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The sources of Islamic law Professor Kamali - Principles of Islamic jurisprudence The first source of Shari'ah: The Qur'an Qur'an means reading or recitation. Can be defined as book containing the speech of God revealed to the prophet Muahammad in Arabic and transmitted to us by nonstop testimony, or twatur. The Quran is a proof of the prophecy of Muhammad and the first source of the shariah. The Quran was revealed exclusively to the Prophet Muhammad, it was put into writing, it is all mutawatir; it is the immitable speech of God and it is recited in salah. The revelation of the Quran began with sura al Alaq starting with the words, 'Read in the name of your Lord' and ending with the ayah in sura al Ma ida: ' Today I have perfected your religion for you and completed my favour toward you, and chosen Islam as your religion.' The Quran was sent down and revealed in three successive stages. The first descent was to Lawh al Mahfuz (the guarded tablet) in a manner and time that is not known. The second descent was to the lowest heaven, described as bayt al - izzah (the abode of honour) and this occurred in the night which the quran names laylah al qadr - the ayahs in the Quran suggest that he second stage of the revelation occurred in a single night, which is further specified as one of the last ten nights in the month of Ramadan. It was during the last of the three stages that the Quran was revealed to mankind gradually, in about twenty three years, through the mediation of the archangel Gabriel.
There are 114 suras and 6245 ayat of unequal length in the Quran. The longer suras appear first and the suras become shorter as the text proceeds. The Quran begins with Surah al fatihah and ends with sura al Nas. Professor Kamali tells us that the Quran is an indivisible whole, and a guide for belief and action that must be accepted and followed in its entirety hence any attempts to follow some parts of the Quran and abandon others will be invalid. The Quran consists of manifest revelation (wahy zahir) which is defined as communication from God to the Prophet Muhammad, conveyed by the angel Gabriel, in the very words of God. Manifest revelation differs from internal revelation internal revelation consists of the inspiration of concepts only; God inspired the Prophet and the latter conveyed the concepts in his own words. All sayings, or hadith, of the prophet fall into the category of internal revelation and as such are not included in the Quran. Hadith qudsi: - in this variety of hadith, the prophet narrates a concept directly from God which may consist either of wahy zahir (manifest revelation) or wahy batin (internal revelation). Hadith qudsi differs from the other varieties of hadith in form only. Hadith consists of divine inspiration and is communicated in the words of the prophet. No hadith may be ranked on equal footing with the Quran, therefore salah (prayer) cannot be performed by reciting the hadith, nor is the recitation of hadith considered of the same spiritual merit as reciting the Quran. The Quran may not be read or touched by anyone who is not in state of purity. The Quran is communicated in pure and clear Arabic.
Since the Quran consists of manifest revelation in Arabic, translations of the Quran into other languages, are not part of the Quran - however imam Abu Hanifah has held the view that the Quran is the name for a meaning only and as such, salah may ne performed in its Persian translation but the disciples of Abu Hanifah have disagreed with this view and it is reported that Abu Hanifah himself reversed his initial ruling and this is now considered to be the correct view of the hannafi school. The prophet and his companions memorized the Quran, facilitated by the fact that the Quran was revealed piecemeal over a period of twenty three years in relation to particular events. The Quran itself explains the rationality of graduality (tanjim) in its revelation as follows: 'The unbelievers say, why has not the Quran been sent down to him all at once. Thus it is revealed that your hearts may be strengthened, and we rehearse it to you gradually, and well arranged' Revelation over a period of time meant continuous contact between the believers and a renewal of spiritual strength, so that the intimidation of the believers toward the new faith did not weaken the hearts of the Muslims. Had the Qur'an been revealed all at once, the arabs would have found it difficult to understand. Considerable portion of the Quran was revealed in response to questions that the prophet was being asked from time to time, and also the events that were experienced throughout the years of the revelation. Graduality provided the opportunity to rectify and errors that the Muslims, or even the prophet himself, might have committed and lessons that could be learned from them. The occurrence of naskh (abrogation), abrogation of an earlier ruling at a later stage owning to change of circumstance, is also connected with the gradual unfolding of the Qur'an.
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