As per the last discussion, the Foundational stages of Fiqh are characterized by the Prophethood of our beloved Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam. It is in the life time of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam that rules, which would govern fiqh for generations to come, were established. These rules were established via the statements of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala found in the Qur’an and also the Sunnah of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam.
The Method of Legislation
The Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam over a period of 23 years. Now, one may think to him/herself: Why wasn’t it just sent completely once? There are many benefits to why Allah azza wa jal chose to reveal the Qur’an in a gradual manner, which is a topic for another article, however some of the benefits relating to the evolution of fiqh are:
- To achieve gradation in the enactment of laws – If all the laws were brought down at once to the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam and the Companions radhiAllah anhum it would have been difficult
- To make it easily acceptable – If the laws were revealed all at once, the Arab customs would come into a directl clash with that of Islam. Thus, to make it easier upon the people it was revealed over 23 years.
- To make it easier to learn and understand – They were witness to the revelation of the Qur’an and thus understood the reasons and context under which it was revealed, making it easier to implement properly
Thus, keeping these benefits in tact we see that sections of the Qur’an were generally revealed to solve problems which confronted the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam and the Companions radhiAllah anhum.
There are a number of examples which can be found throughout the Qur’an:
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الشَّهْرِ الْحَرَامِ قِتَالٍ فِيهِ قُلْ قِتَالٌ فِيهِ كَبِيرٌ وَصَدٌّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَكُفْرٌ بِهِ وَالْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَإِخْرَاجُ أَهْلِهِ مِنْهُ أَكْبَرُ عِندَ اللّهِ
They ask you about the sacred month – about fighting therein. Say, “Fighting therein is great [sin], but averting [people] from the way of Allah and disbelief in Him and [preventing access to] al-Masjid al-îaram and the expulsion of its people therefrom are greater [evil] in the sight of Allah [Surah Baqarah V.217]
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَا أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ كَذَلِكَ يُبيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمُ الآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ
They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you what they should spend. Say, “The excess [beyond needs].” Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought. [Surah Baqarah V.219]
The same is also true regarding the Sunnah. The Companions radhiAllah anhum would go to the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam with questions and he would answer them.