Ijtihad | Meaning, definition | Ijtihad as the secondary source of law

Define Ijtihad as the secondary source of law?

The holy Quran is a code of conduct and not a code of law. Although it gives the sanction for framing a subsidiary and procedural law to the Muslim Community at large, down the ages to meet the particular situation and regulates the affairs of the state according to Quran and Sunnah. We will discuss here the Ijtihad as the secondary source of  law 

Ijtihad | Meaning, definition | Ijtihad as the secondary source of law

Meaning of Ijtihad:

''Maximum effort to ascertain in a given problem or issue, the injunction of Islam and its real intent''.

Definition of Ijtihad:

According to Al-Ansari,

  • "Ijtihad means to Strive hard to know the rules of sharia."

History of Ijtihad:

The efforts of Muslim Scholars-came to be known as Ijtihad where they individually exerted themselves in the study of traditional sources and applied reasoning in the process of ascertaining God's will.

Concept of Ijtihad in Islam

According to Holy Quran:

  • "Then ask those who know if you do not know."

Hadith in the support of Ijtihad:

  • "Exercise Ijtihad because God makes the work easy for the person for which he is born in this world".

Function of Mujtahid:

To discover the law that is either stated explicitly in the primary sources or is implied by the texts that are literal interpretations. 

To extend the law to new cases which are similar to cases mentioned in textual sources. 

To extend the law to new cases which are not covered by the previous methods.

Limitation of Ijtihad

Ijtihad is permissible only in a field where no rule of injunction further from the Holy Quran or Sunnah is available.

Significance of Ijtihad:

Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) himself set an example by accepting the opinion of the companions in matters where he was not directed by revelation.

Leading CASE LAW:

Muhammad Ameen vs Islamic Republic of Pakistan Held: Ijtihad is permissible only where no express injunction of the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

Ijtihad as a source of law:

In a strict sense of the term "Source" ijtihad is not a source of law, but it is an activity, a struggle, and a process to discover the law from the text and to apply it to the set of facts awaiting a decision.

Modes of performing Ijtihad:

There are three modes of performing Ijtihad:

  • LITERAL CONSTRUCTION:

A jurist firstly concentrates on the literal meaning of the texts and follows the plain meaning rule.

  • QIYAS:

After the literal construction, the jurist may turn to Qiyas but he must confine to strict types of analogy.

  • COLLECTIVELY RELIANCE ON TEXTS: 

After exhausting the first two methods or modes the jurist may rely on all the texts considered collectively.

SOURCES OF Ijtihad:

Sources are the following:

  1. Quran
  2. Sunnah
  3. Ijma.

Qualification of Mujtahid

Following are the qualifications of a mujtahid

  1. Knowledge age of the Arabic language.
  2. Knowledge of the Holy Quran.
  3. Knowledge of principles of shariah.
  4. Aptitude for Ijtihad.
  5. Mujtahid should be Muslim
  6. Mujtahid must be an adult.
  7. Mujtahid should be able to interpret the Holy Quran and Sunnah.
  8. Mujtahid should be wise and pious.
  9. Mujtahid should be able to differentiate between false and authentic hadith.

Importance of Ijtihad in modern words:

Ijtihad is a living source of law. It has important significance in modern times due to the needs of the present time, such as economics, social and political changes.

Final Remarks

We may say that Ijtihad in the strict sense, is not a source of law, but it is an activity, a struggle, and a process to discover the law from the text and lay it to the set of facts, and activate decisions.

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