Usool al-Fiqh Summer 2011

Beginning Usool al-Fiqh VII

Recommended Textbook: Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence

Grading: 100% (One final, July 25, last week of class)

When: Mondays 7:20 PDT - 8:20 PDT from May 30, 2011 to July 25, 2011

Basic Outline of the Class

Chapter IV: Rules of Interpretation I: Classification II: The ‘Amm (General) and the Khass (Specific)

2011-05-30 Class Notes

Overview of the class

Look at the big picture of where we are in the class. What is a good definition for usool al fiqh? Usool al fiqh tries to identify the sources of law and the methodology of deriving from the sources. We have Quran and Sunnah, which are the two most important sources of shariah.

Important lessons from the history of fiqh: You have Hanafis on one side and the muttakalimoon (other three madhab) on another side. They have different perspectives, so we have to study from the perspective of the two camps.

Quran and Sunnah are the two important sources. An important characteristic is that the vast majority is speech. Actions and tacit approval of the Prophet (saws) are not speech.

How do spoken words or text or speech indicate their meaning? We discussed the preciseness and vagueness or ambiguity of speech. Analysing speech is understanding how precise or vague is the speech. Sometimes the apparent meaning of the speech is the not the literal or face value meaning of the speech, this is taweel.

We also discussed how words and text indicate ruling? Here we are trying to understand the rulings that can be derived from the text. Analysis of the text and how to derive rulings. There were key difference in the two camps.

Scope of the wording or text. What is covered in the meaning of the word? The goal is that you do not want to apply a law to which it should not apply and you should apply the law to whom it should be applied.  So we should try to avoid Type A and Type B errors.

Al ‘Aam (العام) or Al Ummoom (العموم) or the General Text

The usooliyeen use both Al ‘Aam and Al Ummoom even though there is some difference from lexical point of view. If something is not Aam, then it is Khaas (خاص) or specific or particular.

The meaning of the word Aam by usooliyeen and people in general is the same, the usooliyeen do not have any other meaning of the word Aam.

Statements read by the shaykh and whether they are general or not as polled by the students of the class.

I used to be kind to students.

The word students is it general?

Majority say it is general

Go to the library and bring me a book

Is a book general?

Split opinion among the class

Go to the library and bring me 10 books

Is books general?

Be generous to my guests

Is guests general?

Brothers from San Diego visited us

Is brothers general?

Ten Brothers from San Diego visited us

Is brothers general?

Men are superior than women

Is men or women general?

Tell the guests to come in

Is guests general?

A guest arrived

Is guest general? Limiting the number to 1 so cannot be Aam

Zaid visited from San Diego

Is Zaid general?

Majority say that it is Khaas

Horse is a noble animal

Is horse general?

We will come back to these examples later, now let us discuss the definition of Aam and see how we did in our categorization.

Kamali’s definition of Aam

A word which applies to many things, not limited in number, and includes everything to which it is applicable

What does the clause in the definition “A word which applies to many things” mean?

It does not mean a homonym or al mushtarak. It refers to a set of things. A set that has a plural

Al mushtarak (المشترك) which means Homonym - A word which has more than one meaning.

What does the clause in the definition “not limited in number” mean?

There is no enumeration implied. It refers to everything in the set and without counting everything in the set or setting limit or specifying the size of the set or

What does the clause in the definition “and includes everything to which it is applicable” mean?

You cannot restrict the word to a specific member of a set.

If you say “A guest arrived”, it is not aam, since it is restricting.

Also when you say Bring a book, here the book is now restricting to one member of a set.

Hence both of those examples are khaas and not aam.

Bring a book is not just khaas, it is Mutlaq (المطلق) (which means unconstrained)

Bringing 10 books from library, is now khaas, since you are now restricting the number of the set of books.

Be generous to my guests.

There is one sect in Islam, the Waqafiyah (الواقفيّة) or Waqafites as stated in English, are the ones who hesitate to give an opinion. Shaykh does not want any waqafites in the class, he wants all of us to have an opinion :-)

This is aam.

I used to be kind to students

This is khaas. Because there is nothing to indicate that I used to be kind to all students. Since the clause all is missing or not specified, this statement is not aam and hence it is khaas.

In reality I was never kind to students

This is aam. If I was kind to any student that would falsify my statement.

Men are superior to women

This is tricky, we will discuss it later.

First step is to understand the definition. ANd the second step is to recognize when the word is aam or khaas.

If you look at the definition of the word general in English language, you will see

So this definition applying to all or most members of a category or group; closely matches our definition of aam.

2011-06-06 Class Notes

What does al-aam mean?

Using set theory, if you have some kind of set with members in it, for example a set of Muslims. The wording of the text implies that the ruling applies to everybody in the set without enumerating the set or applying any special attributes of membership to the set. This is al aam.

Anything that is not al aam is specific or al khaas.

If we have a set of students in a classroom. And the wording of the text says, Ask Zaid to come and meet me. This text is now khaas.

If you identify a group within a set is also khaas. If I ask five students to come and meet me, it is still khaas.

Also it could be the case where you say, ask a student to come and meet me. This is also khaas, because you are now specifying an attribute of the set. This is called mutlaaq, because you have the freedom to choose from the set. Mutlaq means unconstrained or unrestricted.

People get confused between mutlaaq and aam.

If I say that if you commit a sin, the expiation is that you free a slave. This is still khaas and mutlaq. You are not required to free all slaves.

Suppose I tell you to free a believing slave. This is still khaas but not mutlaaq, since it is restricted. It is muqayyad. A unrestricted condition that has been restricted.

Scholars have to define aam, they cannot use examples to define it. Over the years, they tweaked it and it has evolved. They build on previous author’s definition.

A good definition should have the following components

Jamiah include everything that is required by the definition

Mana exclude anything that is not required by the definition

... Occams Razor which means remove anything that is superfluous

Aam text is extremely important. Quran often does not give us detailed rulings, and it is left to the sunnah of the prophet.

How definitive is the aam text? How does it apply to the individual members of the set. Does it apply in definitive (qatee) or speculative (dhanni) sense?

This is an important question to answer.

Another important truth about general statements. A lot of general statements have been particularized. Famous statement is that, there is no general statement that has not been particularized. Ibn Taymiyyah was very upset by this statement and wrote that a long commentary, 5 pages long, and concluded that the person is either …. or does not know how to express himself.

This particularization is known as takhsees. For example, a verse in the Quran, how are we going to particularize it. Is the particularizing agent has to be definitive, or whatever sounds good, etc. Since this is such an important point, that we will cover it in the next session.

When we think of text, we see that it has been revealed for a specific reason. Can we take it and generalize it or not?

Many times in speech, you use a general word, but you mean something specific. How do you understand text in response to this reality of speech.

How do we know something is general? How to recognize it?

Recognizing something is general requires us to go back to the Arabic language, because it can be lost in the translation. It is not complex Arabic, but insha-Allah we can handle it.

There is a common statement that you can find in books of usool al fiqh, there is no generality for actions, there is no ummoom for af’aal. So one perspective is that there is no generality in the actions of the Prophet (SAWS). English saying: “There are many ways to skin a cat.” If I say: “Faisal skinned a cat”, I can’t say which way he skinned it, but he obviously did it in one way. However, we can not say all ways of skinning a cat are legitimate.

Practical example: Prophet (SAWS) shortened his prayers while travelling. When you think of travelling there are short trips, long trips, permissible trips, obligatory trips (haraam trips which are not applicable to the prophet, for example travelling to Las Vegas for gambling).

When the prophet travelled, he must have traveled in a specific manner. So there is no ummoom for actions. This is agreed upon by the majority of scholars.

Is it allowed to pray inside the kaabah? Yes, why? Because there are reports that prophet prayed inside the kaabah.

Are you allowed to pray anyway in the kaabah? Can you now say that any kind of prayer is allowed in the kaabah. Is this obligatory prayer? No it was not obligatory prayer. Can you make obligatory prayer in the kaabah? Since we don’t have any reports from the prophet and we have one report of voluntary prayer, then we cannot apply ummoom to his actions of voluntary prayer in kaabah.

If something is negated. For example if there was some report that said that he did not fast while travelling, which is some example and not a hadith. So you can say that you should not fast for any kind of travelling.  

There is some weakness in this line of argument however, of using generalization when it is negated.

If I say ask a student to come to me, this is khaas. But when you use negation, let not any student come to me, this now becomes khaas, since you are now excluding every student from performing the action. So we can say negation implies generality, is this true????

Example: if the Prophet (SAWS) did not beat his wife or his servant or his slave, then this precludes every form or beating.  The only time he struck somebody was in jihaad.

Q: What if we showed that the Prophet (SAWS) shortened on a short trip? Is it ok to shorten the prayer on long trips?

A: Then we could not use the logic of generality, but we could potentially use mafhoom al muwaafaqah to reason it in this case. (See notes from the previous class notes.)

Examples from the Qur’an

We will try to determine what exactly in these verses make it aam or khaas.

Example #1

Sahih International

Certainly will the believers have succeeded

qad aflah al-mu’minoon -- khaas or aam?

according to the ijmaah of the classroom, this is aam.

Example #2:

Sahih International

[As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah . And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

What about the verse about the punishment for the thief, male and female. The case here has the definite article plus the singular. Arabic uses the definitive article more than the English.

So in this case, because it really refers to the set of all thieves it is ‘aam.

Example #3

Sahih International

And the record [of deeds] will be placed [open], and you will see the criminals fearful of that within it, and they will say, "Oh, woe to us! What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has enumerated it?" And they will find what they did present [before them]. And your Lord does injustice to no one.

The last part of the verse:

Is the word ahad aam?

Is it singular or plural?

Ahad here is indefinite and singular. A book is indefinite and singular, then it is khaas. However there is negation and hence it is aam.  So in this example, because of negation, it is aam and not khaas.

Example #4

Sahih International

Indeed, mankind is in loss,

innal insana lafi khusr

Humankind is in loss.

What type of word is insaan? It is a collective noun.

And because it refers to the entire set, it is aam.

In Arabic the forms of the word indicate generality

The way the word is expressed will indicate generality. So we will study forms that indicate generality. We will divide words into five categories.

1. Singular Nouns

2. Words in a plural form

3. Words like kull (كلّ) and jamee’(جميع), words like all and every

4. Relative pronouns and indefinite pronouns. Ma (ما) and Man (من)  and Ayy (أيّ).

5. Indefinite words in the negative form

We will study the default case for the above construct and exceptions to the default case.

With respect to #2 in the above list,

The boy who steals will be punished, is a general or aam statement. But suppose I said that the boy who stole will be punished. There is slight difference, because the boy is now khaas. We are ignoring the difference of the tense.

Laam and not al

Sometimes the aliph can be dropped, for example in the phrase lil muslimeen. The sign is the laam and not al.

2011-06-13 Class Notes

In Arabic, words can change their form depending upon their usage in the sentence, if we study the different forms that a words can take and study, we can identify whether imply generality. (Forms that words take by which you can realize that they are general words.)

Scholars listed various ways of identifying whether words were general or not, and some of the reasons are:

Language, Reasoning, Urf or custom

Their conclusion is that the best source is the form of the words, which belongs to the category of language in the above list.

Forms of Singular Nouns

Aliph Lam plus singular noun  indicates one of the forms of generality.

The boy who steals will be punished

Allah has made al bayh (singular) permissible

Is this universal principle?

You have to be careful. Because there are many different forms of al, al ... al ... al ....., You have to identify what is the al here, particular in the singular noun.

The actual al that we are talking about is al of the comprehensive, which is the default case. You need to have some kind of reasons to rule out the al of comprehensiveness. In many cases, when it is not al of comprehensiveness, then it is clear. For example al of definitive article, where you are referring to something specific, such as the book, the author.

Either something must be previously said or the listener

Surah al Muzammil, Allah swt speaks to the prophet, ... like we sent to pharaoh a messenger...  listener knows that messenger was sent to the pharaoh. And the next verse says, the messenger.  So now the al is clearly not the al of comprehensiveness, but it is al of definite article.

Inna ma al yusri yusra.... anytime hardship comes to you, ease is going to come to you.  And the next verse it repeats, so some mufasseerin say that the two ease are different otherwise al yusra would have been used in the second verse, which implies that the second ease is different, so with each hardship you get two eases.

Sometimes definiteness is not introduced, but it is understood from the context.

Surah Taubah, id ghuma fil gharr, but there is no prior introduction of gharr or cave. Here the listener can conceive of the cave. Another example is of Musa (pbuh) and Khidr, where word al-safeena is used meaning to be definite.

Demonstrative pronoun or ishaara

This book or that book, which is not used in Arabic.  And this demonstrative pronoun is not general.


After the evocative, for example you want to call out to somebody, when you say Oh boy, in old english, ayyuha, and this definitive article is not general.

Expressions in Arabic are meant to signify that something happened all of a sudden and they appear after ila or was it al????, he went out and all of a sudden there was a lion. There is al here, but it is not general.

What about man is superior to woman or woman is superior to man?

In Arabic, we use singular form. rajalu khairun minnan nar.

This is al of al jins, here you are highlighting a genus or a class, but what you mean is that as a class man is superior to woman in combat, but does not mean that a specific individual from the class of men is superior to a specific individual from the class of women. So you have to be aware of this subtlety.

The thief is not supposed to be punished

No thief is supposed to be punished.

Both of the above examples are Aam, so the negative sentence for singular with aliph lam still is aam.

Singular noun in the case of  idhaafa (possessive case)

Singular noun with idhaafa indicates that the sentence is aam.

If you were to reckon or count the nyama of Allah....

The word nyama is singular, so you would translate it as bounty, but here it means bounties of Allah because of the idhaafa.

Pronoun suffix

Whether it is singular or plural, it will be general. Example:

هو الطهور ماءه والحل ميتته

Prophet was asked about sea water for performing wudu and he said that Its water is pure and its carrion is halaal.  Here carrion is singular but because of the idhaafa, we can say that all of the carrion or maytah of the sea are halaal.

زوجتي طالق

My wife is divorced.  And he is married to four wives, is this a general statement?

Is this statement singular or plural? Because it is an idaafah, it is a general statement, even though it is in the singlar tense.

By urf or customary speech, we understand that he means only one wife. However there is one statement of ibn Abbas, which says that if somebody makes this kind of statement, then all of his wives are divorced.


There are many different kind of plurals in Arabic language, sound plurals, broken plurals, plurals of abundance, and plurals of paucity (refers to three and ten in number).

Jamu’il qillah or Plurals of paucity

Nafs (نفس) is the singular.

Nufoos (نفوس) is the plural

Anfus (أنفس) is the plural of paucity (3-10 people)

This has implications for rulings in text.

Plurals with definitive article (al)

In general plurals with definitive article will be aam.

Qad aflaha almuminoon (قد أفلح المؤمنون)

Successful are the believers

Allah loves the believers

If you are referring to something specific then it could be khaas, but you are referring to a set in general. For example, all of the students.

Plural with idhaafa is also general (aam)

Surah Taubah verse 103

Sahih International

Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [ Allah 's blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.

khuz min amwaa lihim sadaqah

How would you translate this verse?

Take sadaqah from their wealths.

Is this general form?

It is general form.

What does that mean?

It means types of wealths. Take from every type of wealth, take sadaqah (which is zakat and not voluntary).

Is that what we are supposed to do?

We know from the sunnah, that there is some kind of wealth that there is no zakat for it. And only because of this hadith we know there are some exclusions, otherwise this is an aam statement and it would apply to all kinds of wealths.

يوصيكم الله في أولادكم

fi awladikum

What is the meaning of awlad?

In most colloqial Arabic language, it means sons, but here it means children. It means all of your children.

Did we mention anything about the indefinite singular?

Why do you think we skipped it?

Since we are discussing general statements and indefinite singular indicate khaas. Tanween indicates that it is indefinite singular. If there is no tanween, does that mean that it is not indefinite singular? No you cannot go the other way. Some words that dont take tanween and ...

What about singular indefinite in a negative form?

It is aam.   Don’t bring me any book.

Indefinite plural

Why is indefinite plural different from indefinite singular?

A book versus ... books

Books are useful. This is tricky because when you translate to arabic, it becomes definitive plural and not indefinite plural.

Library has books. Is this aam? No, it’s khaas, because the library has only a finite number of books.

Scholars then discuss what constitutes a plural. What is the minimum requirement? In Arabic it is three or more.

Indefinite plural in positive is not aam

What about indefinite plural in negative sense?

Library has no books. This is aam. Negation with indefinite plural implies aam.

Sahih International: The people of Noah denied the messengers

Plural can be used for only one and the evidence they use for it is Surah Shuarah verse 105...

How did they get that minimum of plural is one?

Allah swt is using the plural even though He is referring to only one messenger. And hence they say that minimum of plural is one.

In Shariah if you deny one messenger, then you are denying all messengers. Here mursaleen is aam or general statement.

So their argument that minimum of one for plural sounds clever but is incorrect?????

Is there any practical significance for the debate about the minimum requirement for a plural. The usooliyeen argued about it over many pages, shaikh has a 400 page book on it, so does this debate have any real ramifications?

2011-06-20 Class Notes

Discussing the homework question from the previous class, is there any practical significance for the debate about the minimum requirement for a plural.

Is this a case where the ulema are discussing something without any practical ramification.

One of the student responded to the importance of this question by quoting the hadith which discusses wiping over the head while making wudu, it says “biru’usikum” -- there is an opinion is that the least you have to wipe is three hairs.

We are discussing the forms of words that denote generality. We finished the singular and plural forms of words that denote generality.

What about the dual form of the word? Does it signify general form? E.g. Prophet (SAWS) says: “if two Muslims meet with swords, then both the killer and the killed are in hellfire.” Is it general or not?

Here the al is al of generality. So the dual will be similar to the singular in a case like this.

There is also a set of words in the Arabic language meant to imply generality and all inclusiveness like

jamee’ (جميع) and kull (كلّ). E.g. All muslims must pray. Every muslim must pray. Words like all and every are terms that identify a general form.

Terms or words that signify generality

There are eight terms in Arabic language that are similar to the al of generality.

Kul (كلّ)

The strongest form is the word kul (كلّ). What it means is determined by the subsequent noun (it is an idaafah). In all cases it is going to indicate generality, but the set it is describing might be different. E.g.

كلّ الكتاب) -- all of the book. In this case the set we are talking about is all parts of the book. So it is general, but the set is very specific.

What about kullu kitaabin (كلّ كتاب) , it means every book. If every book is not aam, then I dont know what is. Also used in the Qur’an e.g. والله على كلّ شيء قدير

What about kul followed by definite plural. For example kullul ultullab (كل الطلاب).    

What is the difference between kullu talib and kullul tullab? One is singular and the other is ....

Is there a difference between all students and every student. All of them is stronger than every student. Both of them are ‘aam but the implication is different -- whether the group collectively did something or every individual did it.

All of the angels made sajdah

Sahih International

So the angels prostrated - all of them entirely,

kullu hum comes after the noun.  

Is al malaika general? Yes, because of the al plus plural denotes generality. Here all or kullu hum is for emphasis, since al malaika is already general.

Every soul shall taste death.

Kullu nafseen - Kull plus indefinite singular, denotes generality.

Kullu amina bi rasulihi

We have not touched this case, because it is not an idaafah.

Kull here means all of them.

Kullukum rai’i

All of you are responsible.

Kul is the strongest form of generality.


Kul and negation

كل القوم لم يقم

لم يقم كل القوم

When it comes to kul and using negation, we have to be clear about where the negation lies. In the above two examples, there is difference about where the negation lies.

First one can be translated as “All of the people did not stand.”

Second can be translated as “Everybody did not stand“ “Not everyone stood”

Footnote: Shaikh is apologizing because he did not find these examples from the verses of the Quran.

Just by moving the kul wrt negation, there is big difference in the meaning. One says nobody stood, and the other says some people did not stand. And this has ofcourse has an impact on the generality of the statement.

The first one is called “umoom al-salab” (عموم السلب) and “salab al-umoom” (سلب العموم).

There is no such thing as pure synonym in the Arabic language, there are always some slight nuances or convey some more shades of information to the synonyms, except for one case.  The one case where there can be synonyms is where there two words from two Arabic dialects and both of the words survived.

Jami’ (جميع)

Kul and Jami’ (جميع) are both synonyms. Kul speaks about individual units, whereas Jami’ is collective units. We won’t worry about the slight differences.

E.g. Allah says: “Khalaqa lakum maa fil ‘ardi jamiian”  What does jamian mean?

Sahih International

For those who have responded to their Lord is the best [reward], but those who did not respond to Him - if they had all that is in the earth entirely and the like of it with it, they would [attempt to] ransom themselves thereby. Those will have the worst account, and their refuge is Hell, and wretched is the resting place.

Jamian is a word of emphasis in this example, because the word maa itself is general.

Nahnu asharal ambiyan

We prophets do not leave inheritance, all of it is for sadaqah.

Sa’ir  (سائر)

What is the meaning of the word sa’ir (سائر)?

It means either all of  or rest of.

Sa’ir is also a general word.  Not sure how many texts of the Quran or sunnah you will see the word sa’ir.

Exhortation from the prophet to the youth to get married. This is a general statement because of the word sa’ir.

Pronouns and participles

Words like maa (ما) and man (من). Maa can be interrogative, meaning what.  Man in interrogative form can mean who.

It can also be used as a conditional noun. IN both cases, maa and man will be general. Maa is used for inanimate objects, but it doesn’t have to be like that. And man can be used for rational beings, but also it doesn’t have to be either.

Animals and inanimate objects would fall under maa.

wa minhum man yamshi alaa batnihi (و منهم من يمشي على بطنه)

There are from among those.  Here Allah swt is using man even though he is talking about animals. There is some aspect of balagha about when these two are exchanged.

Speaking about marriage, Allah swt uses the word maa instead of man in four different statements.

In the case of man, it is not a conditional statement, (whoever does such and such is a conditional statement), it has a general meaning. Sometimes it can have specific meanings.

For example, man is not conditional, wa minhum man (and amongst them is the one who …)

Surah Nahl Maa indikum fi him wa maa

Sahih International

Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do.

Here Maa is general, whatever is with you will vanish, and whatever is with Allah swt is lasting.

Whatever good you do, Allah knows it.

fasting ....

Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his reward is jahannum

What about the verse kardal hasanah..... is that general?

Your translation has to show the interrogative nature of maa, who is it that will lend to Allah.

Does the word من refer to both men and women?

Hanafis argue that man is for males, they give the different forms of man for men, women, man, mannan, and moonetc.  They give the hadith of the prophet, من بدل دينه فاقتلوه whoever changes their religion is to be killed, they say here the punishment of apostasy is only for men and not for women,

Others respond to it by stating, some of it were not fusaha and the Arabs did not carry it forward, but for some reasons the Hanafis have stuck to it.

Ai أيّ

Close to man is another word (ai -- أيّ) which is both interrogative (which) and conditional (whichever). Like maa and man, ai is general when used in interrogative as well as in conditional form.

Man ai shay khalaqa

ayyuma jildin dubigha faqad tahur: There are some hadith,  any skin that is tanned becomes pure.

Ayyuma imri’an nakihat bidoon waliyyin: Any woman who marries without the permission of her wali then her marriage is baatil.

These are general terms and apply to everybody.

Aina wa haitha

Sahih International

We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [O Muhammad], toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a qiblah with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer]. Indeed, those who have been given the Scripture well know that it is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.

haythuma Whereever you are then turn your faces towards it.

Shart wal jawaab

Preliminary statement and a response to it. Whoever does such a thing, will have this reward.

Definite relative pronouns (الّلذي الّلذين الّتي)

Al ladhina, how would you translate it? And what is the difference between al ladhina and man?

In case of maa or man, they are indefinite, that is why they are general only when they are used in interrogative or conditional form.

But what about al ladhina?

Here the al of al ladhina makes it general, you do not need to have interrogative or conditional or any specific cases.

Indefinite words when used in negation

Last time we spoke, we said that they were general. E.g. La wasiyyatu li waarith. You have certain people who have right to a certain share. You can bequeath up to ⅓ of your wealth, but you can not bequeath to those who have already received a share.

Similarly laa ilaaha ila Allah -- ilaaha is indefinite, but it is a general negation.

Nahy is also similar to negation. That negative order will be general. E.g. “laa tusalli alaa ahadin minhum.” There will be some cases where it may not apply.

2011-06-27 Class Notes

La iqraha fid deen - (There is no compulsion in the Deen) Is this general or not?

Is it definite or indefinite?  If it is indefinite it should be iqrahaan (tanwin). It is a verbal noun (masdar).

There is no tanween, because of the laa nahi of negation, however iqraha is indefinite. And hence this is a general statement and you cannot do compulsion in any .....

If negation is in the conditional part of the statement, it will still be considered general.

Hujuraat verse 6

Sahih International

O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.

Oh Believer, if a faasiq comes to you then you have to confirm what he says.

Here since it is conditional part, then it is general and applies to any faasiq, there are no refinements on the qualities of a faasiq. If it was a mutlaq, then you can apply qualities to a faasiq and chose to which

Indefinite noun is modified then it is still considered general

For example, in Surah Baqarah verse 263: Allah swt says  ......   a good statement and forgiveness is better than charity then followed by harm.

Sahih International

Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing.

It is not any statement, it is kawlun maarufun. By the attribute we have added to kawl, which is maaruf, we have made it span an entire set.

Surah Baqarah verse 221, Allah swt says do not marry the polytheistic woman unless she believes, a believing slave is better than

Sahih International

And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you. Those invite [you] to the Fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes clear His verses to the people that perhaps they may remember.

By adding the attribute of believing to the slave, you have made it general, because you have defined a completely new set and it applies to all members of the set.

Sometimes you have external evidence, that indicates the generality.

Juzz Ammah, Surah Taqweer verse 14

Sahih International

A soul will [then] know what it has brought [with it].

Also in Surah Infitar verse5

Sahih International

A soul will [then] know what it has put forth and kept back.

Allah swt says something similar about nafs.

Here the word nafs, is indefinite.. The meaning is general, why?

If you look at other verses in the Quran that describes the day of judgement, and we know that it will happen to every soul. This is aam even though it is indefinite.

How would you translate, alimaat nafsuun ....Taqweer verse 14 (see above).

Alimaat is perfect tense, but here it is for emphasis and to indicate this event will occur on the day of judgement.

Sahih international translates it as “A soul will [then] know what it has put forth and kept back.

Pickthall says “Each soul”, Khan Hilali say, “ every person....”

Some of the translators used the meaning. Grammatically it is “a soul” but because of other evidence we know that it applies to all souls.

Mafhoolm al Muwafaqa, does it give us a meaning that is general?

We get a meaning from it, is an action that is greater than described by it. Hence it is aam. For example, you cannot even say Uff to your parents, meaning you cannot do anything that commits greater harm than “uff” to your parents.

Mafhoom al Mukhala is also general.

All of these are described in the handout sent by Shaikh Jamaal

We should be able to identify general text from any text.

Questions based on fatawah that came from the East Coast.

Fatwa: If a man is married to a non-muslim woman and if he divorces her, then there is no iddah for her.

Discussion: Can you use beginning of Surah al Talaq (verse 1) to come to a conclusion to it.  The word here nisa is general and it applies to all wives whether they are muslim or non-muslim, unless you have some evidence that highlights a special ruling for non-muslim women, which is known as takhsees, which we will discuss later.

Sahih International

O Prophet, when you [Muslims] divorce women, divorce them for [the commencement of] their waiting period and keep count of the waiting period, and fear Allah , your Lord. Do not turn them out of their [husbands'] houses, nor should they [themselves] leave [during that period] unless they are committing a clear immorality. And those are the limits [set by] Allah . And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah has certainly wronged himself. You know not; perhaps Allah will bring about after that a [different] matter.

Footnote: Yaa ayyuhan nabi is not a problem, even though it is directed towards the Prophet, it applies to all of us as “talaqtum” plural is used.

Fatwa: Is jizziyah to be taken from non-jews, non- ...... or is jizzyah just from ......

Discussion: When prophet was addressing his military leaders, he said, that when you meet your enemy from the mushrikeen, call them to Islam, or ask them to pay Jizzyah or to fight.

Is there anything in this text that can help us with our understanding?  What is general in that text?

All of your enemies, which ever of your enemies. So the understanding of enemy is general.

Is aam text universal or general in haqqeeqi (literary) sense or mijaazi (figurative) sense?

Why is it important to discuss it? If it is aam in literal sense, what are the ramifications of being general?

What if somebody argues that it really does not mean in literal sense and it does not apply to everybody in the set since it is a mijazi sense, what is this person doing?

He is making taweel. And does he have to prove his taweel?

If the word is haqeeqi then the burden of proof is on the person who says it is mijazi.

However if say the word is aam in mijazi sense, and somebody argues that it is in haqqeeqi sense and it applies to everybody, then the burden of proof is on which party?

It is on the person who says it is haqqeeqi.

In English, do we use general terms in literal or figurative sense?

It is in figurative sense, and nobody can accuse you of lying, for example, All of my students are good, there might be some students who are average.

There are times when you go from haqqeeqi to mijaazi, which is to perform taweel.

There is a big debate, whether aam words are aam in haqqeeqi or mijaazi sense. There are three schools.

1. Arbab proponents of generality

2. Proponents of specificality or non generalness

3. Waqifiyay who say that you cannot tell or distinguish, unless you have some other evidence.

2 and 3 are definitely wrong.  These are mostly Mutazilah or Shairah.

Muhammad Adeeb, after discussing for 100 pages says it has no ramification on fiqh.

They say the most you can say about generality is that it applies to three members or constituents of a set, according to their definition of plurality, which we discussed earlier.

The correct view is that it is aam in haqqeeqi sense or arbab al umoom. i.e. #1 above.

That does not negate the fact, that sometimes general text are used and it does not general.

A classic example, Surah Al’Imran verse 173.

Sahih International

Those to whom hypocrites said, "Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them." But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, "Sufficient for us is Allah , and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs."

Al-ladheena  kala lahum an naasu ....

What does the word naas mean? People

The way it is stated here, is it general? Yes, it means all people.

In nan naasa

And the second a naas, is it general?

A word for word translation of the verse is: Those to whom the people said that people have gathered so fear us.

Are both occurrences of naas general? Either of them general?

If you go to the Asbaab an nazool you will see something more interesting. and we will start with it next time.

2011-07-04 Class Notes

We said that terms are aam in haqeeqi sense, and they are supposed to be applied to everything unless proven otherwise. So the burden of proof is on the one who claims that it is not haqeeqi sense, but in mijaazi sense. And this moving from apparent meaning to a lesser apparent meaning is ta’weel and you can only do so if there is evidence for you to do so.

This discussion took scholars many pages of proofs and evidence to prove that it is haqeeqi sense and not mijaazi sense. The arguments against it are very weak.The way Prophet (saw), sahaba and the way Arabic language all this point to in general points to Haqeeqi sense

Al Murjiyah do not believe in the haqeeqi sense for the punishment, they say it applies to a minimum of plural and then it does not apply to anyone else.  Their arguments are very silly and a waste of time.

Shafiee in his book on Risalah, one of the earliest book on Usool al Fiqh, he accepts aam and he says you have to understand how term “aam” is used. Even in English, sometimes we use a general word but do not mean that it is general.

A. The basic case states that an aam text points to everybody in the set specified by the aam text.

B. A secondary basic case is where a priori, we understand that some set is not referred to in the text.

So we have an aam text points to a set, but we know a priori that there is a subset inside that set that is actually being referred to. Is this still aam? Yes. We have amm text linguistically it points to the set but we know before hand from our understanding that certain members of the text is referring in general. In that set  there is subset which is what is actually being referred to. We know that It was intent of the speaker that big set is not what is intend but it was small set which was intended and it was meaning at that time.

C. Special case, where an aam text is used, but in this case it is referring to something very specific in the set. This is obviously not aam.

D. Aam text that has been particularized.

Due to some evidence, we know that the Aam text is referring to a particular case in the set. Can you tell the difference between B and D? Do they look the same? In B, we knew from the beginning that is what is meant by the text and D is due to some other evidence such as another verse or hadeeth.

Now we will discuss the four cases in detail and give examples, starting with the easiest.

A. General text that maintains its generality.

For example, Allah swt says, Allah is the creator of everything. [Az-Zumur: 62] In this verse, Allah swt is referring to everything, kullu shai, which we have seen earlier is a general text.

Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs.


Sahih International

And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register.

Is da’bba aam? It is indefinite used in negation and because of the negation, it is general.

What is the meaning of da’bba?

Everything that crawls on the face of the earth, basically every living creature. But at the time of the Prophet, Arabs did not use it to mean ants, the urf applied it to only camels and animals like it. So what is meant by it is the subset of the animal kingdom and not all of the animals. Is this still aam?  Yes it is aam, but the set has been modified. This is an example of A?????

Surah Nisa:23

Sahih International

Prohibited to you [for marriage] are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father's sisters, your mother's sisters, your brother's daughters, your sister's daughters, your [milk] mothers who nursed you, your sisters through nursing, your wives' mothers, and your step-daughters under your guardianship [born] of your wives unto whom you have gone in. But if you have not gone in unto them, there is no sin upon you. And [also prohibited are] the wives of your sons who are from your [own] loins, and that you take [in marriage] two sisters simultaneously, except for what has already occurred. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.

Another verse that describes the women that are forbidden for you to marry.  This is aam.

Similarly, blood relationship and breast feeding bonds verse in the Quran, this is aam text too.

Surah Hajj verse 73 mentioned in Shafiees risalah.

Sahih International

O people, an example is presented, so listen to it. Indeed, those you invoke besides Allah will never create [as much as] a fly, even if they gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly should steal away from them a [tiny] thing, they could not recover it from him. Weak are the pursuer and pursued.

Allah swt says yaa ayyohoon nass, is An-nas here general? Yes.  Then it continues O people, an example is presented, so listen to it. Indeed, those you invoke besides Allah will never create [as much as] a fly, even if they gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly should steal away from them a [tiny] thing, they could not recover it from him. Weak are the pursuer and pursued.


Is this nass for all human beings?

Imam Shafiee says that anyone who knows the language knows that what is meant by nass here is those who associate somebody else with Allah swt, they call upon somebody other than Allah.  So here nass is now a subset of mankind, and it is from case B.   Shaikh does not agree, it is not just directed to them but is applies to all of mankind. It should be A.

3:173: There are 2 An-nass here, are both fall under general ?

People have gathered against you. What case does the first An-naas belong to? In some tafseers, the first nass refers to one individual and it is a clear example of C. So this is proof to say that plural can refer to one individual. Check the tafseer to find out who is the individual.

The second An-nas is it hyperbole or majaazi sense? Or is it B?  It is either B or some kind of majaazi sense.

We talked about thief or As-saariq and the punishment for it, did we say that As Saariq is general?  Yes. Which case does it belong to?  We know that there are certain requirements for the punishment, the stolen item has to have certain value. So it means case D, but even before the evidence, it fell under B, because the person has to be sane. So this is an example of a priori that the person has to be sane and hence it falls under case B.

[3:97]  The usage of Word An-nass here where does this fall under ?

Sahih International

In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves - then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.

You could put it in B or D

Surah Maida verse 5:

Sahih International

This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. And whoever denies the faith - his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.

Food of the people of the book is permissible to you. The word At-Ta3aam general or not ? It is idhaafa and hence it is general. We know that we cannot consume alcohol. So does it make it case D?

What is the meaning of the word ta3aam? Do you think there was any question that we might not be able to eat the dates of the Jews?  Ta3aam means the slaughtered meat of Jews and Christians. So here is falls into case B, because it is referring to specific subset in the set.

You would need to bring in balaagah for case C. Of the top of the head it is difficult to give examples of C.

D is the most common which is known as takhsees.

Miscellaneous Questions:

Homework: Yaa ayuhal ladheena amanuh ... Oh you who believe, does it apply to women too?  Is this masculine or feminine? This is homework for next time.

Negation of equality, does it have general meaning or not?

[59:20]... ashabul naari wa ashabul jannah

Sahih International

Not equal are the companions of the Fire and the companions of Paradise. The companions of Paradise - they are the attainers [of success].

The inhabitants of hell fire are not the same as inhabitants of jannah. Are they completely different? Or is it a negation of some type of similarity between them?

Hint: When you see a verb in Arabic language, virtually every verb can be replaced by a verbal noun (masdar)

We did not discuss verbs, but we discussed nouns which indicate generality. Using the above hint, there is a noun being captured by every verb.

Here Allah swt is negating equality between two sets, namely set of people who are in hellfire and set of people in jannah.  So what is exactly being negated here?

If you say it is only in the hereafter and not in this life, then you are saying that it is not general.

If I say there is no equality between people of jannah or people of hellfire.

We have done negation before.

The word inequality is indefinite. So by negation of indefinite, it makes the sentence aam or general.

You have to apply the principle of Ummom al salab versus salab al ummoom to understand that the above text is not aam. All of the people stood and not all of the people stood, do you remember the example. When the negation comes first, the point is right in the text which describes why the people of jannah are not equal to the people of hellfire, the reason is that the people of jannah are going to be victorious. Because of the negation, the text is not aam at all, it is referring to a specific case of being victorious only.

Homework: Could there possibly be any fiqh ramifications of this verse?

Surah Sajdah verse 18

Sahih International

Then is one who was a believer like one who was defiantly disobedient? They are not equal.

2011-07-11 Class Notes

This was the handout sent out by the Shaikh which defines the terminology:

A.  Default ‘aamm case

B. Adjusted Default ‘aamm case

C. ‘Aamm used to mean the specific

D. Particularized (takhsees) ‘aamm

Naskh - abrogation.  What does abrogation mean?  A new ruling overrules or removes the older ruling.  

Naskh also includes particularization in the terminology of early ulema. This is kind of particle abrogation.

Particularization is partial abrogation. That is the reason why you find so many verses of the Quran are abrogated and this is because of takhsees.

Note about the shafiee risala handout: Shafiee is talking about 4 categories and we covered 3 which covers that four that Shafiee discusses.

What about negation of equality?

Negation of equality as a whole is mujmaal. What is the meaning of mujmaal? i.e ambigous It is something that needs further clarification. That is the reason why there are many places in the Quran that Allah swt does not just leave us with why two things are not equal. For example [59:20] the people of hellfire are not equal to people of jannah, he goes on to explain that the people of jannah are victorious (the successful ones).

Similarly in Surah Hadeed verse 10 and Surah Nisa verse 95.

Sahih International

And why do you not spend in the cause of Allah while to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth? Not equal among you are those who spent before the conquest [of Makkah] and fought [and those who did so after it]. Those are greater in degree than they who spent afterwards and fought. But to all Allah has promised the best [reward]. And Allah , with what you do, is Acquainted.

in Surah Hadeed, Allah swt says, not equal are the ones who spent before the victory in Makkah and those who spent after, the earlier ones have a greater degree and for both groups there are many rewards.

In Surah Nisa,


Sahih International

Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] - other than the disabled - and the mujahideen, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujahideen through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward]. But Allah has preferred the mujahideen over those who remain [behind] with a great reward -

Allah swt says that those who did not fought are not the same as the one who fought, Allah swt would give those who fought a great reward.

So these are examples of mujmaal. Allah swt shows why the two groups are not equal.

However there are verses for which Allah swt does not give any mujmaal or further explanation.

In Surah Fatir (19-22), Allah swt compares things that are opposite and leaves it at that.

Homework: What is the fiqh ramifications of the negation of generality

They are not different in every single way; Allah swt mentions which aspects are different.  It does not mean that they are completely different.  Sometimes when you hear about some of the extremists when they talk about the disbelievers, they say treat the disbelievers as animals.


If a Muslim kills someone from Ahl Dhimmah, in the case of qisaas, can you take the life of the Muslim for the one that was killed?

If you don’t accept the generality of the negation, then you are just saying they are different in the Hereafter but before the Hereafter they are equal. What if you took the opposite approach, it would be that they are not equal before the Hereafter.

This is actually a fiqh opinion and there is a hadith related to this about not taking a Muslim’s life if they have killed someone from Ahl Dhimmah.  We have clear text from the Qur’an that talks about a soul for a soul, the verse of Qisaas [2:178].  

Sahih International

O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered - the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother anything, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conduct. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment.

The verse here seems to be contradicting the understanding that some people have here.  Ibn Humaam, the famous Hanafi scholar, regarding this verse, he said that the Hanafis believe in the generality except for what must be separated due to akl (human reasoning).  There are some ways that you can say they share qualities in the akhl sense but they are different in many other ways.  Then he goes on to say that this difference between them has no generality and is only in the Hereafter and therefore this cannot be taken against the verse of Qisaas.  The hanafis do not say this verse applies in this world when it comes to killing a Muslim as Qisaas.

For Hanafis you do have to recompense a Muslim if you take a life of Ahl ul Dhimmah, because of the hadeeth. So the verse of Qisaas is particularized by the hadeeth.

Next topic is a principle or Qaeeda with a very long arabic name (we could not capture the term).

Lets say somebody came to the prophet and asked for ruling in response to something that has happened to him.

Hypothetical example

Sahabi asked him a question, I just did X. And then prophet replied, if you did X, then you have to do Y.

The problem is that when he did X, there are many ways that he could have done X.  If X was breaking fast, then there are many ways to break a fast. So if you came and asked Shaikh Jamaal, I broke my fast, what would Shaikh Jamaal do in response. He would ask, how did you break the fast, because depending upon how you broke the fast, there might be different rulings for it.

If the prophet answered the sahaba to do Y without asking him exactly how he did X, then it means that the ruling of Y is general and it applies to all of the cases of X, meaning it could be X1 or X2 or X3 etc.  This is a kind of generality.

Usually general is relegated to words, there is no ummoom for actions.  In the above case, because of prophet’s ruling of Y, even though he did not say it, it is implied that Y is the ruling for all cases of X.

And this makes sense because the prophet is the law giver sent by Allah swt and it is incumbent upon him to explain a ruling properly.  And he would not have answered it generally, if it depended upon a specific case of X. And since he did not further question the sahabi, then it means that his answer is applicable to all cases of X.

This principle is agreed upon and used by all four madhabs. There are only few scholars who do not agree to this principle, all of them are shafi, even though Imam Shafiee explained it in his risala, Imam al-Haramain al Juwayni, Ar Razi, al Ghazali and Al Amidi.

And when the prophet needed to ask, he indeed did ask the sahaba. For example the story of Maaiz, who came and admitted to the prophet that he committed zina. The prophet asked him are you insane? Do you know what you are talking about? And then he went on that, you might have just hugged her. And this example highlights that he asked question about circumstances.

Al Juwayni says that the prophet might have known the circumstance behind the event and that is the reason why he did not ask, as an explanation of why he does not adhere to this principle.

His argument is not strong, because of the examples presented. If the ruling is restricted to an event that the person did, so even though the prophet was aware of the specifics of the event, he would have explained it to make sure that sahaba knew he was aware of the specifics of the event.

if the ruling I gave you is dependent upon how you break the fast, then I have to give you the ruling based on the circumstance. And if he did not ask, then the ruling is the same. And here he purposely made a general statement and it is applicable for all of the cases.

There are some important conditions to the general principle:

1. The other scenarios are possible. For example there are many ways of breaking fast and all of them are

2. The assumed other scenarios must not be strange occurrences. It has to be normal occurrence. For example, if people who accepted Islam and they were already married. And this person had nine wives. And this is not a normal occurrence.

3. The conclusion that is derived from the ruling should not contradict a stronger source or something that is stated explicitly elsewhere (mantooq).

It should not contradict something mantooq (which is statement made elsewhere). For example a woman came and asked can she make hajj on behalf of his old father, and the prophet replied yes. Is there more than one possible scenario with respect to that woman? Some ulema use this hadeeth to prove that even if you have not made hajj yourself, you can make it on behalf of somebody else. Because they say that because of the above principle, he did not ask her any questions.

But there is another hadeeth where the prophet explicitly asked a person who wanted to perform hajj for somebody else, and the prophet questioned that person about it. So here in the above hadeeth, maybe the prophet knew that the woman who asked for permission to perform hajj had already performed hajj.

Mafhoom cannot contradict mantooq. And this principle is akin to mafhoom or unstated case of the ruling and mantooq is stated case of a ruling.

4. There cannot be evidence that one of the scenarios took place.

For example, a bedouin came to the prophet and said that I have destroyed myself and the prophet said why, the bedouin said that I had intercourse with my wife during Ramadan, the prophet said free a slave.

Now applying this principle of the hadeeth, does it matter if it happened intentionally or unintentionally?

Is there anything in the narration that not all of the scenarios took place?

The implication of halaqtoo or I have destroyed myself, it means that he did it intentionally. This is not a good example of this condition, because the bedouin could say halaqtoo for many reasons, implying that the bedouins are simple folks and can say it for cases even though it is not necessary.

If somebody breaks fast intentionally by eating or drinking, what is the expiation for it?

There is a difference of opinion

The expiation is based on the hadeeth of the prophet, where a man came and asked him that he broke his fast and the prophet said free a slave. The prophet did not ask him how he broke his fast.

Malikis say that this is evidence for generality of expiation of breaking the fast.

Somebody embraces Islam and they have more than four wives.

What should someone do in this case? He has six wives and none of them are sisters. What can he do with the additional two wives? How can he choose and select which of the four wives to keep?

The hanafis consider the pre Islamic marriages to be valid. Because none of the sahaba to remarry after accepting Islam. The Hanafis say that he has to divorce the last two.

A man came who had nine wives and accepted Islam, the prophet said keep any four and separate from the rest. This is a problem for the Hanafis, who now resort to saying that he married all of the nine at the same time and there is no way for him to determine which to leave.  Their hypothetical example is strange, how many people in Jahiliyaah married nine wives at the same time. So their view goes against this hadeeth.

There was another person who married two sisters at the same time prior to Islam. There was no sin upon him, but the prophet said that he can choose one of them.

If there are different plausible scenarios for a case then the ruling of the prophet if he did not specify which scenario, then it is applicable to all of them. This is only true to statements of the prophet and not actions.

Tark al istisaar

Imam Shafiee talked about it which is the example of nine wives which we discussed earlier and this example is mentioned in many usool al fiqh books. Howvever shaikh received a book on Tark al Istisaar which gives other examples and he is asking us to ignore the remark he made about it in the previous class.