Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Rabi-Ul Akhir / Jamadiul Awwal 1423 H
July 2002
Volume 15-07 No:187

News| Community Roundup| Editorial| Comments| Travelogue| Features| Investigation| Islamic Thoughts| Muslim Perspectives| Children| Quran Speaks| Hadith| Our Dialogue| Book Review| Religion| Quran & Science| Opinion| From Darkness to Light | Matrimonial|
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Children's Page


Prophet's Companions :Hazrath Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah
How much does a prayer weigh?
A for apple? No! A for Allah
Letters of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)
The Boundary Crisis
Learn from Tipu's Life
Give Earth a Chance
Science Facts
On the Shelf
Islamic Voice Quiz July-2002
Bookmark Contest for Creative Kids
Ullu Kaun?
Khushu: The First Blessing to be Taken Away from People
Supplication of the Oppressed
Globe Trotting
Webwatch
What is Usool al-Fiqh?


Prophet's Companions

Hazrath Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah

He refused to leave the battlefield during the epidemic of plague
and preferred to die rather than return to the safe environs of Madinah

Hazrath Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah was an extremely handsome person whose sharp features left a pleasing impression on the visitors. He was extremely shy, but was equally alert. He embraced Islam immediately after Hazrath Abu Bakr joined the fold of Islam. Since he was one among the earliest followers of Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him), he underwent extremely painful moments of trials.

It is worth mentioning that Abu Ubaidah was known for his gallantry. During the battle of Badr when Makkan infidels attacked Madinah, he was seen tearing through the enemy’s forces and coming down on opponent soldiers like a thunder. But there was one person from among the rival forces who wanted to engage him time and again, but Abu Ubaidah would give him a slip every time. He would encounter him repeatedly, would stand in his way, but Abu Ubaidah would shun, skirt and avoid him. But there came a moment when Abu Ubaidah was cornered. It was now a matter of die or kill. The opponent refused to move an inch from his place. Abu Ubaidah swirled around and struck his sword on his head. It broke the skull and the man collapsed at his place. Do you know who he was? It was Abu Ubaidah’s father Abdullah bin Jarrah. Abu Ubaidah had killed not his father, but an enemy of God in war. The act was appreciated in verse 22 of chapter Mujadilah of the holy Quran.

Abu Ubaidah’s honesty, sense of justice and fair play was exemplary. Once a Christian delegation came to the Prophet. They wanted the Prophet to depute somebody from among his colleagues to settle financial disputes within the community which were turning worse by the day. The Prophet deputed Abu Ubaidah for the assignment.

During the battle of Uhud, Abu Ubaidah was one among those who laid a circle of guard around the holy Prophet. They were protecting him by taking the arrows on their chests and hands. As the intensity of the attack lessened, he saw the Prophet in an injured state. Some rings of his helmet (protective headgear) had pierced into both sides of his jaws. Abu Ubaidah came forward to pull them out. For fear of causing more pain to the Prophet, Ubaidah did not use his hands. He put his teeth into the wires of the helmet and pulled it out. He repeated the same on the other cheek. While doing this, he lost two teeth on either side.

Abu Ubaidah was a close associate of Caliph Abu Bakr and Umar and during their caliphate carried out all their commands without batting an eyelid. But he refused to obey one command from Caliph Umar. At that time, Abu Ubaidah was commanding the Islamic forces in Syria. Cities were falling one by one and Islamic forces were setting up new administration everywhere. Islamic conquests had brought the area from river Euphrates (now in Iraq) and Asia Minor (modern Turkey) under the sway of Islam. Even as the battles were at their peak, plague broke out in Syria. Hundreds of people were falling victims to it daily.

Umar was afraid of losing Abu Ubaidah. He sent him a missive to return to Madinah immediately. But Abu Ubaidah realised that Umar wanted him to save himself from the deadly clutches of plague. Even though Umar had specifically ordered him to head for Madinah without a moment’s delay once he received the message, Ubaidah was in no mood to leave the battlefield. He wrote to Umar that he cannot leave the Islamic forces in a lurch. “If Allah is keen to take my life this way, nothing can deter Him from doing so,” he added.

When Hazrath Umar read Abu Ubaidah’s letter, tears rolled down his cheeks. People around him asked if Abu Ubaidah had died. Umar said: “No, the death is closing in on him.”

Umar was not wrong. Abu Ubaidah was soon afflicted with plague. On his death bed, he called the Muslims around and addressed them: “O Muslims, I am leaving this Will among you. If you follow this, you will be safe. Listen, establish prayers, keep fasts during Ramazan, give charity. Perform Hajj and Umrah. Be kind and obedient towards your rulers. Never betray them. Listen, this material world should not make you negligent towards faith and its demands.

“Listen to me carefully. Even if you get a life of 1,000 years, death is inevitable. It will not spare you. May peace be upon you. May Allah shower his blessings upon all of you.” He then turned towards Muaz bin Jabal and asked him to lead the prayers. He then said, “Allah Hafiz” (May Allah protect you all) and closed his eyes. His soul departed out of his body. Muaz then rose from his seat and addressed the gathering: “O brethren, you are mourning the death of a person whom I have found extremely sincere and transparent. I have not seen a man more virtuous, innocent of rancour and concerned about people’s welfare.”

(Translated and abridged by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj from Suwarum min Hayathus Sahaba
Authored by Dr. Abdur Rahman Rafat Pasha).

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How much does a prayer weigh?

Fatimah, a poor lady with a look of forlorn on her face, walked into a grocery store. She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would not charge for a few groceries. She explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, and they had seven children and they needed food very badly. Ahmad, the grocer and a mean man by nature, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store. Visualising the family needs, she pleaded : “Please, Brother Ahmad! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can. Please, have pity on my hungry children.” Ahmad told her he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store. Standing beside the counter was a customer who was well-known in the village as Hussien who overheard the conversation between the Fatimah and the grocer. Hussien, who was well known for his charitable heart, walked forward and told the grocer that he would pay for whatever she needed for her family. The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, “Do you have a grocery list? Fatimah replied, “Yes Brother I do.” “OK,” he said in a mean voice, “put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries.” Fatimah hesitated a moment with a bowed head, then she took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed. The eyes of Ahmad, the grocer and Hussien showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed down. Ahmad, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said “I can’t believe it.”

The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more. Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement. It was not a grocery list, it was a prayer which read : “Dear Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, you know what my family needs and I am leaving this in Your hands.” The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and stood in stunned silence. Fatimah thanked him and Hussien left the store. Hussien then paid the bill to the grocer and said, “It was worth every penny of it.”

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A for apple? No! A for Allah

A is for Allah
Lord of the Universe, who is One,
He made the earth, stars, and sun
He made angels to worship and pray,
He made man from a dab of clay

B is for Bilal
Bilal is that tall, brave African man,
Calling the Muslims to come and pray,
was his duty each night and day

C is for Children
Laughing or crying, short or tall,
Allah loves children, one and all

D is for Dua
Remembering Allah all nights and days,
Thank Allah with “Al Hamdulillah”
And praise Him with “Subhanallah”

E is for Earth
With its mountains, rivers, and seas,
They all declare Allah’s Might, Following His laws, wills, and light

F is for Faith
That which the Muslims call Iman,
Is in the heart of the believing man,
Love for Allah pouring out like sand

G is for Gabriel
An angel created by Allah from light,
To Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)he did appear,
To bring mankind the Holy Quran so dear
H is for Heaven
God’s garden of joy, peace, and love,
The home for Muslim’s souls above
The path to this heavenly place
Is faith in Allah’s guidance and grace
I is for Islam
A way of life for all of who,
Give to Allah the praise that is due
J is for Jesus
Peace be upon him, ‘Isa, the son of Maryam,
To his people Allah’s word did he carry
K is for Ka’bah
First house of Allah in Makkah was made,
By Ibrahim and Ismail the stones were laid,
millions of believers from every race,
come for Hajj to this extra special place
L is for Life
A precious gift from Allah to you, Don’t waste it, he knows what you do Don’t chase pleasure or forget Allah,
M is for Muhammad
Peace be upon him, Abdullah’s son,
Of all the Prophets he was the last,
N is for Nuh
Peace be upon him, a Prophet who was very good, Allah told him to build an ark, fast as he could, Take pairs of animals and the believers-all, The flood was coming and the waves would be tall!
O is for Obedience
It is the duty of each Muslim to obey,
The Quran and the Sunnah all the way
P is for Prayer
It is the cornerstone of Muslim life,
Prayer five times a day is a must,
Q is for Qur’an
A blessing and guide for all of mankind,
In it Allah’s message you will find
R is for Ramadan
For Muslims this blessed month of fasting,
Is to celebrate Allah’s love everlasting
S is for Surah
One hundred and fourteen in the Quran,
Read them and trust in Al-Rahman,
T is for Tawheed
La ilaaha illallah, Allah is the only one,
There is no partner with Him, nor son
U is for Ummah
The Muslim community which Muhammad found,
The brotherhood of Islam made it sound
V is for Victory
It is the help from Allah to you,
His guidance in everything you do
W is for Wudu’
We must keep our minds and bodies clean,
Because by Allah we are always seen
X is for “Seen” *
X is not easy for us to rhyme,
But Allah’s path is clear even to the blind
Y is for Yunus
Peace be upon him, a good man in a wicked town,
He ran to the sea and a whale gobbled him down
By the mercy of Allah he was saved to tell,
His people to become good and obey Allah well
Z is for Zero-sin
It is the way we each begin,
Free from wordly sin.
So, don’t let yourself forget,
Keep out of the devil’s threat!



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Letters of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)

After the peace treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah, Prophet Muhammad sent letters to neighbouring kings. These letters, short and simply written gave the basic message of Islam. Here is the letter which the Prophet wrote to Khusru, the King of Persia:

“In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Beneficent, From Muhammad, Allah’s messenger to Khusru, the leader of Persia. Peace be to him who follows right guidance, believes in Allah and His messenger and declares that there is no deity save Allah, the only God, who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. I wish to convey to you Allah’s call, for I am Allah’s messenger to all mankind, sent with the task of warning all those who are alive that doom will befall on those who reject the truth. If you submit to Allah, you will be safe. If you refuse, you shall bear the responsibility for the Magians (i.e your people).”

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The Boundary Crisis

A. I. Makki

A long time ago, there lived two families in Coorg, whose tea estates were joined in a common boundary line between their farms. The families had purchased those tea estates from the same owner a long time back. The owner of the tea estate had sold his property and had settled down in Britain.

Time passed by, the two owners moved in to take charge of their respective farms. After a few days of settling in, they decided to partition their farms and build a fence around their properties. At the time of fencing the property, a bitter quarrel developed between the two families as each felt the other was encroaching upon his share of the land. One of the owners decided that he had enough of this quarrel and decided to sell his land to another. Soon enough, he found a buyer for his land and a price was fixed. A deal was signed and the money and the ownership of the property exchanged hands. The new owner moved in to take charge of his property along with his family. The new owner became aware of the problem of the demarcation of boundaries between both the farms the next day itself. His neighbour had marched into the house accompanied with all the members of his family. In a loud voice, he started asserting all the old arguments that he had, with the previous owner; he was being defrauded of his land, the boundary was two feet over on his land. The new property owner heard out all the arguments of his neighbour calmly. After he had finished, the new owner said softly, “Well, in that case, I will have the fence moved four feet this way into my land.” The argumentative farmer was taken aback by this generous offer. In a surprised voice, he said, “But that will be giving me some of your land.” “Well,” returned the other, “that will not hurt me nearly as much as to have a quarrel over it and you may start taking the fence down from tomorrow itself and place it inside my land and send me the bill. I will pay half of the costs towards the labour involved.” The farmer appeared to be comforted by his neighbour’s words and left his house. The next day morning, the fence stayed where it had been for so long. Months turned into years, the two neighbours lived by the side of each other, each family farming its land, selling the produce in the market and prospering equally. A warm friendship grew up between both the families and they have lived there, since that time. The boundary between the two farms still remains the same.

Moral: It takes two to make a quarrel, but a single man, if he has, his heart in the right place can settle it.

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Back to the Past

Learn from Tipu's Life

Sabith Khan

The textbooks tell us all that Tipu Sultan was a brave ruler and he fought the British and he was known as the Tiger of Mysore. But did you know that he was among the first persons to sow the seeds of freedom struggle in our country? Tipu Sultan fought four battles with the British and it was during his last war that he was martyred. Mysore state was the only state, which offered resistance to the British, with whom the Marathas and the Nizam had good relations. Tipu inflicted a crushing defeat on Colonel Baillie near Polilur. This was the first and the most serious blow the English had suffered in India. The fourth Mysore war was when Tipu was defeated and martyred . This was possible only because of the co-operation of the Marathas and Nizam of Hyderabad with the British. Perhaps this has a lesson for all of us today , that unity is strength. Should not we remember Tipu as an outstanding example of a personality who showed us all what it means to be a true son of the soil? Or should we just count him among the many rulers of our country? We ought to learn a lesson or two from Tipu’s life.

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Around Us

Give Earth a Chance

Sabith Khan

June 5 is celebrated as World Environment Day. This year, the United Nations Environment Programmme (UNEP) celebrated the main event at Schenzen city in South China. The theme for this year’s World Environment Day was “ Give Earth a chance”.

With the rapid growth of population and globalisation, our planet is faced with challenges never seen before. It is not surprising to note certain changes in the climate, like the El-Nino effect and Global Warming. All these indicate that the fine balance, which the creator Allah has made, is being disturbed by us humans who are exploiting nature for our own uses. See how we are destroying our environment in our everyday life. The plastic bags that you use to bring home groceries takes thousands and may be millions of years to decompose, which means it is polluting our environment. So what is the big deal? Well, the big deal is that if we continue to pollute the environment, there will come a day when our very survival will be at stake with natural disasters attacking us. The good news is that bio-degradable plastic has been invented, which decomposes in a few weeks or months and so is harmless to the environment. But it is costly and costs twice as much as conventional plastic. It remains to be seen if any Indian firm comes out with a cheaper alternative to plastic, which has become such an important part of our lives

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Science Facts

 


Do you think any living creature has just one cell?
Yes. Protozoans have only one cell.
Which part of our brain does maths problems?
The cerebrum
Can we really hear the sound of the ocean in a sea shell?
No. What we hear is the sound of the blood flowing inside our head echoing inside the shell.
Where is our funny bone? How did it get its name?
Our funny bone is not a bone at all. It is a nerve that runs under the skin over each elbow. When we hit our funny bone, we get an odd funny sensation.
In Guatemala, people who live high in the mountains have very large hearts and lungs. Why do you think this is?
The air is very thin at high altitudes. For people to get enough oxygen to their cells, their hearts and lungs must work harder. As a result they become enlarged.
What kind of gas makes a balloon float?
Helium

Shafia Ahmed

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On the Shelf

After plus-two what? This is a perplexing question to most students seeking to make it to the best of careers. To help students make their right choice of college and course of education, Sri Sainath Creations, Bangalore has published Edu-Choice Karnataka, a complete updated Diectory of Educational Institutions in Karnataka. Edu-Choice is a one-stop reference directory for students, career seekers and anxious parents, offering detailed information on pre-university, degree and professional course colleges in Karnataka, ICSE/CBSE, residential schools in and near Bangalore and useful tips on CET and other admission procedures. The directory costs Rs. 50 and offers a lucky prize coupon. Edu-Choice Karnataka Directory is availble in the stands and bookshops. For further details contact : Sri Sainath Creations, Ph:3521276/3423270.
Email: pmr_v@yahoo.com.sg

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Islamic Voice Quiz July-2002

The Jury could not spot a single all-correct entry for the April 2002 and May 2002 Quiz.

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Bookmark Contest for Creative Kids

The Winners!

                 

Kudos to the imagination and creativity of all those children who spent their summer designing the Bookmarks for the Islamic Voice Bookmark Contest. Well! The entries started trickling in as soon as the rains had begun and the climate was cooler. We appreciate your effort and thank you for the interest shown by you. The theme of the contest was “Signs of Allah” and the Jury has chosen these designs as the prize winners.

First prize - Rs 250-Sanah Ahmed - Chennai
Second prize -Rs 200-Khizer Ismail - Mysore
Third prize -Rs 150-Sana Rabia - Bangalore

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Wild Talk

Ullu Kaun?

Ullu Kaun?

It gets its name from its magical call, which though soft can be heard at remarkable distances in the quiet of the Indian night. Gifted by evolution with the ability to fly in almost absolute silence and to detect shapes and forms in near complete darkness, this impressive bird is the ‘tiger’ of the night skies. Best equipped to find and kill rodents, it is equally capable of taking other small mammals and reptiles. And when the going is tough, it can get by on a diet of insects and even fish. When an Eagle Owl is young, it is vulnerable to predation by small cats, snakes and even other birds, but when it grows to adulthood, it is too large to have many enemies.

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Living the Quran

Khushu: The First Blessing
to be Taken Away from People

“Successful indeed are the Believers, those who offer their Prayers with khushu’ (solemness and submissiveness)” Surah al-Muminoon (The Believers) (Chapter 23:1,2)

Salah (prayer) is the greatest of the practical pillars of Islam, and khushu (concentration and humbleness) in prayer is the heart of your worship and your relationship with Allah.

No wonder, when Shaitan, the enemy of Allah, vowed to mislead and tempt the children of Adam and said, ‘Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left’ [7:17], one of the plots he devised was to divert people from prayer by all possible means. Thus, he whispers to us during our Salah diverting our attention, depriving us of the joy, love, and sweetness of this worship, and diminishing our reward for it. Khushu, as important as it is, is easily lost and rarely observed, especially in our present times. According to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), with the passage of time, “The first thing to be lifted up from this Ummah will be khushu, until you will see no one from among you who has it.”

How to Achieve Khushu Remember that khushu, comes from the heart, and only its effects are manifested in the physical body. The various faculties follow the heart. So if one’s heart is corrupted by negligence or whispers from Shaitan, the worship of his body will also be corrupt.

To perfect khushu in prayer, one should have a conscious fear of Allah, pray in a calm and collected manner, perform every act and movement with humility and full awareness of its significance, and take time to experience the serenity and tranquility.

Ibn Kathir says: Khushu in prayer is achieved when a person empties their heart for it (prayer), focuses on it and prefers it over everything else. Only then do they find comfort and joy in it.

This is also the cure to feeling lazy, since Allah says: “Verily it (the duty of prayer) is heavy, except on those who have khushu.”

(Compiled from “33 Ways of Developing Khushu in Salah” by Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid and “Salah: The State of Mind” by Young Muslims Publications ).

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Prophetic Guidance

Supplication of the Oppressed

“Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, even if he or she is a kafir (non-Muslim),
for there is no barrier between preventing it (from reaching Allah).”

Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) once heard the story of a weak woman who had been wronged by a cruel man of power in the land of Abyssinia, and the Prophet commented: “How does Allah hold as sacred a nation where the right of the weak is not taken from the strong!” Abyssinia was a Christian state at that time.

But how many so-called Muslim states we have today that claim God’s protection and sanctity for themselves, yet the poverty of the people, the preferred treatment of the rich, the oppression of women, or the racism and discrimination against foreigners and minorities, Muslim or non-Muslim, are of no concern to their rulers. How do they consider themselves “sacred” when Allah does not?

See the Prophet’s concern for a stranger and non-Muslim woman in a non-Muslim land! Some Muslims today would be hard-pressed to know the state of their Muslim neighbour next-door, much less those in India, Chechnya, Palestine, China, Africa and Afghanistan.

The Prophet says: “If people see a wrongdoer and do not prevent him, they come close to a punishment from Allah, coming down on all of them.” And warns: “When you see my Ummah fall victim to fear and not say to a wrongdoer: ‘You are wrong!’ then you may lose hope in them..

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Globe Trotting

Still Traditional Handicraft are Popular everywhere

For many people, a quilt is something they throw over their bed. However for many years, quilts were a traditional handicraft in America, Canada and Europe during times when money was in short supply. Pieces of material saved from old clothes and fabric remnants were cut and sewn into patchwork quilts. Once utilitarian, the quilt today is an art form. The Abu Dhabi Quilting Guild started in 1993, has popularised this art form and Abu Dhabi quilters are taught different techniques like the ‘Sashiko’. This originates from a simple darning technique that the Japanese used along with patches. The other technique is ‘Trapunto’ which is the art of quilting and stuffing the quilted area with material or yarn to achieve a raised look. Every year, an exhibition of the works of art created by the skilled needles of the quilters is held. This year too, traditional techniques from around the world were on display at Abu Dhabi with modern adaptation like Friendship or Memory Quilts where photographs were printed on fabric and then sewn into a quilt.

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Webwatch

www.cetacea.org

www.cetacea.org

Did you know that the most endangered ceta-cean in the world with a population of only around five is the Baiji or Chinese river dolphin that is found in the Three Gorges at the mouth of the Yangtze River, China? Have you wondered if cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) are fish? Well, they are not, but they are mammals. Browse through this simple and easy-to-navigate website and discover the world of cetaceans. The section about man’s influence informs us of the decimation of these amazing creatures by human beings and how countries like Japan and Norway continue to slaughter them. There is also a section on the evolution of cetaceans. You can also download a whale or dolphin screensaver. Check out the FAQs for some interesting information and the section on ‘Whale Watching’ for the best places around the world to sight these magnificient mammals. Email: info@cetacea.org

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Islamic Vocabulary

What is Usool al-Fiqh?

Usool al-Fiqh literally means the roots or foun dations of understanding whereas Shariah is the application of Islamic law in the real world and Fiqh is the knowledge of the Law itself together with its proofs and evidences, ‘Usool al-Fiqh is the body of guiding principles and methodologies for deducing the rules of Fiqh. It is a science that provides scholars of Islam with the tools, methods of reasoning, rules of deduction and interpretation, similar to how logic serves the philosophers or grammar serves the linguist. It’s importance lies in the fact that the Quran or the Sunnah cannot be correctly understood and no rules can be deduced from it if we do not have a knowledge of how to interpret them consistently and accurately as legal texts which is the domain of Usool al-Fiqh. The science of Usool al-Fiqh was formally developed by Imam al-Shafi’i although its use predates him. It is one of the most unique aspects of Islamic Law that differentiates it from any other legal system to have ever existed.

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