Posted by: Submitter | February 17, 2008

Defination of Principles of Fiqh

Defination of the Principles of Fiqh

Fard and Wajib:

While the majority of jurists regard fard and wajib as synonymous, the Hanafis draw a clear distinction between the two. Ishaq b. Ibrahim al-Shashi in defining the two states, “Linguistically fard means to decree, whilst in the Shari`a, it denotes that which is delineated in such a manner that no increase or decrease is possible. The command of a fard is communicated by a definite (qat`i) text wherein there is no ambiguity, clear and specific. To act upon it and to believe in it is binding… wajib, technically means that which is established by a text of an ambiguous or speculative (zanni) authority, such as an allegorically interpreted (mu’awwal) verse.”

The majority of jurists and Hanafis agree that fard and wajib are both binding. Fard is communicated by a clear definite text with no ambiguity or speculation and wajib by a speculative text. As a consequence the obligation emanating from a fard is of a greater degree than that from a wajib. The omission of a fard invalidates the act, such as the unanimous view of the jurists that the omission of the stay at `Arafa (def: 5.12 (s)), which is a fard act, renders one’s hajj null and void. Whilst the omission of sa`i (pacing) between al-Saffa and al-Marwa (def: 5.12 (t)), which is communicated by a speculative authority will not invalidate the hajj. Another distinction is that one who refuses to believe in a fard such as salat or zakat is rendered an unbeliever. However, the denial of believing in an obligation established by a speculative authority will not make one an unbeliever. (edited excerpts from Usul al-fiqh, p.23 and Usul al-Shashi, p.172)

The term wajib, when used in a non-Shari` context, has the connotation of ‘necessary.’ An example is ‘al-qir’at wajib `alayk’ (it is necessary that you read). Whenever the term has occurred in this work, I have endeavoured to discern whether it is the Shari` or non-Shari` term that is implied. However, if I have failed to understand its precise connotation at any place, such discrepancies are from Satan and myself, for which I seek refuge in Allah and seek His and your pardon.

Sunna Mu`akkada:

Sunna mu`akkada (emphatic sunna) is an act upheld by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) perpetually whilst letting it be known that its performance is not fard, such as the two rak`ahs before the fard of the fajr prayer and after zuhr, maghrib and `isha’. The abandonment of a sunna mu`akkada (emphatic sunna) is not punishable, but nevertheless the perpetrator will be reproached, because its omission would be tantamount to opposing that which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) perpetuated. (edited excerpts from Usūl al-fiqh, p.31)

The giving of non-obligatory charity for one who is capable, the four rak`ahs before `asr and `isha’ are sunna ghayr mu`akkada, namely, actions which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not perform perpetually. (edited excerpts from Usūl al-fiqh, p.31) It is also referred to as mustahabb.


Ādāb (sing: adab) is that which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did only once or twice throughout his life. It is a rewardable act with no reproach for one who abandons it. It has also been defined as praiseworthy manners. (Marāqi al-falāh, p.111)


Harām is an obligatory command from the Lawgiver demanding abstinence from something. It is communicated by a definite authority. Examples are eating the flesh of a dead animal, drinking alcohol, fornicating, adultery, unjustly killing someone and many others. (edited excerpts from Usul al-fiqh, p.33)


Makrūh according to the Hanafis is a command for abstinence from something established by a speculative proof. It is divided into two categories, namely, makrūh tahrīm and makrūh tanzīh. The former is closer to harām and can also be defined as being in diametrical opposition to a wajib. Makrūh tanzih is closer to mubāh and in diametrical opposition to a mustahab. (edited excerpts from Usul al-fiqh, p.36)


Mubāh is an allowance from the Lawgiver to a mukallaf (a competent person who is in full possession of his faculties) in performing or refraining from an act, such as eating or drinking. Shawkāni defined mubāh as that “upon which no commendation is shown upon its performance or omission.” At times it is used to illustrate the permissibility of a generally prohibited act such as the statement ‘The blood of an apostate is lawful (mubāh)’ meaning there is no harm upon one who kills him. Mubāh is also referred to as halāl and jā’iz. (edited excerpts from Usūl al-Fiqh, p.36)

Fard Kifāya:

Communal obligation (al-fard al-kifāya) is an obligation which is incurred upon all, without specifying those who should perform it. Its obligation upon all will be lifted if fulfilled by a few. Examples of al-fard al-kifāya are the funeral prayer, to enjoin good and forbid evil, furnishing definite proofs upon the existence of Allah etc. (al-Mawsū`a al-Fiqhiya, (32/96))

[taken from Shaykh Zahir Mahmood’s translation of the chapter on purity of Nūr al-Īdāh]


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