A History of Islamic Law by N. Coulson

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By N. Coulson

The vintage advent to Islamic legislations, tracing its improvement from its origins,through the medieval interval, to its position in glossy Islam.

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A Tradition from the Prophet explains the general prohibition of riha contained in the Qur' an by declaring that, when certain commodities of the same species are bartered against each other, rihii exists if there is either inequality between the two amounts offered or a delay in delivery on one side. Six such commodi ties were specified in the T radition-gold, silver, wheat, barley, dates, and raisins, By analogy, the so-called " rihcirules"-equali ty of offerings and immediate delivery-were applied to the barter of other commodities which were deemed to possess the same essential characteristics as those specified in the Tradition, on the ground that the same effective cause ('ilia) which lay behind the original ruling was present also in these new cases.

Further discussion was precluded not only on those points whit:h were the subject of a consensus, but also on those matters where the jurists had agreed to differ; for if the ijma' covered two variant opinions, to adduce a third opinion was to contradict it. As the acknowledged sphere of the ijmii' in this broad sense spread, the use of independent judgement or ijtihad, which had been progressively restricted during the formative period by the emergence of such principles as the authority of Traditions and the strict regulation of methods of reasoning, eventually disappeared altogether.

A' as a deci sion of Aban and that some years later there exists a record of an identical decision being given by the Prophet. re having been historically, two such cases merits the conclusion that one of the anecdo tes is false; and it would be in accord with the general trends of legal development in this period to conclude further that this particular decision of Aban wa§ projected backwards and fictitiously ascribed to the Prophet. But, even if we go so far-and this is certainly the crucial point- it by no means follows that the one-third rule itself was of Umayyad origin.

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