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The History of the Science of Usul Al-fiqh and Its Compilation

The History of the Science of Usul Al-fiqh and Its Compilation

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Published by Ammar D.

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Published by: Ammar D. on Nov 08, 2010
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The history of the science of usul al-fiqh and its compilationThe discussions in knowledge since the dawn of Islam between the greatscholars of Fiqh was carried out with the intention of finding the truth, aswell as attempting to extract rulings from the divine evidences. Because of this these great scholars felt and understood a need for principles andcriteria for the exegesis and Ijtehad, as to help preserve Islamic Fiqh fromwhims and mistakes. For this reason their discussions and Ijtehad revolvedaround principles built upon Usool which they agreed upon, and they gatheredthis in the science which is called Usul al-Fiqh.So this science is an innovated thing, as the pious predecessors were in noneed for it at all, because they had the pure understanding of the Arabiclanguage and they knew its meanings and details. They were also close to theProphetic period, so they had knowledge of the Quran the reasons of revelation, as well as intelligence and sharpness, so they were not really inneed of such a science. But when the Predecessors passed away and Muslims began to mix with other civilizations as Islam spread through the Khilafah(May Allah return it) the scholars felt it important to write down thisscience to make sure that the pure Islam is preserved from any attempt of changing it, as happened to many people in the past.These great people understood the reasons behind such a science i.e. Toextract rulings from evidences, so there is a ruling and evidence as well asthe process of extraction of the ruling from the evidence, as well as the one who does the extraction,so they placed their studies into four sections :1. The rulings - from the obligatory, the forbidden act, the recommended, thedespised, the permissible, and the Adaa', Qadaa', Saha,Fasaad, and others.2. The original evidences - It is the book, the Sunnah, as well as what comesfrom it from evidences from Ijma' and Qiyas as well as evidences that branchfrom it from Istishab, The mathhab of the companion, Masalih Mursala, TheShariah of those before us etc.3. The ways of extraction .4. The one who does the extraction i.e. The Mujtahid himself.The history books point to the fact that the first man to write this sciencedown is the great scholar the Imaam Muhammad bin Idris Al-Shafi' (may Allah be pleased with him!) Who died 204 A.H in Egypt, when he wrote his famousRisalah. In this work called Al-Risalah he spoke about the Quran, the Sunnahand it's level in relation to the Quran and that it must be followed by theorder of Allah as well as the study of the Abrogated and that whichabrogates, the general and the specific, the single narration, the Ijma' andQiyas and what we can have I’khtilaf (difference) upon and what we cannotetc.He wrote other books as well such as "Ibtaal al-Istihsaan" in response toAbu-Hanifah and his companions and the book Jamaa' al-I'lm. After that theHanafi scholars wrote in this science. Ibn-Nadeem mentions that Imaam
Shaybani the student of Abu-Hanifa and from the teachers of Shafi' haswritten a book in Usul al-Fiqh but this book has not reached us and has beenlost. Furthermore Imaam Khair al-deen Al-Zarakli mentions that Imaam Shaybanihas many books in Fiqh, Usool. It is narrated that Abu-Yousef (died 182 A.H.)is the first person to author a book upon the Mathhab of Abu-Hanifa. It isalso narrated that the first person to write in the science of Usul-al-Fiqhis Hisham bin al-Hakm, one of the companions of Imaam Abu-Abdallah Jafar binMuhammad (died 179 AH), however despite that there is no book to reach us before that of Imaam Al-Shafi's al-Risalah. So the knowledge of Usul al-Fiqhwas not written down except at the end of the second century after Hijra. Butit cannot be said that the Ijtehad before this period had no principles or details, rather what is meant that the early Mujtahideen were in no need of such principles and general evidences to be written in books, because theywere experts in the Arabic language itself as well as the Quran, the Sunnah,abrogated, and so on.The metholodgy of Authors in the Science of Usul al-FiqhThe scholars adopted three ways in the writing of Usul al-Fiqh which were:1) Path one: The methodology of the Mutakalimeen: Most of these authors camefrom the Shafi' mathhab and Maliki mathhab. It is called the methodology of the Shaf’is because its founder was Imaam Shafi' himself. The attributes of this methodology includes placing general principles, from evidences with proof. They did this whether it agreed with the branches of Fiqh or not. Thismethod does not really look at the branches of Fiqh, Fiqh is only used as anexample of explanation. So they taught the principles so that it governed the branches, and a way of extraction of the branches i.e. of Fiqh. From the mostfamous authors in this methodology include:1.Abu-ul-Husayn bin Ali al-Basri al-Mu'tazali who passed away 463 AH in his book al-Mu'tamad.2. Imaam al-Haramayn, Abu-al-M'aali Abdul al-Malik bin Abdullah Al-Juwaynial-Shafi' (died 487 AH) in his book al-Burhan.3. Imaam Abu-Hamad al-Ghazali al-Shafi' (died 505 AH) in his book Al-Mustasfa.4. Imaam Fakhr ul-Deen Al-Razi Al-Shafi' (died 606 AH) in his book al-Mahsul5. Imaam al-Aamidi al-Shafi', (died 631 AH), in his book Al-Ihkam.6. Imaam Abu-'Amr Uthman bin Umar, known as Ibn-Hajib al-Maliki (died 646 AH)in his book al-Mukhtasar in which he summarized Muntaha al-Sa'ul wa al-Amalfi ilmay al-Usool wa al-Jadal which he summarised from Al-Aamidi's Ahkam.7. Imaam Baydawi al-Shafi' (died 685 AH) in his book al-Minhaj.2) Path two: The second methodology is that of the Hanafi scholars followed by the Hanafi Usuli scholars, and from the attributes of this method is2
 placing general principles through which the scholars then derive the Fiqh branches through the branches itself, that is why the main attribute is the >branches itself, as their goal was: extracting Usuli principles that fitswith those branches as if they knew the branches and based the Usool upon it.For this reason those who wrote in this way in their books of Usul al-Fiqhrelied on Fiqh enormously and their books contained a lot of Fiqh. The mostfamous authors of this path include :1. The Imaam Abu-al-Hasan al-Karkhi who died 340 AH in his book calledal-Usool2. Imaam Ahmad bin Ali known as Al-Jassas (died 370 A.H.) His book was alsotitled al-Usool.3. Imaam Ubaid Allah bin Umar the Judge Abu-Zayd Al-Daboosi (from the areas of Samarqand intoday's Uzbekistan (he died 430 A.H.) His book was alsocalled al-Usool.4. Imaam Fakhr al-Islam Ali bin Muhammad al-Bazdawi (died 482 A.H.) In his book al-Usool as well. This book is from the most authoritative books writtenon the path of the Hanafi mathhab it was explained by the Imaam Alaa al-DeenAbdul Aziz bin Ahmad al-Bukhari who died in 730 A.H. In a great book calledKashf al-Asrar.5. The scholar Shams al-A'ima Abu-Bakr Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Abi SahlAl-Sarkhasi who died 483 A.H. In his book al-Usool.6. Imaam Abdullah bin Ahmad Al-Nasafi who died 710 A.H. in his book al-Manar.3)The third path: This can be called the path of the later scholars, this is because they saw that both previously mentioned paths in Usool each had itsattributes and benefits not found in the other so they began to write in thescience of Usool al-Fiqh by gathering between the two paths . So the Usoolare researched with evidences and proofs, and implemented upon it i.e the branches of Fiqh. Many authors wrote in this way from both the Hanafi andShafi' mathhab. From the most famous writers include:1. Imaam Muthafar al-Deen Ahmad bin Ali Al-Baghdadi Al-Hanafi, known asIbn-Saa'ati who died 694 A.H. In his book Badi' al-Nitham that gathered between the books of Bazdawi and al-Ahkam..2. Imaam Sadr al-Shariah, Ubaid Allah bin Mas'ud al-Bukhari al-Hanafi, whodied 747 A.H. In his book Tanqih al-Usool which he summarized from Usoolal-Bazdawi, and Muktasar Ibn-Hajab, and al-Mahsool by Imaam Al-Razi theauthor explained it in a book called: Al-Tawdih fi Hal Ghawamid Al-Tanqih. >Also S'ad al-DeenAl-Taftazani Al-Shafi' who died in 792 A.H. has aexplanation on Al-Tawdih he called it Al-Talwih.3. Imaam Kamal al-Deen Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahad known as Ibn-Humam who died861 A.H. In his book al-Tahrir and upon it is a explanation called Al-Taqreer 3

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