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Al-Urf

[Customary Practice]
Definition
Classification Conditions of Valid Urf

The Basis of Urf

Definition of al-Urf
Literal Meaning

to know
Technical Meaning - Mustafa Ahmad al-Zarqa The behaviour of a group of people in their sayings
or doings

Classifications of al-Urf
The Muslim scholars have divided alUrf into various categories:
a. The Verbal (Qawli) and Practical (Amali) Urf

b. The General (Amm) and Particular (Khas) Urf


c. The Valid (Sahih) and Invalid (Fasid) Urf

The Verbal and Practical al-Urf


The Verbal al-Urf
The general agreement of the people on the usage and meaning of words for purposes other than their literal meanings the customary meaning becomes dominant.

e.g. - ( supplication or request)

The Practical al-Urf


Commonly recurrent practices of the people in daily life and in civil transactions. e.g. - The practice of entering the sale contract without the utterance of offer and acceptance (or without al-Ijab and al-Qabul)

The General and Particular Urf


The General al-Urf
The common custom which is prevalent everywhere among all people in a matter regardless of the passage of time. e.g.- The customary practice of charging a fixed price for entry to public toilet

Particular custom
Urf which is prevalent in a particular locality, profession or trade and it is accepted by the people in a particular place and not in all places. e.g.- Deferment of payment in among certain whole traders.

The Valid and Invalid Urf


The Valid Urf The Urf that is practised by the people, which does not contravene the Shariah and deny the interest of people and at the same time does not bring corruption. The Invalid Urf The custom that is practised by the people but there is evidence to show that it is against the principles of Shariah or it denies the interest of people or it brings corruption. e.g.- the practice of usury in transactions.

Conditions of Valid Urf


Urf must represent common and recurrent phenomena to all. Not limited to a number of people only. Custom must be dominant. The custom must be in existence at the time the transaction is concluded. The custom must not be in conflict with Quran or Sunnah (al-Nass).

The Basis of Urf


Keep to forgiveness, enjoin Urf and turn away from the ignorant

)199: (

A Hadith reported by Aishah r.a, She said: "Hind, the daughter of Utbah, wife of Abu Sufyan, came to Allah's Messenger and said: "Abu Sufyan is a miserly person. He does not give adequate maintenance for me and my children, but (I am constrained) to take from his wealth (some part of it) without his knowledge. Is there any sin for me?" Thereupon Allah's Messenger said: "Take from his property what is customary (maruf) which may suffice you and your children.