Islam is a religion and a way of life based on the commandments of Allah contained in the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (sallallaho 'Alaihi wasallam). Every Muslim is under an obligation to fashion his entire life in accordance with the dictates of Qur'an and Sunnah. So he has to observe at every step the distinction between what is right (Halal) and what is wrong (Haram). This highlights the need and importance of his acquaintance with the corpus juris of Islam (Shari'ah). I, therefore, developed a keen interest in the study of the Holy Qur'an during my student days.
But as is so common these days, the strong wind of "progressive" and "modern" ideas also took me off my feet particularly when listening as a student to the persuasive discourses of learned teacher Professor M. J. Sethna on "synthetic criminology". I started doubling the wisdom of Hadd punishments and this trend seeped into other areas of the Shari'ah. Fortunately, my exposure to fashionable influences ended too soon when I proceeded to Cambridge (England) to work as a research scholar in the areas of Fiqh and Usuial-Fiqh As I grappled on my own with the new problems concerning the Shari'ah, it soon began to dawn upon mc that this legal system based on divine guidance has immense potentialities to check the evils which beset the world today.
I carried this idea with me when I received a chance to work as a student at the Inns of Court at Middle Temple in London, an opportunity to attend the short courses in International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law, the Hague (Netherlands) and an occasion to pursue a course in Comparative Law at the Universite Internationale Sciences Droit Comparee, Luxembourg, In all these places, I continued to check and recheck my conclusions with other western scholars and I was confirmed in my belief that no legal system deriving its sustenance only from human intelligence can cure our society of the e/ils of criminality and exploitation. Seeing the high rate of crimes in the Western World, I was completely disenchanted with the high-sounding theories of synthetic criminology and this conditioned my thinking on other aspects of man-made legal systems.
I, therefore, began thinking that in order to save others from falling into the same error I owed a duty that I must not only acquaint them with the injunctions scattered throughout the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah which form the basis of Shari'ah but also enlighten them about the rational and comparative importance of such injunctions. The present book is in fulfillment of this desire.
This book developed out of my lectures delivered to my students of the Centre of Islamic Legal Studies and Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. This book, I strongly feel, is different from other books currently available in English on 'Islamic Law' or to be correct, Anglo-Muhammadan Law. Unlike those books, this work takes as its starting point the Qur'an and the Sunnah rather than the decisions of the courts.
I must, however, admit here that the interpretation of the Divine Message is not an easy task. I seek Allah's guidance and pray for His forgiveness for my shortcomings in undertaking it. But I am doing so in the hope that the book may stimulate further thought and research in this fascinating area and be of use to those interested in the subject.
I take this opportunity to thank my students, friends and other scholars whose comments and suggestions have helped me in the preparation of this book. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Shaikh Manna' Al-Qattan, Director of Al-Mahad al-Ali lil Qada of Riyadh for providing me with valuable original source books on the subject during my visit to Imam Muhammad bin Saud University and to many of my colleagues who have given their valuable contribution in the preparation of this book.
Wa ma taufiqi illa billlah
Rabi al-Awwal. 1404 A.H.
Abdur Rahman I. Doi
Centre of Islamic Legal Studies Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria