Fiqh Terminology
FIQH Terminology-


MUST DO - Something that has to be done and not to do it is a sin. Salaa, Sawm, Khums, Hijab


MUST NOT DO - Something that if done is a sin. Stealing, eating non-halal food, lying

Mustahab BETTER TO DO - Something which if done is rewarded. If it is not done there is no sin.
For e.g.:- Adhan, Iqama, Salatul Tahajjud (Shab), Reciting Qur'an, Dua

BETTER NOT TO DO - Something which is not acceptable but if done is not a sin. For e.g. :- Praying salaa in front of a mirror/picture

Jaiz (Mubah)

ALLOWED -All those things that do not fall in the above categories are Jaiz

Adhab PUNISHMENT Jahannam
Thawab REWARD Jannah
Mubah Lawful That which belongs to you or you have the permission of the owner to use. Your belongings

Unlawful Something that is taken from someone else without permission. The opposite of Mubah. For e.g.:- Stolen property, borrowing without permission


Incorrect That which is not done in the correct manner. If you pray salaa without wudhoo, then salaa is batil.


Correct Order To do something in the right order. In Salaat all the actions - Qiyam, Ruku, Sujud etc. are done in a certain order (tarteeb). If the order is changed then salaat is batil.


Continuity It means to do something without any interruption. In salaat all the actions must be done without any interruptions


One who believes in Tawheed, Nabuwwa and Qiyama; and accepts the commands of Allah and His Prophet.


One who believes in Tawheed, Adala, Nabuwwa, Imama of the 12 Aimma and Qiyamat and accepts the commands of Allah and His Prophet.


Unbeliever One who does not believe in Allah, Prophet Muhammad (SAWW), or in Qiyamat.

Mushrik One who believes that Allah has one or more partners.

Hypocrite One who says he/she believes in Allah, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) and also recites Kalima; but does not really believe what he/she says.

Extract from book Introduction to Hadith - Glossary of Technical Terms



conveyance, denoting a reporter’s narration of the tradition to another reporter who takes it from him.


veracity. See Introduction.


veracious–lexically means just, equitable and reliable. In jurisprudence, this designates a person of irreproachable reputation and veracity whose testimony is valid. See Introduction and chapter on the veracity of the reporter for a detailed explanation.

adl equitable.
ahad or

solitary report-refers to any report that is not mutawatir.


Shi’i traditionists whose legal and ritual understanding was primarily based on the literal traditions of the Imams.

(pl. ‘ulamd’)
a scholar well versed in the knowledge of the Qur’an, the traditions, and Islamic jurisprudence.
Amali dictations.
‘Ammah majority, or commoners, referring to the Ahl al-Sunnah.

since ijma’ in Arabic means unanimous agreement or consensus, the phrase means ‘the agreed-upon companions’, denoting their unanimously agreed upon reliability. The phrase denotes eighteen reporters from among the companions of the Imams (pbut).

(pl. athar)

report of a companion, though Shi’ahs do not accept these as hadith, so it is used synonymously with khabar. See chapter on hadith terminology.

da ‘if

weak – a tradition that does not fit into the categories of authentic, good or dependable. It is therefore a ‘weak’ tradition

the reinforced weak report.

critical and contextual study and criticism of traditions.


corrupt – antithesis of ‘adil, according to some scholars, or synonymous with kafir (disbeliever) according to others. See chapter on veracity.


juridical or legal verdict pronounced by a jurist consult.

fiqh science of jurisprudence.
(pl. ghulat)
extremist sect, see ghalw below.

extremism – refers to certain sects’ exaggeration and overestimation of the vicegerent of Allah, or their extreme neglect in underestimating and degrading him below his decreed status. It also refers to reports that were narrated by Christian converts to pollute hadith literature with messianic thought.

(pl. ahadith)

tradition or report, specifically the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) and the infallible Imams (pbut), i.e. their sayings, actions and tacit approvals of others’ actions, or the narrations of these. Throughout the course of this book, I have used the word ‘hadith’ to refer to the bulk of tradition literature and the general concept, and the word ‘tradition’ or ‘report’ to refer to individual narrations. Hadith as a concept is interchangeable with ‘Sunnah’.


is a term that recurs throughout the book, usually prefixed or suffixed to someone’s name. It literally means ‘memorizer’ and is used as a title in hadith terminology to describe a scholar who has an excellent memory and has memorized a great number of traditions.

halal permissible.
haram prohibited.

good – a tradition where all the transmitters in its chain are imami and veracious, or some of them are imami and commendable and the rest are non-imami but commendable.


declaration – one of the means of receiving traditions, where the teacher would declare and inform the student that this book or this tradition is his report or a result of his hearing a certain report from someone, without actually saying words to the effect of ‘narrate on my authority’ or ‘ I permit you to narrate it’.

ijazah permission and authorization to narrate traditions on someone’s authority.
ijma’ legal consensus of scholars.

independent jurisprudential investigation when deducing legal rulings from shari’ah sources. Also refers to a scholar’s personal judgment when investigating matters.


literally means knowledge, but in this field refers to the legal knowledge of traditions and jurisprudence. Also refers to the ‘certitude’ attained about the report’s origin.


the science of critical study of the content of the hadith, i.e. the science of Islamic legal knowledge, which includes the narrators of a hadith, its text, its chain of transmission, the manner of transmission, etc. This term is often interchangeable with our title, ‘Usul al-Hadith’ (principles of hadith).

‘Ilm al-Rijal

biographical studies – the science of hadith reporters in which the circumstances of reporters are analyzed and classified.

‘Ilm Usul al Fiqh

the science of the principles of jurisprudence. Shi’a Ithna ‘Ashari or a follower of the twelve Imams, who adheres to the Ja’fari school of jurisprudence.

imla’ dictation of traditions.

the act of ‘forwarding’ traditions on the authority of the Ma’sum, without mentioning the intermediary source (s) in between.


in Shi’i sources there are frequent references to the consensus of al-isabah, which points to those of the Imams’ companions who were invested with the authority of giving fatwa. ‘isabah ‘the body of scholars’, by practicing the binding authority of ijma’, determined the course and character of Shi’i sectarianism. This word is synonymous with the word ga’ifah.

isnad or sanad chain of transmission.

traditions and legends narrated by Jewish converts to Islam, which infiltrated and perverted hadith literature with concepts and ideas that were not originally present therein. These traditions are rife in Sunni hadith, and have penetrated into their most sacred hadith collections, ‘the authentic (sahih) canonical collections’.


comprehensive compilation of traditions encompassing traditions on all matters of religion from juristic matters to contracts and interpretation of the Qur’an, as well as historical accounts.

jarh wa ta’dil defamation and authentication of reporters.
(pl. akhbar)
report. See chapter on hadith terminology.
or ahad
solitary report – refers to any report that is not mutawatir.
linked solitary report. See chapter on solitary reports.
unlinked solitary report. See chapter on solitary reports.
Kitahab ghayr al-maqrun

writing down – one of the means of receiving traditions, whereby the teacher would write down his tradition, either in his own hand or by ordering someone else to write it, then send it to the reporter who has requested it.

ma’sum infallible – referring specifically to the Prophet (pbuh) and the Imam (pbut).
makruh undesirable act.

‘traceable’ – refers to any tradition that can be traced back to a Ma’sum, regardless of the continuity in its chain of transmission.


grand jurist consult who is the most learned in the field of jurisprudence and extrapolation of legal rulings, and has the legal capacity to pronounce juristic verdicts (fatwa).


famous. The word mustafid implies extensiveness and abundance on all the levels, whereas mashhur implies general fame and prevalence, not necessarily attained on all the levels.

matn content or text of a tradition.
mawdu’ fabricated, invented, forged.

suspended – describes a chain of transmission in which the names of some or all of the reporters have been intentionally omitted by the author of a compilation for brevity, and subsequently appended at the back of the book.


ambiguous – refers to a chain of transmission in which the name of the Ma’sum is not mentioned, but rather a personal pronoun referring to him, such as ‘he’. We will refer to this type of chain as ‘ambiguous’. Its opposite is musarrah (‘explicit’), where the name of the Ma’sum is mentioned frankly. This is also referred to as maazu’ (‘disconnected’).

muhaddith traditionist; jurist who transmits traditions.
mujtahid a jurist consult who attempts to deduce legal rulings from the source according to a certain discipline.

legally responsible person, i.e. one who has reached the Islamic legal age of maturity, and thus has become responsible for performing Islamic duties.


handing over. This is when the teacher would hand over (give) his book of traditions to his student or to whoever wishes to narrate on his authority.


hurried – a tradition whose complete chain of transmission is unknown, i.e. the names of one or more of its narrators are missing or unknown. The word ‘mursal’ literally means ‘forwarded on’ because often the tradition is forwarded on by a Follower, missing out the name of the Companion who narrated it to him.

musarrah explicit – refers to a chain of transmission in which the Ma’sum is explicitly mentioned by name. This is also referred to as mawsul (‘connected’).
(pl. Masanid)

refers to works of hadith categorized according to the first narrator in the chain after the Prophet (pbuh) (i.e. a Companion).


supported – a tradition supported by a known chain of transmission that goes all the way back to the Prophet (pbuh).


extensively narrated.

mustahab legally recommended act.

a tradition from the Prophet (pbuh) or an infallible Imam, repeatedly and widely narrated in an uninterrupted sequence, through successive reliable narrators. In the absence of a single English word to express this very specific meaning, this has been left as mutawatir in the text. See Introduction.


dependable – a tradition in which some or all of the transmitters in its chain are non-imami, but it has been established that they are dependable by our scholars’ standards.

naql the act of transmission.
nass textually explicit legal statement.
(pl. qara’in)
external evidence linked to a report, which proves the soundness of its origin.

strong. Classification of hadith similar to muwaththaq; it refers to a tradition transmitted by an imami who has been neither commended nor criticized in the biographical dictionaries.


reading – one of the means of receiving traditions, whereby the student would read out his teacher’s tradition back to him, for verification.

qiyas analogical reasoning.

dissenters – a term used describe certain extremist sects because of their desertion of the Imam and rejection of his statements.

(f. rawiyah,
pl. rawun)
narrator, reporter.
rawiyyah reporter of many traditions.
Rijal works biographical dictionaries of Muslim dignitaries and narrators of traditions.
riwayah narration or transmission.
(pl. Sahabah)

‘Companion’ refers to the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh). In earlier times the term was restricted to his close friends who had close contact with him. Later the term was extended to include the believers who had seen him, even if only for a brief moment or at an early age.

(pl. Ashab)

Companion – as a general term used to refer to Companions of Imams, of other people and of the Prophet.

(pl. suhuf)

literally means journal or manuscript, and here refers to small personal habith collections of people who lived at the time of the Prophet (pbuh).

(pl. Sihah)
refers to works of hadith compiled to include only authentic traditions from the Prophet (pbuh).

authentic – a tradition in which all the transmitters in its chain are imami and veracious. This is the highest grade of hadith.


hearing – one of the means of receiving traditions, in which the reporter would hear the tradition and subsequently learn it, by heart or from a book.

sanad or isnad chain of transmission.
shadh unusual tradition.

work of traditions that is mainly to do with matters of jurisprudence that a Muslim encounters in everyday life.


allegorical interpretation of the Qur’an.

(pl. Tabi’un)

‘Follower’ or ‘Successor’ – refers to the second generation of Muslims who came after the Companions, who did not know the Prophet (pbuh) but who knew his Companions.


reception – refers to the reporter’s receipt of the tradition from another reporter who related it to him, and the hearer’s subsequent learning of it, whether by heart or by use of a book or written record.

tahdith narration of traditions.
taqiyyah dissimulation of one’s faith when faced with a life-threatening situation.

the legal imitation or following of a mujtahid – a veracious legal authority in matters of jurisprudence.


preponderance – a field of study within the science of hadith in which contradictory reports are weighed up and evaluated in terms of their authenticity in order to determine which of them prevails over the rest.

tawatur recurrent multiple successive transmission, i.e. the path of a mutawatir report.
thiqah reliable.
(sing. Asl)

the Arabic term for books in which Shi’i hadith scholars at the time of the Imams recorded the traditions directly received by them. There were four hundred such source collections, termed al-Usul al-Ara’umi’a, in which usul literally means ‘principles’, fundamentals’ or ‘roots’, to indicate that they are primary source for scholars to refer to and rely upon.

usul al-fiqh

principles of interpreting Islamic law, namely: the Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt (pbut), reason (‘aql) and legal consensus.


the rational segment of imami jurists who favoured the incorporation of the semantic-exegetical methodology in jurisprudence.




will –one of the means of receiving traditions, whereby a reporter would instruct a person, before a journey or his death, to narrate his book of traditions or some other traditions on his authority.


finding traditions – one of the means of receiving traditions. This has been defined in hadith terminology as: obtaining knowledge from a manuscript, without having heard it (sama’), without having been given it (munawalah) and without permission to transmit it.


valid conjecture or speculation of a jurist about the soundness of a report’s origin, which does not entail more than a probability.

PAPER # 14

There are several degrees of suspicion in Figh:

1) Wahm (Delusion): That is when you are approximately 25% sure of something but 75% sure that it is not so.
Wahm has no weight in Islam & no judgment can be based on it.
2) Shak (Doubt): When you are approx. 50% sure of something & 50% sure it is not so.
Shak is disregarded in Islam.
3) Dhan (Most likely/probable): When you are more sure that something is true but less sure that it is not so.
Say 70% sure but 30% not sure. Dhan is regarded as a basis of a judgment.
4) Itminan (Sureness): When you are so sure of something that you are confident it is true.
However, there is a small chance it is not true. Itminan is a solid basis for a judgment.
5) Yaqeen (Certainty): When you are 100% sure of something.
Yaqeen is an indisputable basis for judgment.

Based on the above, if you have shak or wahm [about the presence of an ingredient], then you do not have to read the ingredients & if you did then it is unnecessary investigation. However, if you have dhan then you should read the ingredients. But if you have Itminan or yaqeen, then it is haram for you to eat the product unless you read the ingredients & you find out that it does not contain any haram ingredients.





Kinds of Permissible Acts
Wajib Obligatory on every Baligh person.
Wajibe Kifai Obligatory on everyone who is Baligh, but if one person does it, then the others are freed from the responsibility
Aqwa A stronger opinion; an opinion having more weight in the eyes of the jurists
Ahwat Based on precaution (ihtiyat); least likely to be at variance with the shari'a Ehtiyate
Wajib An obligatory precaution
Mustahab (Plural - Mustahabbat) Approved or commendable acts; things which if done carry their reward for their doer, but if omitted do not entail disapproval or any punishment. Recommended to perform
Mustahabb -i Muwakkad: Emphatically approved or recommended
Mustahabb Approved; commendable; recommended
Mubah or Jayez Permissible by law or lawful


Kinds of Not Recommended Acts
Haraam (or Mahzur) Forbidden for all Muslims
Makrooh Not recommended or undesirable, disliked by Allah
Karahat Disapproval; disapprobation; repugnance; abomination.



Other Kinds of Opinions
Ansab A more suitable opinion
Aqrab An opinion closer to traditional authority
Ashbah An opinion more in keeping with the principles of law
Ashhar An opinion more widely accepted a better known opinion; a more prevalent opinion
Awla A better or preferred (opinion)
Azhar A more obvious opinion; a more prevalent opinion
Rajih Preferable opinion while there are several opinions on an issue



Other Common Definitions


A morally sound person who is expected to deal with people justly, righteously and honestly



Amanat (or Amanah, Plural - Amanat)

A thing deposited in trust; a deposit


Puberty; legal maturity; coming of age


A person of legal age


A verdict or decree of a Mujtahid or a Mufti



Hadd (Plural - Hudud)

Punishment as prescribed by Islamic law for special offenses


A punishment left to the discretion of a Magistrate or Judge, as against Hadd


The prescribed period after which a divorced woman or a widow is allowed to contract another marriage




A process or purification or cleanness after urination or defecation

Ithna 'Ashari

The Twelvers ; the majority group of Shi'ahs who are the followers of twelve Imams


Unclean; soiled

Qada' (Salat al-)

A compensatory prayer offered after the due time, as against Salat al-Ada', a prayer offered within its due time


Reducing two Rak'ats from Zuhr, Asr and 'Isha' prayers, or renunciation of keeping fast (of Ramadan), during a lawful journey subject to special conditions explained in the relevant Chapters on Traveler's Prayers and Rules Concerning a Traveler.


Certitude; presumption