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ISLAMIC METHODOLOGY IN HISTORY

ISLAMIC METHODOLOGY IN HISTORY

Author:
Publisher: ISLAMIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE
ISBN: 969 - 408 - 001 – 0
English

www.alhassanain.org/english

ISLAMIC METHODOLOGY IN HISTORY

FAZLUR RAHMAN

ISLAMIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE

ISLAMABAD - PAKISTAN

www.alhassanain.org/english

ISLAMIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE, ISLAMABAD

Publication No. 2

© All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

DR. MUHAMMAD HAMIDULLAH LIBRARY

ISLAMIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

Fazlur Rahman, 1919-1988.

ISBN 969 - 408 - 001 – 0

3rd Reprint 1995

Notice:

This version is published on behalf of www.alhassanain.org/english and alhassanain does not undertake the viewpoints mentioned in this book by Fazlur Rahman

The composing errors are not corrected.

TABLE OF CONTEST

PREFACE 7

FOREWORD 8

1: CONCEPTS SUNNAH, IJTIHAD AND IJMA' IN THE EARLY PERIOD 10

I 10

II 11

III 11

IV 12

V 14

VI 15

VII 16

VIII 18

IX 18

X 20

NOTES 22

2: SUNNAH AND HADITH 23

I: SOMETHING MORE ABOUT THE SUNNAH 23

II: EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF THE HADlTH 25

III: THE HADITH MOVEMENT 28

IV: THE HADlTH AND THE ORTHODOX 35

V: SUNNAH AND HADITH 43

NOTES 48

3: POST-FORMATIVE DEVELOPMENTS IN ISLAM 51

THE POLITICAL ORDER 52

II: THE MORAL PRINCIPLES 56

III: SPIRITUAL LIFE: SUFISM 60

IV: THE PHILOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT 67

V: CHARACTER OF EDUCATION 72

CONCLUSION 77

NOTES 81

4: IJTIHAD IN THE LATER CENTURIES 83

NOTES 95

5- SOCIAL CHANGE AND EARLY SUNNAH 96

I: THE PROBLEM BEFORE US 96

II: SOME ILLUSTRATIONS 98

A - Law of War 98

B - Criminal Law 99

C - Social Legislation 99

D - Law of Evidence 101

III: GENERAL CONCLUSION 102

NOTES 104

BIBLIOGRAPHY 105

PREFACE

THIS book largely represents a series of articles which appeared in this Institute's Journal - Islamic Studies - from March, 1962 to June, 1963. Chapter 4, Ijtihad in the Later Centuries constitutes a new addition. These articles were written under a. conceived plan to show (a) the historical evolution of the application of the four basic principles of Islamic thinking - which supply the framework for all Islamic thought - viz., the Qur'an, the Sunnah, Ijtihad, Ijma and (b) their actual working on the Islamic develop meant itself. Hence the title of the book: Islamic Methodology in History.

The fundamental importance of these four principles - which, it must be re-emphasized, are not just the principles of Islamic jurisprudence but of all Islamic thought - can hardly be over-estimated. Particularly important is the way these principles may be combined and applied; this difference can cause all the distance that exists between stagnation and movement, between progress and petrifaction. This difference stands revealed to us between the early and the later phases of the Islamic developments and this great historic discovery - towards which the Orientalist has contributed so much - can no longer be concealed behind the conventional medieval theory about these principles. It is obvious, therefore, that this work has not only a purely historical value but can be of great practical consequence and can indicate the way for further Islamic developments.

It must be fully recognized that much work still needs to be done to bring the treatment of this subject to comprehensiveness. Particularly, the principle of Ijma needs a full historical treatment, especially in relation to the concept of Sunnah. For example what was the actual state of the principle of Ijma when a whole wealth of opinions and doctrines was being given Sunnah-form? Was it an alternative to Sunnah? Why did some schools reject it? Although, however, much further research has to be and, we hope, will be done, the author expects that his basic convictions expressed in this book will be confirmed and that in its major contentions this book is correct.

The traditionalist-minded Muslims are not likely to accept the findings of this work easily. I can only plead with them that they should try to study this important problem with historical fair-mindedness and objectivity. I, for my part, am convinced, as a Muslim, that neither Islam nor the Muslim Community will suffer from facing the facts of history as they are; on the contrary, historical truth, like all truth, shall invigorate Islam for - as the Qur'an tells us - God is in intimate touch with history.

Karachi:

FAZLUR RAHMAN

6th December, 1964.

FOREWORD

ALONGSIDE of economic blueprints and five-year plans the Muslims all over the world are now refreshingly devoting their attention to a reinterpretation of Islam in the context of modern times. Generally speaking, the desire for religious reconstruction and moral regeneration in the light of fundamental principles of Islam has, throughout their historical destiny, been deeply rooted among the Muslims - progressivisms as well as traditionalists. Both the sections seem conscious of the fact that the only way for the Muslims of today, for an active and honorable participation in world affairs, is the reformulation of positive lines of conduct suitable to contemporary needs in the light of social and moral guidance offered by Islam. This, however, entails a great and heavy responsibility for all those engaged in the onerous task of reconstruction. Theirs is the endeavour to strike a happy balance between the divergent views of the traditionalists and the modernists, or in standard language, between conservatism and progressivism.

It was indeed unfortunate that Muslims during the preceding centuries closed the door of Ijtihad, resulting in stagnation and lack of dynamism. Resurgence of the new spirit for a re-evaluation of their religious and moral attitudes towards the ever-emerging problems of life in a changing world has been spasmodic and relatively fruitless. Though thwarted, the spirit remained alive and was never wholly stifled.

We find its periodic effulgence in the emergence of various reformist movements that convulsed the world of Islam from time to time. The Indo-Pakistan subcontinent was no exception. The lamp" lit by Shah Waliy Allah al-Dihlawi continued to burn and shed its light. The Central Institute of Islamic Research may be regarded as a link in that long-drawn-out process. It was established by President Mohammad Ayub Khan (who is also its Patron-in-Chief) with the specific purpose of enabling the Muslims of Pakistan to lead their lives in accordance with the dictates of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, in the light of modern developments and commensurate with the challenge of the time. By its very nature, however, the work of the Institute cannot remain confined to the geographical limits of Pakistan but will serve the Ummah in general. The people entrusted with this heavy responsibility are, therefore, required to have a clear and well-defined conception of their objectives with a view to their institutional implementation in the wider fabric of state organization and national development. This is exactly what the members of the Institute are endeavoring to accomplish.

Conscious as we are of the fact that Islamic scholarship, during the past few centuries, has been more or less mechanical and semantic rather than interpretative or scientific, our efforts howsoever humble and small, are directed towards breaking the thaw in Islamic thinking - both religious and moral. With these objectives in view, the Institute has decided to launch a series of publications, covering a wide and diverse field of Islamic studies, prepared mostly by its own members. The Institute has a definite direction and a cohesive ideology, although honest and academic difference of opinion is naturally allowed. We hope that the Muslims, living under the stress and strain of modern times, will find enough food for thought in these publications resulting ultimately in rekindling in them the burning desire, nay the longing, for exercising Ijtihad, the only pre-requisite for recapturing the pristine glory of Islam and for ensuring an honorable place for the Muslim Ummah in the comity of progressive, dynamic and living nations of the world. We also hope that these works will equally provide sound and solid scholarship for the non-Muslim Islamists.

The system of transliteration of Arabic words adopted in this series is the same as has been employed by the editors of the Encyclopedia of Islam, new edition, with the followingexceptions : q has been used for k and j for dj, as these are more convenient to follow for English-knowing readers than the international signs. The use of ch, dh, gh, kh, sh, th, and zh with a subscript dash, although it may appear pedantic, has been considered necessary for the sake of accuracy and clearer pronunciation of letters peculiar to Arabic and Persian. As against the Encyclopedia, ta marbutah has throughout been retained and shown by the ending h or t, as the case may be. This was also found necessary in order to avoid any confusion. In words of Persian origin the retention of the final h is essential as it stands for ha-yi mukhtafz, which should not be dispensed with.

References in the text to Qur'anic verses are from the English translation of the Qur’an by Mohammed Marmaduke Picktball, The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, New York, 1955 (a Mentor Book).

Karachi:

A. S. BAZMEE ANSARI,

9th December, 1964. General Editor