After Holy Quran and Sunnah, it is considered as a source of Islamic Law and was started after the demise of the Holy Prophet. However, the origin of Ijma can be traced out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. In fact, both the Holy Quran and Sunnah give permission to find out solution of some matter for which the Holy Quran and Sunnah have never provided any solution.
Literally Meaning agreeing upon.
(ii) Legal Meaning
“The consensus of a jurist of a certain period of the Muslim community over a certain religious matters”. (MUSALLIM-AL-THABAT V.2, P.211)
(iii) Technical Meaning
It’s means, “determination and consensus” or the collection of several things way of belivers.
(iv) Understood Meaning
“It is a consensus of majority opinion of the persons (Muslim Jurists) competent to Ijma regarding religious issue of legal nature”.
(i) Sheikh Muhammad Khazi
“The agreement of jurists from the Ummah upon a matter of human shari”.
(ii) Sir Abdur Rahim
“Ijma is defined as agreement of the jurists among the following of Muhammad in a particular age on a question of law”.
In the light of Quran
(i) “If you have differed among any thing, then refer it to Allah (The Book) and His Messenger (The Sunnah)”. (SURAH AL-NISA: 59)
(ii) “Whoever Obey Prophet (Peace be upon him), he indirectly obeyed Allah”. (SURAH AL-NISA: 80)
In the light of Sunnah
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “My people will never agree on erroneous things”.
All major schools of fiqh recognized by Ijma. Each school is a follows.
(i) Shafi School
They recognize the consensus or agreement of opinion of the whole ummah i.e., Ijma al Ummah.
(ii) Maliki School
They recognize the Ijma of companions and their successors living in Medina, without reference to the opinions of others. Thus they recognize Ijma al Medina.
(iii) Shai School
They hold that the only binding Ijma is that done by Ahal-i-Bayt thus they recongnize Ijma Ahal-i-Bayt.
(iv) Hanbali School
They recognize the Ijma of companions and their successors but they also recongnize Ijma by jurists of the Modern age i.e Ijma al Sahabah and al Mujtahideen.
Kinds of Ijma
where jurists clearly express their views regarding an issue under discussion.
Where a jurists is quiet regarding the Ijma upon a rule, his consenst is considered to be with the majority.
Where the Muslim jurists express their views regarding a question of law and all agreed to it.
Where jurists resolve an issue and all remains silent is irregular Ijma.
(v) Al Rukhsah
There is no consensus or agreement between the majitahids but the community as a whole accepts the decision given by some mujtahids.
(vi) Al Fail
Where jurist does some thing and one or more jurists question him on the act.
Who Many Participate in Ijma
The Four Sunni schools agree that only Mujtahids can participate.
Qualifications of Mujtahids
Following are the qualifications of Mujtahids;
v Knowledge of Quran
v Knowledge of Sunnah
v Knowledge of Ijma
v Knowledge of Qiyas
v Knowledge of Maqasid-al-Shariah
v Knowledge of Islamic Jurisprudence
v He must be trustworthy
v He must be an adult
v He should be a Muslim
v He should be able to interpret Quran and Sunnah
v He must have knowledge of Arabic language
v He should be able to differentiate between false and authentic Hadith
v He should be wise and pious person
Repeal of Ijma
If Ijma had done by companions then it can only be repealed by Jurists of that age.
Sanad of Ijma
Sanad is the evidence upon which jurists rely while arriving at a consensus or agreement. Each Ijma must have a sannad. If Ijma is without a sanad or evidence, it would be termed as ra’ay (opinion) and would be rejected by Shariah.
Hence for final analysis we can say that, Ijma is important for solving problems of changing society. It is the valid secondary source of Islamic law and it is an agreement among Mujtahids who belongs to the Ummah of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), after his death in a determined period upon a question of law.