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Daleel (دليل, pl. adillah) is an Arabic word meaning evidence or proof, and in the terminology of Islamic jurisprudence, the word refers to anything that is used to deduce and justify a ruling or fatwa from the Shariah, or Islamic Law. While there exist numerous specific types of daleels arranged in a hierarchy, as understood variously by the different schools of Islamic law, all generally agree today that among the most important daleels are, in order, the Qur'an, Hadith, Ijma (consensus of Islamic scholars or Muhammad's companions), and some form of Qiyas (analogical reasoning).
In a more literal sense, daleel is also used to refer to empirical realities that are relevant to an Islamic ruling. If, for instance, a judge needs to establish whether or not a contract was made, then the judge might require evidence, or a daleel, for the establishment of this fact, such as witnesses to the contract or a document.
The Qur'an is the primary point of reference in deriving Islamic law, as it is considered maximally authoritative, being the exact words of God, and is held to be better, and indeed perfectly, preserved relative to the hadith. And while a critical look seems to suggest that the Qur'an likely changed quite a bit before being standardized after the prophet's death, none would disagree that the Qur'an is ultimately a more reliable and historical document than the hadith, which were written roughly 200 years later.
Generally in deriving Islamic law, only the authentic (sahih) and good (hasan) hadiths are used (although some schools of Islamic law prefer a weak hadith over independent reasoning if there is no authentic or reliable hadith regarding some matter). Fabricated (Maudu) narrations are not considered to be hadith at all.
Examples of authentic hadiths
The following are examples of authentic hadith.
Aisha's age, when married and consummated, has been reported in more than a dozen hadith, and the details of the narrations are consistent across collections (ie. Tabari, Ishaq, Muslim, Bukhari, Dawud etc.) ruling out the possibility that the collectors made them up or a specific area had incorporated a cultural practice into Islam.
The lesser worth of a female in Islam is confirmed by both Sahih collections (Bukhari and Muslim), and also by the Qur'an itself.
Examples of fabricated hadiths
The following are examples of weak or fabricated hadith.
This originated from the 11th century book, The History of Baghdad, by the Islamic scholar al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, and some contemporary Islamic scholars have concluded that it is not only weak, but fabricated.
This tale has no known source, and is not found in any hadith or Islamic text.
The most often quote version of the Farewell Sermon reportedly does not have a source. You can read the genuine Farewell Sermon text here. Note that in this version Muhammad orders men to beat women, and these orders coincide with the Qur'anic order of wife-beating. He also compares women to domestic animals.
Daleel for the daleel
The term Ijma refers to scholarly consensus in particular, but literally translates to simply mean "consensus". This distinction is generally ignored by the schools of Islamic law, as they understand Ijma to simply mean consensus between educated, scholarly Muslims. The doctrine of Ijma upon which the daleel of Ijma is based arises from the following hadith. However, this hadith itself does not make this specification, and refers only more generally to the Muslim ummah, or community of believers at large:
Moreover, the above hadith was not considered by classical scholars to be authentic beyond all doubt, and thus did not suffice as a basis for certain knowledge regarding what Muhammad said. Still, somewhat circularly, these same scholars argued that consensus existed on the validity of the hadith itself, and thus the narration was reliable.
Definitions and possibility
Various views exist on the nature of Ijma, ranging on two spectrum: one the broadens and narrows the group of people required to participate in the consensus, and the other that makes it more or less difficult to ascertain whether or not a consensus has in fact occurred. Some argue(d) that Ijma was necessary among all the Muslims alive on earth, and others argued that it was only required among the companions or the scholars of a certain sect or school of law. Some argue(d) that even if Ijma was ascertainably a basis for doctrine, it would be impossible to observe, since no one could interview every living Muslim or even every living Muslim scholar (for one could be hiding, forgotten, or just refuse to comment); others argued that so long as no one voiced a vocal objection (or, perhaps, if records of dissenting voices were simply lost or not recorded), the "silence" of the scholarly community could be interpreted as their assent, thus making Ijma far more feasible.
The use of analogical reasoning to derive rulings in Islamic laws is referred to as Qiyas. This type of evidence is used frequently, as it is required whenever there is absence of scripture on a topic. In such cases, jurists identify scripture that discusses a related or analogous topic and, after identifying the analogous elements of the matter at hand and matter addressed by scripture, they attempt to extrapolate an analogous ruling.
The primary requirement for establishing an analogy between a matter covered by scripture and matter not covered by scripture is identifying the operative cause, or illah (عِلّة). The illah is the specific set of circumstances under which a ruling comes into action. For instance, with the ban on alcohol, which is found in the Qur'an, most Islamic jurists maintain that the illah is intoxication. They will cite, for instance, the fact that while there is no intoxicating effect (so, before distillation), drinking grape juice is admissible. Since the prohibition only comes into play once the drink is intoxicating, jurists argue that the prohibition is in fact on intoxication, and that thus all intoxicants can be prohibited, or haram, by analogy, or qiyas.
- Hadith - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Hadith
- Qur'an - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Qur'an
- Fiqh - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Fiqh
- Islamic Law - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Islamic Law
- Ibrahim B. Syed - 52 Weak Ahadith - Islamic Research Foundation International
- Imam Abdullah Azzam - JOIN THE CARAVAN - ReligionScope
- Brown, Jonathan A.C. (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. p. 56. ISBN 978-1780744209. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
- Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi (26 March 2016). The Laws of Islam (PDF). Enlight Press. ISBN 978-0994240989. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
- D. Mullah & M. Hidadjatullah, Principles of Mahomedan Law xxii (16th ed. 1968)
- Quran 2:219, Quran 5:90, Quran 5:91