Extracting Islamic Law Methodology From The Qur’an: The 59th Verse of Chapter (4) an-Nisa
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AbstractThe Holy Qur’an,which is the main source of Islamic sciences, points to a number of basicprinciples of these sciences. Through their areas of expertise, Islamicscholars have tried to understand these principles of the Qur’an, and constructa sense of knowledge appropriate to the Qur’an in the light of these. Thescholars of usul al-fiqh (Islamic law methodology) also interpreted many versesof the Qur’an in the course of establishing their sense of the methodology fromthe Qur’an. In this article, we have considered the 59th verse of the chapteran-Nisa (4) as an example, and have attempted to identify and analyze some ofthe methodical conclusions extracted by scholars of usul al-fiqh and tafsir(commentary of the Qur’an).Usul al-fiqh(Islamic law methodology) is the science that deals with the sources of theshar’i provisions and the methods of extracting the provisions from thesesources. Since the time of Shafi’i (204/820), the author of the firstindependent work on usul al- fiqh, this science has been established on fourbasic sources: al-Kitab (the Holy Qur’an), as-Sunnah (tradition of theProphet), al-ijma (consensus of scholars), and al-qiyas (analogical reasoning).The basis of these sources is extremely important for establishing the mainstructure of usul al-fiqh.Scholars of usulal-fiqh and tafsir (commentary of the Qur’an) made many deductions aboutIslamic law methodology from the 59th verse of chapter an-Nisa (4). Forexample, Ibn Hazm (456/1064) stated that his voluminous work of al-Ihkam fiusuli’l-ahkam on methodology is merely a broad explanation of this verse.Fakhraddin ar-Razi (606/1210) said that this verse includes the majority of thescience of usul al-fiqh. These deductions can be separated into two maingroups: finding the basis for the four main sources, namely the Book, thesunnah, the ijma, the qiyas; and the details of these sources. Here, we findand analyze deductions about the foundations of the basis for the four mainsources, as extracting the details of these sources from this verse are beyondthe scope of this article.The translationof this verse is as follows: “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey theMessenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything,refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and theLast Day. That is the best [way] and best in result” (an-Nisa 4/59).This versebegins with commanding Allah to obey. Many commentators have noted thatobedience to Allah is to, “follow His Book.” In the continuation of the verse,“Obey the Messenger” is mentioned, and commentators have noted that obeying theMessenger is in keeping with his sunnah (tradition).“Ulu’l-amr” hasbeen determined as the third authority ordered to obey in this verse. There aretwo common views on the meaning of “ulu’l-amr”: the rulers and the scholars.Many scholars of tafsir, fiqh and usul al-fiqh have determined “ulu’l-amr” asscholars, and from there they have reached the conclusion that the ijma(consensus) of scholars is a source in Islamic law. The reason for this is thatif these qualities coexist; in other words, the rulers have the qualificationof scholarship, obeying them will be obligatory by consensus. If the rulers donot have this qualification, they are obliged to ask the scholars about thethings they do not know about the order, “Ask the people of the message if youdo not know” (an-Nahl 16/43). If these scholars are in a consensus in theanswers they give, it is obligatory that the rulers comply with them and applythis judgment; and consequently, compliance with the consensus of scholarsbecomes obligatory for both the rulers and the ummah. Today, the opinions ofrulers and others with knowledge and experience in various fields can be seenas an auxiliary source of Islamic law, and these opinions are important forbeing aware of social conditions. The scholars should act based on their viewsin mind when undertaking ijtihad (legal reasoning) or giving fatwa (legalopinion), and should explain the judgment Muslims should comply with afterevaluating whether they contradict Islamic law. Consequently, empowering thosewho do not have a certain license to work in this area is contrary to theestablished understanding in Islamic law methodology; it is necessary to takeinto account the views, knowledge, experiences and evaluations of the rulers aswell as other members of the Muslim community, provided that the scholarsconsulted in the determination of the shar’i judgment.It is ordered inthis verse that controversial subjects are to be referred to Allah and HisMessenger. After the death of the Prophet, the disagreements that had arisen inthe Islamic community were explained by many commentators by referring to thetext of the Qur’an and sunnah if there was a clear ruling related to the issue.If there was no clear ruling, this was dealt with by establishing a similaritybetween the new issues and the issues mentioned in the Qur’an and sunnah: inother words, qiyas was done. From a wider perspective, it can be said that“referring the disagreements to Allah and His Messenger” means making ijtihadbased on the aims and objectives of the rules of the Qur’an and sunnah. Thisijtihad is done by the scholars in two ways: one of these is to make qiyas(analogical reasoning) on a matter similar to that found in the Qur’’an andsunnah, and the other is to ensure the general purpose of the rules as long asthey are not contradictory to the Qur’an and sunnah. Today, some scholars havediscussed the necessity of establishing a jurists committee to make this typeof ijtihad and check whether the laws and decrees are in accordance with theQur’an and sunnah.As a result, wecan say that Islamic scholars established their methodology by referring to theQur’an first. The Qur’an contains the foundations of usul al-fiqh, which is thesubject of the method to be followed in the understanding and application ofreligion. Islamic scholars have extracted these bases from many verses. Fromthe 59th verse of the chapter an-Nisa (4), which is only one of these verses,they were able to determine that Qur’an, sunnah, ijma and qiyas are the mainsources of Islamic law. It is possible to reveal the relationship between theQur’an and usul al-fiqh; in other words, the efforts of the Islamic scholars tobuild Islamic law methodology on the Qur’an by scanning the tafsir and usulal-fiqh works. In this article, only a small part of the interpretations, whichIslamic scholars put forward to extract the methodology from the Qur’an, hasbeen identified and analyzed through a selected verse as a model. It is seenthat such extractions and interpretations are open to debate; in other words,the meaning of these verses can be controversial sometimes. However, as aresult of referring to the Qur’an as a source, it is possible to detect manyrules about Islamic law methodology. The gathering and reassessment of theeffort, put forth by Islamic scholars in this direction from tafsir and usulal-fiqh literature, will lead to the establishment of a number of importantrules. The rich accumulation of knowledge on this field is a valuable treasurethat must be utilized by researchers.
İslami ilimlerin ana kaynağı olan Kur’an-ı Kerim bu ilimlerin temelleri veönkabullerine dair birçok hususa işaret etmektedir. İslam âlimleri kendiuzmanlık alanlarıyla ilgili Kur’an’ın manalarını anlamaya ve buralardanhareketle Kur’an’a uygun bir ilim anlayışını inşa etmeye çalışmışlardır. Fıkıhusulcüleri de aynı tarzda hareket etmiş ve birçok ayeti usul anlayışlarınıoluşturma yönünde yorumlamışlardır. Biz bu makalemizde Nisa (4) suresinin 59.ayetini bir örnek olarak ele alıp usul âlimlerinin ve müfessirlerin bu ayettenusule dair bazı çıkarımlarını tespit ve tahlil etmeye çalışacağız.