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Qiyas

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

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    Qiyas

    In Islamic law, the deduction of legal prescriptions from the Quran or Sunnah by analogic reasoning. Qiyas provided classical Muslim jurists with a method of deducing laws on matters not explicitly covered by the Quran or Sunnah without relying on unsystematic opinion (ray or hawa). According to this method, the ruling of the Quran or Sunnah may be extended to a new problem provided that the precedent (asl) and the new problem (far) share the same operative or effective cause (illa). The illa is the specific set of circumstances that trigger a certain law into action. For example, the operative cause for the prohibition against alcohol is that it intoxicates the mind. Therefore, anything that intoxicates the mind, such as narcotics, is also prohibited by the use of analogy. Although various schools of thought in Islamic history have vigorously debated the legitimacy of the use of analogy, qiyas has played a central role in the development of Islamic law. The four main Sunni schools of law consider it one of the four main sources of law, the other sources being the Quran, Sunnah, and consensus (ijma). The Jafari Shii of school of law, however, counts aql (reason) as a separate source of law instead of qiyas. Other methods of deducing the law, such as mafhm al-nass (the clear implication of the text), tamthil (similarity or likeness), istihsan (juristic preference), or istislah (consideration of public interest), either explicitly rely on qiyas or use methods of analysis that are similar in their approach to qiyas.

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