Principles of Islamic jurisprudence

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Principles of Islamic jurisprudence, also known as uṣūl al-fiqh (Arabic: أصول الفقه‎, lit. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_0

roots of fiqh), are traditional methodological principles used in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) for deriving the rulings of Islamic law (sharia). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_1

Traditional theory of Islamic jurisprudence elaborates how the scriptures (Quran and hadith) should be interpreted from the standpoint of linguistics and rhetoric. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_2

It also comprises methods for establishing authenticity of hadith and for determining when the legal force of a scriptural passage is abrogated by a passage revealed at a later date. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_3

In addition to the Quran and hadith, the classical theory of Sunni jurisprudence recognizes two other sources of law: juristic consensus (ijmaʿ) and analogical reasoning (qiyas). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_4

It therefore studies the application and limits of analogy, as well as the value and limits of consensus, along with other methodological principles, some of which are accepted by only certain legal schools (madhhabs). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_5

This interpretive apparatus is brought together under the rubric of ijtihad, which refers to a jurist's exertion in an attempt to arrive at a ruling on a particular question. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_6

The theory of Twelver Shia jurisprudence parallels that of Sunni schools with some differences, such as recognition of reason (ʿaql) as a source of law in place of qiyas and extension of the notions of hadith and sunnah to include traditions of the imams. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_7

Etymology Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_0

Uṣūl al-fiqh is a genitive construction with two Arabic terms, uṣūl and fiqh. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_8

Uṣūl means roots or basis. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_9

Fiqh linguistically refers to knowledge, deep understanding or comprehension. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_10

In the context of Islamic law, it refers to traditional Islamic jurisprudence. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_11

Overview Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_1

Classical jurists held that human reason is a gift from God which should be exercised to its fullest capacity. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_12

However, they believed that use of reason alone is insufficient to distinguish right from wrong, and that rational argumentation must draw its content from the body of transcendental knowledge revealed in the Quran and through the sunnah of Muhammad. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_13

Sources of sharia Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_2

Main article: Sources of sharia Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_14

Quran Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_3

In Islam, the Quran is considered to be the most sacred source of law. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_15

Classical jurists held its textual integrity to be beyond doubt on account of it having been handed down by many people in each generation, which is known as "recurrence" or "concurrent transmission" (tawātur). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_16

Only several hundred verses of the Quran have direct legal relevance, and they are concentrated in a few specific areas such as inheritance, though other passages have been used as a source for general principles whose legal ramifications were elaborated by other means. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_17

Hadith Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_4

The body of hadith provides more detailed and practical legal guidance, but it was recognized early on that not all of them were authentic. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_18

Early Islamic scholars developed a methodology for evaluating their authenticity by assessing trustworthiness of the individuals listed in their transmission chains. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_19

These criteria narrowed down the vast corpus of prophetic traditions to several thousand "sound" hadiths, which were collected in several canonical compilations. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_20

The hadiths which enjoyed concurrent transmission were deemed unquestionably authentic; however, the vast majority of hadiths were handed down by only one or a few transmitters and were therefore seen to yield only probable knowledge. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_21

The uncertainty was further compounded by ambiguity of the language contained in some hadiths and Quranic passages. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_22

Disagreements on the relative merits and interpretation of the textual sources allowed legal scholars considerable leeway in formulating alternative rulings. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_23

Ijma' (consensus) Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_5

Consensus (ijma) could in principle elevate a ruling based on probable evidence to absolute certainty. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_24

This classical doctrine drew its authority from a series of hadiths stating that the Islamic community could never agree on an error. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_25

This form of consensus was technically defined as agreement of all competent jurists in any particular generation, acting as representatives of the community. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_26

However, the practical difficulty of obtaining and ascertaining such an agreement meant that it had little impact on legal development. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_27

A more pragmatic form of consensus, which could be determined by consulting works of prominent jurists, was used to confirm a ruling so that it could not be reopened for further discussion. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_28

The cases for which there was a consensus account for less than 1 percent of the body of classical jurisprudence. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_29

Qiyas (analogical reasoning) and 'aql (reason) Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_6

Analogical reasoning (qiyas) is used to derive a ruling for a situation not addressed in the scripture by analogy with a scripturally based rule. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_30

In a classic example, the Quranic prohibition of drinking wine is extended to all intoxicating substances, on the basis of the "cause" (ʿilla) shared by these situations, which in this case is identified to be intoxication. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_31

Since the cause of a rule may not be apparent, its selection commonly occasioned controversy and extensive debate. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_32

Twelver Shia jurisprudence does not recognize the use of qiyas, but relies on reason (ʿaql) in its place. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_33

Ijtihad Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_7

Main article: Ijtihad Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_34

The classical process of ijtihad combined these generally recognized principles with other methods, which were not adopted by all legal schools, such as istihsan (juristic preference), istislah (consideration of public interest) and istishab (presumption of continuity). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_35

A jurist who is qualified to practice ijtihad is known as a mujtahid. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_36

The use of independent reasoning to arrive at a ruling is contrasted with taqlid (imitation), which refers to following the rulings of a mujtahid. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_37

By the beginning of the 10th century, development of Sunni jurisprudence prompted leading jurists to state that the main legal questions had been addressed and the scope of ijtihad was gradually restricted. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_38

From the 18th century on, leading Muslim reformers began calling for abandonment of taqlid and renewed emphasis on ijtihad, which they saw as a return to the vitality of early Islamic jurisprudence. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_39

Decision types (aḥkām) Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_8

Main article: Ahkam Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_40

Sharia rulings fall into one of five categories known as “the five rulings” (al-aḥkām al-khamsa): mandatory (farḍ or wājib), recommended (mandūb or mustaḥabb), neutral (mubāḥ), reprehensible (makrūh), and forbidden (ḥarām). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_41

It is a sin or a crime to perform a forbidden action or not to perform a mandatory action. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_42

Reprehensible acts should be avoided, but they are not considered to be sinful or punishable in court. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_43

Avoiding reprehensible acts and performing recommended acts is held to be subject of reward in the afterlife, while neutral actions entail no judgement from God. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_44

Jurists disagree on whether the term ḥalāl covers the first three or the first four categories. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_45

The legal and moral verdict depends on whether the action is committed out of necessity (ḍarūra). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_46

Aims of sharia and public interest Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_9

Main articles: Maqasid and Maslaha Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_47

Maqāṣid (aims or purposes) of sharia and maṣlaḥa (welfare or public interest) are two related classical doctrines which have come to play an increasingly prominent role in modern times. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_48

They were first clearly articulated by al-Ghazali (d. 1111), who argued that maslaha was God's general purpose in revealing the divine law, and that its specific aim was preservation of five essentials of human well-being: religion, life, intellect, offspring, and property. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_49

Although most classical-era jurists recognized maslaha and maqasid as important legal principles, they held different views regarding the role they should play in Islamic law. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_50

Some jurists viewed them as auxiliary rationales constrained by scriptural sources and analogical reasoning. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_51

Others regarded them as an independent source of law, whose general principles could override specific inferences based on the letter of scripture. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_52

While the latter view was held by a minority of classical jurists, in modern times it came to be championed in different forms by prominent scholars who sought to adapt Islamic law to changing social conditions by drawing on the intellectual heritage of traditional jurisprudence. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_53

These scholars expanded the inventory of maqasid to include such aims of sharia as reform and women's rights (Rashid Rida); justice and freedom (Mohammed al-Ghazali); and human dignity and rights (Yusuf al-Qaradawi). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_54

Schools of law Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_10

Main article: Madhhab Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_55

The main Sunni schools of law (madhhabs) are the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali madhhabs. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_56

They grew out of differences of opinion and methodology between the sahaba and each generation of students after them. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_57

Initially there were hundreds of schools of thought which eventually contracted into the prominent four. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_58

These four schools recognize each other's validity and they have interacted in legal debate over the centuries. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_59

Rulings of these schools are followed across the Muslim world without exclusive regional restrictions, but they each came to dominate in different parts of the world. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_60

For example, the Maliki school is predominant in North and West Africa; the Hanafi school in South and Central Asia; the Shafi'i school in Lower Egypt, East Africa, and Southeast Asia; and the Hanbali school in North and Central Arabia. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_61

The first centuries of Islam also witnessed a number of short-lived Sunni madhhabs. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_62

The Zahiri school, which is commonly identified as extinct, continues to exert influence over legal thought. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_63

The development of Shia legal schools occurred along the lines of theological differences and resulted in formation of the Twelver, Zaidi and Ismaili madhhabs, whose differences from Sunni legal schools are roughly of the same order as the differences among Sunni schools. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_64

The Ibadi legal school, distinct from Sunni and Shia madhhabs, is predominant in Oman. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_65

The transformations of Islamic legal institutions in the modern era have had profound implications for the madhhab system. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_66

Legal practice in most of the Muslim world has come to be controlled by government policy and state law, so that the influence of the madhhabs beyond personal ritual practice depends on the status accorded to them within the national legal system. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_67

State law codification commonly utilized the methods of takhayyur (selection of rulings without restriction to a particular madhhab) and talfiq (combining parts of different rulings on the same question). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_68

Legal professionals trained in modern law schools have largely replaced traditional ulema as interpreters of the resulting laws. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_69

Global Islamic movements have at times drawn on different madhhabs and at other times placed greater focus on the scriptural sources rather than classical jurisprudence. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_70

The Hanbali school, with its particularly strict adherence to the Quran and hadith, has inspired conservative currents of direct scriptural interpretation by the Salafi and Wahhabi movements. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_71

Other currents, such as networks of Indonesian ulema and Islamic scholars residing in Muslim-minority countries, have advanced liberal interpretations of Islamic law without focusing on traditions of a particular madhhab. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_72

Principles within Sunni Islam Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_11

The contribution of al-Shafi'i Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_12

Al-Shafi'i documented a systematized set of principles, developing a cohesive procedure for legal derivation of verdicts. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_73

His approach contrasted with the Hanafite methodology that determined the sources from the sayings and rulings of the companions and successors. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_74

Furthermore, he raised the Sunnah to a place of prominence and restricted its legal use. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_75

According to Shafi'i, only practices directly passed down from Muhammad were valid, eliminating the legitimacy of practices of Muhammad's followers. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_76

Prior to Shafi'i, legal reasoning included personal reasoning thus suffering from inconsistency. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_77

Shafi'i is probably best known for writing Risala, a prime example of applying logic and order to Islamic jurisprudence. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_78

While Risala is considered a seminal work in the field of principles, it has been noted that the term "usul" is neither found in the title of the book nor is it used as such within the text. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_79

Evolution of methods Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_13

Between Shafi'i's Risala and the next attested works of usul is a gap of several hundred years. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_80

These later works were significantly different from Shafi'is book, likely due to the insertion of Mu'tazilite and Ash'arite theology into works of jurisprudence. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_81

The difference between Shafi'i's work and these later works  – in terms of both content and the large chronological gap between which they were all composed  – is so great that modern scholarship has questioned the status of Shafi'i as the founder of Islamic jurisprudence. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_82

Indeed, even the division of the sources of Sunni law into four  – Qur'an, prophetic tradition, consensus and analogical reason  – was not present in Shafi'is books at all, despite Muslim scholarship generally attributing this division to him. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_83

According to Qadi al-Nu'man, one of the earliest jurists to write about usul after Shafi'i did - perhaps during Shafi'is lifetime - was Abū 'Ubaid al-Qāsim b. Sallām, who actually considered the sources of law to consist of only three  – the Qur'an, the prophetic tradition, and consensus consisting of either scholarly consensus or consensus of the early generations. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_84

This division into four sources is most often attributed to later jurists upon whose work most Sunni jurisprudence has been modeled such as Baqillani and Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad, of the Ash'arite and Mu'tazilite schools respectively. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_85

Thus, the four main sources often attributed to Shafi'i evolved into popular usage long after his death. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_86

Application of sources Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_14

Even after this evolution, there are still some disputes among Sunni jurists regarding these four sources and their application. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_87

Malik ibn Anas, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and in particular Dawud al-Zahiri rejected all forms of analogical reason in authentic narrations from them, yet the later Malikites and Hanbalites  – and in some cases, even Zahirites  – gravitated toward the acceptance of varying levels of analogical reason already accepted by Shafi'ites and Hanafites. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_88

Malik and Abu Hanifa both accepted pure reason as a source of law; Ahmad and Shafi'i did not, and Shafi'i was especially hostile to juristic preference as implemented by Abu Hanifa, yet pure reason later found its way into all Sunni schools of law. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_89

The question of consensus has evolved considerably. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_90

Abu Hanifa, Ahmad and Zahiri only accepted the consensus of the first generation of Muslims, while Malik was willing to accept the consensus of the first generation in general or the consensus of later generations within the community of Medina. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_91

Shafi'i insinuated that consensus was not practically possible to confirm. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_92

Later scholars of all schools eventually followed the views of Al-Ghazali and Ibn Taymiyyah in expanding the definition of accepted consensus to include scholarly consensus and silent consensus as well. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_93

Principles within Shia Islam Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_15

In Shi'a legal theory, analogical reason isn't recognised as a source of law; pure reason is, however. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_94

Shi'ites may differ in the exact application of principles depending on whether they follow the Ja'fari, Ismaili or Zaidi subdivisions of Shi'ism. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_95

Ja'fari principles Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_16

Main article: Usul Fiqh in Ja'fari school Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_96

There are two interpretations of what constitutes sources of law among jurists of the Ja'fari school. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_97

Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_unordered_list_0

  • According to the Akhbari view, the only sources of law are the Quran and the Hadith, and any case not explicitly covered by one of these must be regarded as not having been provided for.Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_item_0_0
  • According to the majority Usuli view, it is legitimate to seek general principles by induction, in order to provide for cases not expressly provided for. This process is known as ijtihad, and the intellect is recognised as a source of law. It differs from the Sunni qiyas in that it does not simply extend existing laws on a test of factual resemblance: it is necessary to formulate a general principle that can be rationally supported.Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_item_0_1

Javadi Amoli wrote about source of revelation in Shiism: Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_98

Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_ordered_list_1

  1. The most important source in Shiite law is the Quran itself, which interprets itselfPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_1_2
  2. The other source is the tradition of the "infallibles" (the family of Muhammad), according to the successive tradition (Saqalain) passed down by the family of the Muhammad as well as according to the Quran itself: to accept one without the other is equivalent to rejecting both of them.Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_item_1_3
  3. A third source is theoretical wisdom where it is impossible to conceive the contrary, which proves the existence of God and the necessity of his unity, eternity, pre-existence, power, will and other exalted attributes: this cannot be denied with any verse.Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_item_1_4
  4. Although we cannot impose science upon the Quran, we can use verified scientific, experimental, historical, artistic, logical and other evidence to interpret the subject addressed in a given passage, rather than through another verse.Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_item_1_5

In doubtful cases the law is often derived not from substantive principles induced from existing rules, but from procedural presumptions (usul 'amaliyyah) concerning factual probability. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_99

An example is the presumption of continuity: if one knows that a given state of affairs, such as ritual purity, existed at some point in the past but one has no evidence one way or the other whether it exists now, one can presume that the situation has not changed. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_100

The analysis of probability forms a large part of the Shiite science of usul al-fiqh, and was developed by Muhammad Baqir Behbahani (1706-1792) and Shaykh Murtada al-Ansari (died 1864). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_101

The only primary text on Shi'ite principles of jurisprudence in English is the translation of Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr's Durus fi 'Ilm al-'Usul. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_102

Parts of the Shiite Uşūl al-Fiqh Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_17

Discussions of this science are presented in various parts in the works of uşūl al-fiqh. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_103

However, the best division is presented by al-Muhaqqiq al-Isfahani (d. 1940) in his last course of teaching (as narrated by his great student Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar in his Uşūl al-Fiqh, p. 11) according to which all uşūlī topics are discussed in the four following parts: Discussions of “terms,” of “intellectual implications,” of “the authority,” and of “practical principles.” Discussions of terms deal with denotations and appearances of terms from a general aspect, such as appearance of the imperative in the obligation, that of the prohibition in the unlawfulness, and the like. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_104

Discussions of intellectual implications survey implications of precepts even though such precepts may not be inferred from terms, such as discussing truthfulness of mutual implication of intellectual judgments and juristic precepts, of obligation of something necessitating obligation of its preliminaries (known as “the problem of preliminary of the mandatory act”), of obligation of something necessitating unlawfulness of its opposite (known as “the problem of the opposite”), of possibility of conjunction of the command and the prohibition, and so on. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_105

Discussions of the authority investigate whether some specific thing is juristically treated as a proof; for instance, whether report of a single transmitter, appearances, appearances of the Quran, Sunna, consensus, intellect, and the like are authoritative proofs. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_106

Discussions of practical principles deal with what the jurist refers to when he cannot find a persuasive proof, such as the principle of clearance from obligation, that of precaution, and so forth. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_107

For more on this science, see Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_108

Ismaili principles Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_18

Most early Ismaili works within the field of the principles of jurisprudence were actually responses to Sunni works on the topic. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_109

Qadi al-Nu'man's Differences Among the Schools of Law is most likely the first of such written responses. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_sentence_110

Famous classical Muslim jurists (usoolis) Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_19

Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_unordered_list_2

  • Ja'far al-SadiqPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_6
  • Nouman bin Thabit Abu HanifaPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_7
  • Mohammed Idris al-ShafiiPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_8
  • Malik bin AnasPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_9
  • Ahmad bin HanbalPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_10
  • AmidiPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_11
  • GhazaliPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_12
  • SarkhasiPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_13
  • AsnawiPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_14
  • Abu YusufPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_15
  • ShaybaniPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_16
  • Imam QurtibiPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_17
  • Layth bin Sa'adPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_18
  • Sufian bin 'UyaynaPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_19
  • Abdullah ibn MubarakPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_2_20

Famous contemporary Muslim jurists (usoolis) Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_20

Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_unordered_list_3

  • Sheikh Yusuf al-QaradawiPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_3_21
  • Sheikh Ahmed JaballahPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_3_22
  • Sheikh Taha Jabir al-AlwaniPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_3_23
  • Moulana Taqi UsmaniPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_3_24
  • Sheikh Abdallah bin BayyahPrinciples of Islamic jurisprudence_item_3_25

See also Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_section_21

Principles of Islamic jurisprudence_unordered_list_4

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: of Islamic jurisprudence.