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Friday, November 13, 2020
What Is The Meaning And Ruling Of Khass -The Specific Word - In Islamic Jurisprudence?
By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
13 November 2020
Khass is a word that is by design refers to a specific meaning or object without referring to anything else. The primary attribute of Khass is that a limit, specification or restricted meaning comes to the mind. Islamic legal theorists (Usuliyyeen) have classified Khass into three categories;
1. Takhsees or Khassul Fard (specification of individual) which refers to a specific individual, whether by a proper name or noun. In other words this is limited to one single person. An example of Khass ul Fard is the name ‘Zayd’ or Ahmad (this specifically refers to a single individual whose name is Zayd or Ahmad and does not include other individuals.
2. Takhsees or Khass ul Nau’ (specification of a class) which is designed to mean common collective nouns like “man”, “woman”, “horse” etc. Though these words denote large numbers, the specific words convey a limit. For example, the specific word ‘man’ points out to all individuals of men, whatever their number; yet it conveys a limit in the sense that it specifically refers to the male gender and not the female gender.
3. Takhsees or Khassul Jins (specification of a species or genus) which is applied to mean a specific specie or genus. For example, the word ‘human’ (Insan) refers to the human species and not other species such animals etc.
The ruling (Hukm) of the specific word (Khass) of the Quran is that it is compulsory to practice upon it completely and definitively, without any doubt. According to Islamic legal theorists (Usuliyyeen), if it is contradicted by a Khabr-e-Wahid (all those Ahadith which are not Mashhur or Mutawatir are Khabr-e-Wahid…) or Qiyaas (deduction), the following will take place,
1. If it is possible to practice on both (the specific word/Khass of the Quran and Khabr-e-Wahid or Qiyaas) without altering the ruling of the Khass, one would be obliged to act on both.
2. If it is not possible to reconcile both or act upon both, one would be bound to act on the Khass of the Quran and disregard Khabr-e-Wahid or Qiyaas—as the Quran is the highest source.
An example of disregarding Qiyaas for the Khass of the Quran is the following verse;
Allah Almighty says, “Divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three (menstrual) periods (Quru)” (2:228). This verse includes a command from Allah that the divorced woman whose marriage was consummated and who still has menstruation periods, should wait for three menstrual periods (Quru) after the divorce and then remarry if she wishes.
In this verse, the word ‘Thalatha’ (meaning three) is Khass which denotes a single and specific amount (i.e. three, nor more and no less than it) and therefore it is compulsory to act upon it completely.
It is essential to understand here how we have disregarded Qiyaas for the Khass of the Quran. The word ‘Quru’ used in this verse has two meanings in Arabic; 1) purity (Tuhar) and 2) menstruation (Haiz). Hanafi jurists opine that, since the word ‘Thalatha’ is specific and that it is possible to act upon it (on three) only when the three menstrual periods are meant here. If we were to say that the word ‘Quru’ refers to purity (Tuhar) as Imam Shafeii has done so based on the Qiyaas argument that the word ‘three’ is feminine and the word ‘Tuhar’ is masculine; which is proper here as per the rule of Arabic grammar that if a number from three to ten is feminine then its subject will be masculine. The Sahfeii view is that if the word ‘Quru’ here means ‘menstruation’ (Haiz), there will be violation of the rule of Arabic grammar because the word ‘Haiz’ in Arabic is feminine. The Hanafi view is that the word ‘Thalatha’ is specific (Khass) and to act upon it completely, we must read ‘Quru’ to mean ‘menstruation’ (Haiz), because those who regard ‘Quru’ to refer to ‘purity’ will not be able to complete three complete courses of purity but rather it will be two and a portion of the third in which the divorce (Talaq) was issued. In the case of taking the meaning of ‘menstruation’ here, three complete courses of ‘menstruation’ can be completed because the divorce is not allowed in the state of menstruation.
The Hanafi view is based on the argument that here it is not possible to act upon both (Qiyaas as made by Imam Shafeii here, and the Khass of the Quran), therefore we should disregard Qiyaas and act upon the Khass of the Quran.
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.