Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
When a ruling is not clear from sources in the Quran and Hadith, I understand one looks to the opinion of the most knowledgeable Sahabas (Ayesha RA, Ibn Massoud RA, Ali ibn Talib RA, etc.). Where can one find these fatwas? Are there any books in English or Arabic that you can suggest? I am also wondering whether it would be possible to get a copy of the (to be cont.)
Walaikum assalam, Sayyidi,
Islam is based on 4principal sources: Qur’an, Sunna, scholarly consensus (ijma`), and analogy (qiyas). How these work together, and how secondary sources interact with this is the subject-matter of the science of the fundamentals of jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh).
The morally responsible are of two levels: mujtahids, who derive rulings directly from the principal sources, and muqallids (followers, whose duty is taqlid, following a mujtahid), whose legal duty is to follow the opinion of a recognized mujtahid for every one of his or her actions.
Now, there is scholarly consensus that taqlid is limited to the 4 recognized Sunni schools of fiqh, because the positions of other mujtahids, including the jurists among the Sahaba, have not been completely transmitted, for all rulings have conditions, integrals, exceptions, and limits, and each jurist has particular terminological usages particular to them. Because of this, a non-mujtahid may not simply follow one of the Sahaba on a given point. Actually, they may not act on directly on a hadith related to legal rulings [as opposed to virtues and the like], unless they are at a certain recognized level of scholarship, unless they look into how the fuqaha explained the hadith in the light of the general foundational principals of the Sacred Law, and of other evidence.
Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s webpage (http://www.masud.co.uk) has many useful articles on these points, by Sh. Nuh, Sh. Abdal-Hakim Murad, and also in the miscellaneous articles section.
ITS published a very useful book titled, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. And you can download some very good articles from http://www.nyazee.com . [Note, the .pdf files are password protected. The password is: nyazee.]
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