14 December, 2018 | 5 Rabi al-Thani, 1440 H

"What corrupts generosity is mentioning it."

- The Prophet Muhammad (s)

Learning
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Core Curriculum

Section 1 - God, Religion and Islam: An Introduction
  • Topic 1.1 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 1.2 - God, Allah and Religion

  • Topic 1.3 - Introduction to Islam

  • Topic 1.4 - What is “Religion” and What’s the Point of it Anyways?

  • Topic 1.5 - A Brief Introduction to the Prophet Muhammad (s), the Prophet of Islam

Section 2 - Foundations of Islam - Theology
  • Topic 2.1 - Entering Islam: The Shahada

  • Topic 2.2 - The Usūl al-Dīn: The Fundamental Beliefs of Islam

  • Topic 2.3 - Tawhīd: The Unity and Oneness of God in Islam

  • Topic 2.4 - Adala: Divine Justice in Islam

  • Topic 2.5 - Nubuwwa: The Purpose of Prophethood in Islam

  • Topic 2.6 - Imāmah or divinely guided leadership in Islam after the Prophet Muhammad.

  • Topic 2.7 - Maʿād: The Day of Judgment in Islam

  • Topic 2.8 - The Sharīʿa: Purpose and Practice

  • Topic 2.9 - The Islamic Concept of the Nafs: Battling the Human Ego

  • Topic 2.10 - Satan, Jinns and Angels: Their Influence in the World

  • Topic 2.11 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

Section 3 - Foundations of Islam - Obligatory Acts
  • Topic 3.1 - Accepting Islam: Putting Faith into Action

  • Topic 3.2 - Jihād in Islamic Law and Spirituality

  • Topic 3.3 - Salāt: Obligatory Ritual Prayers in Islam

  • Topic 3.4 - Ritual Purity in Islamic Law: Understanding Tahāra and Najāsa

  • Topic 3.5 - The Five Categories of Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.6 - Tawalla and Tabarra, its Basics and Purpose

  • Topic 3.7 - The Purpose of Zakat and Khums in Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.8 - The Hajj Pilgrimage

  • Topic 3.9 - The Furūʿ al-Dīn: The Fundamental Practices of Islam

  • Topic 3.10 - Fasting in Islam, its Purpose, Dos and Don’ts

  • Topic 3.11 - Other Obligatory and Forbidden Acts in Islam

  • Topic 3.12 - Niyya: Religious Intention as the Foundation of Islamic Practice

  • Topic 3.13 - Commanding the Good and Forbidding Evil in Islam

Section 4 - Prophethood in Islam
  • Topic 4.1 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Childhood (PART I of III)

  • Topic 4.2 - Bio: The Prophet Muhammad as a Prophet of God (PART II of III)

  • Topic 4.3 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Character (PART III of III)

  • Topic 4.4 - The Prophet Muhammad (s) as Messenger and Teacher

  • Topic 4.5 - The Prophet and his Relationships

  • Topic 4.6 - The Prophet’s Sunnah and Hadith

  • Topic 4.7 - Ghadīr and Arafah: The Two Last Sermons of the Prophet

  • Topic 4.8 - Jesus and Mary in Islam

Section 5 - The Qur'an and Hadith
  • Topic 5.1 - Islam and Other Religions

  • Topic 5.2 - What is the Qur’an? A Short Introduction to Islam’s Holy Book

  • Topic 5.3 - The Structure of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.4 - The Quran and Islamic law

  • Topic 5.5 - The Qur’an, Allah and Humankind

  • Topic 5.6 - Hadith and Sunnah, difference and variations

  • Topic 5.7 - The Reliability of Hadiths

  • Topic 5.8 - A Reflection on Verses of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.9 - Hadith al-Thaqalayn

  • Topic 5.10 - Imam Ali (as) and Nahj al-Balagha.

  • Topic 5.11 - Taqlid and Tawḍih Al Masail Genre of Literature

Section 6 - Measuring Good and Bad in Islam
  • Topic 6.1 - The Effects of Our Actions in this World

  • Topic 6.2 - The Gray Areas of Islamic Law and Morality

  • Topic 6.3 - Heaven and Hell in Islam

  • Topic 6.4 - Life and Death in Islam

  • Topic 6.5 - Guidance According to Islam

  • Topic 6.6 - Fate and the Consequences of our Choices in Islam

  • Topic 6.7 - The Effect of Culture and Environment in Shaping our Religious Choices

  • Topic 6.8 - Major Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.9 - Why Allah Allows People to Sin

  • Topic 6.10 - Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.11 - The Three Kinds of Rights in Islam

  • Topic 6.12 - Sinning Against Others and their Delayed Punishment

  • Topic 6.13 - Kufr in Islam

  • Topic 6.14 - Trivializing the Harām

  • Topic 6.15 - Benefits of Islamic Law in this World

  • Topic 6.16 - Good and Bad Deeds: The Spiritual Consequences of our Choices

Section 7 - The Legacy of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as)
  • Topic 7.1 - Islam and Knowledge: the Importance of Islamic Education

  • Topic 7.2 - The Ahl al-Kisa

  • Topic 7.3 - Imamah in the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.4 - Fatima al-Zahrah (as)

  • Topic 7.5 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam al-Hasan until Imam Muhammad al-Baqir)

  • Topic 7.6 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam Jafar al-Sadiq until Imam Hasan al-Askari)

  • Topic 7.7 - A Brief Look at the Life and Importance of Imam al-Mahdi (aj)

  • Topic 7.8 - Salawat and Atonement in Islam

  • Topic 7.9 - The Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet According to the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.10 - Clerical Hierarchies in Muslim Communities

  • Topic 7.11 - Mosques in Islam

  • Topic 7.12 - The Philosophy of Karbala and Majalis

  • Topic 7.13 - A Brief Biography of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)

  • Topic 7.14 - The Battle of Karbala: A Brief History

Section 8 - Islamic Relationships, Sects and Conflicts
  • Topic 8.1 - Misconceptions about Shi’ism

  • Topic 8.2 - Major Sects of Islam

  • Topic 8.3 - Islam and Religious Conflicts

  • Topic 8.4 - Islam and Rights

  • Topic 8.5 - Sunnism and Shi’ism, beginnings and historical developments.

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Special Topics

Section 9 - Independent Topics
  • Topic 9.1 - Muslim Converts – Welcome to Islam!

  • Topic 9.2 - Basic Dos and Don’ts of Being a Muslim

  • Topic 9.3 - Halal Food and Zabiha

  • Topic 9.4 - Family, Parents and Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.5 - Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.6 - Islam and Sex

  • Topic 9.7 - Modesty in Islam

  • Topic 9.8 - Women’s Menstruation in Islam

  • Topic 9.9 - Music, Alcohol, Drugs and Pork in Islam

  • Topic 9.10 - Islam and Science

  • Topic 9.11 - A Reading List of Islamic Knowledge

  • Topic 9.13 - Ritual Prayers and Supplications in Islam

  • Topic 9.14 - Death & Burial Rituals in Islam

  • Topic 9.15 - The Battle of Armageddon: An Islamic View

  • Topic 9.16 - The Muslim Calendar

  • Topic 9.17 - Muslims and non-Muslims in the Shariah

  • Topic 9.18 - A Timeline of Major Events in Islamic History

  • Topic 9.19 - Introducing the Qur’an: Why it is the way it is

  • Topic 9.20 - The School of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq

  • Topic 9.21 - Major Fields in Islamic Studies

  • Topic 9.22 - The Caliphate in Sunni and Shia Islam

  • Topic 9.24 - Islam, Racism and Anti-Semitism

Section 10 - Islam, Religion, and Modern Controversies
  • Topic 10.1 - Modern Fallacies about God: where Theists and Atheists Agree

  • Topic 10.2 - Tawhīd: The Muslim God according to the Prophet Muhammad and the Ahl al-Bayt (as)

  • Topic 10.3 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Being (Wujūd)

  • Topic 10.4 - God’s Existence: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

  • Topic 10.5 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Design

  • Topic 10.6 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 10.7 - Why did God Create Us? The Purpose of our Creation

  • Topic 10.8 - Why Humans Need Religion according to Islam

  • Topic 10.9 - Jahl and Spiritual Ignorance in Islam

  • Topic 10.11 - Do Non-Muslims Go to Hell?

The Quran and Islamic law

Abstract

The Quran is the primary source of law. It sets the general principles (ethical and moral) of how Muslims should think and derive the law. The hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as) are explainers of the Qur’an.

INTRODUCTION 

 

Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters. 

 

Welcome back to the Muslim Convert Channel! Back in our section on the Furūʿ al-Dīn, we spoke a lot about Islamic law. One thing we did not really talk about are the sources of Islamic law. Where are they taken from? What source holds the most authority? 

 

In this lesson, we’ll briefly take a look at the sources of Islamic law and analyze how the Quran, Islam’s holy book, is the most authoritative source of them all. 

 

BODY OF TEXT 

 

We have neglected nothing in the Book (Chapter 6, verse 38 of the Holy Qur’an) 

 

This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah  (Chapter 2, verse 2) 

 

Islamic law has four major sources, they are the following in hierarchal rank: 

 

  1. Qur’an 
  2. Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as) 
  3. ʿAql (intellect) 
  4. Ijmāʿ (consensus of the community or scholars) 

 

The Qur’an is the ultimate source of Islamic law. It sets the general principles on how we should understand the law. It sets the ethical and moral paradigms of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior.  

 

For example, the Qur’an rules against stealing the property of orphans or forcing women into prostitution. These rules are important for they set the parameters of how far we can interpret Islamic law. So if we take these two examples, we know that any interpretation that would somehow legalize forced prostitution or theft of an orphan’s property would be totally invalid. 

 

Allah says: 

 

And give to the orphans their properties and do not substitute the defective [of your own] for the good [of theirs]. And do not consume their properties into your own. Indeed, that is ever a great sin. (Chapter 4, verse 2 of the Holy Qur’an) 

 

He also says: 

 

And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful. (Chapter 24, verse 33 of the Holy Qur’an)  

 

Knowledge of the Qur’an is therefore essential in understanding Islamic law, especially in our modern world. We often see extremists committing many barbaric acts and justifying them through a warped understanding of Islamic law.  

 

But any in-depth reading of the Qur’an, and careful consideration of the moral and ethical principles that it preaches will make one quickly realize how unislamic the behavior of some violent extremists are.  

 

The Qur’an, however, does not contain all of Islamic law. As we said, it sets the general principles, especially moral and ethical principles, which guide the law. For example, the Qur’an asks us to pray, but it does not tell us how many units of prayer we should perform. Similarly, it tells us to fast, but it does not give us the details as to how to fast.  

 

So where are we supposed to get these details from? They are to be taken from the hadiths of the Messenger of God (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as). These hadiths give us the details, and the Qur'an gives us the general principles.  

 

Why is this the case? Well think about it, if every single detail of Islamic law, or any other religious matter, was in the Qur’an, then the Qur’an would have endless volumes and it would  become an impractical holy book! Imagine carrying a book that is hundreds of volumes long. Holy books are useful when we can carry them around and use them as sources of guidance!  

 

The Qur’an and hadiths are therefore the originators and establishers of Islamic law. As the Qur’an commanded Muslims to perform deeds, the Prophet (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as) taught Muslims on how to perform them and shared all the important details that people needed to know.  

 

Our third source of law is something we call ʿaql. Aql is in reference to the human intellect. One of the tools of the intellect which is useful in the Qur’an is the power of inference which in Arabic is called istinbāt. Inference is sometimes used when Muslim scholars try to derive a specific law that may not be too clear both in the Qur’an and in the hadiths because the legal case at hand is unprecedented.  

 

For example, we have a hadith from the Prophet and the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) that “every intoxicant is forbidden” or “every thing that ruins your mind is forbidden.” Some drugs, such as methamphetamines did not exist during the time of the Prophet or the Imams. However, with our intellects, we understand that modern drugs like methamphetamines ruin the mind. As such, we can infer that these drugs are forbidden by Islamic law. 

 

The other source is called ijmāʿ or consensus. Consensus can refer to multiple things, either consensus of scholars or consensus of the Islamic community. The idea behind this is that if Muslims agree on something, or at least scholars agree on a certain matter, then we should assume that the position is legally sound.  

 

Now obviously there are many types of ijmāʿ in Islamic law, and it is a controversial source of law, especially among scholars. However, it does have some power in certain situations. For example, all Muslims agree that there are five obligatory prayers. The fact that all Muslims historically agreed on this is of great evidentiary value as it establishes, on a historical basis, that the Prophet (s) did in fact teach this. 

 

Unfortunately, some people get boggled up in these details and forget the elephant in the room when we speak of Islamic law, namely the Qur’an. The Qur’an holds the number 1 say in Islamic law.  Nothing supersedes it. No interpretation, or legal conclusion may contradict its ethical principles.   

 

Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh 

Ijmā

consensus of the muslim community or scholars 

ʿAql

intellect, used to derive laws from Islamic law 

Istinbāt

formal inference from Islamic law 

Q1

Does the Qur’an contain all of Islamic law?

No, it contains the general moral principles of the law 

Q2

What’s the relationship of hadiths and the Qur’an in Islamic law?

The hadiths explain the details of the Qur’an's law which are not available in the book

Q3

Who interprets the Qur’an?

The Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as) 

Q4

What is Islamic law’s most important source of law?

The Qur’an

Q5

What is the second most important source of law after the Qur’an?

The hadiths of the Prophet (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as)

Muslim
God
Allah
Hereafter
Prophet Muhammad
Messenger of Allah
Religion
Ahl al-Bayt
Sin
Sins
Salvation
Soul
Spirit
Islamic community
muslim ummah
holy book
holy scripture of Islam
Qur’an
Islam’s holy book
guidance of mankind
interpretation of the Qur’an
furūʿ al-dīn
Islamic law
ijmāʿ
istinbāt
ʿaql

Al-Mizan by Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai 

Authenticity of the Quran by Shaikh Muslim Bhanji