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Methods of Textual Indication

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Category: Religion - Islam
Forum Name: Quran & Sunnah
Forum Discription: Understanding Quranic ayat and Sunnah
Printed Date: 01 October 2014 at 12:03pm

Topic: Methods of Textual Indication
Posted By: rami
Subject: Methods of Textual Indication
Date Posted: 27 February 2006 at 10:55pm
Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

assalamu alaikum

Hanafi Approach to methods of Textual Indication

Taken from " - Language and the interpretation of Islamic Law " (p3-5)

Deriving legal rulings from the authoritative texts of the Quran and the Sunnah would be impossible without a clear understanding of these texts. It is often dificult to understand the true meaning of an authoritative text becouse of the shades of meaning that are suggested at diferent levels.

Every text imparts its meaning through letters, signs and allusions; or by logical implication without the text would be incomlete. Every meaning indicated by the text [1] must be stated and interprated [2]. A scholar concerned with the interpretation of a text has the responsibility of uncovering all its possible meanings, and of employing every method of interpretation that is linguisticly acceptable. A failure to uncover any of these meanings undoubtedly means that the text cannot be implemented.

This is why scholars of Usul al Fiqh have been studying the problem of textual indication in legal rulings. They concluded that a text from which rulings can be derived may be understood through methods of indication [3].

Hanafi jurists [4] present four of these:

a) explicit meaning,
b)meaning indicated by signs and allusions,
c)meaning arrived at by the logical and juridical purport of the text,
d) logical and necessary meaning without which the text would remain incomplete and fail to achieve its purpose.

Due to the above reasons, Hanafi jurists like Dabbusi and Bazdawi [5] suggest four types of textual implications: ibarat al-nass (the explicit meaning), isharat al-nass (the alluded meaning), dalalat al-nass (the infered meaning) and iqtida al-nass (the required meaning). They arrive at these conclusions by dividing the text's indication in a ruling into two catagories:

a) The indication made by words which can be either intended or not. If it is intended by the speaker (ie.where indication presents the principle or subsidiary theme of the text), it is termed Ibarat al-nass (the explicit meaning). If it is not directly intended by the speaker, then it is termed isharat al-nass (the alluded meaning).
b) The indication which is not derived from the text itself, but is understood either linguisticly or legally (according to shariah). When it is understood linguisticly or legally it is termed dalalat al-nass (the infered meaning); when understood legaly (according to shariah) it is termed iqtida al-nass (the required meaning).

Hanafi's also devide textual expressions in relation to thier indication of meanings into four categories:

a) that which gives explicit indication of meaning,
b) that which indicates meaning by signs and allusions,
c) that which indicates meaning according to logical and juridical purport of the text,
d) that which indicates meaning according to logical implication, without which the text would be incomplete and fail to achieve its purpose.

The highest level of indication is ibarat al-nass (the explicit meaning or imidiate meaning). Next is isharat al-nass (the alluded meaning), which is followed by dalalat al-nass (the infered meaning). Lastly there is iqtida al-nass (the required meaning). According to this order the higher level of indication is more authoritative and would, in cases of conflict, take precedence over those versions which represent lower levels of implied indications which are detectable in the text. The same ruling has to be aplied when two aparently contradictory texts are in Question.

Hanafi jurists assume that all other indications-like the opposite meaning (mafhum al-mukhalafah) and, in some cases, adopting the qualified (muqayyad) from the absolute (mutlaq) - are incorect.

As we have seen the Hanafi madhhab clasifies texts and thier meaning in terms of the method (or manner) of the text's indication of meanings into four types:  ibarat al-nass (the explicit meaning), isharat al-nass (the alluded meaning), dalalat al-nass (the infered meaning) and iqtida al-nass (the required meaning). This division is based on the degree of textual explicitness.


1) It is important to note that rulings derived from all these meanings are considered, in the Hanafi madhhab, as rulings derived from apparent meanings of the text, not by naalogy (qiyas). (sarkhsi, Usul al Sarakhsi, 1:236)
2)Muslim jurists maintain that the aplication of the explicit meaning of the text and the application of the text's spirit and logical meaning are obligatory duties (wajib) (khallaf, 'Ilm Usul al Fiqh p.143).
3) The following methods are intended to encourage rational inquiry in the deduction of legal rulings from authoritative texts, Secondly, they provide Muslim jurists with guidelines to as to how one may teach rulings from particular premises.
4)Bukhari, kashf al Asrar, 1:28. Usul al Sarkhasi, 1:236.
5)Bukhari, kashf al Asrar, 1:28. Taftazani, sharh al Talwih ala al Tawdih, 1:130.

Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.

Posted By: rami
Date Posted: 27 February 2006 at 10:57pm
Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

Shafii Approach to methods of textual Indication[1]

The Shafii approach to textual indication (dalalat al-nass) is diferent from that of the Hanafi's. While this diference seems more technical thatn real it would be interesting to discuss this approach in further detail.

In conrtrast to the hanafis, who clasified textual indication as being of four types, the shafi'is divided it into two: pronounced meaning (dalalat al-mantuq) and imples meaning (dalalat al mafhum). Both these indications are derived from the text and its words.

Pronounced meaning (dalalat al mantuq) is derived from the obvious text and it is divided into tow types: sarih and ghayr al-sarih. Sarih includes the explicit meaning (ibarat al0nass) mentioned by the Hanafi's. Ghayr sarih is devided into three types: the required meaning ( dalat al-iqtidah). gestured meaning (dalat al-ima) and the alluded meaning (dalalat al-iqtidah). From this division it appears that ghayr sarih includes two types regarding the indication meantioned by the hanafi's: the alluded meaning (isharat al-nass) and the required meaning (iqtidah al0nass).
Implied meaning (dalat al-mafhum) is divided through the logical and juridical construction of text and it is divided into two kinds: opposite meaning (mafhum al-mukhalafah) and harmonious meaning (mafhum almuwafaqah). The latter corresponds to the infered meaning (dallalat al-nass_ of the Hanafi's) [2].


1) Amidi, al-ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam, III:63; Iji, Mukhtasar al-Muntaq, II:171; Ibn Amir al- Hajj, al-Taqrir, I:111; Shawkani, Irshad al Fuhul, p.156.
2) Abu Zahrah stated that all four Hanafi division of dalalah may be clasafied under dalalat al mantiq (Abu Zahrah, Usul al- fiqh, p.116). However it would be more accurate to say that some division are derived from mafhum, just as the infered meaning (dalalat al-nass) and mafhum are derived from mantuq.

Taken from the same work mentioned above.

Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.

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