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ijma
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{{Usul al-fiqh}}Ijmāʿ () is an Arabic term referring to the consensus or agreement of Islamic scholars on a point of Islamic law.BOOK, Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi, Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi, The Laws of Islam, 26 March 2016, Enlight Press, 978-0994240989,weblink 23 December 2017, Modarresi, English, {{rp|472}} Various schools of thought within Islamic jurisprudence may define this consensus to be that of the first generation of Muslims only; or the consensus of the first three generations of Muslims; or the consensus of the jurists and scholars of the Muslim world, or scholarly consensus; or the consensus of all the Muslim world, both scholars and laymen. Sunni Muslims regard ijmā' as the third fundamental source of Sharia law, after the Qur'an, and the Sunnah. The opposite of ijma (i.e., lack of consensus on a point of Islamic law) is called ikhtilaf.

Usage

Sunni view

The hadith of Muhammad which states that "My ummah will never agree upon an error"Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (4:2167), ibn Majah (2:1303), Abu Dawood, and others with slightly different wordings. and similar hadiths are often cited as a proof for the validity of ijmā'. Justification for this doctrine presented a challenge, since these hadiths were transmitted through only a limited number of isnads (transmission chains) and did not qualify as providing certain knowledge under the classical science of hadith criticism. Sunni scholars argued that the nature of human society was such that a community could not mistakenly agree that a statement had been made, and further that the consensus of the ummah about its inability to agree upon an error in itself certified the authenticity of this hadith.BOOK, Brown, Jonathan A.C., Jonathan A.C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy, 2014, Oneworld Publications, 978-1780744209,weblink 4 June 2018, JACBMM2014, 56, Sunni Muslims regard ijmā' as the third fundamental source of Sharia law, just after the divine revelation of the Qur'an, and the prophetic practice known as Sunnah. There are differing views over who is considered a part of this consensus, whether "the consensus is needed only among the scholars of a particular school, or legists, or legists of an early era, or the Companions, or scholars in general, or the entire Muslim community."JOURNAL, Forte, David F., Islamic Law; the impact of Joseph Schacht, Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review, 1978, 1, 7,weblink 19 April 2018, See F. Ziadeh, Lawyers and the rule of law, and liberalism in modern Egypt 146-47 (1968) supra note 4, at 118 see generally: K. Faruki, ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE 68 (1962)D. Mullah & M. Hidadjatullah, Principles of Mahomedan Law xxii (16th ed. 1968)Aqil Ahmad, A Text Book of Mohammadan Law 15 (4th rev. ed. 1966), supra note 22, at 17Aziz Ahmad, Islamic Law in Theory and Practice 2 (1956), Supra note 20, at 43Malik ibn Anas held the view that the religiously binding consensus was only the consensus of Muhammad's companions and the direct successors of those companions in the city of Medina.Muhammad Muslehuddin, "Philosophy of Islamic Law and Orientalists," Kazi Publications, 1985, p. 146According to Iraqi academic Majid Khadduri, Al-Shafi'i held the view that religiously binding consensus had to include all of the Muslim community in every part of the world, both the religiously learned and the layman.Majid Khadduri, Introduction to Al-Shafi'i's al-Risala, pg.33Mansoor Moaddel, Islamic Modernism, Nationalism, and Fundamentalism: Episode and Discourse, pg. 32. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. Thus, if even one individual out of millions would hold a differing view, then consensus would not have been reached. In an attempt to define consensus in a form which was more likely to ever occur, Al-Ghazali expanding on al-Shafi'i's definition to define consensus as including all of the Muslim community in regard to religious principles and restricting the meaning to only the religiously learned in regard to finer details.Majid Khadduri, Introduction to Al-Shafi'i's al-Risala, pg.38-39Abu Hanifa, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Dawud al-Zahiri, on the other hand, considered this consensus to only include the companions of Muhammad, excluding all generations which followed them, in Medina and elsewhere.Muhammad Muslehuddin, "Philosophy of Islamic Law and Orientalists," Kazi Publications, 1985, p. 81Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq, "The Doctrine of Ijma: Is there a consensus?," June 2006Views within Sunni Islam branched off even further in later generations, with Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi defining even a simple majority view as constituting consensus and Ibn Taymiyyah restricting consensus to the view of the religiously learned only. Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari's position was not entirely clear, as modern scholarship has attributed to him both the view that consensus means a simple majority, and that it means only the consensus of the companions of Muhammad.Devin J. Stewart, "Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari's al-Bayan 'an Usul al-Ahkam and the Genre of Usul al-Fiqh in Ninth Century Baghdad," pg. 339. Taken from Abbasid Studies: Occasional Papers of the School of Abbasid Studies, Cambridge, 6–10 January 2002. Edited by James Montgomery. Leuven: Peeters Publishers and the Department of Oriental Studies, 2004.According to Ahmad Hasan, the majority view is split between two possibilities: that religiously binding consensus is the consensus of the entire Muslim community, or that religiously binding consensus is just the consensus of the religiously learned.Ahmad Hasan, "The Doctrine of Ijma': A Study of the Juridical Principle of Consensus," New Delhi, India: Kitab Bhaban, 2003, pg.81 The names of two kinds of consensus are:
  • ijma al-ummah - a whole community consensus.
  • ijma al-aimmah - a consensus by religious authorities.BOOK, Corinna Standke, Sharia - The Islamic Law,weblink 9 June 2012, 30 August 2008, GRIN Verlag, 978-3-640-14967-4, 4–5,

Shia view

Initially, for Shia the authority of the Imams rendered the consensus as irrelevant. With the development of sectarian communities of Imami Shīa Islam, the question of guidance and interpretation between different ulamas became an issue, however the importance of ijmā never reached the level and certainty it had in Sunni Islam. Later, since Safavid and with the establishment of Usuli school at the turn the 19th century the authority of living mujtahid is accepted, however it dies with him. For Shia, the status of ijmā is ambiguous.BOOK, Sami Zubaida, Law And Power In The Islamic World,weblink 9 June 2012, 8 July 2005, I.B.Tauris, 978-1-85043-934-9, 14,

Mu'tazilite view

The ancient Mu'tazilite sect did not consider consensus to be a valid source of law, primarily due to their rationalist criticism of the first generation of Muslims, whom the Mu'tazila viewed as possessing defective personalities and intellects.Devin Stewart, "Muhammad b. Dawud al-Zahiri's Manual of Jurisprudence." Taken from Studies in Islamic Law and Society Volume 15: Studies in Islamic Legal Theory. Edited by Bernard G. Weiss. Pg. 107. Leiden: 2002. Brill Publishers. Shi'ite theologians Al-Shaykh Al-Mufid and Sharif al-Murtaza held the Mu'tazilite theologian Nazzam's book Kitab al-Nakth, in which his student Al-Jahiz reports that he denied the validity of consensus for this reason, in high esteem.Josef van Ess, Das Kitab al-nakt des Nazzam und seine Rezeption im Kitab al-Futya des Gahiz. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Reprecht, 1971. Modern scholarship has suggested that this interest was motivated by the desire of Shi'ite theologians to impugn the character of the first three leaders of the Rashidun Caliphate, Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman.

See also

{{Islamism sidebar|Concepts}}

References

{{Reflist|2}}

External links

{{Islamic philosophy}}{{Authority control}}

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