The research for this work originally formed part of the studies I undertook in Islamic Jurisprudence for the doctoral program at Al Azhar University in 1392/1973. On the occasion of the Second International Conference on Islamic Thought, held in Islamabad, Pakistan in 1402/1982 on the subject of the "Islamization of Knowledge", material from this thesis was presented in a revised form.

When the League of Muslim Youth expressed their desire to hold a course on Usul al Fiqh "Source Methodology in Islamic Jurisprudence", the material for this study formed one of the six subjects covered in the course. Then, as many of those who attended the course expressed a wish to obtain the lectures in printed form, and as the study was already being printed as one of the papers for the Islamabad Conference on the Islamization of Knowledge, which the International Institute of Islamic Thought will soon be publishing(*), In Sha'a Allah, we decided to take this opportunity to present this part of the Conference material to those who attended the course and to others who may wish to gain knowledge of this essential science of Shari'ah.

The science of Usul al Fiqh is rightly considered to be the most important method of research ever devised by Muslim Thought. Indeed, as the solid foundation upon which all the Islamic disciplines are based, Usul al Fiqh not only benefited Islamic civilization but contributed to the intellectual enrichment of world civilization as a whole. It will not be out of place to note here that the methods of analogical developed within the framework of Islamic jurisprudence constituted the methodological starting-point for the establishment and construction of empiricism, which in turn is considered to be the basis of contemporary civilization.

We present this brief work to all who are interested in gaining some knowledge of this science; and we ask Allah Ta'ala to help us benefit from what we learn, and to learn that which will benefit us, and to protect us from knowledge that is not beneficial, and from deeds that are not acceptable to Him. Wa Akhiru Da'wana an al Hamdu Lillah Rabb al 'Alamin! (All praise and thanksgiving belong to Allah, the Lord and Sustainer of all the worlds!)

Dr. Taha Jabir al Alwani, President, International Institute of Islamic Thought

Herndon, Virginia
Dhu al Hijjah 1408 AH
July 1988

(*) The edited proceedings of the Islamabad Conference were published by the Institute as volume number 5 in the Islamization of Knowledge Series, and is entitled ISLAM: Source and Purpose of Knowledge.