RLG204H5 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Malik Ibn Anas, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Hanifa

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12 Mar 2018
-Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, 92-106 & 116-124.
The Sharia has been a source of law and moral guidance, the basis for both law and ethics
With the advent of the Umayyad dynasty, an Islamic legal system began gradually to take
shape, replacing previous ad hoc approaches
“qadi” was originally an official appointed by the caliph as his delegate to provincial
He was to see that government decrees were carried out and to settle disputes
Growing dissatisfaction with Umayyad practice led to a new page in the history of
Islamic law
Critics charged that the development of the law had become too subjective which often
led to contradictory body of laws
By the eighth century, such critics eager to limit the autonomy of Muslim rulers and to
standardize the law, could be found in major cities: Medina, Damascus, Basra, Kufa and
In this time these great early scholars, Abu Hanifa (d. 767), Malik ibn Anas (d.796),
Muhammad Al Shafi (d.819), and Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 855); they began to
systematically review Ummayad law and customs in light of Quranic teachings
The major development of Islamic law and jurisprudence took place during the Abbasid
Despite their common purpose and goals, differences soar during the Abbasid times
The Quran is not a law book, some verses are concerned with law while others covers
matters of prayer and ritual
Malik ibn Anas , wrote the first compendium of Islamic law
According to Al-Shafii there are four sources of law: the Quran, the (sunna) example of
the Prophet, consensus (ijma) of the community, and analogical reasoning or deduction
He taught that there are only two material sources of law, the Quran and the Sunna of the
Prophet, as preserved in the hadith
The foundations of Shii law can traced to the influential Jafar-as-Sadiq (699-765), who
compelled majority of Shii, as their sixth imam and founder of their most prominent Shii
school of law
Jafar was a scholar of hadith and fiqh
Two of the founders of four schools of sunni law: Abu Hanifa and Malik ibn Anas
Divisions between sunni and shii only developed gradually
Sharia- literal meaning “the road to the watering hole”; Islamic: the straight path of islam
Fiqh “understanding”, is that science or discipline that sought to ascertain, interpret,
and apply God’s will and guidance (Sharia) as found in the Quran to all aspects of life
The Quran is the source book of Islamic principles and values
Much of the Quran’s reforms consists of regulations or moral guidance that limit or
redefine rather than prohibit or replace existing practices
Eg. Although slavery was not abolished, slave oweners were encouraged to emancipate
their slaves, to permit them to earn their freedom, and to “ give them some of God’s
wealth which He has given to you” (24:33)
Descendents (ahl al-bayt)
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Ijtihad- “to strive or struggle intellectually”
Jihad- “to strive or struggle in God’s path”
When faced with new situations or problems scholars sought a similar situation in the
Quran and Sunna
The key is the effective cause or reason behind a Sharia rule
Jurists saw a similarity between the bride’s loss of virginity in marriage and the Quranic
penalty for theft, which was amputation
Therefore, the minimum dower was set at the same table that stolen goods had to be
worth before amputation was applicable
Consensus (ijma) did not develop as a source of law until after the death of Muhammad,
with the consequent loss of his direct guidance in legitimatize matters
Consensus of the entire community was applied to religious duties, such as the
pilgrimage to Mecca, practiced by all muslims
There are other influeces to the four sources of Islamic law such as custom, public
interest, and jurist preference or equity
By the tenth century, the development of the Islamic law (Islam’s way of life) was
Although an overall unity or common consensus existed among the law schools with
regard to essential practices such as the confession of faith, fasting and pilgrimage to
Mecca, the divergent character of the law schools was preserved by differences in areas
such as the grounds for divorce, the levying of taxes and inheritance rights
Secondly, some limited legal development and change did occur where scholars
interpreted and clarified details of legal doctrine (especially true in the activity of the
For sunni islam, four major schools predominated: Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali, and Shafii
The most important school in Shii Islam is Jafari; named for Jafar al-Sadiq
The content of law: all acts are ethically categorized as obligatory; recommended;
indifferent or permissible; reprehensible but not forbidden; or forbidden
Legal rights and duties are divided into two major categories: duties to God such as
prayer, almsgiving and fasting; secondly, duties to others which include penal,
commercial and family laws
Marriage is incumbent on every Muslim man and woman unless they are financially or
physically unable
A Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim woman, whereas a Muslim woman is prohibited
to marry a non-Muslim man
Muslims were not told to marry four times, but instead to marry not more than four,
provided the man can support and treat them equally (e.g. Separate housing,
Divorce (talaq) is the last resort, discouraged rather than encouraged in Islam
Approved forms of divorce were: a husbands single pronouncement of divorce, “ I
divorce you” to take effect after the three month mandatory waiting period has elapsed (
to make sure the woman was not pregnant); the pronouncement of the word divorce three
times, once each in three successive
During the three month period, the couple can nullify the divorce, word or action such as
resuming living together
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