The sources of Islamic Law

From [Abu Salamah]: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam when asked what would happen but not in the book (Al-Qur `an) and Sunnah (what the prophet said/behave), he answered:” ‘(should) worship experts from the mu `minin discussed the issue’ (ijma of ulama)” [Darimiy:117]

This narrated hadeeth is telling us how as moslem we understand our canon law. First of all we shoud see to the book (al-quran). It contain what are orderred and prohibited by Allah. For example, Allah prohibit us not to eat only 4 items: carrion,blood,the flesh of swine, and that are slaughtered as a sacrificed for other than Allah (for example for idols etc) [al-baqara 2:173]. This mean that no other parties with no exception included the prophet may augment such prohibitation.

Sometimes what are stated in the book (al-quran) need to be explained further as it contain only legal principles. In this case the hadeeth is needed to explain such principles.  For example, Allah required the moslems to pay zakat as stated in al-baqara 2:43. But how to pay zakat, what kind of zakat to be paid, how much should be paid are not explained by the verses of the quran. The hadeeth do explain such details. Many hadeeths explained the kind  of zakat should be paid, for example what is narrated by Malik told us that basically there are 3 types of subjet of zakat: agriculture product, what are breed in the ranch and those of financial assets:

From [Abu Sa’eed al Khudri], that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: “Dates that  are lessthan five wasaq, no zakat. The money that is less than five uqiyah no zakat. And camels that are less than five male no zakat. [Malik:514]

Some times al-quran does not mention anything about something but hadeeth mention it. For example the law of abortion in Islam. The book (al-quran) does mention about murder. But it does not mention about abortion. Hadeeth say that abortion, whenever medically necessary, is allowed as long as the pregnancy has not reached 120 days (Muslim:4781). Those who are interested in this matters should refers to the article of “abortion in the view of Islam” in this blog.

Almost all of the Islamic Law has been covered by al-quran and hadeeth. Only a few that should be judge by the worship experts (ulama) but basically they formulate their opinion by using hadeeth also. For example, does contraception allowed in Islam? No verses in the quran mention it. The hadeeth that relate directly to this matter is that the prophet allowed to do azl (coitus interuptus). Apparently contraception using condom is similar to this problem, thus Islam does allow on it. But what about installing a copper T to a woman cervix? No hadeeth directly mention about it. The ulama, bases by some hadeeths does say that it is not allowed for a woman to install copper T to her cervix. Those who interested to know about this should refer to the article of “Contraception in Islam: Is it allowed?” in this blog.


It is believed that alquran is revelation from Allah that descended to the prophets. The chances that it is not may come from 2 sources:

  1. The quran was wrote by the prophet himself and told that it is revealed from Allah
  2. The Quran was true revealed from Allah but has been changed along the time by the ulama

but those two possibilities are not likely to occur. First, if it was wrote by the prophet himself how can the various scientific confirmation contained in the Quran, which when viewed from the time it is wrote, it is highly unlikely that such knowledge is already known in those days (please refer to the article of “Some scientific Discoveries of the Holly Quran” in this blog).  Second, it is also not possible that the quran amended from time to time, since various edition of the quran in all over the world, from time to time has the same in all the verses and the verses is exactly the same with the verses when it is revealed as confirmed by the manuscript from the early Islamic period. The Quran also memorized from time to time exactly to the letters by many hufaz (peoples who memorize it).  Editorial changes to the quran will soon be known by the Hufaz, even if that changed only one letter though.


Hadeeth is what the prophet said, done and his silence in something as narrated from time to time by many peoples in a chain of narrator and finally be written by the authors of hadeeth. A hadeeth that has came to us and survived from the falsification or error, definitely is what the Prophet said, done or his silence on something. This is said a “hadeeth shahih” (a valid hadeeth). Those that do not survived from falsification and error is said a weak hadeeth (hadeeth dhaif). Only Hadeeth shahih are accepted as the sources of Islamic Law. Those that had written by Bukhariy and Muslim are considered shahih. Those that written by Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Nasa’i, Ibnu Majah, Tirmithi Malik and Darimiy mostly are considerred to be shahih and some are dhaif (weak hadeeth).

The chance that a hadeeth is weak or false, derived from the chain of narrator (sanad) who told the hadeeth. If one of the person in the chain of the persons who narrated a hadeeth is weak in its memory then the hadeeth is called a weak hadeeth (hadeeth dhaif). When that person is a liar then the hadeeth is told a mawdhu hadeeth (a false hadeeth). For example:

From [Abu Hurairah], he said; Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: “O Abu Hurayra, learn faraidl and teach it, for that he is half of the science, and science that will be forgotten and it is the first one that is deprived of my Ummah.” (Ibn Maaja:2710).

The hadeeth was narrated from   [Ibrahim bin Mundzir Al Hizami] from [Hafsh bin ‘Umar bin Abu Al ‘Ithaf]   from  [Abu Az Zinad] from [Al A’raj] from [Abu Hurairah] from the prophet.

It is said that  Ibrahim ibn Mundzir, Abu Az-Zinad, Al-A’raj and Abi Huraira are able to be trusted. But Hafsh bin Umar bin Abi Al ‘Aththaf is considerred a weak person. His hadeeth are being rejected by the hadeeth writer. Thus this hadeeth can not be considered validly derived from the prophet.

The hadeeth experts knows the state all the carrier of the hadeeth, whether they can be trusted or not,  from the books that record their names.

The hadeeth that narrated from untrustworthy peoples could not be used as the source of Islamic Law.

Another type of hadeeth that  is considered as weak hadeeth is the hadeeth in which there is a broken in its chain of narrator, such that can not be verified who that person is, his name, his trustworthiness,etc. Example of this type is hadeeth that is narrated in Darimiy:341 as follows:

[Abdullah ibn Mas `ud] said:” Be ye in the morning an alim (science teacher) or educated (hunting science), and there is no goodness in addition to both “. 

The hadeeth was narrated from [Mu’alla bin Asad] from [Salam ibn Abi Muthi’ Sa’ad] from [Nashr ibn Ziyad ibn ‘abbad] from [Adl Dlahhaak ibn Muzahim] from [Abdullah ibn Mas’ud]. Adl Dlahhaak was died on 105 H while Abdullah ibn Mas’ud died on 32H thus there is no chance that Adl Dlahhaak hear directly from Ibn Mas’ud. There is a narrator that is not mentioned on the hadeeth, that can be confirmed his trustworthiness.

This entry was posted in Fiqh, Fiqh Aam and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.