Early Development of Uṣūl al-Fiqh: A study of the period of the Prophet (ṢAAS) and his Ṣaḥābah
Legal theory or uṣūl al-fiqh in Islām deals with the ways of interpreting and extracting laws from the sources of the Sharīʿah. It had been the activity of Muslims since the time of the Prophet of Islām (ṢAAS). The Ṣaḥābah and Tābi‘ūn also used to resort to these ways (manāhij) and principles (uṣūl) for the interpretation of the texts and derivation of laws from them. In the beginning these principles were in the rudimentary form but were, however, properly developed and codified by the later scholars of the ummah especially by the four great a’immah (al-a’immah al-arba‘ah) of Islām and Imām al-Shāfi‘ī became the first person to write down these principles in his monumental work Al-Risālah. This paper is an effort to trace the existence of uṣūl al-fiqh since the times of the Prophet of Islām (ṢAAS) and its subsequent development during the period of the Ṣaḥābah. It also sheds light on the ijtihādāt exercised by the Prophet (ṢAAS) himself and his Ṣaḥābah during and after his life time.
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Ibid, vol.2, p.18.
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