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By N. Coulson

The vintage creation to Islamic legislations, tracing its improvement from its origins,through the medieval interval, to its position in glossy Islam.

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Qiyas or analogical reasoning, then, is a particular form of ijtihad, the method by which the principles established by the Qur'an, sunna, and consensus are to be extended and applied to the solution of problems not expressly regulated therein. The role of juristic reasoning is thus completely subordinate to the dictates of divine revelation. Analogical deduction must have its starting-point in a principle of the Qur' an, sunna, or consensus, and cannot be used to achieve a result which contradicts a rule established by any of these three primary material sources.

875), have always enjoyed a high reputation in Islamic jurisprudence as authentic accounts of the practice of the Prophet. This would therefore seem to be the most appropriate point at which to explain, in such measure as space permits, the attitude which has been adopted in this book towards the controversial problem of the authenticity of Traditions from the Prophet. We take the view that the thesis of Joseph Schacht is irrefutable in its broad essentials and that the vast majority of the legal dicta attributed to the Prophet are apocryphal and the result of the process of "back-projection" of legal doctrine as outlined above.

The sunna cannot abrogate the Qur'an because its function is to interpret the Qur'an, not to contradict it. Equally the Qur'an cannot abrogate the sunna because to recognise this possibility would be to nullify the explanatory role of the sunna. If a prior precedent of the Prophet was in fact contradicted by a later Qur'anic revelation, then, argued ash-Shafi'i, there would certainly exist a further sunna in conformity with this later revelation. An illustration of this relationship between the twin sources of the divine will, as expounded by ash-Shafi'i, is provided by a problem concerning bequests.

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