Islamic law, constitution

Q302 :Some people say that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not complete the rules and regulations of Islam, so the four caliphs and five Imams completed the task. Even then many matters remained unresolved. Nevertheless, because of the last nine persons and their thoughts, we are divided into many sects. How can we unite now?

A302 : The first thing which I would like to tell you in reply to your question is that it was not the Prophet who enacted the rules and regulations of Islam, but it was God Himself who formulated Islamic law and outlined in detail the Islamic constitution. God Himself tell us that He has made our faith complete. In Verse 3 of Surah 5, entitled "the Repasts", or "Al-Maidah", we read this very clear statement: "Today have I perfected your religion for you, and have bestowed upon you the full measure of My blessings, and willed that self-surrender to Me shall be your religion." Perhaps, I need not remind you that the first person pronoun in this statement refers to God Himself who revealed the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and spoke in this way to the believers in Islam. It is highly instructive to quote the footnote given in Asad's translation of the Qur'an explaining the importance of this statement: "According to all available traditions based on the testimony of the Prophet's contemporaries, the above passage - which sets, as it were, a seal on the message of the Qur'an - was revealed at Arafat in the afternoon of Friday, the ninth of Thul-Hajjah, 10 H, 81 or 82 days before the death of the Prophet. No legal injunction whatsoever was revealed after this verse and this explains the reference to God's having perfected the faith and bestowed the full measure of His blessings upon the believers. Man's self-surrender (Islam) to God is postulated as the basis, or the basic law of all true religion. This self-surrender is expressed itself not only in belief in Him but also in obedience to His commands: And this is the reason why the announcement of the completion of the Qur'anic message is placed within the context of a verse containing the last legal ordinances ever revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). With such a statement, no one can ever suggest that the message of Islam is incomplete, or that Islamic law does not respond to any clear human need. Scholars agree that whatever is outlined in the Qur'an or the Sunnah is part of the Islamic religion. If neither the Qur'an nor the Sunnah provides guidance on a particular matter, then whatever attitude we adopt toward that matter is permissible. We can choose for ourselves; [the only consideration being that conscious efforts shall be made to remain, as far as may be, within the laid down regulations]. What I would like to point out is that it was never intended that Islam should provide a particular model of life to be copied in all human societies, generation after generation. There is simply no attempt to create a uniform human society. What Islam wants to provide is a system which can be adapted in a great variety of human societies, and by all human communities, in order to establish a way of life that brings out the best in human beings. This Islam has certainly done. It was possible for a wide variety of human societies, races and communities to live together and to establish together a human civilization that benefited by the contribution of all such groups. None of the four caliphs or the five imams as you call them, had ever added anything to the religion of Islam. None could suggest that an addition is needed. What they contributed was an interpretation of Islamic rules and method by their application in their communities. This is open to all of us, provided that interpretation has the right basis. People do not make their interpretations of Islamic law at will. They have to follow the proper procedure and to adopt a process of proper learning and careful analysis of a coherent set of rules of deduction. It is not because of the caliphs and the imams that we are divided into sects. Each one of those imams and caliphs tried hard to maintain the unity of the Muslims. Sects came about as the result of misguided actions by people who do not have the interest of Islam at their hearts.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )