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Table 1 Primary and secondary sources of the Islamic legal and moral code

From: The moral code in Islam and organ donation in Western countries: reinterpreting religious scriptures to meet utilitarian medical objectives

• Primary sources The Quran: revelation from God to man (first source of Islamic law)
The Sunnah: the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad: what he said, what he did, what he saw and approved during his lifetime (second source of Islamic Law)
• Secondary sources (reinterpretation of the primary sources) Ijma: consensus agreement about the moral and/or legal assessment of an act or practice (third source of Islamic law)
Qiyas: juristic reasoning by analogy (fourth source of Islamic law)
Istishab: the principle of presumption in the laws of evidence that a given state of affairs known to be true in the past still continues to exist until the contrary is proved
Maslaha: the principle of reasoning based on public welfare and interest
Istihsan: the principle of reasoning based on preference, ie, “seeking to do good”
Urf: the principle of reasoning based on customary practice
  1. Table is developed from the source[34]. The primary sources of Islamic law and moral code are the Quran and Sunnah. Secondary sources can be applied to issue legal and moral opinions about acts or practices that are not mentioned explicitly in the primary sources. This process is called ijtihad. Sunni and Shiite sects agree on the Quran, Sunnah and Ijma as sources of Islamic law in that order. The Shiite sect considers Aql (human intellect) as the fourth source of Islamic law instead of Qiyas. Legal and moral opinions or fatwas must uphold the primary objectives or maqasid of Islamic law ie, the protection of a person’s religion, life, mind, property and progeny. The application of secondary sources (eg, maslaha, istihsan) in end-of-life organ donation is preconditioned that death is determined with an absolute certainty or yaqin in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah.