Sources of Islamic Law

Sources of Islamic Law

Opening remarks

Islam is the complete code of life. It gives guidance in all walk of life. Under Islamic law the term law includes the moral law and legal enactments. According to Islam ultimate source of any authority is God alone.

Sources of Islamic law

1. Quran

Quran is the first and primary source of law. Quran is not a legal code in the modern sense. The legislative part of Quran is the model illustration for future legislation and does not constituted a legal code by itself.


As primary source of law Quran has vital importance. It lays down a way of life which regulates the relationship of man with man and his relationship with God. The law of inheritance, marriage, divorce, theft, adultery and provisions of war and peace are meant for regulating the ties of man with the fellow beings.

2. Sunnah

Second source of Islamic law is Sunnah. The Sunnah is closely linked with the Quran. It comprises of:

All words counsels of the Prophet (S.A.W.W)

Actions, words and daily practices of the hold prophet (S.A.W.W).

Silence implying a tacit approbation his part of any individual act committed by the disciplines.


Sunnah has great importance after the Quran. It describes the functions of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) namely, announcing of the revelation before people, giving then guidance.

3. Ijma

Imja is an important source of law. It is the agreement of the Jurists among the followers of Muhammad (S.A.W.W) in a particular age on a particular question.

Basis of Ijma

Ijma may be based on




Kinds of Ijma






Ijma as a source of law has great importance. It helps in interpretation of laws according to the changing needs of times and new legislation can be made through its procees.

4. Qiyas

Qiyas is an extension of law from the original text to which the process is applied to a particular case by means of common Illat or effective cause, which cannot be ascertained merely by interpretation of the language of the text.


Qiyas Jali

Qiyas Khafi


The function of Qiyas is to extend the law of the text to cases not falling within the purview of its terms and not to establish a new rule of law.

5. Opinions of Muslim Jurists

Opinions of Muslim jurists are also secondary source of Islamic law.

6. Nature of laws lays down

The Holly Quran is a code of conduct laying down the fundamental principles and not the detailed provisions so in case of ambiguity reference should be made to the sunnah.

7. Naska

Nask is also secondary source of Islamic laws. It is tent of Quran and tradition which have either been totally abrogated or there application limited or modified by the subsequent text.

8. Muslalah Mursala

Muslalah Mursala means when nothing becomes clear in law after giving reasons then the course which is to be adopted according to Islamic spirit for instance. Taxation for the defence of the country.

9. Ijtehad

Ijtehad is one of the dependent source of Islamic law. If a matter is not resolved expressly in Quran and sunnah and by way of ijma the jurist must not leave the matter unresolved rather he should strive hard to find out the solution under the light of Quran and sunnah.

10. Municipal laws:

Municipal laws of the state also source of Islamic law provided that these are not contrary to Islamic concepts. It includes


Judicial precedents



11. Istehsan

Istehsan means preference of one over another considering the former good. When a rule of law deduced y analog is either in conflict with Ijma or is likely to causes inconvenience to its narrowness. The hanfis Jurists refuse to follow it and give preference to rule, which in his opinion would better advance the welfare of man and the interest of justice.

Kinds of istihsan

1. Istihsan-e-Qiyasi

2. Istihsan-e-Zarurat

3. Istihsan-e-Ijma

Importance of Istihsan

Islamic legal system is not a rigid one rather it is much flexible to be adopted according to the changing circumstances and needs of the society. The principle of Istehsan provides an opportunity to Muslim Jurists to interpret the law according to the spirit of and true intention if Islam.

12. Istidlal

Istidlal means inferring from a thing. It is the name for a distinct method of juristic ratiocination, not falling within the scope of interpretation or analogy.

Kinds of Istidlal

i. Expression of connection existing between two proposition.

ii. Isthab ul hal

iii. Authority of previous revealed law.

Importance of Istidlal

Istidlal as secondary source of law has importance in law making.

13. Taqlid

Taqlid negates the concept of Ijtihad and in fact it is just revels of it, Taqlid means to follow the opinion of learned. It is the discussion on the historical development of Islamic Jurisprudence.

Ending Remarks:

To conclude it can be said that the Quran is the basic and primary source of Islamic jurisprudence and laws. The basic sources of Islamic laws are Quran and sunnah. Their authority is unchanged in all the times. Qiyas and Ijma are considered to be an authoritative source of law being subservient to the Quran and sunnah. All the sources have importance in Islamic jurisprudence and law making.

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