DEFINITION OF FIQH
The word “Fiqh” in the Arabic language, means “understanding” and the Jurisprudent is called Faqih because he understands the Glorious Qur’an and the purified Traditions (the saying and the practices of the Prophet (s.a.w)), from both of which he derives Islamic precepts and laws.
Having known the linguistics meaning of Fiqh, let us now understand what the “science of Fiqh” means. The science of Fiqh is the science, which studies different Islamic precepts and laws, such as, the precepts concerning family, state, work, trade, companies and banks, as well as the precepts concerning the Salat, the Sawm, the Hajj and the Zakat, for the purpose of applying and enacting them. The science of Fiqh, or jurisprudence, is of great importance to Islam. That is why Messenger of Allah (s.aw) said,
“When Allah wants a servant to be good, He makes him understand the religion”.
The basic Sources of the Islamic Precepts:
We have said that this subject (i.e. the Fiqh) teaches us different Islamic precepts and laws. In this lesson we want to known the basic sources from which we derive the Islamic precepts and laws, that is, from where do we take out the Islamic precepts and laws?
By way of answering this question, we say: there are two fundamental sources for the different Islamic precepts and laws, the precepts and laws which regulate the actions of the individual, the love of the society and the state, such as the precepts of the Salt, Sawm, Hajj, Zakat, Purification, family rules, Land, Judiciary, Jihad, Economy, Wealth, Politics, etc. These two sources are:
1. The Holy Qur’an.
2. The purified Sunnah (Traditions) of the Prophet (s.a.w) so, we take all these precepts from the Holy Qur’an and the purified Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w).
1. The Holy Qur’an
It is the constitution of the Muslim, the source of knowledge. Law, ethics and Islamic manners, which regulate the life of human beings and show them the way to happiness.
Muslims take the precepts of their religion, and laws of their life, from it. The Holy Qur’an contains hundreds of verses which talk about diverse precepts and rules, and are regarded as the basic source on which the experts scholars base their studies of law Islamic jurisprudence, talking from it, many of the laws and precepts, other concepts covering all laws and systems of life are also taken from verses of the Holy Qur’an.
2. The purified Sunnah of the Prophet.
The second source of the Islamic precepts and laws are the Traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w).
Allah, the most High, said: “And whatever the messenger gives you, take it, whatever he forbids you, abstain (from it)”.
The Traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w) are composed of his sayings, deeds and consents. Below we explain these three divisions:
a. The Sayings:These are a collection of the oral sayings, speeches and statements uttered by the Prophet (s.a.w). the true sayings and statements, which have reached us, are thousands in number, all of which form the legislative bases and rules. They supply is with the needed precepts and laws, such as, the precepts of purification, worshippings, the social rules and regulations such as the rule pertaining to property, trade, marriage, divorce, family affairs, land, work, Judicature, government, etc.
b. Deeds:These are the actions done by the Messenger (s.a.w) and regard as part of Sunnah. They show us the religious precepts, which we are to follow. Therefore, we take his deeds as examples from which we derive the precepts: “ Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah a good examples.....”
c. Consents:The Prophet (s.a.w) had often observed people in the markets, gatherings, congregations, etc., but he said nothing against them. His silence in respect of such acts is regarded as his consent and, therefore, part of the Sunnah, had these actions been contrary to Islam, he would have projected them.
So, consent means, the Messenger’s approval of, and consent to, the actions, which he witnessed and did not reject. Because had they not been in conformity with the laws of the Shari’ah, he would not have kept silent and would have prohibited them.
Hence, the Prophetic Traditions are all the sayings, the deeds and the consents, which have reliably reached us from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w)
The scholars following the path of Ahlul-Bayt regard whatever had originated from the twelve Imams of Ahlul-Bayt whether a saying, deed or a consent, as to be a continuation of the Traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w.), and as source of the Islamic precept. The opinion which is backed by Allah’s saying:
“Allah only wants to keep away from you (uncleanliness), O Ahlul-Bayt and purify you a (through) purifying.”
With the reference to a hadith from the messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), who advised and enjoined us to refer to the book of the Allah and to his, Ahlul-Bayt (a.s), and to prophet (s.a.w):
“O people ! I have left with you that which will not let you go astray if you have recourse to it: The Book of Allah, and my offspring-my Ahlul-Bayt.”
How to Ascertain a True Tradition?
Many hypocrites, intrigants and enemies of Islam, especially the Jews, intentionally fabricated false Hadiths, and ascribed them to the Messenger (s.a.w), and to the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s), so as to divert Islam, corrupt the Shari’ah and disunite the Islamic Ummah (people). But he ‘Ulema (scholars) and the experts in studying the Hadiths began to scrutinize them, sorting out the false, interpolated and doubted ones. They collected the true Hadiths and narratives as a dependable basis for knowing the precepts of the Shar’ah.
In order to obtain a true Hadith, the ‘Ulema follow two principal methods:
1. making sure of the truthfulness of the narrators through whom the Hadith has reach us, i.e. ascertaining the truthfulness of the source. Hadith usually reached us through people- who are called “the narrators”, or “the sources”, of the Hadiths if they were regarded as honest and truthful, their hadiths would be accepted as to be true. If they were considered liars, the Hadiths, which they narrated, would be rejected.
2. Making sure of the vocabulary and the phrasing of the Hadith, and of the soundness of its meaning, that is making sure of the soundness of the text of the hadith and its conformity with the Holy Qur’an and the correct Islamic concepts.
2 The jurists of some Islamic sects regard all the activities of the Prophet’s companions to be Tradition.
3 “Sahih al-Tirmidhi”, vol.2. “Sahih Muslim”, on “ The merits of imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s).”
Having assured ourselves of the truthfulness of the narrators, their faith and loyalty, and of the soundness of the meaning of the Hadith, we must believe in its as being correct, take it as foundation for our acts, and derive from it our concepts and precepts.
The generous Messenger , Muhammad (s.a.w), the Imam, and the guides (a.s) after him, commanded us, to compare the Hadiths and the narratives with the Holy Qur’an, to make sure of their being correct and true. He is also quoted to have said: “Above every truth there is reality, and above every rightness there is a light. Therefore, accepts what conforms to the Book Of Allah, and leave what does not conform to it.”
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s) had directed us like wise by saying: “Everything should be referred to the Book of Allah and as-Sunnah. Every tradition which is not in agreement with the Book of Allah is (but) a forgery.”
Consequently, we are not to believe every Hadith we read or hear, unless its truthfulness has been proved, and it does not contradict the Book of Allah.
Accordingly, the ‘Ulama’ subject all the Hadiths that are mentioned in the books of the Hadith and other sources to examination, criticism and discussion, discarding the untrue hadiths, and accepting the true and trusted ones, so as to safeguard the Shari’ah and protect the purified Sunnah.
THE ISLAMIC PRECEPTS
Definition of the Precept:
Man, in his everyday life, does many different acts and utters many different sayings.
Looking into one’s sayings and actions, we realize that some are good and useful to people, such as eating, drinking, cultivating, manufacturing, as well as greeting and peace making among the people, etc. Other actions we judge to be bad and harmful, such as lying, drinking alcoholic drinks, robbery, murder cheating, backbiting, etc.
Furthermore, we know that man is a sociable creature by nature, he enjoys social relationships with the members of his family, the society in which he lives and the world around him. Relationships between a man and his children, parents, and wives, or the relationship between the Islamic state and the members of the Ummah and other countries, are like the relationship between and employee and employer, a farmer with his land, a worker with his master, and a seller with a buyer, etc.
Now, as man has connections with the other members of his society, he also has connection with his creator, as he had created him, made him complete, favoured him with blessings and provided him with provisions... etc. In this way, man’s life is a collection of actions, activities and human relations, which, naturally, need to be explained and regulated, in order to separate the useful from the harmful, the good from the bad, without such an organization, life and social relations would be a total chaos, a futile life endangering man and his interests. In order to organize man’s life, Allah, the Exalted, sent down divine laws and precepts, to save humanity from disorder and futility, and to protect his interests.
Therefore, the Islamic precepts are the divine legislations and laws, which organize man’s life and define his different relations and responsibilities.
These precepts, as you have already been informed, are to explain man’s actions and relations, prohibiting the bad and harmful which destroy human life, and hinders its development and progress. Enjoining the good deeds, preferring some of them to others, or leaving others out.
Therefore, the prescribed Islamic precepts have been divided into five categories:
1. The Obligatory, i.e. The Wajib.
2. The Recommended, i.e. The Mustahab.
3. The Undesirable, i.e. The Makruh.
4. The Forbidden, i.e. The Haram.
5. The Permissible, i.e. The Mubah.
Consequently, these precepts divide man’s actions into five kinds, too.
Kinds of Human Actions
All the acts which can be done by man, whether good, such a the Salat, the invocation, treating people with justice, seeking to acquire knowledge, eating, drinking, travelling, marriage, farming, industry... and the like, or bad, such as lying, gambling, being unjust, cheating... and the like, are divided into the following five categories;
The Obligatory (Wajib):
The Obligatory duties are those, which Allah has ordered us to do. In doing them, He has promised to rewards us, while on neglecting them, He has threatened to punish us,. These include, Salat, Hajj, Jihad, Enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, Defending the truth, Applying justice,.... and the like.
The Recommended (Mustahab):
The recommended acts are those, which Allah, the Exalted, has encouraged us to do, promising to reward us on doing them, but there would be no punishment on neglecting them. Such as invocation, fasting during the month of Sha’ban, greeting people, performing the Friday Ghusl... and the like.
The Undesirable (Makruh)
The indesirable acts are those which Allah, the Exalted, has encouraged us not to do, promising to reward us if we avoid them, but there would no punishment on dong them, such as urinating in stagnant water, sleeping till sunrise, and the smelling of fragrant plants by a fasting person, etc.
The Forbidden (Haram)
The Haram (forbidden) acts are those which Allah, the Exalted, had forbidden us to do. Threatening us with punishment if we did, such acts as drinking alcoholic drinks, killing people, lying betraying, cheating, and the like.
The Permissible (Mubah):
The Mubah (permissible) acts are those which Allah, the Exalted, has left to our option to do or not to do, such as choosing the type and place of our lodging work, food, drink, etc., provided that they are not Haram, and cause no harm. Thus, all the acts of man are subject to certain regulations and limits, prescribed by the Islamic Fiqh. There is no act, big or small, without there being an Islamic precept or a clear and open law for it. The aim is to preserve the interests of humanity and to assure servitude to Allah, the Exalted, as referred to by a noble Hadith. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) is quoted to have said: “There in nothing unless it is described in the Book or in the Sunnah.”
So, it is our duty to think about every act before doing it, so as to do what pleases Allah and that which Allah has allowed us to do, and refrain from doing what He has forbidden us to do.
THE INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE WAJIBS
We know that there are compulsory duties, which Allah has ordered us to do, and has forbidden us to neglect others. Compulsory duties such as the daily Salats, Sawm. Hajj, enjoining the right, washing the dead and performing the salat for the dead, etc. Have been enjoined upon us. We also know that a Wajib (a duty) is an act that is rewarded, and its doer is praised, and the neglector is punished and dispraised.
The Wajibs are of two Kinds
1.The Individual Wajib (Wajib ‘Aini) is to be performed by every individual who has age of consent, and nobody else may do it for him. Such as the daily Salat and the Sawm, as these and similar Wajibs are to be performed by every grown up person himself and he is responsible for them, that is why it is called: Wajib ‘Aini, that is, it is the very person himself who is to perform it.
1. The Collective Wajib (Wajib Kifa’i): it is duty, which Allah wants to be performed by any grown up person, not a particular one, as the important thing is to have the Wajib carried out, such washing the body of the dead, performing the Salat over it, rescuing the drowned, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong. Also undertaking judicature, accepting posts in the Islamic state and the professions needed by the Islamic society, such as medicine, geometry, and studying to become an authority in the divine law. When some people undertake these duties and perform them, the others will be absolved from them. If nobody offers to take these responsibilities or does not complete them, every mature member of the Islamic society would be committing a sin, and would deserve punishment, whereas the one who performs this Wajib will be rewarded. In this case, the one who does not perform it will not be punished, because others have done it, though he will be deprived of the reward.
The collective duties are considered individual duties, if they are confined to some of the people. For example, if somebody saw a man drowning, or exposed to a destructive danger, and there was no one else capable of saving the endangered man, it would be his individual duty to save him, and he would not be excused on the pretext that he was not responsible for him.
Another example of a collective duty turning into an individual one is this: Suppose that there was a town with only a single physician, or with an insufficient number of physicians, in this case, the task of medical treatment of the sick people would be an individual duty of those physician, since it is exclusively their responsibility. Similarly if there was only a single religious authority in a town, he would be responsible for issuing religious decrees and judicature, as being his Wajib ‘Aini. In the way, aWajib Kifa’i turns into a Wajib ‘Aini on the people, if it is confined only to them, and there is nobody else to do it.
Another example is the Wajib Kifa’i of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, which becomes a Wajib ‘Aini. If there was only one person present while a bad occurrence was happening, or only few persons were capable of stopping it, or if resisting the wrong and calling for Islam was confined to a single person or a few people, then the Wajib of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong and calling for Islam would become a Wajib ‘Aini in respect of that person or persons. This is how sometimes a collective duty changes into a individual one.
PREPARATORIES FOR THE WAJIB AND THE HARAMPreparation for the Wajib
We know that Islam imposes some acts as Wajib, such as the Salat, the establishment of justice, Hajj, seeking knowledge, being kind to one’s parents, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, Jihad in the way of Allah, etc., and forbids other acts, such as drinking wine, killing people, disbelief, injustice, spreading mischief in the land, usury, monopoly, usurping the wealth and the rights of the people and insulting them, etc., so as to establish happiness, security and freedom, and to protect human dignity, so that man live under the shadow of truth, justice and peace, through obeying Allah, the Exalted.
Naturally, many of these Wajibs cannot be done without some preparatory procedures i.e. the Muqaddimahs, These are “the things on which, the carrying out of the Wajib depends.”
Enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong depends, sometimes, on the gathering of a number of pious people, forming a co-operative and united group becomes a Wajib as A preparatory process for the realization of a religious duty.
Hajj, as we know, is aWajib, but it cannot be achieved without travelling and making preparations for the journey, as the Muqaddimahs for the Hajj. So, these preparatory steps for the journey are among the Wajibs imposed on the Mukallaf.
Taharah (Purification), as we know, is a condition for the validity of the Salat. So, purifying the dress and the body from the Najasah (anything religiously regarded as impure), and performing ablution, or Ghusl of janabah (one is regarded unclean after sexual intercourse or a wetdream, a case which requires a “Ghusl of al-Janabah” to purify the body) or performing the Tayammum (a kind of purification by dry soil, used in particular cases), are Wajib Preparatories in other words Muqaddimahs.
Thus, a Muqaddimah is not a Wajib in itself, but it is a preparatory Wajib for the performance of the Wajib in itself, that is, it is not an independent Wajib to travel to holy city of Mecca, to purify the impure dress, to perform the Wuzu’, the Ghusl or the Tayammum, to install factories for Weapons, to provide the means for establishing security... but these are preparatory steps on which depends the correct performance of the Wajibs, and thus, they are logically regarded like the Wajibs, Explaining this the ‘Ulema said: “The thing which id necessary for a Wajib (as a preparatory) is Wajib too. “The Muqaddimah, therefore, is a Wajib for the sake of the Wajib, but is not a Wajib in itself. It is clear now that it is incumbent on us to prepare ourselves for things in which performance of the Wajibs depends upon.
Preparation for the HaramAs we knew that the Muqaddimah for the Wajib is Wajib, too because the performance of the Wajib depends on the Muqaddimah. Similarly the Muqaddimah for a Haram act is Haram, too, because it helps one to commit a Haram act.
So, the Muqaddimah for the Haram is that which leads us to committing the Haram.
For Example: Reading books of deviation is not Haram in itself. But if this reading affects the reader, it becomes a Muqaddimah for deviation and going astray, i.e. falling into the Haram. Therefore, it becomes Haram for that reason.
Selling grapes in not Haram in itself, but it becomes Haram if the grapes are sold for the purpose of making wine.
Hiring cars is not Haram, but hiring them to be used as tools in committing a crime is Haram, because it leads to a Haram.
Accepting a governmental port becomes Haram if it is regarded as an assistance to a depostic authority, although the post is not Haram in itself. Likewise Islam prohibits all Muqaddimahs, approaching and reasoning leading to committing a Haram, so as to protect the individual and the society against corruption and perversion.
Therefore, we are forbidden to do things which may lead to committing a Haram, though they are Halal (not Haram) in themselves.