Sources of Legislation in Islam
Sources of Legislation for the Shi'ah
Anyone who follows up the Imamiyyah Shi'ah fiqh,will verily see them devoted absolutely, in (taking) all fiqhi rules -except the recently originated ones110 to the Prophet (S) through the Twelve Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (A).
They follow only two sources of legislation: The Book and the Sunnah, with which I mean the first source i.e. the Holy Qur'an, and the second one being the Prophetic Sunnah, upon its bearer be the best of benediction and peace.
These are the beliefs of the Shi'ah in the past and lately, and rather of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, of whom no one claimed of exerting his opinion or issuing a rule according to his conjecture.
The first Imam 'Ali ibn Abi Talib is the best example, as when they have acknowledged him as a caliph provided that he should rule according to the Sunnah of the Two Shaykhs (Abu Bakr and 'Umar), he replied; I will never rule but according to the Book of Allah and His Messenger's Sunnah.111
In the forthcoming chapters, we will clarify that he (A) has been all the time adhering to the Prophet's Sunnah without deviating from it, doing his best to restore people to follow it. This practice has resulted in exciting the Caliphs' rage, and people's turning away from him, due to his hardness and devotion in God's Essence (Dhat Allah), and clinging to the Prophet's Sunnah.
Further, al-'Imam al-Baqir (A) used to say: "If we debate with you according to our opinion we shall be misguided as happened to those before us, but we give you an evidence from our Lord, that He has revealed upon His
110. We mean by it the ijtihad of the 'ulama, concerning that for which not text is revealed, as occurred after occultation of the Twelfth Imam.
111. In some narrations he said: "and other than them, I exert my opinion", which is false addition by the followers and the supporters of ijtihad. As al-'Imam 'Ali has never claimed to exert his opinion, but he used to extract the rulers from the Book of Allah and His Messenger's Sunnah, or used to say: We have al-Jami'ah, which contains whatever needed by People even the minute points. This Sahifah is dictated by the Messenger of Allah and written by 'Ali. We refered to al-Sahifah al-Jami'ah in the chapter "Ahl al-Sunnah and Obliterating the Sunnah" in this book.
Prophet,who in turn has manifested for us"
In another place he (A) said: "O Jabir, if we were used to talk to people according to our opinion we would have perished, but we disclose to you traditions we have hoarded up from the Messenger of Allah (S) as others hoard up gold and silver.
Al-'Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (A) has also said:
By God we never utter anything according to our desire nor to our opinions, but our utterance is exactly as revealed by our Lord (God). Whatever replies I give you are verily reported from the Messenger of Allah, and by God we never follow our opinion in everything.
All men of letters and investigation are aware of this fact about the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, as they have never reported from any of them exerting the opinion, or to act by qiyas (analogy) or istihsan or anything other than the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
When referring to the contemporary great religious authority (marji), Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (may God be pleased with him), we see him saying in his treatise (risalah), "al-Fatawa al-wadhiha": It is necessary to refer briefly to the references upon which we mainly depended in deducing in the outset of our speech, the Holy Qur'an and the Prophetic Sunnah, reported from trustworthy pious narrators, wherever be their madhhab112 (school of thought). We do not see any legislative justification to depend upon analogy and istihsan (approval), or alike things.
Concerning what is called the rational evidence (al-dalil al-'aql), that mujtahidun and muhaddithun have differed as to whether acting according to it was permissible or not. Though we believe that is justifiable to apply it, but we have never found even one rule (hukm) whose establishment (ithbat) relies solely on the rational evidence with this meaning, but rather, what is established by al-dalil al-'aql, is
112. Here it is proved how the Shi'ah 'ulama' refer to the righteous trustworthy men whatever be their madhhab, which is a good refutation against the claimants that the Shi'ah never trust the Sahabah. While the fact is that the Shi'ah reject the ahabi's hadith only when it contradicts what is narrated by Ahl al-Bayt Imams.
already established at the same time by the Book or the Sunnah.
As regards the so-called ijma' (unanimity), it cannot be considered a source (of legislation) beside the Qur'an and Sunnah. It is unreliable but only due to its being a means for affirmation in some cases.
Therefore it is confirmed that the Qur'an and the Sunnah have been the only two sources of legislation. We implore the Almighty to make among those clung to them. "Whoever graps them has grasped a firm hand-hold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower".113
So this phenomenon is pr************ent among the Shi'ah throughout history, as the only dependable sources of legislation being only the Qur'an and the sunnah, and none of them has issued even one fatwa (verdict) derived from qiyas or istishan. The episode of al-Imam al-Sadiq with Abu Hanifah is quite known for all, when he forbade him from applying qiyas (analogy). He (A) said to him: "Don't use qiyas in regard of God's religion, since the Shari'ah (Islamic law) will be obliterated when qiyas is applied on it, and the first one who applied qiyas was Iblis when he said (to God): I am better than him (Adam) as You have created me from fire but You created him out of clay.
These are the sources of legislation for the Shi'ah, from the time of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib till the present day. What are the sources of legislation for Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-jama'ah?
113. Al-Fatawa al-wadihah, by the Martyr Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, p. 98.
Sources of Legislation for Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah
By tracing back the sources of legislation for Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah, we see that their number beings so large that they exceed the limits of the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah ordained by Allah and His Messenger.
The sources that they depend upon-beside the Book and Sunnah-include: The Sunnah of al-Khulafa'a al-Rashidun, sunnah of the Companions, sunnah of the Tabi'un who are the 'ulama' of trace, sunnah of the rulers which they call sawafi al-'umra', qiyas (analogy), istihsan (approval), ijma' (unanimity), and sadd bab al-dhara'i (closing the door of pleas).
They constitute altogether ten sources which they regard to domineer Allah's religion. In order not to utter anything without a convincing evidence, or be accused of exaggeration, it is inevitable to cite some proofs taken from their own sayings and books, to manifest the truth for the dear reader.
We are not going to debate Ahl al-Sunnah regarding the first two sources, i.e. Book and the Sunnah, about which there is no disagreement, being the wajib that was recognized by naql (transmission), 'aql (reason) and ijma' (unanimity). It is as stated in the Al-Mighty's saying: "And whatever the Messenger giveth you, take it. And whatever he forbidden, abstain (from it)", (59:7) and His saying: "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger" (5:92), also His saying: "...when Allah and His Messenger have decided an affair" (33:36), beside other manifest verses indicating the wujub (obligation) of legislation the rules only from the Book of Allah and Sunnah of His Messenger, but we debate them concerning the other sources that they have added from their fabrication.
First: The Sunnah of al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun:
They (Ahl al-Sunnah) have argued with the hadith "Adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the Rightly-guided successors after me. Hold on to it and cling on it stubbornly".114
We have stated in the Book 'Ma'a al-Sadiqin "that those who are meant by al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun (Rightly-guided successors) in this hadith are in fact the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, and I intend here to mention more proofs for those who missed reading that Book.
It is reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim and other traditionists, that the Messenger of Allah has confined his successors in twelve ones, when he said: "The successors after me are twelve (men), all of whom are from Quraysh". This sahih hadith indicates explicitly that he meant by them the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), not the Caliphs "rulers" who have usurped the caliphate.
Someone may raise this question: Wheather by "the successors" are meant the Twelve Imams of Ahl al-Bayt as the Shi'ah believe, or the Four Guided Caliphs as Ahl al-Sunnah believe, the sources of legislation are only three: the Qur'an and the (Prophet's) Sunnah and the Calips' sunnah?
This is right in the opinion of Ahl al-Sunnah, but the Shi'ah never accept it, as the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt have never legislated (rules) according to their ijtihad and opinions, but whatever they uttered was but the sunnah of their grandfather the Messenger of Allah. They have learned it from him, and preserved it for manifesting it to people when necessary.
But the books of Ahl al-Sunnah are replete with inference from the sunnah of Abu Bakr and sunnah of 'Umar, as a source for the Islamic legislation, even if it contradicts the Book and the Sunnah.
We will be more certain that Abu Bakr and 'Umar
114. It is reported by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Mjah, al-Bayhaqi, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
were not meant by the Prophet's hadith, by knowing that 'Ali has refused to rule according to their sunnah when the Sahabah stipulated this as a condition for acknowledging him (as a caliph). Had the Prophet meant them by al-khulafa al-Rashidun, it would not have been permissible for 'Ali to refute the Prophet's hadith and reject their sunnah, so it is ascertained that Abu Bakr and 'Umar are not among al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun.
However, Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah mean by al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun: Abu Bakr and 'Uthman alone, since 'Ali had not been counted among them, but he was added to them lately as mentioned before. In fact he had been cursed over pulpits, so how could they follow his sunnah??!
This fact will be even more verified by reading what is reported by Jalal al-Din al-Sayuti in his book Ta'rikh al-Khulafa', when he quoted Hajib ibn Khalifah as saying: I heard the Caliph 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz addressing the people saying:
"Whatever is prescribed by the Messenger of Allah (S) and his two companions is a religion we adopt and end at, and we put aside whatever is prescribed by others".115
In fact most of the Sahabah and Umayyad and 'Abbasid rulers were of the opinion that whatever was prescribed by Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman being a religion they adopt and end at.
And as these three Caliphs have embarked on preventing the Messenger's Sunnah from reaching people as we realized earlier, so nothing is left then of the Sunnah except what they have prescribed, and of the rules except what they have confirmed.
Second: The Sahabah's Sunnah in General:
Many proofs and numerous evidences are available
115. Al-Suyuti's Ta'rikh al-khulafa', p. 160.
which attest the fact that Ahl al-Sunnah have been following the Sunnah of the Sahabah in general with no exception.
They argue with a false hadith, which we have elaborately discussed in the book 'Ma'a al-Sadiqin". The hadith reads thus: "My Companions are like the stars (nujum), whichever of them you follow, you shall be guided rightly", and Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah has argued with this hadith against the argumentation of the Companion's opinion.116
This fact has also been admitted by al-Shaykh Abu Zuhrah, when he said: "We have found all of them (fuqaha' of Ahl al-Sunnah) adopt the fatwa' of the Sahabi". Then he adds another statement: To argue with the Companions 'sayings and fatawa, has been the conduct of the multitude (al-jamhur) of fuqaha, and they were contradicted by the Shi'ah,117 but Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah has supported al-Jamhur with about forty-six aspects, all being strong arguments (hujaj)...".
We address al-Shaykh Abu Zuhrah, and question him: How could the argument (hujjah)--that contradicts the Book of Allah and sunnah of His Prophet--be strong?! All the arguments (hujaj) cited by Ibn al-Qayyim are as frail as the spider's house, and you (to Abu Zuhrah) have demolished them yourself when you said: "But we found al-Shawkani say: It is true that the companion's opinion is not a hujjah, as Allah --the Glorious and Exalted -- has never sent to this Ummah except our prophet Muhammad (S). We do not have but one messenger, and all the Companions and those who succeeded them are equally charged with following his Shar' in the Book and Sunnah, and whoever opines that the hujjah in God's religion can be established with other than them, he will be as that who has opined regarding God's religion with improvable belief, and has confirmed a law (shar') not commanded by Allah".118
Thus al-Shawkani has said the truth, and was never affected by the school of thought, so his utterance came to be
116. A'lam al-muqi'in, vol. iv, p. 122.
117. This being another testimony from Al-Shaykh Abu Zuhrah, affirming our saying that the Shi'ah never acknowledge for legislation of Allah except the Qur'an and Prophetic Sunnah.
118. Kitab al-Shaykh Abi Zuhrah, p. 102.
in consonance with that of the Imams of guidance, the Pure 'Itrah...may God be pleased with him if his acts comply with his sayings.
Third:The Sunnah of Tabi'un (Ulama' al-'Athar):
The other source upon which Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah have depended (for deriving rules), used to be the opinions of the Tabi'un, whom they used to call as 'Ulama' al'Athar, who include: Al-Awza'i, Sufyan al-Thawri, Hasan al-Basri, Ibn 'Uyaynah, and many others. They also concur on adopting the interpretations (ijtihadat) of the Imams of four schools, and imitating them, though they being the followers of the followers.
The Companions themselves confess of committing errors many times, and of uttering what they know not.
When Abu Bakr, for instance, was asked about a matter, he would reply: "I will give my opinion in its regard, if I be right it is from Allah, but if I err it is from me or from Satan". 'Umar also has once said to his followers: "I may enjoy you to things that happen to be not for your convenience, and forbid you from things that happen to be for your benefit."119
So if this be their level of knowledge, and they just follow conjucture which assurely can by no means take the place of truth, so how can a Muslim, being aware of Islam, give himself the right to make the acts and sayings of such people as a sunnah to be followed, and as one of the sources of legislation? After this discussion will there remain any trace of the hadith "My Companions are like stars"?
If the Companions who attended the Prophet's majalis (meetings) and learned from him, utter such discourses, so what to say about those who succeeded them, adopted their opinions and took part in the sedition?
If the leaders of the four schools exert their opinions
119. Ta'rikh Baghdad, vol. xiv, p. 81.
regarding God's religion, with explicitly admitting the possibility of committing an error, as one of them says: I think this (rule) is correct, and may be any others opinion is correct, so what made the Muslims obligate themselves to follow and imitate them?!
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