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‘THE HOLY QURAN’ as a source of law

'THE HOLY QURAN' as a source of law

By: Nazish Maqsood 

And We have not revealed to you the Book, [O Muhammad], except for you to make clear to them that wherein they have differed and as guidance and mercy for a people who believe. (Al-Quran 16: 64)

As a complete code of life in terms of its stated morality and laws, the holy Quran guides humans in spiritual and worldly matters, as well as individual and collective aspects of life. The holy Quran, the last book of Allah Almighty which He revealed on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is the foundation of our religion and the fountainhead of Islamic law. This is a complete book and a code for man’s guidance. It is addressed to the whole humanity without the discrimination of race, colour, religion or time. It is the first source of Islamic law and, without any doubt, is the recipe for success in this world and the hereafter.

The holy Quran was revealed on Lailat-ul-Qadr, that is, to most scholars, the 27th night of the holy month of Ramadan. The Book is unique as no other book in this world has such authenticity and uniqueness. The main purpose of revealing the holy Quran has been described in Surah Al-Baqarah, in the following words:

“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.” — (2:185)

On its veracity and being the word of Allah Almighty, it has been told in Surah Younus:

“And it was not [possible] for this Qur’an to be produced by other than Allah, but [it is] a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of the [former] Scripture, about which there is no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds.” — (10:37)

On the matter of using Arabic language, Allah says in Surah Yusuf:

“Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran that you might understand.” – (12:2)

As discussed earlier, the holy Quran is the fountainhead of guidance for the humanity, Allah Almighty says in Surah Al-Isra:

“Indeed, this Quran guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.” (17:9)

Quran is the first source of Islamic law. Following verse confirms the validity of Quran in this regard. It has been ordained in Surah An-Nisa:

“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.”

In this verse, the words “obey Allah” refer to following the ordainments contained in teh holy Quran. – (4:59)

Scholars have a general consensus on it, and some also say that this is the only source and all other sources are explanations of the Quranic texts. Here, it is important to note that with the revelation of the first five verses of Surah Al-Alaq of the holy Quran, a sense of curiousness to study and find details was aroused in the following words:

“Recite in the name of your Lord who created – Created man from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous – Who taught by the pen – Taught man that which he knew not.” (96:1-5)

Then when the final revelation came, Allah Almighty told the believers that the religion, which is the way of leading a successful life, has been completed. In Surah Al-Maida, Allah Almighty says:

“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.”

It clearly means that the guidance has been completed and Muslims will have to consult the text to find answers to their problems.

As many as 200 verses of the holy Quran make up the body of Islamic law which governs legal relations. It is worth mentioning here that all the rules in these 200 verses have their raison d’être in five basic principles which constitute the very foundations of the Islamic legal system. A brief break-up of these verses is as under:

70 verses on family and inheritance law
70 verses on obligations and contracts
30 verses on criminal law
20 verses on procedure
10 verses on other matters

After migrating to Madina, Muslims started living in an organized manner; so, the rules were made to deal with various issues like contracts, successors, offences, constitutional law and international law. Many of these events were very short. The principle present in a simple verse can be a robust foundation on which a complete structure of the law can be built. Allah Almighty says in Surah Al-Isra:

“And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even balance. That is the best [way] and best in result.”(17: 35)

Being the primary source of law, the holy Quran provides rules to regulate the lives of the believers. It calls for professing the good and shunning the vice and the evil; it provides a fair plan to divide the legacy of a person among his heirs; it ordains Muslims not to damage the crops, trees, waterways, etc., or inflict harm to women, children and the old, as well as to those who do not combat; parents are instructed to inculcate in their children Islamic virtues and good conduct while children are ordered to treat their parents with respect, obedience and love; a ruler is made aware of his duties and responsibilities towards his people to run smoothly the state, and the list goes on.

The Quran contains such instructions and God’s orders, which are for the benefit of human societies all around the world. Due to these above-mentioned features, the Quran is considered the first basic or fundamental means of Islamic law.

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