This paper presents 5 assumptions: (i) Methodology is the determinant of knowledge;
advance of knowledge starts reform of methodology (ii) Muslim scientists should start with, develop, and build on the ummah’s
methodological heritage in inculcating a culture (attitudes and values) of systematic scientific enquiry to be able to make
original and innovative contributions to scientific knowledge (iii) Empirical research is a type of ijtihad (iv) The basic elements of the empirical method are valid; Muslims do not object to the essence but to
the Eurocentric philosophical frame and inappropriate use (v) A tauhidi and not
a Euro-centric frame can motivate excellent and innovative S&T in the ummah.
The problems due to a Euro-centric world-view are (1) unstated and stated a priori biases in the formulation of hypotheses, selection of hypotheses for testing,
interpretation, and use of scientific knowledge (II) the assertion that only
empirical knowledge is valid (III) arrogance in not acknowledging limitations to human observation and interpretation of physical
phenomena (IV) dealing with the parts and missing the whole.
The following Qur’anic concepts can contribute to the Islamic reframing
of the empirical method (a) acknowledging wide but finite frontiers of
human knowledge (b) apreciating tauhid as an integrating wholistic universal intellectual
paradigm for all processes of empirical research (c) accepting natural laws (sunan al llaah) as a basis for an ordely universe with stable causal relations (d) study of physical phenomena
( tadabbur aayat llaah) as basis for empirical observations and interpretation
(e) uprightness (Istiqamat) as protection from methodological biases (d) vicegerancy
of the human on earth (Istikhlaf), placing the universe at the service of humans
( taskhiir), and (building civilization (isti’imaar)
are bases for responsible technology.
The following concepts from classical Islamic methodological sciences (uluum
al Qur’an, uluum al hadith, and usuul al fiqh) can also contribute to reframing the emoirical method and promoting its
Islamic values and attitudes: (1) the concept of abrogation (naskh) motivates understanding
of the dynamic changes and growth of scientific facts and theories (2) scientific exigesis (tafsir ‘ilmi), subject-based exigesis (tafsir maudhui) and the
science of hadith critique (‘ilm naqd al hadith) relate to data interpretation.
The science of narrators (‘ilm al jarh wa al ta’adiil/’ilm al rijaal)
relates to the assessment and development of an honest and ethical personality in the scientific researcher. The discipline
of qiyas usuli relates to the inductive logic empirical science. The theory of the general purposes of the law (maqasid al sharia)
relates to the generalization or external validity of empirical observations and theories. The axioms of the law (al qawaid al fiqhiyyat al kulliyat) relate to established scientific laws. There are parallels in S&T practice
for the following sources of law: istihbaab, istihsaan, istislah, ijma, and ‘urf.
The paper concludes by summarizing the basic characteristics of Islamic methodology
and making 2 recommendations: (a) Aspiring modern Muslim scientists, like their
ancestors, should take a preliminary course on classical methodology to provide intellectual tools, values, and attitudes
on which to build their innovative careers (b) Mature scientists, like their encyclopedic forerunners, should break disciplinary
barriers so that their investigations are wholistic and follow the tauhidi paradigm.
1.1 PURPOSE OF THE PAPER
The paper analyzes the empirical methodology and discusses its reframing within
an Islamic context as a means of overcoming the attitudinal barriers to the growth of S&T, R&D, and successful technology
transfer. The paper concludes that the basic postulates and elements of the scientific method are valid and acceptable. The
problems are external to the method and manifest in the way it is framed and is used. The paper proposes means of an Islamic
reframing of the empirical method to overcome the defects above. It also discusses the values and attitudes that encourage
or hinder the transfer and development of science and technology.
1.2 DEFINITION OF SCIENCE, RESEARCH, AND TECHNOLOGY
Science is a body of organized knowledge secured through systematic investigation.
It searches for and tries to explain relations among physical phenomena.
A basic assumption of science is that there are natural laws, sunan llah fi al kawn, that make the universe rationally organized
and predictable. The aim of scientific research is to learn as much as possible about these laws in order to explain and exploit
causal relations. Humans can investigate those laws that are within the seen world ‘aalam
al shahadat; they have no access to laws that are in the unseen ‘aalam al
ghaib. As far as human understanding is concerned a cause is always and is necessarily followed by its effect. Exceptions
to this are in the realm of the ‘aalam
al ghaib and humans have no need to interact with them in the normal conduct of their affairs except where instructed
by revelation. All what humans need to know from ‘aalam al ghaib is provided
Scientific research is basically looking for causal relations and how to exploit
them. Research is undertaken in 4 different areas: basic research, applied research, product development, and technology transfer.
The empirical method is used in each of these fields. Research results into growth of knowledge either by addition of new
knowledge or a deeper understanding of existing knowledge. Research methods are either observational or experimental. Observational
studies may be descriptive or analytic. Experimental studies usually result in manipulation of the ecosystem.
Technology is transformation of basic science into services and products. The
Islamic paradigm of useful knowledge, ‘ilm nafei, calls for transformation
of science into technology. The only exception to this is science studied for the sole purpose of understanding and appreciating
the majesty of the creator.
1.3 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Science and technology are as old as humanity. The first recorded scientific activity was teaching
Adam the names of things. Naming and classification are basics for scientific research and communication. Human curiosity
and the search for practical solutions to problems of life led to discoveries by empirical observation or trial and error.
The S&T we have today is a product of human endeavor to which all known civilizations contributed: ancient Egypt, Babylonia, Greece, Persia, China, and India. The Greek achievements are the best documented.
Muslims played a crucial role in preserving and improving ancient Greek learning and passing it to
Europe just before the scientific
revolution at the start of the 16th century CE. The Umayyad Khalif, Khalid Ibn
Yazid, started translations of Greek science and philosophy into Arabic. This effort intensified in the 3rd century AH under
the Abassid rulers. Muslims became leaders of science in its various disciplines by correcting defects in Greek science but
also making innovative additions of their own.
The golden era of Muslim science was during the early Abassid perod. Science in the Muslim world declined after that. By the 14th century AH the ummah was weak in technology
and superstition had come back. The decline can be dated to (a) the Mongol invasion and sacking of Baghdad (1258 CE) when
over a period of 40 years they killed scientists and destroyed books and the expulsion of Muslims scientists and (b) catholic
destruction of Muslim institutions of learning and research in Andalusia (1491 CE)
During the renaissance or age of enlightenment, the catholic church’s suppression of science
was rejected. At the same time Muslim science, carrying with it the empirical method, reached Europe through translations or study of Europeans at Muslim universities
in Spain and other countries. This led to the scientific revolution in Europe of the period 1500-1750 CE. Transfer of the empirical method
to Europe was imperfect;
the Europeans took the facts but not the tauhidi context. A new European and largely
secular context was developed. The empirical method was presented as the source of knowledge par excellence. Other sources
of knowledge were rejected especially revelation because of its association with the rejected church. This was an overreaction
to the transgressions of the church against science. The experience of the Muslims had shown that the empirical method could
be used alongside other sources of knowledge and that it was not anti-religion.
There were 4 periods of intense scientific interaction between Europe and the Muslim world: (a) 3-6th centuries AH Greek science was
transferred to the Muslim world. The Muslims had a methodological basis that allowed them to make selective absorption and
also be able to innovate. (b) during the crusades that lasted 8 centuries , the Muslims were intellectually stronger than
the Europeans. The Muslims taught and did not to learn. Transfer of Muslim science to Europe was limited because of the intense
rivalry (c) 13-14th centuries AH the Muslims were only consumers of S&T because they had lost their methodology and could
not make original contributions. It was not possible to integrate the ummah’s thinking with modern S&T. Lack of
methodological originality led to neglect of pure sciences (d) With the start of the 15th century of hijra, calls for a renewal in the ummah were made to develop of transfer technology in a selective, critical and
innovative way. Experiences of indiscriminate technology transfer in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and other Muslim countries
over the past 50 years have not been wholly successful; they have made the Muslims even more dependent than before. Methodology
built on the Muslim heritage will inspire more R&D than methodology developed in another world-view and is transplanted
into the Muslim world. It will at the same time relieve the inferiority complex that afflicts Muslims. The ummah will absorb
what is available in S&T. As Roger Garaudy advised this must be selective, critical, and creative. The ummah will also
have to develop its methodologies so that it can in its own unique way make innovative additions to the corpus of human knowledge
and experience. The ummah can not achieve technological autonomy or develop an innovative and vigorous indigenous science
base if it does not build on an Islamic framework. The world-view that motivates a European scientist can not motivate a Muslim
to the same degree.
1.4 METHODOLOGY, KNOWLEDGE AND
Study of methodology is rapidly emerging as an important and independent field.
Methodology defines a discipline; a discipline can not be recognized as independent until it evolved a methodology. Methodology
defines a discipline. According to the tauhidi paradigm, there is a methodological
framework common to all disciplines since there is unity of knowledge and the source of knowledge is one, Allah. This common
methodology can be reached by deep study and reflection of any discipline.
Muslim history has shown that successful reform movements have always started
with reform of knowledge. Movements that were based on purely political or military action with no knowledge reform were not
as successful. Knowledge reform requires methodological reform. Reform of the ummah today will have to start from its methodological
heritage recast in a contemporary framework, referred to as asaalat islamiyyat muasirat
by Dr Abdulhamid Abusulayman.
The ummah is proud to have been the first to develop uluum al hadith and ‘ilm al usuul as methodological sciences
that ensure correct transmission of text (khabar) and distinguish the right from
the wrong. Tools from Islamic methodological sciences are comparable to those of the empirical method. Science investigates
matter and energy and their uses whereas Islamic methodological sciences investigate revealed text seeking to understand its
use. The field of investigation may be different but the intellectual tools used as well the possible methodological biases
are similar to a large extent. Both face the challenge of working from incomplete evidence and making general explanatory
Ancient Muslim scientists were encyclopedic being involved in several fields
of enquiry at the same time. Research is a type of ijtihad. We are of the opinion
that door to ijtihad has never been closed in the ummah at any epoch. The decrease in scholarly output that occured at certain
epochs in history was more due to lack of new challenges for scholars than to lack of intellectual curiosity. The physical
and social environment changed very little between the 4th and 10th centuries of hijra. The period starting with the 13th
century has witnessed major changes and challenges and is therefore producing more reformers and thinkers. Innovative intellectual
output of the ummah is now on the rise. This conference comes at a very opportune moment.
The paper is based on bibliographic sources available in Malaysia at the time
of writing, the author’s reflections and reading on methodology over the past 5 years, and discussions with senior colleagues
at IIIT and UIA. Both Muslim and non-Muslim critiques of the empirical methodology were studied. A large sample of writings
have been consulted to make sure that statements made on scientific or Islamic methodology are representative.
In preparation of this paper, an Extensive literature review covering the following
areas was made to define the issues at stake: Islamic Reform Movements, technology transfer, history of science, philosophy
of science, epistemology, research methods, the empirical method, Quranic sciences, hadith sciences, usul al fiqh, Islamic methodology and Islamization of knowledge.
The main source of information about the various Islamic sciences was al Zahiili, M. Marjau al ‘uluum al Islamiyyat. Dar al Ma’rifat, Damascus no date
Simple terminology has been used to make the paper friendly to the non-specialist.
Quranic terminology has been used whenever possible because it is exact. The term ‘European’ has been used instead
of ‘western’ to refer to the to the intellectual and cultural heritage
that encompasses Greco-roman, Judeo-christian traditions that developed over the past 2000 years and dominated the world over
the past 500 years. Many of the arabic terms used have not been translated but their meanings have been explained in the glossary.
2.3 METHOD OF ANALYSIS
European sources have been used as authorities in the description of the empirical
method. The tauhidi paradigm has been used to critically analyze the method showing its strengths and weaknesses. Methodological
concepts from traditional Islamic sciences have been examined in a broad sense as they relate to scientific methodology. The
paper has avoided rediscussing opinions generated by ijtihad of the ummah’s scholars over the past 14 centuries because
the details were relevant to their eras and only the guiding principles can be applied to our times. The paper has similarly
avoided discussion of the evolution of current European concepts of epistemology and philosophy of science and just confined
itself to stating the state of art knowledge and analyzed them from a tauhidi perspective.
The paper has analyzed contemporary challenges using the original sources of Qur’an and sunnat. Parallels between classical Islamic methodological sciences and the empirical methodology were identified
and were discussed.
2.4 USE OF END-NOTES
End-notes have been used extensively to make the main paper of reasonable length
and avoid interruption of the flow of ideas for the reader familiar with the themes being discussed and their sources. A reader
not familiar with Islamic sciences may turn to the notes for detailed information.
The author has used his own transliteration system of Arabic words into the
Latin alphabet. Both the motivation and methodology are explained in the notes.
3.0 THE EMPIRICAL SCIENTIFIC METHOD
3.1 DEFINITION & CHARACTERISTICS
The European use of the empirical method has the following established characteristics:
(a) It is pragmatic and basically atheistic (a) only observation is the source of valid knowledge; other sources of knowledge
such as istinbat, tarikh, naql are rejected.
The following characteristics of the empirical method are alleged and may not always hold in practice (a) It is open-ended, theories are abandoned if no longer sustained
by facts (b) It is methodological (systematic, repeatable, and consistent) (c) It is accurate, precise, and objective.
The empirical methodology is innately good but the manner and context of its
use lead to the following problems: (a) biases due to a priori assumptions (b) limitations of observation by human senses
(c) limitations of human intellect (d) lack of an integrating paradigm
3.2 HISTORY THE EMPIRICAL SCIENTIFIC METHOD
Empiricism could be said to be an innate character of humans which they share
with animals. Humans always want to know the explanation of natural phenomena and what relates one event to another. In the
absence of empirical knowledge or wahy they have sometimes resorted to superstition.
It is not easy to give credit for discovery of the empirical method. Available evidence shows that Muslims scientists in the
golden era of Islam were pioneers of the systematic use of the empirical method. Hitti, William Smith, George Sarton concluded
that it was Muslims who first used experimentation and observation in a systematic way.
Greek science was conjectural and hypothetical. Greeks preferred reasoning
and looked down upon perceptual knowledge. They would spend years in their confortble arm chairs reasoning instead of going
out of the room and making observation or setting up a simple experiment to close the issue. Aristotle for example never thought
of testing his theory about the speed of falling of heavy and light objects.
Dr Sulaiman Daud concluded after an analysis of Muslim and European writings
that Muslims were the first to criticize Greek logic (al qiyaas al mantiqi) and
that they were the first to develop a complete empirical methodology in the form of qiyaas
Allama Muhammad Iqbal in his ‘Reconstruction of Religious Thought in
Islam’ argued that the empirical method was not a European discovery. He quoted contributions by: Ghazzali, Ishraqi,
Ibn Taymiyyat, Abubakr al Razi, and Ibn Hazm. Other pioneers of the empirical method were: Ibn Sina, Al Biruni, al Kindi (d.
260 AH), Jabir Ibn Hayyan (d. 200 AH), Ibn Haytham (d. 340 AH), al Khawarizmi (d. 387 AH).
European history ascribes ‘discovery’ of the empirical method to
Roger Bacon (1561-1626 CE). According to Prantl, Roger Bacon learned the empirical method from Arabs. Other European pioneers
of the method such as San Simon 1760-1825 CE, August Kant 1798-1857 CE, Emile Durkheim 1858-1917 CE built on Bacon’s
The Qur’an is a methodological inspiration to Muslim scientists. Qur’anic, hadith, and usul al fiqh sciences are a rich intellectual heritage
on which Muslim scientists built their methodology. They learned from and improved Greek science. They pioneered the empirical
methodology and transmitted it to Europe just before the renaissance. The European copied the empirical method but not its context hence their misuse of the
method. Methodological development in empirical science in the ummah has stagnated over the centuries. Biased European methodology
was imposed on the Muslim world over the past 2 centuries with the claim that it was the only source of valid knowledge. Many
Muslims unaware of their heritage have accepted this.
3.3 IBN HYTHAM AND USE OF THE EMPIRICAL METHOD
Scientific investigation starts with hypothesis formulation. The hypotheses
are tested by empirical observation and deductions/inductions are made.
Ibn Haytham, in his ‘Book of Optics’ kitaab al Manzir illustrates the use of the empirical method. He did a lot of experiments and interpreted the
findings. He realized the importance of mathematics. He used a combination of inductive and deductive logic. In inductive
logic an observation is generalized in the form of a hypothesis that can be tested empirically. In deductive logic, a hypothesis
is verified experimentally and the findings are used to interpret other facts based on the hypothesis. Induction usually is
followed by deduction.
Ibn Hytham formed hypotheses in 2 ways: (a) by observation of natural
phenomena for example he saw that light passing through a hole has the shape of that hole and therefore formed a hypothesis
that light travels in straight lines (b) by analogy for example the moon gets light from the sun; stars by analogy
get light from the sun
To verify the hypotheses about the stars above, Ibn Hytham made the observation
that unlike the moon, the shapes of the stars did not change with distance from the sun. He concluded that the stars emit
light of their own.
Ibn Hytham moved from experiment to generalize into a law by concluding that
(a) light of whatever type travels in straight lines (b) the incident ray, the reflected ray, and the normal are in the same
3.4 A PRIORI ASSUMPTIONS
A priori assertions
or non-assertions (assertions by default) bias the selection of fields/issues of investigation, formulation of hypotheses,
selection of hypotheses for testing, reporting of data, interpretation of data, and use of information.
The source of frustration with European empiricism is that some assertions
are understood but are not stated explicitly so that the uninitiated may not recognize their existence.
European thought is basically materialist. It has several manifestations as
positivism, empiricism, pragmatism, and semanticism.
A materialistic view of the universe contradicts the Islamic view of duality
of matter and spirit, mind and body, soul and intellect, philosophy and religion, here and the hereafter.
The theory of evolution that evolved in 19th century England and coincidentally
provided ‘scientific’ justification for industrial exploitation for the less fit in Europe and the colonies by
the fittest who alone had the right of survival, has a lot of influence in the thinking of many natural and social scientists.
Scientific hypotheses, scientific language, choice of what to study reflect an underlying assumption of the innate superiority
of the most ‘evolved’ human species in Europe.
Psychological leanings cause bias. Personal or group selfish interests can
unconsciously lead to bias because of the European dichotomy between science and morality.
The life of the scientist is not put in the equation. A scientist is a prisoner
of his culture. Only the aqida of tauhid
that is based on universality can rescue him from such a prison. Many of the leading scientists were morally corrupt even
psychologically sick yet their theories and discoveries were not suspected. There is an implied unscientific assumption that
a person who tells lies in his ordinary life will not do so about his laboratory research. The character and moral worth of
the investigator is not taken into account when judging the validity of the data on the assertion that science is morally/ethically
neutral (hiyaad akhlaqi). This is the cause of so much scientific fraud most of
which is undetectable. The Islamic approach will involve checking the moral worth of the researcher in the assessment of any
research data to void the possibility of scientific fraud.
Regarding natural laws as final and accepting the laws of evolution that explain
the start and progress of life as chance or accidental events make the European scientist consider the existence of a creator
superflous. No empirical experiment can be set up to test the proposition yet there are indications especially in empirical
behavior of humans that there is a super-natural power.
start with the following prior assumptions: tauhid (Allah, His attributes, uluhiyyat, rububiyyat), limitations of human knowledge, causality (sababiyyat)
is the relation between the cause and effect. The causes are creatable by Allah and he could change them. Thus causal relations
are not always what humans expect. The creator can disregard the so-called natural laws. A Muslim believes that miracles are
associated with causal relations that are in the realm of ghaib but also recognizes
that in practical terms he need not delve into this field.
3.6 SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE
Both European empiricists (experience is source of knowledge) and rationalists
(reason is source of knowledge) agree that there is no source of knowledge outside the human.
The assertion that the empirical is
the only source of valid knowledge excludes 2 major fields of study: (a) the ultimate questions about the universe that can
not be proved rationally: its start, its future, its end, purpose of human life, life, death and after-death and (b) human
behavior: motivation, and spiritual experiences). There are ultimates of religion tat can not proved rationally.
The European paradigm that does not recognize existence of limits to human
senses and intellect can not accept that some matters can not be investigated empirically and that other sources of knowledge such as wahy (knowledge of ghaib) must be used. They are just ignored as if they do not exist. A proper approach would have been a declaration
by the empiricist and rationalist that they lie outside the bounds of unaided human investigation.
Islam recognizes three sources of knowledge, 2 being primary and the third
dependent on the other two. Wahy and empirical observation are independent. They
however both need reason ‘aql for understanding. Muslim thinkers have mentioned
other sources of knowledge such as intuition (hadas), ilhaam, and wijdaan These either have wahy or an empirical basis
that may not be obvious to the uninitiated.
Wahy remains the
absolute source since human senses and reason are known by ordinary human experience to be fallible. Al Ghazali doubted the
authority of sense and reason. Human illusions and hallucinations are possible and do occur.
3.7 INVESTIGATION OF THE PAST AND THE FUTURE
The empirical method performs well in investigation of the present but is awfully
incompetent in its historicity and futuristicity. Investigation of the past and the future requires ‘ilm al ghaib that comes only from wahy. Ghaib can be absolute or relative. Empirical investigations continually roll back the frontiers of relative ghaib but can not even start looking into absolute ghaib. The problem is that the European use of the empirical method just assumes that uninvestigatable matters
just do not exist or are irrelevant. Untestable assertions are classified as unscientific.
3.8 INVESTIGATION OF THE HUMAN
European empiricism, by looking at the human as only matter, does not have
the tools to understand human duality. It fails in understanding causal relations in situations in which humans change the
ecosystem. Humans can create new facts that accord with their inner biases such that an investigator coming later is confused.
3.9 INTEGRATION AND SPECIALIZATION
Too narrow specialization in science has resulted in a situation of knowing
the parts and failing to put them together. Knowing the whole picture makes the study of the parts more meaningful. European
empiricism as used does not acknowledge the basic assertions of tauhid that there
is one creator for the universe and that therefore there must be an integrating paradigm for all human research and actions.
A practical consequence of this is that one advance in one area is a catastrophe in another to the extent that many insightful
scientists fear the ultimate destruction of the ecosystem.
3.10 OBJECTIVITY AND UNIVERSALITY
The claim of universality and objectivity is not true. It would have been more
honest to accept the minimum that European science reflects a Euro-centric view of the world.
3.11 LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN SENSES
Empirical knowledge is relativistic and probabilistic. European science is
too arrogant in stating its conclusions as established facts when the observations on which they are based may be wrong.
Empiricism depends on human senses. Human senses are limited in their observation
and can be deceived; this failure is not cured by use of instruments because they are aids and extensions of the basic human
Diseases of the heart can lead to biased empirical observations. Among these
diseases are: hiqd, kibr, kadhb,
Existence (al wujuud) is at 5 levels:
dhaati, hissi, khiyaali, ‘aqli, and shibhi. The empirical method can only
observe the hissi, the rest have to be inferred.
3.12 LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN INTELLECT
The human intellect is necessary to interprete and understand empirical observations.
This intellect has limitations and there are matters like the human himself that lie outside its reach. A human can not understand
himself fully. Rationalism has a basis in the Qur’an and reason is needed to understand the Qur’an and sunnat.
However there are transgressions in the use of reason that lead to false results. This occus when reason is employed in areas
that are exclusive for wahy. The Ummah like the Europeans has had excesses by rationalists
like the mutazilites. Ibn Taymiyyat, al Ghazzali, and other scholars of the samecaliber came to bring the ummat back to the
original methodology after the excesses of the rationalists.
4.0 USE OF QUR’ANIC CONCEPTS IN THE ISLAMIC REFRAMING OF THE EMPIRICAL
4.1 QUR’AN AND KNOWLEDGE, ‘ILM
Previous civilizations were condemned for reading and not understanding their
revelations (2:78). This is a situation of intellectual blindness. For Muslims the revelation is the start of understanding
and knowledge. Some of the contemporary Muslim weaknesses are attributable to
defects in understanding and using the Qur’an. Many Muslim communities today have abandoned the Qur’an (hijr al Qur’an) in that they do not use it as the sole guide of their affairs. Muslim scientific and technological
renaissance will require a return to the Qur’an as an inspiration and a methodological guidance.
The learning, collection, study, and interpretation of the Qur’an was
the start of the methodological and knowledge revolution ushered in by Islam. This revolution was mainly the liberation of
human intellect and will from the clutches of superstition and blind following.
Qur’anic verses deal with basically 4 concentric themes: (a) the self, nafs; (b) relation with other humans; (c) relation with the ecosystem; (d) relation
with the creator. In the temporal dimension the Qur’an deals with the past, the present, and the future. The future
is generally subsumed under the concept of the unseen, al ghaib.
The Qur’an is a book of general and basic guidance and not a textbook
for any discipline. It is a methodological guideline for the development of science and technology as well as other areas
of human knowledge.
The Qur’an and sunnat have their wisdom, hikmat, in the scientific tarbiyat of Muslims. There is a hikmat in the Qur’an and sunnat being in generalities and not details and why the companions did not ask
many questions. There is also hikmat in verses of the Qur’an being validly interpretable in more than one way. There
is hikmat in the revelation of the Qur’an in bits and pieces. The hikmat is to develop a spirit of enquiry and reflection
as the way to scientific facts.
Scientific facts in the Qur’an are there for purposes of guidance to
aqida and not a substitute for empirical research. It encourages humans to study
the universe in order to get empirical knowledge. This is achieved by indicating that the universe is large, knowledge is
wide in scope, and human knowledge is limited.
The field of human endeavor is the seen and not the unseen. It will be a transgression
for a human to try to research or deal with the unseen. All knowledge of the unseen needed for methodological guidance of
empirical study of the world is provided by the Qur’an. The Qur’an also provides information to understand uluhiyyat and rububiyyat and their implications
in daily practical life.
4.2 THE TAUHIDI PARADIGM FROM THE QUR’AN
Tha tauhidi paradigm has the following
concepts: unity of Allah, unity of creation, unity of truth, unity of knowledge, unity of life, unity of humanity. The concept
of unity is the bedrock for causal relations and a rational predictable universe. Science shows that the complex universe
is actually a simple made up of a few fairly identical building blocks called atoms, sub-atomic particles and molecules. The
natural laws that govern the interactions among these particles ar simple and are usually written as simple mathemtical equations.
Under the tauhidi paradigm, wahy and aql are complementary. Since knowledge and truth are a unity,
both wahy and aql are searching for
the same goal.
The tauhidi paradigm also implies an all-embracing aspect (shumuuliyyat). Since everything has the same creator and one source, there must be order and harmony (nidhaam) since that creator knows all His creation (ihaatat).
the human intellect from stagnation (jumuud), dependency (tab’iyat), blind following (taqlid a’ama). It frees the
human from being a slave of his own whims and fancies.
innovation (ibda) by emphasizing the unity of the universe and its wide expanse.
Tauhid makes us
understand why the Qur’an addresses the whole person and not parts
Tauhid is the final guarantor against methodological biases
because the human observing and interpreting natural phenomena is in the same tauhidi
frame of reference as the events being studied. The Qur’an is comprehensive (shumuliyyat).
It has to be accepted as a whole (2:85). The reader must understand the changing time-space dimensions in the Qur’an.
4.3 SUNAN LLAH FI AL KAWN
The Qur’an calls for empirical observation of the environment and its
interpretation in many verses. Human senses were given their responsibility in this matter with warning against transgression.
The Qur’an calls for use of the human intellect. It provides actual examples of scientific research.
The principal of causality, ie a physical phenomenon must have a preceding
humanly-understandable cause, is very clear in many verses of the Qur’an. The exceptions when the principle is suspended
are described; they involve intervention of divine will beyond human understanding or are in the realm of the unseen (‘ilm al ghaib). Humans can ignore the principle of causality with the consequence of lack of creativity,
innovation, and activity and they lapse into a stuporous state of tawaakul.
Sunan Allah are
of 2 types: those known by Allah alone and those knowable by humans. The sunan
in ‘aalam al ghaib are different from those in a’alam al shahadat. Ghaib is of two types: haqiiqi, knowable only by Allah, and idhaafi, knowable by some humans.
The Qur’an clearly refers to methodology in Maida:48, An’am:155
and many other chapters.
The Qur’anic methodology is induction. It was most unfortunate that Muslim
scholars, under Greek influence, turned to deductive and neglected inductive reasoning.
As part of the intellectual stagnation, the fuqaha concentrated on ayaat al ahkaam and neglected ayaat al kawn.
4.4 BASIS FOR EMPIRICAL OBSERVATION AND INTERPRETATION
The Qur’an calls for the inductive method by ordaining looking at nature.
relate directly to human intellect because Allah gave humans the power of intellect and put at their disposal what is in the
earths and heavens (taskhiir) and called upon humans to lokk and investigate
The Qur’an trains the human to observe nature by use of terms such as
nadhar, tabassur. Interpretation is emphasized by terms such as: tadabbur, tafakkur, i’itibaar. tafaquhu. Use of evidential knowledge is emphasized by terms such as: bayyinat, burhan. Terms used to condemn tendencies to biased observations are: taqliid, dhann.
The Qur’anic story about Ibrahim’s search for the truth by observing
natural phenomena like the moon and the sun is a good example of formulating and testing a hypothesis by empirical observation.
The concept of istiqimat promotes
valid and un-biased research. It is defined by the following measures of central tendency to the golden mean or equilibrium:’adl, wasatiyyat, tawazun,hikmat, i’itidaal, ma’ayiir, mawdhu’iyyat.
The concept of wasatiyyat can be the basis for statistical measures of central
tendency (mean, mode) that are the basis of much scientific inference
Istiqamat can also
be defined negatively as rejection of what leads to bias: hiwa al nafs, al dhann.
The Qur’an came to fight false knowledge that manifests as: usturat, khurafat, kadhb, lahw, wahm. It condemned intellectual stagnation that manifests as taqlid. It warned against mistakes (khata) and forgetting (nisyaan). It warned against diseases of the heart that can color and distort objective observation and interpretation
resulting in bias. It teaches practical measures for avoiding mistakes such as insisting on a written record and calling witnesses.
It called for use of evidence by use of the following terms: burhan, daliil, bayyinat, shahid, tathabbut, sidq, iltimas al shawaahid,
tathabut fi al umuur (nisa: 83, Hujraat:18).
4.6 BASIS FOR TECHNOLOGY: ISTIKHLAF, TASKHIR, ISTI’IMAR
The concept of ‘ilm nafei underlies the imperative to transform basic
knowledge into technology.
5.0 USE OF CONCEPTS FROM THE CLASSICAL ISLAMIC METHODOLOGICAL SCIENCES IN THE
ISLAMIC REFRAMING OF THE EMPIRICAL METHOD
5.1 ‘ILM AL TAFSIR
Two branches of tafsir have a bearing on empirical scientific research: tafsir ilmi and tafsir maudhui.
Tafsir ilmi concentrates on ayaat al kawn.
The scope of tafsir ilmi is (a) empirical
eg study of the origin of the universe, shape of the earth, the 7 heavens and earhs, life on other planets, origin of man
(b) psychological implications of the verses. There are new and old controversies about its appropriateness. It can be approached
in a positive and a negative way. Positively it can help to increase iman by revealing the power of the creator. It can also
be a source of methodology. Negatively it can be lead to confusion when it is used as showing the scientific miracles of the
Qur’an (ijaz ilmi li al Qur’an). Misuse of tafsir ‘ilmi is due to poor science or poor understanding of the Qur’an. Tafsir ‘ilmi relates
to the exercise of data interpretation in empirical research.
tries to discover and explain the internal consistency that may not be apparent to the casual reader. It is an intellectual
challenge to sort out relations among things. The problem is that it is not static tafsir.
New developments in society and technology give rise to new subjects matter that can make us have a different and new look
at the Qur’an. The methods of tafsir maudhui include: looking at a sura as
one subject, looking for verses on one subject in the whole Qur’an. Tafsir maudhui, like tafsir ‘ilmi, relates
to data interpretation. In both tafsir and empirical research an attempt is made to reach conclusions from given data which
may sometimes not be complete.
5.2 ‘ILM AL NASKH WA AL MANSUUKH
Naskh is a matter
of study in Qur’anic, hadith, and usul al fiqh. We will discuss h’ere under Qur’an but its application is
Naskh has 3 meanings: (a) abrogation of previous revelations and books by the
Qur’an (b) textual abrogations of verses of the Qur’an like the verse of rajm
but with continuation of their practical application (c) abrogation of a verse of the Qur’an by a later verse both text
and application or authority. We shall focus on the third type
The theory of naskh has given rise
to a lot of controversies. Some scholars assert that it does not exist and reconcile the abrogated and abrogating verses.
Among those who accept the occurrence of abrogation, there are disputes about which verses were abrogated. Some scholars look
at abrogation as making the general particular. Examples are the verses on alcohol. The complete ban on alcohol was a more
specific command that abrogated an earlier verse that was a more general prohibition in that it forbade prayer while drunk.
There is agreement that Qur’an abrogates Qur’an and that Qur’an
abrogates sunnat and that sunnat abrogates sunnat. There is no agreement on whether sunnat
mutawaatirat can abrogate Qur’an
Our inclination is to the opinion of scholars who assert the eternal vailidity
of the Qur’an and to explain naskh as a consequence of the revelation of the Qur’an in a dynamic and changing
society and over a period of 23 years. Abrogating verses came to address people at a different level of development without
necessarily making the abrogated ones invalid. If we take spatio-temporal circumstances into consideration the problem of
naskh becomes clearer. The later verse elaborates or amends the previous one. The first verse could find application in other
spatio-temporal circumstances. The discourse about naskh has been complicated by looking at it from a legal context which
requires that only one unique law be operative at a time and the previous laws would be rendered completely useless.
The theory of naskh is very relevant to the progress of science in which new
discoveries are rendering yesterday’s theories obsolete today. The concept of naskh could be a background to understanding
the changes in scientific facts with newer discoveries. Abandoned theories still have a grain of truth and the correct explanation
of phenomena at a certain level. Study of atoms started with the theory that the atom was the smallest indivisible particle.
This is still valid when we consider ordinary chemical reactions. Later discoveries of sub-atomic particles. The initial laws
of conservation of energy anf conservation f mass are valid for routine engineering applications but invalid when nuclear
fusion of fission are considered. Newtonian laws of motion are valid for most ordinary low-speed motion but have to be supplanted
by the relativity-based laws.
5.3 ‘ILM AL JARH WA AL TA’ADIIL
Isnaad and ‘ilm al rijaal are uinque to the ummat. ‘Ilm al rijaal
is a major contribution to science. It is important that the character of the
investigator be known in order to trust his word.
A narration is accepted on he following conditions: adaalat (Muslim, adult, not immoral,has social respect ) and dhabt
(good memory, ......). The following contradict adaalat:disbelief (kufr), being a minor (sabiyy), immoral character/conduct (fisq), innovation
in religion (mubtadiu), telling lies in ordinary conversation (kadhib fi hadith al naas), financial benefit from saying hadith
The biographer (muarrikh) writes
biographies of men and looks for: They have to have the following traits : truthfulness (sidq), reporting literally (lafdh)
and not by meaning, mentioning the source of information, good expression, knowledge of the meanings of words, good overall
understanding of all what concerns the subject, not being influenced by hiwa. The
biographer must have personal knowledge of his subject (knowledge, religion, and other attributes).
The modern scientific community has done a good job of policing itself. Published
data is usually checked by others who try to replicate the methods. This has however not prevented cases of scientific fraud
to occur from time to time. The matter may be as serious as ‘cooking’ data or may be less serious like publishing
favorable results and hiding the less favorable one thus giving a false picture of the reality. The science of jarh and ta’adiil
can be a source of guidance on how to bring up an ethical scientist who can be trusted to tell the truth always. This science
protected the ummah from many false hadith that could have been transmitted.
5.4 ‘ILM NAQD AL HADITH
This branch of hadith science is concerned with building paradigms that will
be used in checking whether an individual hadith is valid as well as checking internal and external consistency of a narration.
There are basically two approaches (a) Naqd al matn involves loking for illat in hadith and differring the trusted narrators (b) Naqd al sanad involves: adalat al raawi, dhabt al raawi, ittisaal al sanad There are several categories of hadith depending on the classification criteria
used: hasan, dhaif, muttasil, munqatiu, mursal, mu’udhal, mudalas, mawquuf, marfu’u,
The paradigms of ‘ilm naqd al hadith can be used to inculcate attitudes
of critical reading and examination of scientific literature. Such attitudes will ensure that only the most valid and rigorously-done
scientific work finds acceptance. It will also set up a challenge to scientists who do their best in the full knowledge that
the readership is very critical.
Qiyaas is a type of ijtihad. Qiyaas, or legal syllogism, is systematic ra’ay.
Qiyaas is logical deduction or induction from Qur’an and sunnat.
Dr Sulaiman Daud referred to qiyaas as an Islamic empirical methodology. He
analyzed the writings of the following European thinkers on empiricism: Roger Bacon (1214-129 CE), Francis Bacon (1561-1626
CE), David Hume (1711-1776 CE), and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873 CE). He concluded that qiyaas usuuli is in conformity with
the modern empirical scientific method. Both qiyaas usuuli and the empirical methodology look for causes (illat).
We need to return qiyaas to its simplicity away from the complexity of the
ulama. This will be the start of using it to motivate and develop a scientific culture in the ummah.
Examples of qiyaas in empirical research are: results of drug trials in animals
being applied to humans, findings on drug toxicity in patients being applied to the healthy
5.6 ISTIHBAAB, ISTIHSAAN, AND ISTISLAH
Istihbab is continuation
of an established law which has not been revoked or rescinded. It is the principle of maintaining the status quo on the basis
of accompanying circumstances. The concept of istihbaab could be applied to scientific laws and theories that are considered
working explanations or hypotheses until disproved
Istihsan is acceptance
of a rule because of its superior equity on comparison with an already established law. Ahmad Hasan defined it as preferential
reasoning, the principle that equitable considerations may override strict analogy. It can also be looked at as ‘unreasoned
preference’. Itihsaan is of two types: istihsaan qiyaasi and istihsaan al dharurat. Clinicians after many years of experience can gain an intuition that should be respected
because in the end it has an empirical basis. This is similar to istihsaan.
Istislah is to seek a legal ruling by reasoning on the basis of maslahat (public
interest). Maslahat mursalat is the basis for istislah. Masalih mursalat refers to any interest/benefit that falls within
the purposes of the law-giver (maqasid al sharei) and was not mentioned in the
law in a specific or generic sense. The concept of istislah can find application
in decisions involving choosing one technology over another.
Ijma is defned
as unanimous agreement of the jurists of the community of a particular age on a legal issue . It is infallible and is not
subject to reason because the community can not agree on an error. Consensus among empirical researchers has authority eveen
if not backed by direct experimental data.
5.7 MAQASID AL SHARIAT
The theory of maqasid provides a high-level or a bird’s eye view of the
law from the context of its higher purposes and not its mechanics or details. The 5 purposes of the law, maqasid al sharia,
are preservation of : din, nafs, aql, nasl, and maal. These 5 can define the scope and objectives of technology, Maqasid al
sharia as a concept are more relevant to applied than basic science.
Al Ghazzali and his teacher al Juwayni were pioneers of maqasid an shari’at. Al Shatibi elaborated and systematized al Ghazzali’s ideas. The maqasid theory
can transform the Muslim mind from pre-occupation with parts and branches to dealing with the big or large issues, from structures
to ends and goals, from taqlid to innovations. Dr Shatibi maintained that maqasid
were derived from nass by nduction (istiqra)
The maqasid can provide the Muslim mind with high-level conceptual tools that
can be used to understand and use science and technology for overall benefit of humans and the ecosystem.
5.8 QAWAID AL FIQHIYYAT AL KULLIYAT /AL QAWANIIN AL USULIYYAT
Al qawaid al fiqhiyyat are simple rules are akin to mathematical
axioms derived directly from the primary sources of law. They simplify the logical or reasoning operations involved In complex
situations. The axioms can be stated and used without having to go through their complicated derivation.
6.1 UNIVERSALITY OF ISLAM
A valid fear could be expressed that correcting the European bias in science
will produce another type of bias this time being towards Muslims. The Islamic world-view of life, the human is the universal
view and is therefore not a bias. The comprehensiveness of the Islamic frame leaves no room for bias. Bias is in essence standing
apart and looking at a phenomenon from a certain pre-determined point of view only.
6.2 CHARACTERISTICS OF ISLAMIC
METHODOLOGY AS PRESENTED BY DR ABDULHAMID ABUSULAYMAN
The Islamic methodology has a very wide scope that encompasses and harmonizes
both the seen and the unseen (takaamul al ghaib wa al shahadat). Empirical research
is in the province of the seen and can not trespass into the unseen. Guidance from the unseen helps encourage empirical research
and guide it away from potential bias
There are three main sources of knowledge and methodology: Revelation (wahy), Intellect (aql), and Empirical observation (kawn). These sources are complementary and are never contradictory. Full knowledge requires use of all the sources.
6.2.3 Basic principles:
Islamic methodology has 3 main principles: wahdaniyyat, al khilafat, al
masuliyyat al akhlaqiyyat
6.2.4 Basic concepts:
The Islamic methodology relies on the following basic concepts: ghaiyyat
al khalq wa al wujuud, mawdhu’iyyat al haqiiqat wa nisbiyyat al mawqiu minha, hurriyat al qaraar wa al iradat al insaniyyat
wa masuliyyatuha, al tawakkul, al sababiyyat fi adaa al fi’ilu al insaani
A distinguishing characteristic of the Islamic methodology is its comprehensiveness,
6.3 REFRAMING THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
The above analyzes have shown that the actual processes of the empirical methodology (hypothesis, testing, conslusion) are not the problem but the context
and manner in which the method is used. What is therefore needed is t define the Islamic context and make it predominant.
The reframing will succeed most if it is part of the education of the Muslim scientist.
6.4 EDUCATION OF THE MUSLIM SCIENTIST
The education of a Muslim scientist should encourage development of a culture
involving attitudes and values that can be learned from the Islamic methodological sciences. Studying the methodological Islamic
sciences of usul al fiqh, hadith, and tafsir will help mould the personality and intellectual preparation of the future researcher
within an Islamic context. Studying the history and achievements of the early Muslim scientists will be an inspiration for
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fi al-’alam al-Islami (Qatar: Ri’asat al-Mahakim al-shar’iyat, 1988) BP 190.5 S 3 N 162 Q
# The Muslim world like all other civilizations learned from others; there
were benefits and risks. Greek science was a double-edged sword. On one hand it stimulated knowledge but on the other hand
it introduced the dedective method that undermined the inductive empirical research that the Qur’an called for. The
loss of the inductive spirit according to Muhammad Iqbal had been one of the causes of Muslim decline. Translation of Greek
science and philosophy was accompanied by much confusion when Muslims tried to use Greek philosophy indiscrimately. Al Kindi
(d. 260 AH) tried to explain the Islamic aqida in terms of philosophy. Al Ghazali (d. 505 AH) tried to distinguish Muslim
from Greek methodology in his publications (notes- taharuf al falasifat, maqasid al falasifat, ihya uluum al ddiin). Other
defenders of the Muslim methodology were: Ibn Taymiyyat (d. 728 AH) in his books (notes: al jamu bayna al aql wa al naql,
iqtidhau al sirat al mustaqiim, al radd ala ibn arabi wa al sufiyat, naqdh al
mantiq, mukhalafat ahl al jahiim) and Ibn al Wazir al yamani Muhammad bin Ibrahim in his books (notes tarjihu asaaliib al
Qur’an ala qawaniin al mubtada’at wa al yunaan).
# European invasion and occupation of Muslims lands in the 18th and 19th century
was a double-edged sword for S&T development. It stimulated S&T but it brought with it the European world-view that
contradicted the Muslim one. Therefore no Muslim creativity
#Muslim scientists were leaders in S&T as Sayyed Hossein Nasr proves in his writings. Many of
the books by Muslims became texts in Europe. Muslim scientists were encyclopedic in their knowledge and investigations. Muslim scientists who were also philosophers
were: al Kindi, al Razi, al Farabi, Ibn Sina, Ibn al Baja, Ibn Tufail, Ibn Rushd, al Tuusi.
# The hadith of the prophet about a mujaddid for every century has been fulfilled:
1st century: Omar ibn al khattab, 2nd century: Omar ibn Abd al Aziz, 3rd century: Muhammad ibn Idris al Shafei, 4th century:
ibn suraij and al ash’ari, 5th century: Abu Sahl, Abu hamid al Asfarani, 6th century: al Ghazzali, 7th century: al Razi,
8th century: ibn Aqiiq, 9th century: Nasr al ddiin al Shadhili, Siraj al ddiin al Balqini, 10th century: Jalaluddin al Suyuti,
11th century: Ahmad al Sirhind. One characteristic of successful reform movements is that they are preceded by a knowledge/methodological
reform or revival. Ancient reformers whose movements were preceded by knowledge reform: Omar ibn Abd al Aziz, Fakh al ddiin
al Razi, Nasr al ddiin al Tuusi , Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyat. Ibn Taymiyyah’s movement started with methodological reform.
He criticized philosophers, showed the defects logic, fought bid’a and supersitition , opened the doors of jtihad ,attacked
deductive logic and thus opened the way for the inductive empirical method. Ibn Taymiyyah’s writings on methodological
reform included: al radd ala al falasifat, al aql wa al naql, al radd ala al mantinqiyiin,
bayaan muwafaqaat sariih al ma’quul li sahiih al manqul, naqd al mantiq. Modern reformers whose movements involved
intellecual revival: Muhammad Ibn Abd al Wahhab, Ahmad Muhammad al Mahdi, Jamal al ddiin al afghani (1254-114 AH), Muhammad
Abduh(1266-1323 AH), Sayyied Ahmad Khan, Sayyed Amir Khan, Muhammad Iqbal, Ibn Badees, Hasan al Banna (1324-1368 AH). Reformers whose movements that were reactive without an intellectual base and therefore
did not last:: Abd al karim al Kawakibi (1265-1320AH), Urabi Pasha (
to revival today
# Dr Abdulhamid Abusulayman in discussing solutions to the ummah’s present
weaknesses considere 3 alternatives: (a) al hall al tariikhi al taqliidi (b) al hall al mustawrad (c) al hall al Islami al
muasir. He concluded that that the only viable alternative is al nahdhat min al asaalat al islamiyyat al muasirat
# Husain, Sayyed Waqar Ahmad: Teaching Islamic Science and Engineering (Leicester:
Islamic Foundation, 1985) 402169 LC905 H968T
# Husain, Sayyed Waqar Ahmad: Islamic Science and Public Policies, Kuala Lumpur, 1986 34334 BP 190.5 S 3
# International Conference on Science in Islamic Polity (Pakistan): Islamic Scientific
Thought and Muslim Achievements in Science. 207069 Q127 I 742 I 61P vol 1-2
# Muslim journal for the Advancement of Science publishes a Journal of Islamic Science in New Delhi
Uluum al Qur’an:
Definition and Lisiting
Definition of uluum al Qur’an: al
mabaahith al kulliyat allati tata’allaqu bi al Qur’an al karim min nahiyat nuzuulihi, wa tartibihi, wa jamuhu,
wa kitaabatuhu, wa quraatuhu, wa tafsiiruhu, wa ijazuhu, wa nasikhuhu wa mansuukhukhu. The main Qur’anic sciences
are: ‘ilm tafsir al Qur’an, ‘ilm
asbaab al nuzuul, ‘ilm i’ijaz al Qur’an, ‘ilm naasikh al Qur’an wa mansuukhuhu, ‘ilm ahkaam
al Qur’an, ‘ilm fadhail al Qur’an, ‘ilm ta’wiil mushkil al Qur’an, ‘ilm al muhkam
wa al mutashhabih, ‘ilm taarikh al Qur’an wa tadwwinuhu wa naskhihi wa kuttabihi wa rasmihi, ‘ilm i’iraab
al Qur’an, ‘ilm tafsiir al Qur’an, ‘ilm al Qira’aat. These sciences are interrelated and
share the characteristic of being methodological in approach.
on Uluum al Qur’an
al Suyuuti, Jalal al Ddiin Abd al Rahman bin Abubakar (d. 911 AH). al itqaan fi ‘uluum al Qur’an; al Suyuuti, Jalal al Ddiin Abd al Rahman bin Abubakar (d. 911 AH).
asbaab al nuzuul; al Suyuuti, Jalal al Ddiin Abd al Rahman bin Abubakar (d. 911 AH). lubaab al ‘uquul fi asbaab al nuzuul;
al Suyuuti, Jalal al Ddiin Abd al Rahman bin Abubakar (d. 911 AH) Tabaqat al mufassiriin; al Zahiili, M. Marjau al ‘uluum al Islamiyyat. Dar al Ma’rifat, Damascus no
date; al Zamakhshari, Abi al Qasim Mahmud bin Omar al Khawarizmi (d. 538 AH). al Kashhaf
‘an haqaiq al tanziil wa uyuun al aqawiil fi wujuuh al ta’awiil; al Zarkashi, Imaam Badr al Ddiin Muhammad
bin Abdullah (d. 794 AH) al Burhaan fi ‘uluum al Qur’an; al Zubairi, Ali Muhammad. Ibn Jaziyi wa manhajuhu fi al tafsir. Dar al Qalam, Damascus 1987/1407 vols 1-2; al Rumi,
Fahad bin Abd al Rahman bin Sulaiman. Ittijaahaat al tafsir fi al qarn al rabiu ashar. Muassasat al Risaalat Riyadh 1414 AH (vols 1-3); Al Juwayni,
Mustafa al Sawi. Manahij fi al tafsir. Munsha’at al ma’arif, Alexandria, ? date; Arjun, Muhammad al Sadiq. Nahwa Manhaj
Li Tafsir al Qur’an. Al Dar al Saudia li al nashr. Jeddah 1977/1397; Al hamdhaani, al qadhi Abd al jabbaar bin Ahmad:
Mutashhabih al Qur’an; al shawkaani, Muhammad bin Ali bin Abdullah al Safaani. Fath al Qadiir fi al tafsiir
‘Ilm al Tafsir
‘Ilm tafsir al Qur’an was defined by Zarkashi as ‘’ilm yubhathu fiihi ‘an ahwaal al Qur’an al Majeed min haithu dalaalatihi ‘ala muraad al llah
ta’ala bi qadr al taqat al bashariyyat’. There is some tafsir that Allah left for himself. ‘Ilm tafsir
al Qur’an is the most important of the ‘uluum al Qur’an. It has
a basis in the Qur’an (Sad: 29, NISA: 82). The major issue in tafsir is to
reconcile the holiness the text with the humanness of the mufasir. The mufassir may make mistakes in the interpretation
of the text (Hasanat). The tafsir of muhakamat and mutashabih is different. Ayaat muhakkamat
is what is al dalaalat al dhaahiru allathi la yatahammalu al naskh.
Ayat mutashabih ma lam yutalaqqa ma’anhu min lafdhihi, wa la
yastaqillu bi nafsihi bal yahtaaju ila bayaan. The muhakamat are clear
whereas mutashabihat needs a lot of interpretation. The evolution of tafsir went through many stages: The Prophet’s
tafsir was to explain the details and explain the meaning. The companions and followers also undertook tafsir
of a similar nature. Tafsir of sahabat was either naql or ijtihad. Most famous mufassiriin
among the companions were according to al Suyuti (with dates of death): Abubakr, Omar, Othman, Ali, IbnMas’ud, Ibn Abbaas,
Ubayy bin Ka’ab, Zayd bin Thabit, Abu Musa al Ash’ari, Abdullah bin al Zubayr (HADIDI 1983). The discipline of
tafsir grew when differences started to appear and there was a need to look for solutions to the problems that arose
in the community. Tafsir can be classified in several ways: by approach (linguistic, obvious, scholars, Allah only), by source
(Qur’an, sunnat, ijtihad, isitinbat), by method (mathur, ra’ay), by subject matter
(alfadh & kalimaat, fiqhi, sufi, falsafi, ilmi, lughawi). Each mufassir has used a different methodology.
Ibn Abbas, the father of tafsir, methodology in tafsir: sabab al nuzuul (occasion, time, place), nasikh
& mansuukh, poetry, qur’an bi al qurr’an, the personal dimension. Al Tabari method included: tafsir
bi al mathuur, tafsir al qisas bi hujjat, refusal of tafsir bi al ray, tafsir al nass dhahiriyat, use of
linguistic tools. There are 2 primary sources of tafsir: the Qur’an and the sunniat. The Qur’an explains
itself, sunnat explains Qur’an, ijtihaad and inference (istinbaat). The Qur’an can explain itself because of its internal unity such that one part can elaborate
and not contradict another. Methods of tafsir al Qur’an by al Qur’an: the brief is explained by the detailed ayat
(sharh al mujaz bi al mubassat), sharh al mutlaq bi al muqayyad, sharh al aam bi al mukhassas, al jamu bayn ma yatawahhamu
annahu mukhtalif (HADID 1983). Methods of tafsir of Qur’an by sunat: explain the general, clarify the mushkil,
make the general particular, restrict the mutlaq, explain terminology (lafdh), explain naskh, emphasize the Qur’anic
hukm (HADIDI 1983). Among the disciplines that assist tafsir: ‘ilm al lugha wa al nahawu wa al saraf, ‘ilm
al qiraat, ‘ilm usul al ddiin, ilm usul al fiqh, ‘ilm asbaab al nuzuul.
Types of tafsir
Traditionally 2 main types f tafsir were recognized: tafsir bi al ma’athuur
and tafsir bi al ra’ay. There are contemporary trends in tafsir: tafsir ‘ilmi, tafir mawdhui, tafsir adabi, tafsir ijtimae, tafsir salafi, tafsir fiqhi, tafsir tajriibi, and
tafsir aqdi (sunni, shi)
Tafsir bi al ma’athuur
Tafsir bi al mathuur refers to explanation that are from the Qur’an, sunnat, the companions and the followers. Tafsiir based on opinion
tafsir bi al ra’ayi uses ijtihad
(linguistic, asbaab al nuzuul, nasikh & mansuukh, maqasid al sharia) and can
be prasieworthy, mahmuud, or balemworthy, madhmuum..
The prasieworthy uses opinion that is guided by valid general principles from the Qur’an and sunnat. The madhmuum is
a free for all affair that culd lead to wrong conclusions. The main field of tafsir bi al ra’ay are the allegorical
verses. Muslims, modern and ancient have produced a lot of works on
Tafsiir bi al ma’athuur:
Ibn Arabi, Abi Bakar Muhammad bin Abdillah al Andalusi (d. 543 AH): ahkaam al
Qur’an; al Baydhaawi, Abdullah bin Muhammad al baydhawi (d. 685 AH) : Anwaar
al tanziil wa ssraar al Ta’awiil; al Nasafi (d. 715 AH): Madaarik al tanziil; al Khaazin: lubaab al ta’wiil; Abu
hayyaan al tauhidi: Ishharaat Ilahiyyat; Abi Hayyaan al Andalusi: al bahr al Muhiit; al Baghawi, Abi Muhammad al Hussain bin
Mas’ud bin Muhammad al faraa al baghawi (d. 510): Maalim al tanziil; Ibn Attiyah: tafsiir ibn Attiyat; al Tha’alabi:
al kashf wa al bayaan; Ibn Kathir, ‘Imad al ddin abi fida Ismail bin Amru al Basri al Dimashqi (d. 774 AH). Tafsiir al Qur’an al ‘adhiim; al Qurtubi, Abi Abdillah Muhammad bin Ahmad al Ansari (d. 671 AH). al Jamiu li ahkaam al Qur’an.; Al Saqr, Muhammad Abu Al Nur al Hadidi. Tafsir
bi al Mathuur wa manhaj al mufassiriin fiihi. Al Markaz al aalami li al taliim al Islami, Makka 1403/1983 (BP 130.2 S242T);
Al Samarqandi, Abu al Llayth Nasr bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim (d. 373 AH). Bahr al uluum; Baqi,
bin Mukhallad bin Yaziid, bin Abd al Rahman al Andalusi al Qurtubi. Tafsir Baqi Mukhallad; al Nisapuri, Abu Ishaq Ahmad
bin Ibrahim al Tha’alabi. al kashf wa al bayaan ‘an tafsir al Qur’an; al Suyuuti, Jalal al Ddiin Abd al
Rahman (d. 911 AH). al Ddur al manthuur di al tafsiir bi al ma’athuur; al
Tabari, Abi Ja’afar Muhammad bin Jariir (d. 310 AH). Jamiu al Bayaan ‘an
ta’awiil Aayi al Qur’an; al Razi, Ahmad bin Ali Abubakar al Jassaas (d. 370 AH): Ahkaam al Qur’an; al
Zamakhshari, al Kashhaf. The most important of these authors were: Muhammad bin Jariir bin Yaziid bin Kathir Abu Ja’afar
al Tabari (224 - 310 AH), Ismail bin Omar bin Kathiir al Qurashi al basrawi al Dimashqi (701 - 774 AH), Abd al rahman bin
Abi Bakr bin Muhama bin Sabiq al Ddiin al Khudhairi al Suyuuti (849 - 911 AH)
Authors on tafsiir
bi al ra’ayi
Tafsir bi al ra’ay uses reason and ratinality. It has been controversial throughout the ages.
Ibn Taymiyyat considered tafsir bi al ra’ay haraam. Mutazilities adopted aql in tafsir. Modern proponents of tafsir
bi al ra’ayi: Jamaluddin al Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, Muhamad Mustafa al Maraghi. The main authors of tafsir bi al ra’ay
were: al Razi Fakhruddin, Abi Abdilah Muhammad bin Omar al Qurashi (d. 606 AH). Mafatiih al ghaib (al tafsir al kabiir, tafsir
al Razi); Ridha, Muhammad rashid Ridha: tafsir al Qur’an al kariim; al Ruumi, Fahad bin Abd rahman bin Sulaiman. Al
madrasat al ‘aqliyyat al hadiithat fi al tafsiir. Muassassat al rissalat Riyadh 4th
edition 1414 AH (vol 1-2); Ahmad bin Ali Abubakr al Razi al Jassas (305-370 AH), Mahmud bin Omar bin Muhammad bin Omar Abu
al Qasim al Khawarizmi al Zamakhshari (d. 538 AH) (notes) . Tafsir can also be classified according to subject matter as:
tafsir al alfaadh wa al kalimmat, tafsir ayaat al ahkaam, al tafsiir al ‘ilmi,
al tafsiir al lughawi; al Baydhawi;
al Nasafi; al Khazin; al
Aluusi; Abi Hayyaan al Andalusi.
of tafsir bi al mathur & tafsir bi al ra’ayi
al Shawkaani, Muhammad bin Ali bin Muhmmad (d. 125 AH) . Fath al Qadiir al Jamiu bayna fannay al riwayat wa al diraayat min ‘ilm
al tafsiir; al Saabuuni, Muhammad Ali. Safwat al tafaasir; al Aluusi, Shihaab
al ddiin Mahmud al aluusi an baghdaadi (d. 1270 AH): Ruuh al ma’aani fi tafsiir al Qur’an al adhiim wa al asb’u
Al madarast al lughawiyyat
fir al tafsir:
Abu Zakariyyat (maani al Qur’an), Abu Ubaidat (majaaz al Qur’an),
Abi UýIshaq al Zujaaj (Maani al Qur’an)
Authors on tafir
Abibakr al jassaas (d. 370 AH): ahkaam al Qur’an, Abi bakr ibn Arabi
(d. 543 AH): ahkam al Qur’an, al Qurtubi (d. 671 AH): al jamiu li ahkam al Qur’an
Tafsir ‘ilmi is empirical and scientitifc. It is defined as: Ijtihad al mufassir fi kashf al silat bayn ayaat al Qur’an al kareem al kawniyyat wa muktashafaat al ilm al
tajriibi ala wajh yadh’hiru bi ijaz li al Qur’an yadullu ala masdarihi wa salahiyatihi li kulli zamaan wa makaan
(RUMI pt 3, p 549, 1987). It is concerned with uluum kawniyyat. Examples of tafsir
ilmi are: creation of everything from water, haidh, barzakh in sea water. In both ancient and modern times tafsir ‘ilmi
has had proponents and opposers.
# ‘western’ is a confusing term. Its meaning in a geographical sense has been changing
with the changes in geo-political alignments. The term European is more appropriate because it clearly refers to a cultural
entity that started in Europe
and spread in other parts of the world: the Americas, Australasia, and some parts of Africa.
# The author used his own method of transliteration of Arabic words into latin
characters that may make classical Islamists of English expression extremely angry. I however found no way out of this. I
want to make sure that none of the letters in the original Arabic is lost. Thus I represent ‘taa marbuutat’ as
a ‘t’ although it is pronounced even in Arabic as ‘h’. A double vowel indicates madd. A double consonant
# Two types of hypotheses can be identified: scientific and non-scientific.
According to the European world-view that recognizes only empirical knowledge hypotheses that can not be tested empirically
are non-scientific. Scientists do not discuss non-scientitif hypotheses at all.
# Akbar S Ahmad identified 3 methodological assumption in western anthropology that are biased: (a) ethnocentrism (b) despise for Muslim societies (c) empirical:
man is a product of natural and historical factors.
# Muhammad Azraf (1980) argued that intuition was a source of knowledge and that Newton and Eistein intuitively arrived
at their break-though discoveries
Definition and nature
of the Qur’an
# Definition of the Qur’an: The Qur’an is defined as ‘kalaam al llaah al munazzal ala sayyidina Muhammad (SAW) bi al lafdh al ‘arabi al manquul ilaina bi al tawaatir
al maktuub bi al masahif al muta’abbadu bi tilaawatihi al mu’ujiz bi aqsar surat minhu al mabdu bi surat al fatihat al makhtuum bi surat al naas’. According to Muhammad Iqbal the Qur’an
is a book that emphasizes deed rather than idea. The Qur’an uses rational approaches that are akin to scientific enquiry.
Examples of the Qur’an and rationalism (al istidlaal al aqli) are: similarity (tashabuhu & imtithaal), specialization
(tajzi’at), generalization followed by particularization (ta’amiim & takhsiis), definition (ta’areef),
apposition (muqabalat), stories (qisas), argument and debate (jadal & munatharat), induction (istiqra)
There is a relation between ijaz and tafsir ilmi. A main assertion of tafsir
ilmi is that there is no contradiction between science and the Qur’an. There is controversy about tafsir ‘ilmi.
Ancient suporters of tafsir ‘ilmi: al Ghazzali (d. 505 AH), al Fakhr al Razi (d. 606 AH), al Zarkashi (d. 794 AH), Ibn
Abi fadl al Mursi, al Suyuti. Ancient opponents of tafsir ‘ilmi: al Shatibi (d. 790), Ibn Hayyaan al Andalusi (d. 745
AH). Modern supporters of tafsir ‘ilmi: Abd Rahman al Kawakibi (in tabaiu al istibdaad wa masariu al istibaad), Muhammad
Abduh, Abd al Hamid bin Badees (tafsir Ibn Badees: majalis al tadhakkur min kalaam al hakiim al khabiir), Muhammad Mutawalli
Sha’araawi, Hasan al Banna, al Tantawi (in: al jawahor fi tafsir al Qur’an al karim), Abdul Aziz Ismail (in: al
islam wa al tibb al hadith), Hanafi Ahmad (in al tafsiir al ilmi li al ayaat al kawniyyat fi al Qur’an), Muhammad Bakhiit
al Mutie (in tanbiihu al ‘uquul al insaniyyat lima fi ayat al Qur’an min al ‘uluum al kawniyyat), Mustafa
Maraghi, Muhammad Abdullah Darraaz (madkhal ila al Qur’an al kareem), Wahidu al ddiin Khan (al Islam yatahadda), Mustafa
Sadiq al Rafie (ijaz al Qur’an wa al balaghat al nabawiyyat), Muhammad
Ahmad al Ghamrawi, Muhammad jamaluddin alfandi (al Qur’an wa al ‘ilm), Muhammad al Tahir bin Ashour (al Tahriir
wa al tanwiir). Modern opposers of tafsir ‘ilmi: Mahmud Shaltuut, Amin al Kholi, Abbas al Aqaad, Syed Qutb, Muhammad
Rashid Ridha, Abbas Mahmoud al Akkad, Muhammad Izzat, Muhammad Abd al Rahiim al Zarqani (in: manahil al irfaan fi ‘uluum
Authors on tafsir
Abu Hajar, Ahmad Omar. Al tafsir al ‘ilmi li al Qur’an fi al miizaan
(Beirut: Dar Qurtuba, 1991)
Authors on tafsir
al Omari, Ahmad Jamal: Dirasaat fi al tafsir al mawdhui li qisas al Qur’an
(Cairo: Maktabat al Khaniji, 1986); Syed Qutb in Fi dhilal al Qur’an; Muhammad
Abduh; Amiin al Kholy; Aisha Abdul Rahman bint al Shaat: al tafsir al bayani
li al Qur’an al kareem; Shawqi dhaif; Muhammad Khalfallah Ahmad.
on i’ijaaz al Qur’an
al Baqillanni, al qadhi Abi Bakr bin al taib al Baqillani (d. 403 AH): i’ijaaz
al Qur’an al kariim; al Jaahidh (d. 255 AH), al Rumaani (d. 386 AH), al Khattabi (d. 388 AH), al Jarjaani (d. 481 AH);
Afaei, Mustafa Sadiq (d. 1356 AH): i’ijaaz al Qur’an wa a;l balaghat al nabawiyyat; Abd al-Samad, Muhammad Kamil:
al-I’jaz al-’ilmi fi al-Islam (Cairo: al-Dar al Misriyah al Lubnaniyah, 1993) BP 190.5 S 3 A1356 I; Moore, Keith
L/Zindan, Abdulmajid A (co-authr): Qur’an and Modern Science (Bridgeview: Islamic Academy of Scientific Research, 1990)
BP 134 S 33 M821 Q
on al nasakh
Qatadat bin Da’amat al Saduusi (d. 118 AH), Abu Ubaid al Qasim (d. 224
AH), Abu Jafar al Nahasi (d. 338 AH)
authors on tafsir (14th-15th century)
Al Shingeiti, Muhammad al Amin al Muhktar al Jakni (d. 1393 AH). Adhuwa al
bayaan fi iidhaahi al Qur’an bi al Qur’an; al Tamiimi, Abd al Rahman bin Naasir bin Abd Allah Aal Sa’adi
al Naasiri (d. 1376 AH). Taysiir al Kareem al Rahman fi tafsirr kalaam al mannaan; Ahmad ‘Atif: Naqd al-Fahm al-’asri
lil-Qur’an (Cairo: Dar al ‘Alam al Jadid, 1985) BP 130.7 AZ 86N;
Definition of hadith: wider than sunnat and includes the abrogated, sifaat
khilqiyyat, food, health, and illness. Hadith is words, actions, or taqriir or sifat of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Definition
of sunnat: ma sadara ani al rasuuli min qawli, aw fi’ili, aw sifat khulqiyat min mabdai al wahy hatta wafaatihi.
Uluum al hadith
al Suyuuti defined ‘ilm al hadith as ;ilm
bi qawannin yu’urafu biha ahwaal al sanad wa al matn’. ‘Uluum al hadith are classifiedinto 2 broad categories:
‘ilm riwayat al hadith and ‘ilm
dirayat al hadith. The main aim of hadith sciences is to make sure that transmission of information (NAQL) is correct.
This contrasts with the Qur’an where transmission is mutawaatir.
Collection and writing of hadith of hadith: Hadith was not written down during the era of the prophet
and the 4 companions and reporting of hadith was limited. Omar Ibn Sbd al Aziz ordered the writing of hadith (SADI 1408 AH,
p 67). The collectors of hadith each developed a methodology. The reporting of hadith by companions varied by their longevity
(early ones reported few because there was no need or died too early to have so many hadiths collected from them), closeness
and length of association with the prophet, and general reluctance among them to report hadith. The number of hadiths reported
from companions: Abubakr (d. ) 142, Omar (d. ) 539, Othman (d. )
146, Ali (d. ) 586, Abu Obaida bin al Jarraah (d. ) 14, Abd Rahman bin Awf (d. ) 65,
Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqaas (d. ) 271, al Zybayr bin al Awwaam (d. ) 38, Ibn Abbas (d. ) 1660, Abd Allah Ibn
al Zubayr (d. ) 33, Ma’adh
Ibn Jabal (d. ) 157, Obadat Ibn al Saamit (d. ) 181, Abd Allah bin Omar (d. ) 1630, Abd
Allah bin Amrou (d. ) 700, Ibn Mas’ud (d. ) 848, Jabir bin Abd Allah (d. ) 1540, Zayd bin
Thabit (d. ) 92, Abu Hurairat (d.
) 5373, Abu Musa al Ash’ari (d. ) 36O, Mu’awiyat Ibn Sufyaan
(d. 13O, Amrou bin al Aaas (d . ) 37, Khalid bin al Waliid (d. ) 18, al
Hasan bin Ali (d. ) 13, Anas bin Malik (d. ) 2268, Ammaar bin Yaasir (d. ) 62, al Barraa
Ibn Aaazib (d. 305, “Uqbat bin ‘Aaamir (d. ) 55, al Nu’umaan
bin Bashir (d. 124, Bilal Ibn Rabaah’ (d...) 44, Abu Dh’arr
al Gh’ifaari (d. ) 281, Abu Saied al Kh’udh’ri (d. ) 117, Abd Allah’ bin Bah’niyyat (d. ) 56,
H”udh’aifat bin al Nu’umaan (d. ) 225, Rafi bin Kh’adiij
(d. ) 78, Abu al dardaa (d. ) 179,
Salmat bin al Akwa (d. ) 77, Samrat bin al Jundub (d. ) 23, Wath’ilay bin
al Asqa’a (d. ) 56, Salman al Farisi (d.
) 60, Sah’al bin Sa’ad (d. ) 188, Abu Umaamat al Baah’ili
(d. ) 25, Fatimat al Zah’ra (d.
) 18, Asih’at Umm al Mu’uminin (d. ) 221, Asma bint
Abi Bakr (d. ) 56, H”afsat bint Omat (d.
) 60, Umm Salmat (d. ) 378, Um H”aani
(d. ) 46
of collections of hadith
Malik (d. 179 AH): al Muwatta; al Bukhari (d. 256 AH): sahiih al Bukhari 2761 hadith (no repetition) selected from 600,000; Muslim (d. 261 AH): sahiih Muslim-
4000 hadiths (no repetitions) selected from 300,000; al Tarmidhi (d. );
al jamiu al sahiih; Abu Daud (d. 275 AH): sunan Abu Daud 4800 hadiths; Al Nisae
(d. 303 AH): sunan al Nisae; Ibn Majah (d. 273 AH): sunan Ibn Majah; Ahmad (d. 241 AH): musnad Ahmad; Ibn al Athiir (d. ); Jamiu al usuul; Al hakim (d. 405 AH): al mustadrak; al haythami (d. 807 AH): majmau
al zawaid; al Nawawi (d. 767 AH): riyaadh al saalihiin; al Mundhiri (d. 656 AH): al targhiib wa al tarhiib; Ibn Abi Shaybat
(d. ): Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybat; al Daarimi (d. 255 AH): sunan al Daarimi;
al Suyuuti (d. 911 AH): al jamiu al kabiir; al bayhaqi (d. 458 AH): al sunan al kubra; al tabrani (d. 360 AH): al Mu’jam
al kabiir; al Tirmidhi (d. 279 AH): al Jamiu al sahiih
on ‘ilm al hadith -general
al qadhi ‘iyaadh (d. 544 AH) :
al ilamu; al Naisapuuri, al haakim (d. 405 AH): ma’arifat ‘uluum al hadiith; Ibn al Salaah (d. 643 AH): uluum
al hadith; al Nawawi (d. 676 AH): al irshaad; al Dhahabi (d. 748 AH): Mizaan al iitidaal; al asqalani, Abi hajar: nukhbat
al Fikr; al Suyuuti (d. 911 AH): Tadriib al Raawi; al Shawkaani, al Qadhi Muhammad bin Ali (d. 250 AH): al Fawaid al majumuuat
fi al ahaadiith al mawdhuat
on ilm al hadith riwayatan
Al Raamahrmari (d. 360 AH): al hadath al faasil bayn al raawi wa al waai; al baghdadi, al khatiib
(. 461): al kifaayat fi ‘ilm al riwaayat; al Dhahabi, Abi Abdillah Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Uthman.(d. 748 AH). Mizan al i’itidal fi naqd al rijaal; al Dhahabi, Abi Abdillah
Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Uthman.(d. 748 AH). al mughni fi al adhu’afa; al ‘Asqalanai, Shihabu al Ddiin Ahmad bin Ali
‘Ibn Hajar’. Taqriib al Tahdhiib fi asmai al rijaal; Al Salafi, Muhammad
Luqman, Ihtimam al Muhaddithiin bi naqdi al hadith sanadan wa matnan wa dahadhi mazaa’ima al mustashriqiin wa atbauhumu.
Published by the author, Riyadh 1987/1407; Abu Ghuddat, Abd al Fattah (editor) . Qaidat fi al jarh wa al ta’adiil wa qaidat
fi al muarrikhiin & al mutakalimuun fi al rijaal & dhikr man yu’utamadu qawkuhu fi al jarhi wa al ta’adiil.
Maktabat al Matbuuaat al islamiyyat Beirut 1968
on mustalah al hadiith
al Raamharamzi, Abi Muhamad al Hasan bin Abd al rahman bin Khallaad (d. 360
AH): al muhdith al faasil bayn al raawi wa al waai; al Baghdadi, Abi bakr Ahmad bin Ali al khattibb (d. 463 AH): al kifaayat;
Ibn Salah, Abi Amrou Othman bin Abd al Rahman (d. 643 AH): uluum al hadiith; Ibn Kathir, Abu al Fida ismail bin Omar bib Kathir
al Qurashi al Dimashqi (d. 774 AH): al Baithu al hathiith fi ikhtisaar uluum al hadith; al Hanbali, Abd al rahman bin Ahmad
bin Rajab (d. 795 AH): Sharh ‘ilal al hadiith
on mufradaat al hadith
al Shafei, Muhammad bin Idris (d. 204 AH): ikhtilaaf al hadiith; al Daynuuri,
Abdullah bin Muslim bin Qutaiybat (d. 276 AH): Ta’awiil mukhtalaf al hadiith; al Basti, Abi Sulayman Hamd bin Muhammad
bin Ibrahim al Khattabi (d. 388 AH):,ghariib al hadiith; al Jazari, majd al ddiin al Mubarak ibn al athiir (d. 606 AH): al
nihaayat fi ghariib al hadith wa al athar
on rijaal al hadiith (al jarh wa al ta’adiil)
al Dhahabi, Abui Abdillahi Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Othman (d. 748 AH): mizaan
al iitidaal fi naqd al rijaal ( found 11,053 weak narrators); al Dhahabi, Shams al ddiin Muhammad bin Ahmad: al mughni fi
al dhuafau (found 7845 weak narrators); al asqalani, Muhammad bin Ali (d. 852 AH): taqriib al tahdhiib: (weak narrators in
the 6 books)
Hadith methodology is from the Qur’an. Hadith, unlike Qur’an, was
not transmitted as mutawaatir. The great fitna helped the growth of uluum al hadith for fear of corruption. Methods of hadith
transmission: qiraat al Sheikh alayhi, an yaqra ala al sheikh fataqulu na’am aw yaskut, al ijaazat, al munawalat (khudh
hadha al kitaab fa alrwiihi anni). Methods of reporting hadith: lafdh, ma’ana. Methodology of Imaam Malik in muwatta:
reliance only on trusted narrators, use of mubalaghaat and mursalaat, used athaar that stopped at tabiin and tabiu al tabiin,
mixed hadith and fiqh al hadith. Method of Bukhari: wde search, selection of only sahih hadith (only 4000 out of 600,000),
report of one sahih hadith with several sanads
Hadith sciences include: ‘ilm al rijaal, ‘ilm mustalah/usul al
hadith, ‘ilm mufradat al hadith, ‘ilm riwayat al hadith, ‘ilm diraayat al hadith, ‘ilm al jarh wa
al ta’adiil, ‘ilm al ‘ilal, ‘ilm naqd al matn.
The criteria for accepting hadith: (a) narrator has adl (Muslim, adult, not
fasiq, has muruat) (b) narrator has dhabt (good memory, not careless, n awhaam, not different from the thuqaat (c) ittisaal
al sanad. In order to deal with false positive and false negative, criteria are set in such a way that it is easier in rejecting
the truth rather than accepting a falsehood. Adaalat is destroyed by: kufr, minority report, fisq, bid’a, lying in ordinary
conversation, getting reward from reporting hadiths. Fanaticism about a madhhab is reason for rejection of a narration. Criteria
for accepting/grading hadith). Criteria are employed to grade text according
to degree of authenticity. The criteria for accepting a hadith are more stringent than laws of evidence in court. The hadith
can be critiqued as text (matn) or chain of transmission (sanad). Classification of hadith according to sanad: muttasil, munqatiu, mursal, mu’udhal, mudlas, mawquuf,
marfuu’. Hadith shaadh is different from others in matn and sanad. Hadith muallal has a hidden reason for not being
sahih even if it is apparently correct. Critique of matn involves: illat, being different from other trustworthy narrators,
problems in the matn itself
usuul al fiqh
Muslims are very proud of usul al fiqh as their civilization’s major
contribution to methodological studies. usul is a means and not an end. because of he reliance on text, the use of exact labguage
and definition of terms is very important. Fiqh requires exact laguage as scence requires mathematics for exactitude. Sophiscticated
methods have enabled usul scholars to derive conclusions even where there is
no textual evidence. They rely on general paradigms that are developed from situations with textual evidence and are used
where there is no evidence. Like all methodologies it can find wider applications in other fields. Usul also mirroes the dichtomy
in tafsir, ahl al raay (ratinalists) and ahl al hadith (traditinalists). Fiqh is mainly deductive; it can however destroy
the spirit of induction that is required for a living fiqh that changes with the times. The prophet made ijtihad with qiyaas
The oft-repeated statement about the closure of the door of ijtihad needs to
be revisited. Ijtihad was never closed; there were just not new challenges calling for new ijtihad during the times of Muslim
decline. Nyazee described 3 modes of ijtihad: (a) literal which stays close to the text, nass (b) qiyaas is used to extend
the law to situations not covered by nass (c) maqasid are used when neither literal
nor qiyaas ijtihad can apply. The maqasid
mode of ijtihad is nearest the spirit of empirical science and research.
Definition of fiqh
Abu Hanifa defined fiqh as ‘ ma’arifat
al nafs ma laha wa ma alayha’. Al Shafei defined fiqh as ‘al ‘ilm
bi al ahkaam al shar’iyyat al ‘amaliyyat al muktasab bin adillatiha al tafsiiliyyat’ ( the knowledge
of legal rules pertaining to conduct that have been derived from their specific evidences (Nyazee p. 22). Ibn Qudama defined
fiqh as : al ilm bi ahkaam al af’al al shar’iyyat ka al hall wa al hurmat wa al sihat wa al fasaad. Usul al fiqh
was defined as adillatihi al ddaalat alayhi min hayth al jumlat la min hayth al tafsiil. The scope of fiqh: ibaadaat, muamalaat madaniyyat, ahwaal shakhsiyyat, ahkaam jina’iyyat, ahkam qadha’iyyat, ahkaam dasturiyyat,
ahkaam dawliyyat, ahkaam iqtisadiyyat.
Schools of fiqh
Many schools of
fiqh arose but only 4 of them survived abnd spread widely. The hanafi madh’hab was established by Abu hanifa Ibn al
Nu’umaaan bin Thabit (d. 150 AH). He was severe in criteria for accepting hadith. He used qiyaas and istihsaan widely.
Hanafi scholars used general principles in particular cases. The Maliki madh’hab was established by Imaam Malik bin
Anas al Asbahi (d. 179 AH). he relies on Qur’an, sunnat, ijam, qiyaas, the practice of the Madanese, the opinions of
the sahabat, istihsaan, istislaah, and sadd al dharaei. The Shafei schools was established by Muhammad bin Idris al Qurashi
(d. 204 AH). He relies on Qur’an, sunnat, ijma, qiyaas, . He did not accept the opinions of companions, istihsaan, masaalih mursalat, and the practice of the Madanese. The Hanbali madh’hab
was established by Ahmad bin Hanbal Abu Abd Allah al Shaybani (d. 241 AH). He relies on Qur’an, sunnat, fatwa of companions,
ijma, qiyaas, istihsaan, istishaab, masalih mursalat, sadd al dharaei
Usul al fiqh is the basic franework or methodology that jurists use to deduce
objective and logical conclusions in the form of legal rulings (istinbat al ahkam) from the basic sources of Qur’an
and sunnat. Usul al fiqh is analogous to logic in philosophy. Imaam al Shafei is credited with founding the discipline of
usul al fiqh which he defined in his book al risalat as ‘ al ‘ilm bi al ahkaam al shar’iyyat al muktasab min adillatiha al tafsiiliyyat’.
Imaam shafi in his bok dealt with the following themes: al batin * dhaahir, al aam & al khaas. al Qadh’i al Baydh’awi
defined ‘ilm al usuul as: ma’arifat dalaa’il al fiqh’ ijmaalan
wa kayfiyat al istifadat minh’a wa h’aal al mustafiid’. Ibn
Kh’uldun defined ‘ilm usul al fiqh as h’uwa fi al adillat al sh’ar’iyyat
min h’ayth’u tu’ukhadh’ minh’a al ahkaam’. A general definition of ilm al usul: h’uwa al ilm bi al qawaid al kulliyat allati tatawassalu bih’a ila ‘isitinbaat al
ahkaam al sh’ar’iyyat al amaliyyat min adilatiha al tafsiiliyyat’. Usul al fiqh can be defined as: al
qawaid allati yatawasalu biha al mujtahid ila ahkaam al shariat al amaliyyat min adillatiha al tafsiliyyat (principles by
the use of which the mujtahid arrves at legal rules through specific evidence Nyazee p 29). Sources of ‘ilm al usuul:
‘ilm al kalaam, ilm al lug’hat, ah’kaam sh’ariat. The subject matter of ‘ilm al usuul: adillat.
The principles of ‘ilm al usuul: tasawwuraat & tasdiiqaat. The benefits of ilm al usul: guideline for the mujtahid,
explain hoiw a mujtahid reached his conclusiions so that the people may trust. Usuul al fiqh deals with sources of law. The
sources of law (in order of importance) that are unanimously accepted : Qur’an, Sunnat, Ijma, qiyaas, Ijam and qiyaas
operate together. Sources of law that are not unanimous: istihsaan, maslahat mursalat, istishab, ‘urf. sadd al dharaei.
One of the motivations for the rise of usul al fiqh was to close the gap between the school of traditionalists, ahl al hadith,
and the rationalists, ahl al ra’ay. The two schools appeared in the second century of hijra. The former was in hejaz
and relied on riwayat and athar in explanation of the nass. The latyter relied mainly on ijtihad
on usuul in general
al Shafei, al umm; Abu Zahra, Muhammad. Ibn hanbal: hayatuhu, wa asruhu, wa
araauhu, wa fiqhuhu. Dar al Fikr al Arabi, 1947; Ssha’baan Muhammad ismail: usuul; al fiqh tariikhukhu wa rijaaluhu;
al Baaji, Abu al waliid (d. 474 AH): Ihkaam al fusuul fi ahkaam al usuul; Hasan, Ahmad: the early development of Islamic jurispudence.
Islamic research Institute, Islambad 1982; Imaam al Haramain Abi al Ma’ali Abd al Malik bin Abd Allah al Juwayni (478):
al Burhan fi usuul al fiqh; Sharaf al ddiin Ahmad bin Ali “ibn Barhan al Baghdadai (518); al wusuul ila al usuul; Muhamad
bin Omar Fakhr al ddiin al Razi (606): al Mahsuul fi ilmi al usuul; Sif al ddiin Abi al Hussain Ali bin Muhammad al Aaamidi
(631): al Ahkaam fi usuul al Ahkaam; Abi Amru Othman bin Omar “ibn al haajib (636) Mukhtasar al muntaha; Shihaab al
ddiin Mahmud bin Ahmad al Zinjaani (656): Takhriij al furru ala al usuul; Abi Muhammad Izzi al ddiin Abd al aziiz bin Abd
al salaam al dimashqi (660): Qawaid al Ahkaam fi massalihi al anaam; Shihaab al ddiin Ahmad bin Idrtis al Qaraafi (684): Sharh
tanqiih al fusuul; Mudhaffar al ddiin Ahmad bin Ali “Ibn al saa’aati” (694): badiu al nidhaam; Abi Abdilah
Muhammad bin Abi Bakr bin Ayyuub “Ib nal Qayim al Jawziyah” (751) A’alaam al muwaqqa’iin ‘an
rabb al aaalamiin; Sadr al sharia Obaid llah bin Mas’ud al Mahbubi (747): tanqiihu al usuul; Taquiu al ddiin Ali bin
Abd al Kafi al sabaki (756) al ibhaaj fi sharh al minhaaj; Taj al ddiin Abd al wahhaab bin Ali bin Abd al Kaafi Al Sabaki
(771) Jam’u al Jawamiu; Jamal al ddiin Abd al rahim bin al hasan al Asnawi (772) Nihaayat al suul; Jamal al ddiin Abd
al rahim bin al hasan al Asnawi (772): al tamhiid fi takhriij al furru’u ala al usuul; Abi ishaq Ibrahim bin Musa al
lakhmi “ al shatibi” (790) al muwafaqaat fi suul al ahkaam; l kamaal Muhammad bin Abd al waahid “ibn al
mahaam’ (861): al tahrii fi usuul al fiqh; Ahmad bin Abd al rahiim al Faruuqi “Shah waliyu llah al Dahlawi (1172):
hujjat llah al baalighat; Muhammad
bin Ali bin Muhammad al shawkaani (1250) irshhad al fuhuul; al Omari, nadiyat Sharief: ijtihad al Rasuul. Muassasat al risaalat
1985; Nyazee, Imran Ahsan Khan: Theories of Islamic Law (Islamabad: IIIT, 1994); Mustafa Muhammad al Zarqa: al Istilah wa
al masaalih al mursalat fi alshariat al Islamiyat wa usuul fiqhuha (Damascus: Dar al Qalam, 1988)
on usuul al fiqh ala al madh’hab al shafei
al Shafei, Muhammad Ibn Idris (204 AH). al Risaalat; al Shafei, Muhammad Ibn
Idris (204 AH): Jamau al ‘ilm (devoted to prove validity of khabar al ahad); al Shafei, Muhammad Ibn Idris (204 AH):
ibtaal al istihsaan; al Shafei, Muhammad Ibn Idris (204 AH): ikhtilaaf al hadith (reconcile hadiths that appear contradictory);
al Basri, Abi al Husain Muhammad bin Ali bin al Taib (436 AH): al Mu’tamad fi usuul al fiqh; Hujjat al Islam Abi Hamid
Muhammad bin Muhammad al Ghazzali (505): al Mustasfa fi uluum al usuul; Hujjat al Islam Abi Hamid Muhammad bin Muhammad al
Ghazzali (505): Shifau al ghaliil; Hujjat al Islam Abi Hamid Muhammad bin Muhammad al Ghazzali (505): al Mankhuul min ta’aliiqaat
Abi al thanai Mahmud bin Ahmad al Hamawi al fayuumi “Ibn alkhatiib al
dahshat (834): mukhtasar fi qawaid al ‘alaai wa kalaam al asnawi;
on usuul al fiqh ala al madh’habal hanafi
al Dabbuusi, Obaid Allah bin Omar Abi Zayd (340 AH) Taqwiim al adillat; uhammad
bin Ahmad bin Sahl al Sarkhashi (483): Usuul al Sarkhashi; Jalal al ddiin Muhammad bin Omar bin Muhammad al Khabbazi (691):
al mughni fi usuul al fiqh; Abi al barakkati Abd Llah bin Ahmad bin Mahmud al Nasafi (710): Manar al Anwaar; Ala al ddiin
Abd al Aziiz Ahmad al Bukhari (730) Kashf al asraar; Zain al ddiin bin Ibrahim bin Muhammad ‘Ibn Najiim’ (970)
Fath al ghafaar bi sharh al manar; Muhibbu llah Abd al shakoor al bihari (1119): fawaniju al rahamuut sharh musallam al thubuut
Authors of usuu;`al
fiqh on hanafi madhhab
risaalat fi al usuul by Abu al hasan al Karakhi (d. 304 AH), usul al fiqh by
Abu bakr al razi al Jassaas (d. 270 AH), Ta’asssi an Nadhr by Obaid Allah bin Omar Abu Zayd al Dabuusi (d. 430 AH),
Usuul al Bazdawi by Fakhr al islam Ali bin Muhammad al Bazdawi (d. 482 AH), Usuul al Sarkhashi by Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Ahmad
al sarkhashi (d. 490 AH)
on usuul al fiqh ala al madh’habal hanbali
Abi Ya’ala Muhammad bin al Hussain al Fara al Hanbali (458): al ‘Uddat
fi usul al fiqh; Muwafaq al ddiin Abd llah bin Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Qudaama al maqdasi (620): rawdhat al naadhir wa junnat
al munaadhir; Abi al Hasan Ala al ddiin Ali bin Muhammad bin Ali al Ba’ali “ibn al lahaam” (803): al mukhtasar
fi usuul al fiqh; Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Abd al Aziiz al Futuuhi ‘ibn al najjaar’ (972): sharh al kawkab al muniir;
Abd al Qaadir bin Ahmad bin Mustafa ‘Ibn Badraan’: al madkhal ila madh’hab al Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal
on usuul al fiqh ala al madhhabal Maliki
Ibn Jazyi, Ahmad, Abi al Qasim Muhammad Ibn Ahmad bin Jazyi al Kalbi al Gharnati al Maliki.. Taqrib al wusuul ila ilm al usuul. Maktabat Ibn Taymiyyat, Cairo 1414 AH
Books of usul on
the methodology of mutakalimiin:
al mu’atamad by Abu al Husain
al Basri Muhammad bin Ali al taib (d. 436 AH), al burhaan byImaam al Haramain Abd al malik bin Yusuf al Juwayni (d. 478 AH),
al Mustasfa by Hujjat al Islam Abi hamid Muhammad bin Muhammad al Ghazzaali (d. 505 AH), al Mahsuul by Fakhr al ddiin Muhammad
bin Omar bin al Husain al Razi (d. 606 AH), al ahkaam fi usuul al ahkaam by Sayf al ddiin Ali bin Ali Muhammad al Aaamidi
(d. 631 AH)
Nadiyah Sharif al Umari: Ijtihad al rasuul (Beirut: Muassasat al Risalat, 1985)
on maqasid al sharia
al Raysuuni, Ahmad: Nadhariyat al maqasid ‘inda al imaam al Shatibi (Herndon, VA, IIIT, 1995);
Imaam Abu Ishaq al Shatibi: al Muwafaqaat fi usuul al fiqh (Cairo: Dar al Fikr al ‘Arabi, ? date) v1-4;
Al Shafei was the first to write about qiyaas in his book al risalat. Qiyaas
was defined al Baaqillaani, al razi, and al juwayni.as the assignment of hukm for a thing to another thing about which the law is silent due to the resemblance between the 2 things
or due to an undelying illat (‘haml ma’alum ala maaluum fi ithbaat hukm
lahuma aw nafyihi anhuma bi amr jamei baynahuma min ithbaat hukm aw sifat aw nafyihima’). The term qiyaas has been
used to refer to qiyaas mantiqi, a type of deductive logic, and qiyaas usuuli, a type of inductive logic. Abu Muhammad Ali Bin Ahmad bin Hazm (d. 465 AH) accepted qiyaas mantiqi
and refused qiyaas usuuli. Taqiu al Ddiin Ahmad ibn Taymiyyat (d. 728 AH) considered
only qiyaas usuuli. Abu Hamid al Ghazzali (d. 505 AH) combined the two. Qiyaas
is considered hujjat by the majority of scholars. The basic support for qiyaas is the famous hadith of Muadh bin Jabal. Qiyaas
can be classified as weak or strong. the ‘illat may be mentioned or not. Three types of qiyaas can be identified depending
on the method used: qiyaas al illat, qiyaas al shubhat, and qiyaas al ma’ana. qiyaas al dalaalat. The pillars of qiyaas
are: al,asl, al far’u, hukm al asl, and ‘illat (legal cause). llat operates
under qiyaas but because of its theoretical importance we decided to discuss it separately here. A very good reference was
a published doctoral thesis at Azhar by Abd al Hakiim Abd al Rahman Al Sa’adi 1986. Several definitions form illat have
been recorded. Illat is the underlying explanation of a matter. In this it is very
similar to the causal laws and the theories that are the object of empirical scientific research. It could be said that the
purpose of science is to discover the illat or underlying explanation in order to generalize. Illat differs from sabab, shart, hikmat, and ‘alamat. Sabab is the cause on the
basis of which a primary rule or hukm taklifi is invoked or is established. Shart refers to facts or actions that must take place before the cause can take effect
and invoke the related hukm. Hikmat is the wisdom behind the illat.