All praises are for ALLAH, the Lord and Sustainer of the universe. May the peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon our beloved Messenger Muhammad, his family and his companions.

In the field of Shariah (Islamic theology & law) there is a science known as Usul al-Fiqh in which the jurisprudential methods of Islamic law are discussed. Specialists in this science have written that the evidences of Shariah are four, namely; The Book of ALLAH (Kitab ALLAH), which is the Quran; Hadith, the teachings of the Noble Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam; Ijmaa, the consensus of the Islamic scholars; and Qiyas, deduction by analogy.

1. The Book of ALLAH: The learned scholars have defined the Book of ALLAH as those words of ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, which the Angel Jibril, alaihis salaam, brought to Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam. Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, dictated those words to his companions and told them “this is Quran.” The Quran was revealed over a period of twenty-three years. ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, has reserved the responsibility for the preservation and protection of the Noble Quran to Himself. There has never been any addition or deletion to the Noble Quran and there never will be. There are 6236 verses in the Nob le Quran. 500 of these verses relate to ahkam (commandments, i.e., the rules of law), while the rest of the verses are stories about the former communities and Prophets, alaihim assalaam, sent to them. In his book Tafseer-e-Ahmadi, Allamah Mulla Jeevan has written the exegesis of the 500 verses that relate to the commandments.

The verses of the Noble Quran are of two types. The first type consists of verses referred to as Muhkam. These give clear instructions with precise meanings, leaving no room for any doubt. These Ayaat are the fundamentals of the Noble Quran.

The second type consists of verses referred to as Mutashabih. The precise meaning of these verses is difficult. The ruling about these verses is that they should be believed in with heartfelt sincerity and one should be silent about them without giving any opinion with regards to their meaning. ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, has reserved the exact meanings of these verses to himself and no one else can determine the meaning. However those persons who receive Wahy (Divine revelation) or Ilham from ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, can acquire the knowledge of these verses via these two mediums. For details see verse seven of Surah Al-Imran.

2. Hadith: Hadith scholars have defined the Hadith as the teachings or actions of Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam. Hadith also includes those actions of the companions which were performed in front of Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, and in which he neither objected nor recommended them. There are several types of Hadith including Mashhur, Mutawatir, Sahih, Hasan, Mursal, Marfu’, Munqati’i, D’aeef and Mawdu’ etc. The debate of these categories is left to the specialists of Hadith and the extraction of rulings from them is the work of Mujtahideen and Fuqaha. There are many books of Hadith. The most famous among these books are the books by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasai, and Ibn Majah. These six collections are categorized as Sihah Sittah. Other works of Hadith include Muwatta Imam Malik, Musnad Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Sunan Ad-Darimi, Al-Bayhaqi, Abu Uwana, Hakim and Dailami, etc.

3. Ijmaa: Ijmaa refers to the consensus reached by scholars and especially the consensus reached by the companions of the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam. According to Ahl As-Sunnat wa J amaat, Ijmaa is evidence or proof in Shariah and those who speak out against it are not on the right path. Some scholars have refused to accept Ijmaa as proof but the Ulema of Ahl As-Sunnat have adequately refuted their assertions. Prominent among the Ahl As-Sunnat scholars was Imam Jassas who wrote a complete book in support of Ijmaa as evidence in Shariah.

The scholars have given many examples in support of Ijmaa. For example, lets consider the prayers of Taraweeh that are performed during Ramadan. This prayer was performed individually, not in congregation, during the life time of the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam; during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, radiya ALLAHu anhu; and during the early part of the Caliphate of Umar bin Al-Khattab, radiya ALLAHu anhu. Later during the Caliphate of Umar, radiya ALLAHu anhu, he thought that the Prophet, sallaALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, had said that he did not pray Taraweeh in congregation with his companions because he feared it would become obligatory on them to do so. Umar, radiya ALLAHu anhu, thought that since the Wahy had stopped and there was no longer any chance that the prayer would become obligatory, why not pray it in congregation behind one Imam? Therefore he collected the companions and established the practice of Taraweeh in congregation with Ubayy bin Kaab, radiya ALLAHu anhu, as their Imam. None of the companions objected to this practice and the scholars have ruled it to be Ijmaa.

4. Qiyas: In the Arabic language, Qiyas means to examine, approximate or measure. In the Fuqaha’s (experts in the science of Fiqh) terminology it refers to comparing Furu, a sub-division of Islamic law, to Asl, a situation or problem whose ruling is known and proven. In other words this means when a new or original situation whose ruling is not known arises, it is compared to a situation whose ruling is known and proven to reach an answer. In Qiyas it is important to determine the operative or effective cause of a known ruling. This is so because the rule exists if the operative cause exists and the rule does not exist if the operative cause does not exist. The operative cause is called Illate Jamiah or Illate Mushtarika. The following example should help in the understanding of this category. Assume that a new kind of drink has appeared in the markets and you wish to determine if it is Halal or haram. Since the drink did not exist in previous times, you need to use Qiyas. The one trying to determine the rule in this situation knows that wine (Khamr) is haram and the operative cause is that drinking it causes intoxication. In this situation, we must determine if the new drink contains any intoxicants. If it does then it will be haram; otherwise it will not be labeled as haram.

In Fiqh terminology, the ruling concerning wine is Asl and the one concerning the new drink will be termed as Furu’. The intoxicant that is present in both of them is called Illate Jamiah or Illate Mushtarika. It is important to remember here that the Qiyas is not the work of the masses but only of the specialist Ulama.

In the Hadith literature we find the following incident relating to Sayyedena Mu’adh, radiya ALLAHu anhu. When the Prophet, sallaALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, deputed Mu’adh, radiya ALLAHu anhu, to be the governor of Yemen he asked him: “According to what will you judge?” Mu’adh replied, “According to the Book of ALLAH.” Then the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, asked: “And if you find nothing therein?” Mu’adh, radiya ALLAHu anhu, replied, “According to the Sunnah of the Prophet of ALLAH.” Then the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, asked: “And if you find nothing therein?” Mu’adh replied, “Then I will exert myself to form my own judgment.” The Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, was pleased with this reply and said: “Praise be to ALLAH Who has guided the messenger of the Prophet to that which pleases the Prophet.” (Reported by Imam Ahmed lbn Hanbal, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, Ad-Darimi) The word Sunnah here refers to Hadith. The lliema have cited this Hadith as a proof that Qiyas is Daleel in Shariah. May ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ ala, give us the taufeeq to follow the Sunnah. Ameen.