Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics

(Jacob Rumans) #1

c. The Sharia, the classic Islamic legal system (which is
the law of the land today in fundamentalist Muslim states)
that emphasizes recourse to sources (usul) in dealing with
matters of faith. Usul alfiqh, or the methodology of sources
in Islamic jurisprudence, is a highly developed study of
proof texts from the Koran and the Hadith that are at the
foundations of Islamic particular law.

All of these sources of authority are based firmly on the
Koran, but the individual Muslim is still faced with the
problem of the lack of a final, authoritative human
interpreter of the Koran’s teachings.

42. Is the Koran the sole rule of faith

for the Muslim?

Not precisely. Muhammad’s Tradition, the Hadith, is
the second source of the Islamic faith. In Muslim theory and
practice, the Hadith is virtually equal in importance to the
Koran. Indeed, since Allah refers to many matters with
which Muhammad is familiar but we are not, the Koran is
often unintelligible. Muslims, however, are not free to
interpret their sacred book in any way they please, for
‘‘whenever Allah and His apostles have decided a matter, it
is not for the faithful man or woman to follow a course of
their own choice’’ (Sura 33:36).

Muslims can find Muhammad’s own authoritative
explanations of passages of the Koran in a number of
voluminous collections of Ahadith (Ahadith is the Arabic

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