Indian Muslims will not be blamed for terrorism. Islam will be blamed as long as Islamic extremists perpetrate these acts and show that this is all they are capable of doing in dozens of countries in the world.
Strictly speaking, the Quran as compiled did not actually contain a comprehensive legal code. Nor did the Quran provide express answers to all the problems that are intrinsic to an organized society. (In this regard, it does not differ from holy books of other religions.) In the era of the Prophet, most of the legal injunctions of the Quran were basically pre-Islamic tribal custom given an Islamic sensibility and moral legitimacy. This circumstance helps to explain why so much of sharia (Islamic law) is customary (’urf).
Only about 80 Quranic verses are concrete legal pronouncements.
It should be noted that during the Medina epoch (632-661), the men who had been close companions of the Prophet and became his caliphs assumed the task of applying sharia, such as it was. Their rulings were
largely ad hoc, but they were, for the most part, consistent with the principles enunciated by Muhammad, particularly those of proportionality and fairness in matters of inheritance. From the time of these “Rightly
Guided” Caliphs, it can be said that a Muslim society has been defined as one that adheres to sharia.
Even in the early phases of Islam’s advancement, there developed many “schools” of sharia-“schools” only in the loosest sense. More accurately, they were the adherents of ideas propagated by individual scholars of
law whose theories were derived from a combination of the particular way they parsed the Quran and their views about customary tribal and social traditions. This was a matter of personal reasoning - ra’y - that
often led, in time, to consensus on dogma among ’ulama (religious scholars, theologians) in a given locale. In this way, legal doctrine was formulated and schools of thought based on particular theories, octrines,
and interpretations emerged. While the movement toward the formulation of permanent named schools - what became known as madhahib (sing. madhhab) - occurred without deliberate direction or design, it did proceed, roughly, in stages. As the body of legal ideas of a given school crystallized, those doctrines were attached to the individual religious scholar or theologian (’alim, plural ’ulama) who formulated them and thus gave his name to the particular school. The closer that ’alim could be traced to the time of the Prophet or to Muhammad himself or his companions, that greater authority would be attached to his ideas and pronouncements and, by extension, to the school based on his teachings. But for formal schools of law to
take root and be effective, there had to be a compendium of its philosophy and doctrines that would ensure consistency of application and would serve as the source for teaching the school’s principles. That event had to await the outcome of a new controversy. During the time of both the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties, the practice of ra’y (personal reasoning) remained widespread. Those ’ulama who advocated making the Medina period the ground root of legal interpretation came to oppose the practice of ra’y. They argued that the only true source of law was, first, the Quran then the words, actions, and precedents of the Prophet, that is, his sunna (habitual practices and actions) and hadith, (traditions/sayings). They also insisted that the best authorities for those truths were Muhammad’s companions and the most upright among his immediate contemporaries. The sunna and hadith of the Prophet were and are still today regarded as the only genuine source of Islamic law other than the Quran.
The advocates of hadith, in the long course of their doctrinal wrangle with the practitioners of ra’y, produced a prodigious number of fabricated hadith in their effort to make traditionalist dogma the standard jurisprudence throughout the Islamic realm. It was in the midst of this controversy that a scholar of Medina named Malik ibn Anas, who died in 796, composed the first compendium of Islamic law, the Muwatta’. The Muwatta’ was little more than a manual of jurisprudence that contained the known precedents that Malik interpreted using ra’y and the traditions of Medina. This was the foundation on which the first of the four dominant schools of Islamic jurisprudence-the Maliki madhhab (or Medina School)-rested. (The other
three schools were the Shafi’i, Hanafi, and Hanbali.) As Islam became an urban movement in the course of its expansion, this same phenomenon was reflected in the evolution of its jurisprudence. Most of the developments in Islamic law occurred in urban settings. Consequently, sharia and its institutions, as they were formed and re-formed, increasingly mirrored urban culture and sensibilities, despite some continuing influence of tribal traditions. The implication of this situation was that it would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, for the caliphs to administer their complex, multi-cultural realms without the advantages offered by cities. It was cities that produced the literate and skilled manpower, the schools, mosques, communications, centers of learning and training, bureaucracies and other institutions essential for the creation and governance of empires. Cultures coalesced in cities. In cities, scholars in many fields of
learning gathered, studied, researched and experimented, debated, and propagated and exchanged ideas. It was in cities that the various Islamic schools of law were created.
Theorists of the previously established schools, the Maliki and the Hanafi, found ways to compromise with Shafi’i ’s dogma by a combination of interpretation and the application of legal principles they claimed could override the authority of the hadith. Those principles were, for the Hanafis, the cogency of “juristic preference” (istihsan) and, for the Malikis, the believability of “the consensus of the Medina scholars.” Eventually, the Hanbalis accepted the reality that analogy was a jurisprudential necessity, while the Zahiris refused any alterations to their system and ultimately suffered extinction. The surviving four schools of sharia, Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi’i, and Hanbali, continue today to constitute the principal varied approaches to
sunni Islamic law.
In this context, it is useful to point out that the Hanafi school of law was generally preferred by most Muslim rulers, particularly the Ottoman sultans who adopted that madhhab as the Empire’s dominant body of
jurisprudence because the Hanafi system of law tended to give them greater leeway in exerting their authority. This quality was embedded in the Hanafi treatment of human judgment (ijtihad). Rather than insisting on rigid application of analogy, Hanafi jurists permitted modest pliancy in the use of human reasoning or judgment in the interpretation of the Quran and the application of sharia. The Issues of Divine Perfection,
Reason, and Consensus in Islamic Law The aforementioned disjunction between the utter perfection of God’s assertions and the imperfect ability of the human mind always to grasp their true meaning with certainty brought to the forefront the issue of independent human reasoning (ijtihad). Inevitably, no single doctrinal formula such as Shafi’i’s could remain the standard for very long, owing mainly to the necessity of applying sharia across very widely situated lands with variegated cultural and religious traditions that had been Islamicized with various degrees of success.
While the process of reasoning had to be used, it was expected to follow a particular order in the solution of legal problems. First recourse was to the Quran, then to reasoning by analogy (qiyas), then to independent judgment (ijtihad). Because the very notion of human reasoning used in conjunction with the divine word caused considerable argument, it led ultimately to the acceptance of a new fundamental adjunct to classical Islamic legal theory, the doctrine of ijma’-the consensus of qualified jurists (fuqaha) in a given time and place.Such consensus was believed to be infallible. By the end of the 10th century, independent judgment (ijtihad) ceased to be accepted practice. The passing of ijtihad and the universal implantation of consensus wiped out the bases of Shafi’i’s doctrine-traditional customs (’urf) and independent judgment or reasoning by individual jurists.
The implications of this development were that Islamic law, having come from God, was changeless and sacrosanct,
that true moral behavior and values were beyond the concoctions of mere human thought or experience. Only God could designate what was good or evil as was revealed to Muhammad, the last of the true prophets. Consequently, after the death of the Prophet, the divine will could, hypothetically, no longer be communicated to humankind. However, such rigidity in the application of sharia was incompatible with the demands of governing a multi-cultural, politically variegated Islamic empire. The caliphs and sultans consequently devised ways to inject degrees of flexibility into the system of sharian jurisprudence, often through the instrumentality of what might be called creative misinterpretation — but with authority.
Therefore, it will be observed that what was quite rationale was corrupted by the influential amongst the Moslem people.