Qiyas in Islamic jurisprudence

Qiyas, which means "measurement" or "analogy" in Arabic, is the cornerstone of Islamic jurisprudence. It is the process of extrapolating laws for new circumstances by comparing them with those expressly governed by the Qur'an, Sunnah, or Ijma. The Qur'an, Sunnah and Ijma are the three primary sources of Islamic law; qiyas is the fourth. Due to its ability to expand the application of Islamic law to include new and unexpected circumstances, it is also one of the most important sources of Islamic law. In Islam, Qiyas functions as a window to find out the rulings of ruling of novel issues. 

History of Qiyas:
If we examine history, Islamic law has undergone a continuous process of development and adaptation to socio-cultural changes since its inception, particularly following the expansion of Islam beyond the Arabian Peninsula. This evolution persists to this day, influenced by advancements in science, technology, and societal norms. Given this context, it is pertinent to explore the ideology of Islamic law, which incorporates al Ra'y, a principle embraced by Imam Abu Hanifa (150 H/767 AD). Imam Abu Hanifa, renowned for his extensive use of reasoning (ijtihad), is credited with founding the Hanafi school, which remains one of the most prevalent schools of thought within Islam, aiming to preserve tradition while adapting to contemporary realities.
Almost at the same time, the attention of the people of Medina remained visible to another tradition (hadith), the momentum is given by Al Imam Malik bin Anas (179H/795AD). Thus, Imam Malik is considered to be the leader of the school of the scholars of hadith. And the famous Al-Muwatta is his monumental work in the field of hadith.
Between the two schools [Ahlul-Ra'y and Ahlul-Hadith] arose Imam Shafi'e [150-204H / 767-812 AD] who once studied under Imam Malik [r] and the student of Aba Hanifa, Muhammad Hasan Al Shaibani. The experience of studying the two scholars mentioned above inspired him to accept the two scholars mentioned above, inspired him to take the positives from both different ideologies.

General description of Qiyas
Literally, Qiyas can be understood as measuring or determining the length, weight, or quality of something. Technically, in Usul-al-fiqh, Qiyas is an extension of a Shariah rule from an original case (ASI) to a new case (Far') because both cases share the same effective cause (I'llah). According to the definition provided by most scholars, Qiyas refers to "attributing the hukum of an existing case found in the Qur'anic texts, hadith, or ijma" to a new case whose hokum is not explicitly found in those sources, based on a common fundamental attribute known as 'illah'. Qiyas can also be understood as a method that can elucidate, clarify, and even establish the law, where the 'illah' serves as the primary criterion in determining legal rulings or issues, especially in cases where the object issue is not explicitly addressed in the textual sources (nass).
The legality of Qiyas is affirmed among Sunni scholars of Usul al-Fiqh, especially regarding its role as a methodology for establishing Islamic law. While the majority of scholars in Usul al-Fiqh endorse Qiyas as a legitimate method for determining Islamic law, there exist dissenting perspectives. Scholars of the Mu'tazilah school, for example, advocate for a narrower application of Qiyas, stipulating two specific conditions:
               a) The effective cause (illah) must be clearly indicated, either explicitly or implicitly, through direct textual evidence (mansusah) or indirect indication (isyarah).
               b) The ruling derived from Qiyas (Far') must be more robust or significant than the ruling of the original case (Asl).
General rules for the valid application of Qiyas entail several key guidelines that must be adhered to:
Firstly, Qiyas should never be utilized to formulate a ruling that contradicts a ruling or legal principle established by direct textual evidence. This is because Qiyas is not employed in cases where a textual source already provides a ruling.
Secondly, individuals conducting Qiyas to derive rulings must possess the qualifications for independent legal reasoning (ijtihad).
Thirdly, the Qiyas themselves must be adequately justified and aligned with the principles discussed by Islamic legal theorists in the books of Islamic jurisprudence.
Failure to meet these criteria renders the Qiyas invalid, resembling the type of reasoning that early scholars criticized, although they did not outrightly condemn Qiyas. 
Extension of Legal Principles: Qiyas is used when a new matter arises that is not specifically addressed by the Qur'an or Hadith. Legal scholars use analogical reasoning to extrapolate legal principles from closed cases to analogous but unresolved circumstances.

• The Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence by Mohammad Hashim Kamali
• jammul jawamiu by imam subki
• الخلاصة في أصول الفقه - محمد حسن هيتو - ط

About the author: Muhammed Junaid  pursuing a degree in the Department of Qur'an and Related Sciences.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily mirror Islamonweb’s editorial stance.

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