Sabab is used as synonym for 'illah, and the two are often used interchangeably. Yet the ulema of usul tend to use sabab in reference to devotional matters (ibadat) but use 'illah in all other contexts. Thus it is said that the arrival of Ramadan is the cause (sabab) of fasting but that intoxication is the 'illah of the prohibition in wine-drinking.

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