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Analysis: Sources Under Muslim Law

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 sources:

Primary Sources:
There are four primary sources under Muslim law. These sources are Quran, Sunnah, Ijma, Qiyas.

Let's discuss these resources:
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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 Mujtahids (Jurists).

    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
  4. 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 significance.

Secondary Sources:

There are four secondary sources under Muslim law. These sources are Custom, Precedents, Legislation, Justice, Equity and Good Conscience.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 facts.
  3. 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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 majority.
  4. 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

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