Secondary Sources of Islamic Law, Ijma, Ijtehad, Qiyas & Urf

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 09:29 -- Umar Farooq

Secondary Sources of Islamic Law

Below are the important secondary sources of Islamic law

Ijma (Consensus of the Opinion)

Ijma the secondary source of Islamic law, which means the general agreement or consensus among the Muslim community about any matter affecting the Muslims in the light of Quran and Sunnah. It is one of the methods of Fiqah or Islamic jurisprudence. For instance, the institution of Caliphate was the result of the consensus or Ijma of the early Muslims soon after the death of the Holy Prophet. Ijma is supported by a saying of the Prophet, "My Ummal will never be united on error.”Some of the Islamic jurists or Fuqaha are of the opinion that Ijma is the voice of Ummah through the Ulama.

Ijtehad (Juristic Exposition)

Literary ljtehad means striving or searching. But in the technical language of Fiqah or Shariah, it means striving to interpret the verses of the Holy Quran and Sunnah in order them to the new conditions of Muslims life and society but within the precedents laid down by the early Mujtahids and Fuqaha especially of the four schools or Muslims of the Figah. ljtehad is of two types, i.e. Ijtehad Mutlaq and Ijtehad Muqayyid. In the first case the interpretation of Quran and: Sunnah is independent of the opinions or judgments of the early jurists and their precedents while in the later the scope of interpretation is within the, decisions of the opinions of the founding Fugaha. When ljtehad is personal opinion of the Mujtahid, it is called as Ra’i.

Qiyas (Analogy)

The meaning of Qiyas is measuring, accord or equality. In its technical sense, it may be defined as individual reasoning whereby decision regarding a new problem is arrived by comparing parallel between the two cases. In analogy the language of the text is explored by applying reason and intelligence whereas in interpretation the text is applied to cases covered by the language. Analogy helps us to discover a law and not to create a law a law. However, like other secondary sources of Islamic Law, it is also an important source.

Urf (Custom or Usage)

Urf is one of the secondary sources of Islamic law. Urf is the common practice among the Muslim community as their common habit or a'ada. The Quran on several occasions has asked the Muslims to decide the cases in accordance with the usage of their age if they are not against the Quran and Sunnah. The Ulama of the Arabs have applied this method in evolution of Islamic Law in their countries e.g. in Egypt, Syria etc.