By N. Coulson

The vintage creation to Islamic legislation, tracing its improvement from its origins,through the medieval interval, to its position in sleek Islam.

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795, had refused to accept the testimony of a person, who had been previously renowned for his moral integrity, because he had excitedly applauded the performance of a singing girl. But such rigorous standards could not always govern the acceptance or otherwise of Traditions. A witness, and consequently a reporter, was presumed to possess moral integrity until the contrary was established, and the accepted practice of screening witnesses for this purpose (ta{krya) could hardly be effectively applied to reporters of Traditions in bygone generations.

In its widest sense, the use of human reason in the elaboration of the law was termed ijtihad ("effort" or "exercise" sc. of one's own )8 59 THE GENESIS O F SHARi'A LAW MUJ:IAMMAD IBN-IDRiS ASH-SHAFI' judgement), and covered a variety of mental processes, ranging from the interpretation of texts to the assessment of the authenticity of Traditions. Qiyas or analogical reasoning, then, is a particular form of ijtihad, the method by which the principles established by the Qur'an, sunna, and consensus are to be extended and applied to the solution of problems not expressly regulated therein.

Ljma' , or consensus, is ash-Shafi'i's third source of law. Again he takes up an existing notion and gives it a new connotation designed to achieve uniformity in the law. Denying that the agreement of the scholars of a particular locality had any authority, he argues that there could be only one valid consensus-that of the entire Muslim community, lawyers and lay members ali ke. Obviously ash-Shafi'i did nor regard such consensus as in any way an important sornce of law; its scope was in fact restricted to matters which, like the performance of the daily prayer affected each and every Muslim personally.

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