Sources of Muslim Law
Under Muslim law, Sources of Muslim Law is classified into two categories that
are primary sources and secondary sources. There are four primary sources and
four secondary sources. Quran and Sunnah are the main sources of Muslim law as
these are the direct message from the god. One is expressed revelation of god
and other one is implied revelation of god. Let's discuss about the
classification of source in detail that is primary sources and secondary
There are four primary sources under Muslim law. These sources are Quran, Sunnah,
Let's discuss these resources:
Quran: The word Quran is derived from the Arabic word " Quarra" which means "to
read". It is the holy book of Muslims collected and arranged by Abu Bakar (Ist
Khalifa) and revised by Usman (III Khalifa). It is the very words of God
given by Prophet Mohammad through Gabriel ( Angel of Revelation).
It is the express revelation. This period started from 622 AD-32 AD known as
Legislative Period. There are 6667 verses and 114 suras in Quran. Out of
6667 verses, 200 verses deal with legality and others deal with religion and
morality. It is the supreme law. Allah is divine authority, no one can
challenge the Quran and no one can amend it.
There are 4 important suras/ chapters:
- Sura-ul-Baqr Rules relating to religion and morality
- Sura-ul- Nisha Rules relating to Muslim women
- Sura- ul- Talaq Rules relating to divorce
- Sura- ul- Noor Rules relating to family life
Sunna (Hadith): Sunna means traditions. It is the implied revelations of Prophet Mohammad.
It means whatever Prophet or his companions did, said, are used to be as
language of the Prophet. His precepts or saying, actions are followed by
people. It is not in written form but in implied form. It is handed over
from generation to generation.
There are some important Sunnat:
- Sunnat-ul-Qual spoken by Prophet
- Sunnat-ul-Fail- Conduct by Prophet
- Sunnat-ul-Tahrir Silence of Prophet
Ijma: Ijma means consensus or opinions of companions or followers. It means
an agreement of consensus of Jurist on a question. When above two law Quran and
Sunna not able to solve a particular problem, then consensus of Jurist are used
to solve the matter. Those person who had knowledge of law were called as
There are three kinds of Ijma:
- Ijma of Companions- It has authoritative value
- Ijma of Jurists- It is unanimous decision of the Jurists
- Ijma of People- It has little value
Qiyas (Analogy): The word Qiyas is derived from the word "Hiaqish" means
beat together. In Arabic it means measurement. When above three laws Quran,
Sunna, Ijma fail to meet the need of the society, then analogy is applied. The
method of deduction is applied to solve the problem in society. After comparing
with other three primary sources, it is applied. Although it is of lesser
There are four secondary sources under Muslim law. These
sources are Custom, Precedents, Legislation, Justice, Equity and Good
Custom: The word Custom is derived from the word Usage means habit. Habit or
practice which is followed in the society for the longer period. It is a continous practice of the society. When practice turns into a legal obligation
it is termed as custom.
Precedents: Precedents means judicial decisions. Earlier decisions of cases
given by Judges are used for latter decisions to solve the matter. Lower courts
use decisions of Higher court to solve the matter which relates with the same
Legislation: Quran is the supreme law and no one has power to amend it.
There are uncodified laws under Islamic law. But there are also some codified
law which made by Parliament as stated below:
The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Act 1937
Before Islam, the condition of
Muslim female was miserable. Muslim women had no right to contract their
marriage. Now they have independent right to contract their marriage.
- Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act 1939
This Act provides independent right
to Muslim women to dissolve their marriage. They can dissolve it on eight
grounds like cruelty, adultery, death etc.. They can break their matrimonial
ties with reasonable cause.
- Muslim Women (Protection of rights on Divorce) 1986
This Act is the
outcome of Shah Bano Case 1985. Before this act, Muslim women was allowed to
claim maintenance till their iddat period. After the expiry of iddat period she
can not claim her maintenance. This Act provides that Muslim women can claim her
maintenance till her death.
- Muslim Women (Protection of rights on Marriage) 2019
This Act is the
outcome of Shayara Bano Case 2017. In this case, a Muslim woman challenged
Triple talaq, Nikah- Halala, and Polygamy before the Supreme court as these are
the violation of Article 14, 15, 21, 25 of the Indian Constitution. After due
considerations, triple talaq was held as unconstitutional. The SC five Judges
Bench issued its verdict in the Triple Talaq and held it as unlawful with 3:2
- Justice, Equity and Good Conscience:
When above laws fail to solve the dispute, then judges use their mind and give
just and fair decisions. Where Qiyas fails, judge applies equity principle to
provide fair and just decision.
In the end we understand that there were worst conditions of women in Muslim
before Islam. After Islam there conditions has got little changed. Nowadays
Quran is supreme among Muslim. It is direct message from god and it is of much
significance. Nobody has power to amend the Quran. It has great importance among
Muslim. These sources play important role in Muslim Law. Although they are not
codified but it still has significance in our country. It should be implemented
in the same manner as other laws.
- Mohammedan Law, Aqil Ahmad, 27th edition, Central Law Agency
- Mohammedan Law, Mulla, 7th edition