usul al-fiqh

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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Be Martyrs for Human Rights: The religious humanistic concept of rights (Huquq) in classical Islam as seen in the tafsir of Raghib al-Isfahani (d. 502 AH)

In my academic research on human rights concepts in classical and modern Islamic thought, the Qur’an exegesis of the medieval lexicographer and ethicist Rāghib al-Isfahānī (d. 502 AH/1108 CE) is one of the most fascinating works I have come across. There is little known on Rāghib‘s life, but most of his works have survived. He wrote works on Arabic literature and grammar, but he is known especially for two works; his theological-philosophical work on society, Shari’a and human welfare, which has influenced Islamic scholars as al-Ghazālī (d. 1111 CE), and his Qur’anic lexicon (Mufradāt fī gharīb al-Qur’ān) which for centuries has been a general reference for Qur’an scholars and commentators. Lesser known is his Qur’an exegesis (tafsīr) which has partially survived (it…

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