Sunday, February 10, 2008


By Noor Hadina Ahmad Zabidi

Different views based on the classical definition that ijma is the unanimous agreement of the mujtahidun


1-view of a number of ulama including the Mutazili leader Ibrahim al Nazzam and some shii ulama that :-

-it is possible to ascertain the broad outline of an agreement among the mujtahidun but to say their consensus is definite is not possible


obtaining their views is beyond the bounds of practicality due to distant places, cities, continents, access to all of them

Difficulties in distinguishing a mujtahid from non mujtahid -no clear criteria concerning the attributes of the mujtahid

no guarantee that mujtahid who give an opinion will not change it before an ijma is reached thus ijma cannot be realised as it is a condition of ijma that all the mujtahidun be simultaneously agreed

2-Zahiris and Imam Ahmad = ijma Refers to the consensus of the Companions alone

3-Imam Malik - confines ijma to the people of Madinah

4-Shiah Imamiyyah = recognised only the agreement of the ahl bayt

5-Another argument to suggest that ijma is neither possible nor necessary

Reason -ijma is founded on ijtihad thus mujtahid must rely on the sources either qati (decisive) or speculativ (zanni)

If there is qatl evidence , the community is bound to know it and there Is no need for Ijma to substantiate the nass to make it known to the people as the qati evidence Is the authority Itself and ijma would become redundant

However if the indication is to be speculative = no ijma as the speculative evidence give rise to ikhtilaf not ijma


1- Jumhur Ulama = ijma has occurred In the past and to deny it only easting doubt on something which has occurred

eg:: Ijma'' of the companions on the exclusion of the son's from inheritance when there is a son.

According to them the ijma recorded became standard practice during the first four caliph who were often consulted and announced their collective decision in public

2-Abdul Wahab Khallaf -

Ijma In according with its classical definition is not feasible in modern ttimes. he views that ijma could not be effectively utilised if it is lift to Muslims individuals and communities without the government intervention

He suggested that the government in every Muslim country could for example ascertain the criteria of the mujtahid and to verify the views which will become binding hukum on the shariah upon all Muslim world

As to the question whether the classical definition of ijma has ever been fulfilled at any period following the demise of the Prophet Khallaf answered negatively.

He observed that during the period of the Companions, ijma consisted of the agreement of the learned among them who were present at the time the issue was deliberated and the ruling which followed was the collective decision of the shura.

He give the example that when Caliph Abu Bakar could not find the guidance for Dispute in the Quran and the Sunnah, he would consult the community leaders and if they agreed on an opinion he would act upon it

Khallaf argues that there is no report to Suggest that Caliph Abu Bakar postponed the settlement of the disputes untill all the mujtahidun of the age in different cities reached an agreement and he instead act on the collective decision of those who were present

This type of ijma only occurs during the Period of the companions

Except within those period, no collective ijma is known to have taken place on any juridical matter.

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