Rational Ethics and Natural Law

Abū Bakr al-Jassās (d. 370/980) was one of the most important early Hanafi scholars who was one of the first to write extensively on the trends in Usūl al-Fiqh (Fundamental methodology of Jurisprudence) and the first systematic exegese on the rulings in the Qur’an (’Ahkām al-Qur’ān). In his work on Usūl al-Fiqh he has a chapter on “The Rulings on things prior to the arrival of Revelation in prohibition and permissibility (’Ahkām al-’Ashayā’ qabla majī’ al-Sama‘ fī al-Hazhru wa al-ibāha)”, wherein the status of things apart from revelation is discussed. For example: Is stealing or murder prohibited through reason or only through revelation? It were these questions that were discussed to assess the authority of reason, the role of revelation,…

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