Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam
to Islamic Jurisprudence. It is the understanding or explanation of the Islamic
Shariah in the light of the Quran and Sunnah. There are four popular schools of
jurisprudence, namely, Hanafi, Shafei, Hambali and Maliki. Fiqh plays an
eminent role in the life or every Muslim and therefore its significance and
excellence in understanding the Islamic Religion (Din) has been clearly
mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah.
Hanifa defined Fiqh as, “A person’s knowledge of his rights and duties”. This
definition is taken to be very wide and includes elements that are also the
part of the subject of Kalam, the tenets of faith (Aqaid). This
definition was made to mean al-Fiqh al-Akbar or Fiqh in its wider sense. When Mu’tazilah
introduced the subject of Kalam during the time of al-Mamun, the term Fiqh was
restricted to the corpus of Islam law alone. Today the same restricted meaning
is used among the scholars.
is reported to have used the term ‘Fiqh’ in a very narrow technical sense as
“It is the knowledge of the Sharia Ahkam (legal rules) pertaining to conduct,
that have been derived from their specific evidences”.
broader sense, the term ‘Fiqh’ includes proper understanding of the Din
(Religion) related to all sorts of knowledge.
and intellect are great blessings of Allah. In order to understand the Quran,
Sunnah, the Islamic secrets and laws mentioned therein, it is necessary for a
Muslim to be blessed with these divine favours.
“And among His signs is that He shows you the
lightning, instilling fear and hope, and sends down water from the sky, so
revives the earth after its death; Indeed in that are signs for a people of
Quranic Ayat, He says,
“Indeed in this are signs for the people who
“If We had sent down this Qur'an upon a
mountain, you would have seen it humbled and coming apart from fear of Allah.
And We illustrate such examples for people, for them to ponder”. (59:21)
We have explained Our verses in detail for people of understanding.” (6:98)
afore-mentioned verses of the Quran prove the point that to attain proper
understanding and knowledge of the Din (Religion of Islam), a person needs to
be blessed with intellect and ability to understand. It is these people who are
blessed with the knowledge of Din, Fiqh and at the same time with the special
blessings of Allah. The Quran clearly states that the knowledgeable and the
ignorant are not alike.
“Say, “Are those who know equal to those who do
not know?" surely it is the people of understanding who recognize the
God Almighty says, “And he, who has been
blessed with wisdom, has surely been blessed with great virtue” (2:269)
the word ‘Hikmah’ (wisdom), according to Mufassirin (commentators of the
Quran) has been mentioned in the Quran, it refers to the knowledge of Fiqh. The
significance of Fiqh of Din also appears from the following verse;
“And it is not for the believers to go forth
all at once; then why should a delegation not come forth from every grouping,
so that they may attain the understanding of the religion (Liyatafaqqahu Fid
Din) and warn their people when they return to them, in the hope that they
might remain guarded.” (9:122)
Naeemuddin Muradabadi says in his tafsir of this verse, “it is not necessary
for every individual to become an Aalim or Faqih. However, every person needs
to gain sufficient knowledge so that he is able to differentiate between what
is lawful and what is unlawful and know what Fard (obligatory) is and what
Wajib (compulsory) is. To attain this much of knowledge is Fard-e-Ain upon
every Muslim and to attain more than that is Fard-e-Kifayah. It is mentioned in
a Hadith that it is Fard upon every Muslim to attain knowledge of Din” (Tafsir
who acquires knowledge of Fiqh is called Faqih (jurist). In a hadith reported
by Hazrat Muawiyah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If Allah wills to
bestow someone with special virtue; He makes him a Faqih of the Religion
(Din).” (Bukhari, Muslim, Mishkat)
hadith reported by Hazrat Abu Hurairah, the Prophet said, “Those who were good
in the days of ignorance are also good in Islam, if they have proper
understanding (Fiqh) of the Religion” (Bukhari, Muslim). This means that
according the Prophet, one of the best qualities in a person is for him to have
knowledge of Fiqh.
Prophet (peace be upon him) made this Dua for Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas, “O
Allah! Make him a Faqih of the Religion” (Bukhari)
Abbas says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “One Faqih is more
superior over Shaytan than a thousand worshippers” (Tirmidhi, Mishkat). The
reason for this is that due to knowledge and proper understanding of Din which
Allah has blessed him with, he is capable of recognizing and avoiding the traps
of Shaytan. Thus he is also able to assist others to be saved from the traps
and deception of Shaytan.
understand the significance of Fiqh and Faqih, this example of Ilm al-Hadith
(knowledge of Hadith) can be presented. There are two things that are essential
in the subject of Hadith. First it is necessary to know the authenticity of
Isnad (chain of narration) and the second to know correct meaning, application
and understanding of the Hadith. The work of Muhaddatheen was confined to
memorizing and preserving the words and chain of narration of a hadith, while
the work of Faqih (jurist) was to attain its proper understanding and wisdom,
in addition to having sufficient expertise and proficiency in the subject of
Hadith. The following incident refers to significance and excellence of Faqih.
Khateeb Baghdadi reports that a group of Muhaddatheen were present when a woman
who used to bathe deceased females came forth and asked a question, “Can a
menstruating woman give Ghusl (bathing) to a deceased female or not?”
a number of distinguished Muhaddatheen but none of them were able to answer her
immediately. At that time, Imam Abu Thaur who was a Muhadith as well as a Faqih
passed by. The woman approached him and asked the same question. He replied
saying “Yes a menstruating female can give Ghusl to a deceased female”. The
reason, he said, is that once the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Hazrat
Aisha, “your menstruation is not in your hand”. It is also mentioned in the
hadith that Hazrat Aisha, while being in the state of menstruation, used to
sprinkle water in the Prophet’s hair and comb his hair. So if in such a
condition, water can be sprinkled into the head of a living person, then why
can a deceased not be given Ghusl?
Muhaddatheen heard this answer of Imam Abu Thaur, they started discussing the
chain of narration of this hadith, mentioning its narrators and how it was
narrated. When the woman heard this, she said, “Where were you all this while”?
She tried to say that if that were the case, then why did they not answer?”
(Tarikh Baghdad vol. 6, p.67)
above discussion, it becomes clear that learning the meaning of any Quranic
verse or Ahadith is not enough. What is necessarily important for us is to
attain Fiqh of Quran and Ahadith without which we sometimes make such an
interpretation which goes against the spirit and objective of Islam. Thus
significance of Fiqh and Faqih in our life is evident. Fiqh guides us to proper
understanding of Din and enables us to save others from wrong understanding of
Islam. In recent times, it is Fiqh or Faqih that can make a significant role in
bringing the Muslim community to the path of success, peace and
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The problem with Islamic fiq and Islamic scholars in
general, is that they take the Quran very lightly but take the so called “ahadith”
The Quran says in verse 5:3
“.....This day have I (Allah) perfected your religion for you, completed
My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”
Do our fuquha accept that the Quran contains the perfected and
complete religion? If they did, they would look to the Quran for all guidance
and secondary sources only for affirmation or further elucidation. This is not
Take for example the question whether a menstruating woman
can give ghusal to the dead. The more fundamental question is “can a
menstruating woman perform salat in private and observe fard fast during
Ramadhan if she wishes to do so?” From a reading of the Quran, there is no bar
on a woman doing so.
If there is a verse that prohibits offering salat while in a
state of intoxication and no verse prohibiting when menstruating, does it not
mean that there is no prohibition for menstruating women? If there is a verse
which makes salat compulsory even when water is unavailable for taking a bath
after coitus by merely performing a symbolic act of purification through dry
Tayyamum, why is a menstruating woman barred?
If you ask the following questions, the scholars will say
yes to both:
Can a menstruating woman recite the Quran from
Can a menstruating woman perform sajda and
recite praises of Allah?
The answer to both the questions being yes, what prevents a
woman from performing ritual salat in the privacy of her home while
Take circumcision. There is no mention of it in the Quran
and yet taken as compulsory for men and highly commendable for women! The practice
is ancient and found among African tribes which had nothing to do with any of
the Abrahmic religions. The practice is also found in ancient Egypt. The story
goes that Abraham (pbuh) circumcised himself to comply with Egyptian custom
when he took an Egyptian wife! Does this form the basis of our fuquha prescribing
it for all? They are not that knowledgeable.
They only follow the Jewish “scriptures” in this as well as on many other
issues. There are of course concocted ahadith to support.
Take again the question of a female witness. There is a wide
chasm between what the Quran says and what each of the four imams have ruled.
This is covered in my article:Is A Woman’s Testimony Worth
Half That of A Man?
The starting point of our fuquha is what their imam has ruled
which is taken to be correct while the truth is that all the imams have erred
grievously on the important questions.
I doubt if the word “fiq” and “fuquah” even appears in the
Quran. Allah has not made the understanding of the Quran subject to anything except pure logic of which our fuquha know nothing.