Content Details

Similarities and Differences between the al Ghazali’s Book and This Book[1] Part(13)

Imam al Ghazali proposes five different balances to providing evidence for believing in Allah and the truthfulness of the Islamic faith. They are also well related to syllogistic reasoning, as they are based on the four forms of syllogisms, which include premises and provide conclusions, as explained above.

In contrast, the criteria of balance offered by this book include all aspects of Islamic faith, law, and life. They are also based on three essential principles that are not related to the four forms of syllogisms, and these will be explained in detail later in this book.

In summary, Imam al Ghazali, may Allah have mercy on him, exerted great efforts to prove that the arguments of syllogistic reasoning are mentioned in the Holy Quran. Al Ghazali refers to syllogistic and inductive reasoning using the term parity, having two parallel scale pans. He also uses the term opposition to refer to conditional deduction. There are crucial differences between these criteria of logical judgment and the jurisprudence of the balance. However, turning scholars’ attention to the balance of concepts and evidence, as a more general field than the act of measuring weight, is attributed to al Ghazali.

The two scale pans of the balance discussed in this book include opposite conceptions and opposite texts. The two parts should be placed on the two scale pans of the balance, so that the two scale pans become exactly parallel. This is the type of justice Islam came up with so that humanity may uphold justice﴿ (Holy Quran 57: 25), with regard to their perceptions, beliefs, regulations, interactions, and understanding of what Allah sent down to them.

Differences between This Book and The Balance by Imam al Sha’rani

The Balance by Imam Abd al Wahab al Sha’rani (d. 973 Hijri) is very different from this book, The Jurisprudence of the Balance. He focuses on providing evidence by diligent jurisprudential scholars (Mujtahids) to prove the truthfulness of their claims, and that they deserve to be highly respected. He says,

“The main objective of this book is to encourage jurisprudential scholars to delve into this field, as directed by the following verse, He prescribed for you the same religion He enjoined upon Noah, and what We inspired to you, and what We enjoined upon Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus: ‘You shall uphold the religion, and be not divided therein’﴿ (Holy Quran 42: 13). Accordingly, Muslims may put into action the belief that most Muslim scholars are rightly-guided by Allah, so that they show more respect to these scholars.”[2]

Then he attempts to demonstrate that the claims of Mujtahids and their disciples are part of the enlightening Islamic law because they are all in total agreement with the teachings of Islamic law, and therefore all Mujtahids are truthful.[3] Therefore, his book is an attempt to show that jurisprudential scholars’ claims enhance Islamic law, and that differences of opinion regarding minor jurisprudential issues are advantageous. However, his book differs from The Jurisprudence of the Balance in that the latter is focused on explaining the criteria of the balance necessary for understanding various aspects of Islamic law. As needed, elements of Islamic law are compared and contrasted, with the purpose of arriving at well-balanced verdicts, based on independent reasoning, jurisprudence, perception, ruling, and a system of interactions and behavior.

Al Sha’rani explains that there are four degrees of true knowledge: certain, proper, probable, and most probable. He also asserts that verdicts of jurisprudential independent reasoning by the four Imams are all truthful, and that they can be assessed according to two criteria: the balance of appropriateness of a verdict to the case and the balance of gradation between strictness and easiness that relates to the special nature of every case. This is included in the jurisprudence of the balance.

The Relationship between the Jurisprudence of the Balance and Morphological, Prosodic, Syntactic, and Verification Rules

There are patterns of sound and rhythm in poetry called prosody. Further, the grammatical structure of Arabic sentences is determined by syntactic rules. These rules are derived from the Quran, the Sunnah, and (ancient) Arab colloquial speech. They are considered criteria for verifying the correctness of sentence structure. There are also rules for verifying the authenticity of Hadiths.

This balance is embedded in the following verse: If a troublemaker brings you any news, investigate...﴿ (Holy Quran 49: 6). Investigation can be done by verifying the authenticity of information, that is by using the balance of verification and affirmation. This is why Imam Ibn Hajar entitled his book on verifying the truthfulness of narrators Lisan al-Mizan (the Tongue of the Balance). The balance of Hadith, as a field of knowledge, will be discussed later in this book.

The Jurisprudence of the Balance and Logic

Some scholars use the term the balance to refer to logic. This is because logic is a set of criteria for judging ideas and perceptions. Many jurisprudential scholars, however, reject this approach, and, indeed, it is irrelevant to the approach adopted by this book, The Jurisprudence of the Balance.[4]





[1] I thank Allah the Almighty as befits His Greatness that He guided me to the same idea that also occupied this great imam, and to agree with him on the reasons that led him to write his book, as one of his most important aims of writing it was to settle all disputes between Muslims over the basics and reduce disagreement over secondary matters of faith; and to draw the means of measurement from the pure source, which is the Noble Qur’an and pure Sunnah.

[2] See: The Balance by Imam al-Sha’rani, an old version of lithography (vol. 1, pp.3-23)

[3] Ibid.

[4] See: Ali Sagogy and other writers on logic.

GHARIB The Stranger©" project.


Latest Tweets

Latest Posts