Today we are continuing on the subject of the sources of Islamic doctrine. Our purpose for this series is not to cause people to hate Muslim. My Christian faith tells me to love everyone, including my enemies. The Muslim faith teaches that Jesus didn’t die on the cross, He didn’t raise from the grave, He is not God in the flesh, and so forth. There is only one way to God, and it is through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is out of love for the souls of Muslims that we teach on the false teachings of Islam, We want to see them saved from Hell, to have an eternal relationship with our God.
Our purpose is to inform Americans, and especially Christians in America and Canada, so they can be prepared to show the errors taught by Islam. The ultimate goal is the salvation of Muslims.
This is the third in a series showing the sources of Islamic doctrine. In the first we looked at the Qur’an, the words of their god, Allah. The second source of Islamic doctrine is the Prophet, Muhammad, himself. We looked at the Hadith and the Sira, which together are known as the Sunnah.
Today we are going to look at the secondary sources of Islamic doctrine. This is the main reason for this series, This secondary source is called the Sharia. This is the term for the sacred law of Allah. In Christianity, the only sacred law of God is found in the Bible. We don’t have secondary sources or other books that carry weight in our doctrine.
The majority of the supplementary sources come from Muhammad, through his biography, his acts, and his sayings. Most people don’t understand that the Sharia is the jurisprudence of Islam. It is similar to case law in our legal system. It is paramount in the day to day adjudications in Islam. For example, Iran is governed by a constitution that is governed by the Sharia. Today we want to look at what that jurisprudence is.
The most important book dealing with the Sharia is the Reliance of the Traveller. It is an accumulation of more than 1,000 years of Islamic case law. We will look at some specifics of Sharia.
Before we get started I want to deal with a misconception between the law of the Bible and the law of Islam. Sharia is not just for Muslims, it is for non-Muslims as well. When Muslims take over a country, everyone, including non-Muslims, are governed by Sharia law.
The first level of authority is the god of Islam and his prophet. The secondary level of authority is the interpretation and practice that the followers of Islam have mandated. Another source of Islamic interpretation are the commentaries. Ibn Katir, is the primary and most accepted commentary. Not all of his teachings have been translated into English, so we don’t have a full vies of what he taught. He is kind of like the Matthew Henry of Islamic commentators. The third source of Islamic interpretation is the local imam or some Islamic cleric who is giving his interpretation.
There is a term, Siqh refers to an Islamic counsel. There are many of these across the world. They get together as a counsel and make decision which build upon the case law. The Reliance of the Traveller is built upon the accumulation this of case law.
These counsels and the commentaries can never contradict the Qur’an or the Sunnah. All interpretations must conform the the actions and words of Muhammad.
The Origin of the Reliance of the Traveller
Let me start by saying the word “traveller” is the proper spelling of this word in the title of this book. It is not that we don’t know how to spell traveler.
I want to start with the madh’habs, or schools of jurisprudence. Within 100 years of Muhammad’s death, Islam had taken over most of the Middle East and North Africa. They had conquered Spain and had gone into France. They were pushed back by Charles the Hammer at the battle of Poitiers.
During that time of expansion period of Islam, about 700 years, many interpretations developed. Certain schools of interpretation were formed. Muslims would query these madh’habs to find out how to handle different situations. For example, one might say, my neighbor killed my donkey, how to I handle this, what is required of him to pay restitution? Am I allowed to cut off his head, or whatever? The madh’habs would go to the first tier sources, the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and render a judgment on the issue, called fatwas. A fatwa is a legal Islamic ruling based upon the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Different madh’habs would have different judgments on the same issues. The two largest madh’habs were the Shafi’i and the Hanafi schools. There were some other, less accepted, schools like the Maliki and the Hanbali schools,
The Hanbali were literalistic, they live by the letter of the law, not by the spirit of the law. It is the latest interpretation and dates to about 855 AD. It is named after the Iraqi scholar Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, This school is the source for Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia. It is a very strict form of Islamic interpretation.
This would seem rather unimportant if it were not for the fact that Saudi Arabia is the one who finances the spread of Islam, especially in America. This is also what the Islamic State, ISIS, is following today. They are following the practice of Muhammad, and this is why the Sunnah is so important. Remember, Muhammad is referred to as the perfect man in the Qur’an, and the Qur’an tells Muslims to follow his example at least 93 times.
In the order in which these schools were formed is:
Hanafi – The closest to the time of Muhammad
These are all from the Sunni side of Islam, which is the majority of Muslims. On the Shia side of Islam, you have the Ja’fari or Imāmī school and the Zaydi school. There is an offshoot of the Ja’fari school called the Twelvers. These are the people ruling in Iran today.
We need to remember that on the majors of Islamic doctrine, all of these different schools are in agreement. Most of of the disagreement is on Eschatology and timing. The Twelvers believe they are supposed to be stirring up things to get ready for the coming of their Mahdi.
The main thing I want you to see is that concerning the Qur’an and the Prophet, there is little or no difference between these different schools of interpretation. There may be a difference on how the law is to be applied (letter or spirit of the law), but the law is the law to all Muslims. All of the terrorist organizations are going by the letter of the law. The more you study Islam, the closer you get back to its beginnings, the more evil and demonic it gets.
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