, due to its complexities was only a subject of study of trained scholars, and then came a time when people like Maulana Moududi brought it in public by making individual's Nijaat as the theme of Quran in his Tafseer.

So regardless of the absoluteness of Actual Shariah, the fact is that its understanding has been undergoing development, evolution, change in focus etc.So I think, given that historical trend, more appropriate questions also are:

If infact Allah has given us an absolute Shariah, has He also intended to make the understanding of Shariah constant with resepect to time and place? If yes then why hasnt that been the case?

If no, then whats the point of giving us an Absolute Shariah, as we are bound to approach it through our understanding of it?


Posted - Saturday, February 24, 2007  -  6:30 AM Reply with quote

The term "Shari`ah" is generally used to refer to the laws of Islam. All Islamic teachings can be divided into two main parts: a) those that relate to the belief-structure of Islam, and b) those that relate to the laws of Islam. The former is known as Al-Hikmah (or the philosophy) of Islam and the latter is termed as Al-Shari`ah or Al-Kitaab (or the law) of Islam.

The basic and the primary source of the Islamic Shari`ah is the person of the Prophet of God. A prophet of God, according to the Muslim belief, is guided by revelation from God. He, in turn, delivers the revealed message to his followers. Thus, Mohammad (pbuh), according to the Islamic faith, is the source of all true guidance of God for all mankind.

The teachings of Mohammad (pbuh) have been transmitted to the world over time, without any adulteration or interpolation. The two basic sources of the teachings of Mohammad (pbuh) are the Qur'an - which is the revealed word of God, compiled, memorized and transmitted as a complete book - and the Sunnah - which constitutes the established Islamic practices, which were disseminated by the Prophet (pbuh) among all of his followers, without any exception. Both the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) have been transmitted to the present day Muslims all over the world through the continual - and uninterrupted - transmission of the whole generation of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) - and then every subsequent generation - to its next generation. Because of this verbal perpetuation - in the case of the Qur'an - and practical perpetuation - in the case of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) - both these sources have always remained clear of any adulteration, interpolation, addition or deletion and have always maintained their original form - exactly as they were left by the Prophet (pbuh). Thus, for all practical purposes, the primary sources of the Shari`ah are a) The Qur'an, and b) The Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).

Besides the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), Another source of knowledge about the life and times of the Prophet (pbuh) as well as about the environment in which the Prophet and his companions lived is the narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh). These narratives, in contrast to the Qur'an and the Sunnah, have been transmitted to the later generations through oral narratives of a few people only. However, these narratives can sometimes provide invaluable information about the life and practices of the Prophet (pbuh), which, although, do not constitute the main corpus of Islam, yet can sometimes provide phenomenal guidance regarding the Prophet's way of following the teachings of Islam. Nevertheless, due to the inherent weaknesses of reliability and accuracy with regards to these narratives as well as the fact that the Prophet (pbuh) himself never directed his followers to record and compile these narratives, they are generally not considered among the prime sources of the Islamic Shari`ah. They constitute a supplementary source, which is only accepted to be reliable and accurate if 1) They have been transmitted to us through unbroken chains of reliable, honest and intelligent narrators; 2) nothing contained in them is contrary to the Qur'an, the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) or the established facts of nature and history; and 3) their content do not make any additions to the Islamic Shari`ah, as is contained in the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

The main topics discussed in the Shari`ah are:

Rules for worship;

Rules for social interactions;

Rules for economic interactions;

Rules for political interactions;

Rules for propagation of Islam;

Rules for Jihad (war);

Rules for punishments;

Rules for edibles; and

Muslim etiquette and Islamic symbols.

Rules regarding Oaths

However, in view of the general misconception and confusion about the two commonly used terms of "Shari`ah" and "Fiqh", it seems important to clarify the difference between these two terms which are, generally, used as synonymous.

Shari`ah, as the above explanation tries to establish, is purely the collection of the laws of the Qur'an and the Sunnah only. While "Fiqh", on the contrary, is the collection of the extensive application of the laws entailed in the Shari`ah on practical life situations of a time. In other words, the "Fiqh" of a particular Muslim jurist includes: a) the interpretation of the laws of the Shari`ah of that particular Muslim jurist; b) the opinions of that particular Muslim jurist regarding the issues not directly referred in the Shari`ah; and c) the applications of the interpretations and opinions of that particular Muslim jurist on practical life situations faced by him. It should also be noted that all three aspects included in "Fiqh" are subject not only to difference of opinions among the various Muslim scholars of a particular time, but also to a difference of opinion among Muslim scholars belonging to different periods of time.

Thus, if seen in the correct perspective, it shall be known that "Fiqh" includes an element of human interpretation of the Shari`ah, which, like other human efforts entails chances of mistakes and inconsistencies. Furthermore, it is important to note that a Muslim must, under all circumstances maintain his adherence to the Islamic Shari`ah, while affiliating oneself with any given particular juristic school (Fiqh) is not required of a Muslim.

Posted - Saturday, February 24, 2007  -  9:38 AM Reply with quote
jews and chritians are considered as the developed nations with the time and the place. does they (jews and chritians) say like the muslims are dong and their shariah have been evolving successively with the time and place? has thir religios evolutuion made them the developed countries or the devloped nations?

Posted - Sunday, February 25, 2007  -  6:04 AM Reply with quote
The progress of Western countries is through hard work and good planning. In the democratic counteries politics and religion contrast with each other. Issues like abortions, gays, capital punishment,religion and current democracies have different views. We cannot say there is a Christian country.
Having said that, we must accept that currently basic human rights, law and order, freedom of speech are in much better shape in the West than in most so called muslim counteries.

Posted - Monday, February 26, 2007  -  5:07 AM Reply with quote
Brother Waseem I am assuming that your post Posted on Saturday, February 24, 2007 - 6:30 AM, was in response to what I wrote? - Am I right?

Posted - Monday, February 26, 2007  -  6:50 AM Reply with quote
Salam brother Salmant

In my limited understanding and knowledge. The Qur'an provides ultimate punishment for a hand full of major crimes.

These major crimes are:
1. Spreading Disorder
2. Murder and Injury
3. Theft
4. Fornication
5. Qadhf (accusing someone of Fornication)

We have different variations, circumstances in crimes,We have similar crimes and new crimes. Thus human interpretation in light of Qur'an and Sunnah has to come in. This forms the basis of Fiqh and ijtehaad.

Posted - Monday, February 26, 2007  -  7:36 AM Reply with quote
Quote: In my limited understanding and knowledge. The Qur'an provides ultimate punishment for a hand full of major crimes.

Reply: Brother Waseem, as you rightly mentioned, in your "understanding and knowledge of Quran", this is the case. I am not disagreeing or agreeing with it. My point is, we will always refer to Quran and Sunnah in accordance with our understanding and knowledge of them. And yes I agree with you that human interpretation is inevitable.
Therefore, the question remains, Is Shariah really absolute, when the 'Fehm' of it (understanding, knowledge and interpretation) is not?


Posted - Monday, February 26, 2007  -  8:14 AM Reply with quote
Dear Waseem; my Bro in Islam

your Q was: "Is Shariah absolute for all times or it can evolve or modify with time?"

My Answer is: Yes, The Sharee'ah; Given by GOD Himself via Pro. Muhammad (pbuh) in shape of Quran & Sunnah is absolute for All Times & It cannot be Evolved or Modied.
Just to understand my pt. here is r some Examples:
Prayers: their no.(5), their timings etc.
Fasting: Its Month (Ramadan), Sahr o Iftar etc.
& So On

Your Quote: "I am asking in referance to issues like surah Nissa quoting punishment for a wife and its three stages. The last stage would be deemed against the law in a non islamic country and at present would seem inaplicable in society. Similarly; the issue of slaves women and having permisisble relations with them."

well in this Particular Example, I personaly think that your understanding of the Aayah needs some improvement & that is:
The Punishment that a Husband has been Allowed to Give His Wife is NOT a Such Act that can (or Shud) become a Police case. It does NOT mean that a Husband has the Liecense to Break Legs/Arms of his Wife. He can NOT harm ANY PART of her BODY thru his Punishment. If he DOES SO, he shud be given punishment (according to his Fault) by the Judge/Court.
This Punishment is JUST LIKE a punishment of Father for Kids OR of Teacher for Students etc. though these r against the LAW too in Some Countries.
But this is Aplicable in All type of Socities. I wud like to ask another Q that WHY Husbands try to Reach the Stage of Punishment SO Early? Have they Shown the Proper PATIENCE??? Have they TRIED to LIVE with them in THAT good way which is Described Some Verses b4 the Verse of Punishment i.e. (4:19). Plz read the LAST HALF of the Verse
& Why NOT Husbands FOLLOW (or EVEN try to follow) the "USWA" of our Beloved Prophet in this Regard? How Many Times He needed to Punish any of His Wives?

if NOT then WHY US? Why we Take it as "Granted" & why not we take it as an "Extreme Stage" that may be NEED of ONLY One Husband out Of a Million. Why it is a Need of Almost every 2nd Husband if Not Everyone?

& Last but NOT the Least, Why do a "Powerful" Hussy not think wile Punishing his wife that he's Doing SO to a "Sinf e Nazuk" poor & weak lady???

Sorry to say BUT let me mention Here that I've NEVER try to USE my this Authority in Last 14 years, & in sha Allah will never NEED/TRY to Use it in Future, Despite the FACT that we're POLES APART in MOST of our living Styles/Prefrences etc.

in sha Allah I'll Discuss the Other Example in near Future.

Posted - Monday, February 26, 2007  -  8:52 PM Reply with quote
Salaamu Alaikom
I agree. Shariah is absolute for all times. Idf it should not be then Islam as a religion should not be completed. Look at the last revelation to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) "This day I have perfected your religion for yoyu, completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (5:5)
BUT there are parts in the Law which is flexible and can adjust with time, new inventions, places, communities and so on. Cloning, organdonations, plastic surgery to name a few. New things that was not at the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) so if we do not find the answer in the Quran and Sunnat (which are the primary sources for Shariah) we have Qiyas and Ijma' as well. Too look through history and consensus of Scholars. (I think thast is the best translation of these two words please help to explain them better)

Posted - Tuesday, February 27, 2007  -  5:29 AM Reply with quote
Qiyas: "Analogical deduction"

Ijmah: "Consensus of Opinion"


Posted - Tuesday, February 27, 2007  -  6:28 AM Reply with quote
I agree with all the brothers here.

The hadith concerning Muaaz rta, when he was made governor of Yeman. Prophet pbuh asked him, if he came across the problem what will he do, he said he will look for guidance in the Qur'an. Prophet pbuh asked him if he did not find any guidance there , then what?. he replied I will look in the Sunnah of thr prophet pbuh. Prophet pbuh asked if you did not find any example or guidance relevant to the problem there also, what will you do. He replied, then I will use my intellect.

brother Ibrahim (moderater). I am still not clear about men hitting women, though like a slap on the wrist like a child. Two issues, what good would that do. Secondly in a western culture, it will be totally unacceptable. Thirdly, you are opening the door to individual interpretation,how much is enough, how will this be interpreted in a remote village in PK.

I would also like to ask about slavery. Whom your right hand possess. So in the so called feudal system in PK. where waderas own the whole villages and the entire land. They own the people, they can indulge in rape of anyone on the basis of whom your right hand possess. or else the shariah is not absolute.

Posted - Wednesday, February 28, 2007  -  5:32 PM Reply with quote
If the Sharee'ah is liable to evolution and modification, “What will be its shape after, suppose, 100 years” The evolution and modification may results in various shapes and colours of the religion and this may be a powerful stimulus for enhancing the growth of sectarianism (already trying to erode the roots of Islam).

Posted - Thursday, March 1, 2007  -  10:17 PM Reply with quote
Salaamu Alaikom
I think in many cases we have to look at the practise of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in order to be able to implement Shariah in our lifes. As the example of hitting the wife. First we have to look what Quran really say. Admonish them first, then refuse to share their beds, then beat them. Now, before you come to this last stage, dont you think that the problem most of the times already has been solved? Since there is two stages before that? And if we look at what the scholars say than this is for religious disobeidiance. And then also if we come to this last stage of beating. What are we allowed to do and what are we NOT allowed to do. How did Prophet Muhammad practise this?
Look what Shariah say about beating. And also according to Shariah if a woman fears cruelty and mistreatment from her husband she has the right to demand Talaq Khul. So it is not just to beat. A problem is, like here in sweden, that many husbands who are beating their wifes or punish them in other ways may not themselfes be the best examples. And I think THIS is the first we as men have to ask ourselfes before we even think about punishing our wifes:
What kind of example for Deen am I to my wife?
Why is she doing this? Is is something that I cause?
Sorry for the long post

Posted - Thursday, March 1, 2007  -  11:42 PM Reply with quote
A'uzu Billahi Minashaitanir Rajim

Bismillahir rahmanir rahim

“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (The Noble Qur`ân, 5:3)

And if you have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to ‛Allâh and His Messenger.” (Qur`ân 3:31)

“Indeed in ‛Allâh’s Messenger (Muhammad you have an excellent example to follow for him who hopes in (meeting with) ‛Allâh on the Last Day, and remembers ‛Allâh much.” (Qur’an, 33:21)

Question: If we were instructed to follow the Prophet Muhammad (Sallal 'Allahu 'alaihi wa Salam) to the “Last Day,” does that mean that we are to live according to the guidance and Laws of The Noble Qur`ân and emulate the Prophet Muhammad (Sallal 'Allahu 'alaihi wa Salam) up to the Last Day?

I am in no way a scholar. I believe (and, as everyone else, this is only my opinion) that the Shariah, sent directly from ‛Allâh (Subhanahu wa Ta'âla) and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam) cannot be modified, changed, or updated by anyone. The deductions derived from the two may differ, but the interpretations and deductions are only authentic if they do not deviate from the guidance of Noble Qur`ân, and (when not explicitly stated in the Qur`ân) the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallal 'Allahu 'alaihi wa Salam).

Posted - Friday, March 2, 2007  -  7:19 AM Reply with quote
Sorry Br Waseem, I'll not be able to answer ur post b4 Monday. Plz Excuse

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