How does Usul Fiqh shape the Opinions of Islamic Scholars?

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The principles of Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh) is considered one of the important fields in the sciences of Sharia (Islamic law). It sets rules and regulations for the mujtahids in Sharia to understand the legal text and apply it to new jurisprudential issues. Sheikh of Islam Ibn Taymiyah (date of death 728 AH) said: “: A person must have universal principles to which the particulars are referred…”[1].He means the science of the principles of jurisprudence, which is used in issues of jurisprudence. He means Usul al-Fiqh, which is used to understand the texts of the Noble Qur’an and Sunnah.

   Among the great benefits of the science of jurisprudence is that the one who studies it and understands its topics acquires the ability to accept the differences in the thoughts of jurists (Fuqaha), in the sense that he knows by this why the opinions of the jurists differed in the schools of jurisprudence in the branches of jurisprudence. So how does the science of jurisprudence lead to the consolidation of the value of accepting the differences of jurists in the science of Islamic jurisprudence? This is exactly what we will talk about in this article, on God`s will.

The Science of Jurisprudence principles is the knowledge of the rules that have been established to derive legal rulings from their detailed evidence.

One of the most important functions of this science is that the student and practitioner of this subject knows and understands the reasons for the differences of scholars, and understands the conflicting of their opinions on some issues of jurisprudence. Because the learner of this science knows the principles of fundamentalism, and the rules adopted in every jurisprudence.

On the other hand, anyone who does not know the principles of jurisprudence will not understand how the jurists differed on many jurisprudential issues. and why there were many sayings on a particular jurisprudential issue, this is what Imam Ahmad meant when he spoke of Imam al-Shafi’i:” We were insulting “Ahl alraay” and they were insulting us, but after Imam al-Shafi’i came, he gathered us together”[2].Imam al-Shafi’i was the first to write a book on the science of jurisprudence, which is the book “Al- Risala”. Imam Al-Shafi’i was considered the first to write in the science of the principles of jurisprudence, as he wrote his book “Al-Risala”.

    Any researcher who observes the history of the beginning of the science of jurisprudence finds that the intensity and complexity of the dispute was a direct reason for the invention of the science of jurisprudence.

     There were many differences in opinions and sayings among Muslims in Islamic jurisprudence and others. Every group and every sect was rooted in its rules, arranging its arguments, and preparing its responses to its opponents. Accordingly, the construction of the science of jurisprudence began, and here Al-Shafi’i appeared with his fundamentalist approach that reconciles the opponents.

      So the purpose of Imam Al-Shafi’i’s founding of his book Al-Risala: On the Science of Fundamentals of Jurisprudence according to Dr. Taha Jaber Al-Alwani:“…collecting the origins of jurisprudential deduction, classifying its rules, and transforming these rules into a method in which jurisprudence is extracted from its evidence, and jurisprudence is a practical application of its rules.”.[3]

Through the rules of the principles of jurisprudence, it is possible to approximate the dispute between the Islamic schools of jurisprudence and to prevent sectarian or sectarian fanaticism arising from being affected by many reasons, the most important of which is ignorance of the foundations and principles of Islamic schools of thought, such as the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, the Shafi’i school of jurisprudence, etc.

  In the same context, Qatada said: “He who does not know the differences of jurists in Islamic jurisprudence does not know the truth and what jurisprudence is”[4].” Hence, whoever knows the reasons for the differences of scholars in Islamic jurisprudence understands the value of scholars first, and secondly, avoids intolerance of opinion, and does not accept the opposing opinion, thus, we avoid sectarian fanaticism.

    In addition, the one who studies the science of jurisprudence realizes that the sayings and opinions of the scholars of jurisprudence are not based on their whims and their interests, but rather were based on ijtihad through the application of fundamentalist rules.

    So, the difference in fundamentalist rules affects Islamic jurisprudence, some studies have focused on this subject, such as”:” The impact of the difference in the fundamental rules on the difference of jurists” the researcher: Mustafa Saeed Al-Khan explained how the jurists differed, and his authorship of this research came after the ambiguity that he was suffering from because he did not understand the differences of the jurists[5].

    In conclusion, we conclude that among the benefits of learning the science of jurisprudence are: The mentality of the knower from the science of the principles of jurisprudence is open to accepting the other who differs in opinion and saying. The foundations of jurisprudence also contribute to the ability to do some comparisons between the opinions of Muslim jurists.

By Dr. Abdelfattah Mahfoud

[1] -“Majmue alfatawaa”, Taqi Al-Din Abu Al-Abbas Ahmed bin Abdul Halim bin Taymiyyah Al-Harrani (died: 728 AH),investigator: Abd al-Rahman bin Muhammad bin Qasim.Publisher: King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an, Medina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Publication year: 1416 AH / 1995 AD, Part 19, pg. 203
[2]” -Tartib almadarik wataqrib almasaliki”, by Judge Ayyad, investigation: Ibn Tawit Al-Tanji, Abdel Qader Al-Sahrawi, Muhammad bin Sharifa, Saeed Ahmed Arab, Fadala Press – Muhammadiyah, Morocco, Edition: First, Part 3, p. 91.
[3] -Athar alaikhtilaf fi alqawaeid al’usuliat fi aikhtilaf alfuqaha’: An Approach to Research and Knowledge” by Alwani, Taha Jaber. Herndon: The International Institute of Islamic Thought, Edition 2, 1995, pg. 46.
[4] -” Jamie bayan aleilm wafadluhu”” by Ibn Abd al-Bar, investigation: Abi Al-Ashbal Al-Zuhairi, Dar Ibn Al-Jawzi, Saudi Arabia, Edition: First, 1414 AH / 1994 AD, Volume 2, p. 815, No.: 1522.
[5]- “Athar alaikhtilaf fi alqawaeid al’usuliat fi aikhtilaf alfuqaha”, by Dr. Mustafa Saeed Al-Khan, Al-Resala Foundation, 1st edition, 1982, p: 5. There are many studies and research that have classified this topic as the reasons for the difference of jurists, such as: “Rafae almalam ean al’ayimat al’aelam” by Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah, and “Al’iinsaf fi bayan ‘asbab al’iikhtilaf”, liwali allah lidahlawi…

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