This book is about the application of the Quran as law. It considers the methods used by Malik in his Muwatta to derive judgements from the Quran and is thus concerned on one level with the finer details of Quranic interpretation. However, since any discussion of the Quran in the context of the Muwatta must necessarily include consideration of the terms Sunnah, hadith, ijtihad and amal, these terms – or at least the concepts behind them – also receive considerable attention. Indeed, the argument of this book has more bearing on the history and development of Islamic law – of which the above terms are the expression – than on the science of Quranic interpretation.
This study is an attempt to go back before the time of As-Shaafi and reconstruct a picture of how the most ‘ancient’ of the ancient’ schools i.e that of Madina, approached the question of applying the Quran as law.
This study divides naturally into three parts. The first gives the general contextual background o Madina which Is essential if one is to place Malik and his muwatta in their proper Madinan setting. Part two concerns the more specifically Quranic element in the muwatta. Part three is in the nature of a conclusory section where the commonly accepted axiom that Islamic law is based on the two-fold source of Quran and sunnah is re-examined in the light of the preceding chapters.