Al-Sarakhsîs View of Hadith and Sunnah with Reference to His Usûl al-Sarakhsî
The author of al-Mabsût, one of the most important and comprehensive legal sources in the Hanafî school, al-Sarakhsî systematically explained the Hanafî fiqh methodology, including its view of the sunnah and hadith, in his book Usûl al-Sarakhsî, which he wrote as an introduction to his al-Mabsût. The sunnah refers, according to Sarakhsî, to the path the Prophet and his companions followed in the religion of Islam. Constituting the second basic source of the sharia, the sunnah for him consists of mashhûr and mutawâtir narrations implying absolute or near-absolute truth. Akhbâr al-wâhid, on the other hand, are considered within the scope of the sunnah inasmuch as they are compatible with the Qurân and Sunnah despite their lack of certainty; otherwise they are deemed gharîb or shâzz (weak narration) and thus rejected. Sarakhîs view on the preconditions for a narrator is on the whole in line with the traditional hadith methodology. The main diference lies in his emphasis on the jurist identity of the narrator and in his distinction between zâhir (external) and bâtin (internal) preconditions. He also applied the same distinction to his discussion on the inqitâ (interruption in chain) by dividing it into apparent (sûratan) and figurative (manan) types. For him while the mursal kind of chain interruption refers to an apparent interruption (inqitâ sûrî), and its contradiction to the Qurân and Sunnah refers to a figurative one (inqitâ manawî). This article thus tries to demonstrate that al-Sarakhsîs view of the Sunnah is a fiqh-centered one and that the language, conceptualization and methodology that he used in his work reflect the Hanafî shools view of the hadith.
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