This is from the Muttaqun OnLine Islamic Dictionary,
and because of its importance. I felt it needed a page of its own.
Below this is more information on Fiqh from an article.
The meaning of the word fiqh is understanding, comprehension, knowledge and jurisprudence
in Islam. A jurist is a Faqeeh (pl. Fuqahaa) who is an expert in matters
of Islamic legal matters.
A Faqeeh is to pass verdicts within the rules of the Islamic Law namely
The most famous scholars of Fiqh in the history of Muslims are the founders
of the four schools of thought in Islam: Imam Malik, Imam Ash-Safi'i, Imam
Abu Hanifah, and Imam Ahmad Hanabli.
Anything or action in Islam falls within the following five categories of
- Fardh (Must): This category is a must for the Muslim to do
such as the five daily prayers. doing the Fardh counts as a good deed,
and not doing it is considered a bad deed or a sin. It is also called (Wajib)
except for Imam Abu Hanifah who makes Wajib a separate category between the Fardh
and the Mubah.
- Mandub (Recommended): This category is recommended for the
Muslim to do such as extra prayers after Zuhr and Maghrib. Doing the
Mandub counts as a good deed and not doing it does not count as a bad deed
- Mubah (Allowed): This category is left undecided and left for
the person, such as eating apples or oranges. doing or not doing the
Mubah does not count as a good or bad deed. Intention of the person
can change Mubah to Fardh, Madub, Makruh or Haram. Other things could
also change the status of the Mubah. For example, any Mubah becomes
Haram if it is proven harmful and any necessary thing to fulfill a Fardh is
a Fardh too.
- Makruh (Hated): This category is a detested and hated such as
growing fingernails or sleeping on the stomach. Not doing the Makruh
counts as a good deed and doing it does not count as a bad deed.
- Haram (Prohibited): This category is prohibited for the
Muslim to do such as stealing and lying. Doing the Haram counts a bad
deed and not doing it counts as a good deed.
"Fiqh literally means, the true understanding of what is intended.
An example of this usage can be found in the Prophet Muhammad's [saaws]
statement? "To whosoever Allah wished good, he gives Fiqh (true
understanding) of deen". Technically however, fiqh refers to the
science of deducing Islamic Laws form evidence found in the sources of Islamic
law. By extension it also means the body of Islamic laws so deduced."
-Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips in: 'The Evolution of Fiqh'
An Essay Concerning Usul ul-Fiqh
Author: Sheikh ’Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Naasir as-Sa’dee
Source: Risaalah Lateefah Jaami’ah fee Usoolil-Fiqhil-Muhimmah
All praise belongs to Allah. So we praise Him for what He possess from
His beautiful Names and
lofty and perfect Attributes; and for His Judgment and Decree which
encompasses everything in
existence; and for His Divinely Prescribed Laws which encompass every
field of legislation; and His
Judgment concerning rewards for the doers of good, and punishments for
I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone,
who has no partner in His
Names. Attributes or Judgment. And I testify that Muhammad is His Slave
and Messenger; who
clarified the Judgment and the rulings, made clear the halaal (lawful)
and the haram (prohibited),
and established the fundamentals and expounded upon them - until the
Religion was completed
and established firmly. O Allah extol and send the blessings of peace
upon Muhammad, and upon
his family, his Companions and those that follow them, particularly the
To proceed: This is a brief essay concerning usoolul-fiqh (fundamentals
uncomplicated in wording, clear in meaning, and useful in learning its
rulings for whosoever
contemplates its meanings. We ask Allah that He benefits both its
compiler and its reader. Indeed
He is the Most Generous.
it is the science concerning the comprehensive evidences of fiqh. Since
fiqh consist of either [i]
masaa‘il (issues) concerning which the ruling by one of the
five rulings is sought, or [ii] it is
the dalaa‘il (evidences) employed in extracting and
determining these masaa‘il
(issues). So fiqh is actually knowledge of the masaa‘il
(issues) and the dalaa‘il
These dalaa‘il (evidences) are of two types:-
[i]: Comprehensive evidences that encompass every ruling - from the
beginning to the end of fiqh -
of a single kind; such as our saying: “al-amr lil-wujoob (a
command is indicative of an
obligation).” Or: “an-nahee lit-tahreem (a
forbiddance is indicative of a
prohibition).” And other similar evidences. So these are part
[ii]:Detailed evidences that are to be understood in the light of the
comprehensive evidences. So
when such is completed, then the ahkaam (rulings) can be resolved.
Thus, the ahkaam (rulings) are in need of their detailed evidences, and
the detailed evidences are
themselves in need of comprehensive evidences. So by this, we recognize
the need and the
necessity of knowing usoolul-fiqh, and that it aids in the
understanding of fiqh itself, and that it is
the foundations for deducing and making ijtihaad in the ahkaam
The ahkaam (rulings) upon which fiqh revolve are five:-
: Waajib (obligation): that for which the one who performs it is
rewarded, whilst the one who
abandons it is punished.
: Haram (prohibition): this is the opposite of an obligation.
: Masnoon (recommended): that for which the one who performs it is
rewarded, whilst the one
who leaves it is not punished.
: Makrooh (detested): this is the opposite of a recommendation.
: Mubaah (permissible): this is where both (its doing or leaving)
Those rulings which are waajib (obligatory) are divided into two categories:
(individual obligation), the doing of which is sought from every
mukallaf (morally responsible),
baaligh (mature) ’aaqil (sane) person. The majority of the
Sharee’ah rulings enter into
this category. The second is fard kifaayah (collective obligation), the
performance of which is sought
from the morally responsible collectively, but not from every
individual specifically; such as the
learning of the various branches of useful knowledge and useful
industries; the Adhan; the
commanding of good and forbidding of evil; and other similar matters.
These five rulings differ widely in accordance with its state, its
levels and its effects.
Thus, whatever is of pure or of overwhelming maslah (benefit), then the
has commanded its performance with either an obligation or a
recommendation. Whatever is of
pure, or of overwhelming mafsadah (harm), then the Lawgiver has stopped
its doing with either an
absolute prohibition or dislike. So this asl (fundamental principle)
encompasses all matters
commanded of prohibited by the Lawgiver.
As for those matters which the Lawgiver has permitted and allowed, then at
times they lead to that
which is good, and so are joined to those matters which have been
commanded; and at other
times they lead to that which is evil, and so are joined to those
matters which are prohibited. So
this is a great asl that: “al-wasaa‘ilu lahaa ahkaamul-maqaasid
(the means take on the same ruling
as their aims).”
From this we learn that: “maa yatimmul-waajib illaa bihi fahuwa
waajib (whatever is required to fulfill
an obligation is itself an obligation).” Likewise, whatever is
required to fufill a rmasnoon
(recommendation) is itself recommended. Whatever leads to the
establishment of a haram
(prohibition) is itself prohibited. And whatever leads to the
establishment of a makrooh (detested
act) is itself detested.
The adillah (evidences) that fiqh is derived from are four:-
The Book and the Sunnah, and these two are the foundation by which the
mukallafoon (the morally
responsible) are addressed, and upon which is built their Religion.
Then ijmaa’ (consensus) and
al-qiyaasus-saheeh (sound and correct analogy), these two are derived
from the Book and the
Sunnah. So fiqh - in its entirety - does not leave the realms of these
four usool (fundamentals).
The majority of the important ahkaam (rulings) are indicated to by
these four adillah (evidences).
They are indicated to by the nusoos (texts) from the Book and the
Sunnah; and the Scholars have
ijmaa’ (consensus) about them, and they are indicated to by
qiyaasus-saheeh (sound and correct
analogy); because of what they entail of benefit, if it is a command;
or what they contain of harm, if
it is a forbiddance. Very few of the ahkaam have been differed over by
the Scholars. In such cases
the closest of them to the truth is the one who correctly refers back
to these four usool.
CHAPTER [FOUR] CONCERNING THE BOOK AND THE SUNNAH
As for the Book:
It is al-Qur‘aanul-’Adheem (the Great Qur'an), the Kalaam (Speech)
of the Lord of the worlds, which
was sent down by the Trustworthy Spirit upon the heart of Muhammad the
Messenger of Allah
sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam, that he may be from the warners to the
whole of mankind - in the clear
arabic tongue - regarding all that they stand in need of with regards
to what benefits them
concerning their Religion and their world. The Book of Allah is that
which is recited by the tongues,
written in the masaahif (copies), and preserved in the hearts;
regarding which: “No falsehood can
approach from before or from behind it, it was sent down from the
All-Wise, the One deserving
of all praise.”[Soorah Fussilat 41:42].
As for the Sunnah:
It is the Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam’s aqwaal (sayings),
af’aal (actions), and his taqreer (tacit
approvals) of the sayings and actions of others.
The ahkaamush-shar’iyyah (Shari'ah rulings) are sometimes taken from
a definite text of the Book
and the Sunnah; which is defined as that text possessing a clear
meaning, which may not have any
other meaning, except that single meaning. Sometimes it is taken from
the dhaahir (apparent)
meaning; which is defined as that which is indicative of the meaning,
in a general manner, both
through wording and meaning. Sometimes it is taken from the mantooq
(explicit meaning); which is
defined as being that which is indicative of the ruling due to the
wording of the text. Sometimes the
ahkaamush-shar’iyyah is taken from the mafhoom (implied meaning);
which is defined as that which
is indicative of the ruling due to being in agreement with the text; in
cases where the mafhoom is
equal to, or stronger than the mantooq. Or by divergent meaning if the
mafhoom differs from the
mantooq in its ruling; whereas the mantooq is linked to a wasf
(attribute) or a shart (condition), in
the absence of which the ruling differs.
The dalaalah (indications) in the Book and the Sunnah are of three
[i] Dalaalah Mutaabiqah: this is where we apply the word to indicate
all of its meanings. [ii]
Dalaalah Tadammun: when we employ the wording to indicate one of its
meaning. [iii] Dalaalah
Iltizaam: where we employ the wording of the Book and the Sunnah to
indicate the meaning which
is a necessary consequence of it; and which follows on and completes
it; and what the matter
being judged with or being informed of cannot come about, except by it.
The asl (fundamental principle) concerning commands in the Book and the
Sunnah is that they are
indicatie of a wujoob (obligation), except if there is an evidence to
indicate to it being mustahabb
(recommended) of mubaah (permissible) The asl concerning prohibitions
is that they are indicative of
tahreem (forbiddance), except if there is an evidence indicating it
being makrooh (hated).
The asl governing kalaam (speech) is that it is to be taken upon its
haqeeqah (literal sense). So it is
not to be turned away from it to its majaaz (figurative meaning) - if
we accept this - except when it
is impossible to employ its haqeeqah (literal meaning)
(literal meanings) are of three types: [i] shar’iyyah (that which is
defined by the Shari'ah), [ii]
lughawiyyah (that which is defined by language) and [iii] ’urfiyyah
(that which is defined by
So whatever ruling the Shaari’ (Lawgiver) has defined, then it is
obligatory to return it to the
Shari'ah definition. However, what the Lawgiver has ruled, but not
defined, sufficing by its
apparent linguistic meaning, then it is obligatory to return it to its
linguistic meaning. But whatever
has not been defined, neither in the Shari'ah, nor in the language;
then it is obligatory to refer it
back to the habits of the people, and their customary usage. The
Shaari’ (Lwgiver) may clearly
specify to return these matters to ’urf (customary usage); such as
commanding the good, living well
with one’s wife, and other similar matters.
So memories these usool concerning which the faqeeh stands in need of
in all his dealings of fiqh.
From the texts of the Book and the Sunnah are those which are ’aam
(general); which is defined as
that word which is inclusive of many ajnaas (categories), anwaa’
(types) and afraad (individuals).
This majority of the texts are of this nature. Other texts are khaass
(specific), and are indicative of
only some categories, types and individuals. Thus, if there does not
exist any contradiction
between the ’aam and the khaass texts, then each of them are independently
However, if a contradiction is presumed, then the ’aam is specified
and delineated by the khaas.
From the texts are the mutlaq (absolute) and the muqayyad (restricted)
ones. It is restricted by a
description or a reliable restriction. Thus, the mutlaq is restricted
and qualified by the muqayyad.
And from the texts are the mujmal (comprehensive) and mubayyan
(explicit). Whatever the
Lawgiver has made comprehensive in one place, yet made it explicit in
another, then it is obligatory
to return to what the Lawgiver made mubayyan (explicit). Many of the
rulings in the Qur'an are
mujmal (comprehensive) in nature, but have been explicitly explained in
the Sunnah. So it is
obligatory to return to the bayaan (explicit clarification) of the
Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa
sallam, since he is the clear explainer from Allah.
Similar to this are the texts that are muhkam (equivocal and singular
in meaning) and those that
are mutashaabih (unequivocal and open to more than one meaning). It is
obligatory to understand
the mutashaabih in the light of those texts that are muhkam.
Amongst the texts are the naasikh (abrogating) and the mansookh
(abrogated) The abrogated
texts in the Qur'an and the Sunnah are few in number. Whenever there is
the possibility of
harmonizing two texts, with the possibility of each one being acted
upon in its own particular
circumstance, then it is obligatory to do so. One may not turn to
abrogation, except with a text from the Lawgiver, or an apparent
contradiction between two authentic texts concerning which there is no
possible way to resolve this contradiction such that each text is acted upon
in its own particular circumstance. in this case, the later text
abrogates the earlier one. However, if it is impossible to determine
which is the earlier text and which is the later, we then turn to other means
of tarjeeh (preferring one text over another). For example, when there
is an (apparent) contradiction between
the Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam’s statement and his
action, then precedence is given to his
saying. This is because his statement represents either a command or a
prohibition to his Ummah,
whereas his action is, in this case, interpreted to be something
particular to him alone. So the
khasaa‘is (particular and unique rulings) pertaining to the Prophet
sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam are
actually based upon this asl (fundamental principle).
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