Conflict of law and the methodology of Tarjīẖ : a study in Islamic legal theory
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Islamic law never achieved unity but expressed itself in, at least, four surviving schools. More interestingly, contemporary Muslim communities are still divided among themselves on a number of issues related to their laws. This work describes how problem of legal conflicts have been tackled by Muslim jurists. It is an attempt to examine closely the phenomenon of conflict in Islamic law from the standpoint of usūl-al-fiqh or Islamic legal theory. In fact, much is heard nowadays of the contradiction in the body of Islamic law. Whilst in contrast, little is presented in terms of the methodology of removing this conflict. The present work therefore, attempts to redress this balance. The emphasis of the work will be concerned primarily with tarjīh methodology ; how to give preference to one piece of evidence or argument over the other when they conflict. Nevertheless, considerable concern is given to investigating the background to the conflict of law in the Shari'ah. This study of a neglected area in Islamic legal scholarship will be an important source of reference to students, both practising and theoretical jurists or to anyone who merely wishes to increase his knowledge of legal themes, particularly legal conflict. The very aim of the work is to argue that conflict is a natural and unavoidable consequence of legal study because legal conflict is only conflicting principles and arguments adduced by both the classical and modern jurists to reach what is actually intended by God in the target case. Therefore, conflicts are inevitable in most of the cases in fiqh owing to the variety of principles set out to deal with one piece of legal evidence, let alone with all the pieces of legal evidence in question. Tarjīh is therefore, an important and workable instrument in the re-examination of these conflicts and in arriving at the most accurate principle for establishing the law for as long as this is possible. It is hoped that the discovery of new facts and the increase of knowledge which results from the broadening and deepening of the research will positively contribute to the process of unification of Islamic law.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy