& its sources ' - An Extract from Islam faith Practice &
History by Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi
on lectures by Moulana Sadiq Hassan from
Fiqh means to follow the orders (ahkam) of Allah.
According to Islam, the purpose of creation of human
beings is to submit to the will of Allah, i.e., to lead
a life in this world according to the ahkam of Allah.
Islam teaches that we are actually created for the next
world (akhirat) and not for this temporary world. The
life in this world is a trial period for all human
beings in order to judge who follows the ahkam of Allah
and who does not. In order to follow the ahkam of Allah,
it is essential to acquire knowledge and understand the
ahkam of Allah (i.e. fiqh).
Two Sources of Fiqh There are two main sources of
knowledge of fiqh: the Quran and the Hadith. While the
holy Quran is available in a single book form, the
literature of Hadith is scattered in different books
written over different times.a) Holy Qur’an. b) Sunnah.
Holy Qur’an is the word of Allah as revealed to Holy
Prophet (SAW) and Sunnah means the sayings, actions and
silent approval of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Holy
Imams (AS). There are over 6000 Quranic verses and
around 70,000 hadiths (Sunnah). Both the Holy Qur’an and
Sunnah have equal status as far as wajibat is concerned.
If one wajib is mentioned in Sunnah only, it has same
weight as one wajib mentioned in Quran only.
A Mujtahid is an alim who has acquired a thorough
knowledge and understanding of the Quran and the Hadith.
A Marja is that Mujtahid who is the most knowledgeable
(highest ranking) among all Mujtahids.
Islam expects every Muslim to either become a Mujtahid
or do taqleed of the highest ranking Mujtahid (i.e.
follow a Marja). Hence taqleed is wajib for all Muslims
who can not become a Mujtahid. A mujtahid writes a book
of ahkam (Islamic Laws), which is used by his followers
(muqallideen) to know his rulings (fatwa) about
According to Hadees, if we do not acquire knowledge of
fiqh, we may die as the biggest kafir or the biggest
munafiq (Aarabee).Islam reminds us that our real life is
the life hereafter, which is forever. Our present life
on this earth is short, temporary and a trial period for
the next permanent (real) life. This life is a transit
in our ultimate destination to heaven or hell. This
present life is a test period to judge who obeys the
orders of Allah and who does not.
According to Hadees of Imam Ali (AS), anyone who
follows Islam without the knowledge of fiqh is on the
right path but is going in the wrong direction.!
In Islam, lack of knowledge of fiqh (shariah) is not an
excuse for not following tenets of Islam correctly.
Lack of knowledge of fiqh about a good deed can sometime
lead to punishment (azaab) instead of reward (sawab)
from Allah even though the intention may initially be
good. There are many examples of this.
Story of a wife, who after the death of her husband,
donated all his property and wealth to the poor, but she
earned hellfire because she did not know the rules of
fiqh that after the husband’s death, his property and
wealth must be distributed to heirs according to the
Islamic laws of inheritance. According to fiqh, the wife
gets only a small portion of husband's property and
wealth. After husband's death, she can not even spend
his money on his children unless the husband has made
her as his wali (guardian) during his life time or
through a will. Writing of Will (wasiyah) is very
important for people living in the West.
(Oneness of Allah)
(Justice of Allah)
(Belief in12 Imams)
(Day of Judgement)
A Muslim is
one who believes in ALL THREE Usool-e-Islam
and a Shia Muslim or Momin is one who
believes in ALL FIVE Usool-e-deen.
A kafir is one
who does not believe in or who denies in any of the
following four things:-
iv) Necessities of Religion (Established tenets of
Necessities of religion are those things on which all
Muslims agree as established commandments of Islam, eg.
Salat, Sawm, Hajj, Hijab, finality of prophethood etc.
For example, Qadiyanis are kafir because they do not believe
in the finality of our Holy Prophet, while all Muslims agree
on Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to be the last Prophet of Allah.
wajib on a person, who has the following 4 conditions:
i) Alive (Zinda)
ii) Mature (Baligh)
iii) Sane (Aql)
iv) Capable (Mukhtar)
differences in fiqh in Sunni & Shia Islam. For example:
rabbits and crabs are halal in Sunni fiqh but they are haram
in Shia fiqh.
Conditions for Following Fiqh (Sharaet-e-Takleef-e-Sharai)
Acting on fiqh is wajib only if a person meets four
i) Alive (Zinda)
ii) Mature (Baligh)
iii) Sane (Aqil)
iv) Capable (Akhtiyar)
If someone’s life is in
danger then all haram becomes halal or vice versa except in
a) Jihad is wajib even
if life is in danger or
b) Killing another Muslim is haram even if one’s own
life is in danger.
Islam and knowledge of fiqh
are not the necessary conditions for a person for following
Hukm (Laws) are of two types:-
Hukme Takleefi (regarding sawab or azaab)
Hukme Waz-ee (regarding other characteristics like right or
From Fiqh point of view, a girl becomes baligh at the age of
9 Islamic years even if her monthly period has not started.
A boy becomes baligh at the age of 15 Islamic years or at an
earlier age if he starts discharging semen (Ehtelam) or
pubic hairs appear below his navel.
If a na-baligh child offers salat, sawm etc, he will get the
sawab of these acts, if he is of such age that he can
distinguish good from bad or right from wrong (Mumaiyaz in
It is wajib on wali (guardian) to stop na-baligh children
from certain major haram things, which include Wine, Pork,
Haram Meat, Music, and Stealing.
When a non-shia becomes shia, then he has to re-pay zakat
and fitra paid during the period he was non-shia. Why?
Because in shia fiqh, the zakat and fitra must go to poor
shia. However, he does not have to repeat salat, saum, hajj
etc performed earlier.
When a kafir becomes a Muslim, he does not have to offer
qaza of salat or sawm missed during the period of kufr. But
he has to pay khums and zakat on his previous year's
savings/items on the day he becomes a Muslim.
On the Day of Judgement, a kafir will get punishment of not
accepting Islam, and also for not offering salat, sawm etc
during his period of Kufr.
HISTORY & FIQH
Some knowledge of history is essential to understand how our
Holy Imams (AS) propagated the knowledge of Fiqh and also to
understand the philosophy/logic of some masail of Fiqh.
Open dissemination of Fiqh knowledge was started by the 5th
Imam, who is also known by the title BAQIRUL ULOOM.
Our 5th & 6th Imams are known by a common title of SADIQAIN.
The real benefits of martyrdom of Karbala started appearing
in the time of the 5th Imam, when people started enquiring
openly about real Islam and it’s laws.
The 5th & 6th Imams established the first Hawzae Ilmiya
(Islamic University). They also gave knowledge about the
established system of Taqleed and Khums.
According to all Muslims (including Wahabis), the best
family lineage in the world is family of our Holy Prophet
(SAW) through Bibi Fatima (AS) and Imam Ali (AS).
Our 5th Imam has unique distinction of having Masoom
grandfathers from father’s side as well as from mother’s
side. The father of 5th Imam was Imam Zainul Abideen (AS),
the son of Imam Husain (AS). The mother of 5th Imam was
Fatima, the daughter of Imam Hasan (AS).
LAW OF ILZAM (Qanoon-e-Ilzam)
In order to understand the topic of Ijtihad and Taqleed, it
is first necessary to understand the law of Ilzam in fiqh.
Law of Ilzam helps in solving problems due to differences in
fatwas from different Mujtahids on the same issue.
Law of Ilzam also solves problems arising due to conflicting
laws in fiqh between Shia school of fiqh and Sunni school of
fiqh on the same issue.
These laws were first explained by our 5th Imam (AS).
According to the Law of Ilzam, if a thing is incorrect (batil)
in Shia fiqh, but if the same thing is considered correct
according to Sunni fiqh, then a shia can take a benefit from
it. This is best explained by examples:
Example 1: Divorce Laws. There are major
differences in divorce laws in shia and sunni fiqh. Shia
fiqh is very strict in divorce laws (divorce formula
must be recited in Arabic, 2 witnesses must be present
and the woman must be free from menstruation at the time
of divorce). In sunni fiqh, only the recitation of word
Talaq three times is enough and other conditions are not
necessary. If a sunni gives divorce to his wife
according to rule of his fiqh, then (according to law of
Ilzam), shia fiqh recognises the divorce as valid and a
shia is allowed to marry such a divorced woman.
Example 2: Inheritance Laws. According to
Quran, when husband dies, his wife gets 25% of his
property if he had no children, or 12.5% if he had
children. The property can be of 2 types: Movable
(clothes, house building, cash etc) or Immovable (land
of house, farm land etc). In shia fiqh, a wife gets a
share only in movable property. In sunni fiqh a wife
will get share from movable and immovable properties. If
a shia wife gets a share from her sunni husband’s
immovable property, it is halal for her even though it
is incorrect in her own fiqh.
Example 3: Jamaat Prayers. In shia fiqh,
the Imame Jamaat must be a shia ithna asheri along with
other conditions such as being adil. But if a sunni
Imame jamaat is leading salat according to his sunni
fiqh, then a shia can pray jamaat behind such a sunni
imam (he should make a niyyat of jamaat and recite suras
The same law
of Ilzam applies to differences in fatwas on fiqh by two or
more shia Mujtahids. Examples are the differences in fatwas
in moon sighting laws, Taharat of Ahle Kitab etc.
Ehtiyate Wajib: While a Mujtahid spends his whole life in
acquiring the knowledge of fiqh, no Mujtahid is able to
understand 100% of Hadith. Hence, there are always some
issues (masail) for which he can not give a clear ruling
(fatwa). For such issues, he uses a term called Ehtiyate
Wajib, which means he allows his followers to refer to the
next most high ranking Marja for that particular issue
AYATULLAH SEESTANI ON TAQLEED
If a baligh person has done taqleed of a Mujtahid, who is
now dead (e.g. Ayatullah Khui or Ayatullah Khumaini), and if
that person wants to do taqleed of Ayatullah Seestani now,
then it is wajib for that person to continue to follow the
masail of that dead Mujtahid as long as he is sure that the
present state of knowledge (ilm) of Ayatullah Seestani is
not yet more than the knowledge of his dead Mujtahid. If
that person is not sure about whose knowledge is more now,
then also he must continue to follow the masail of his dead
Mujtahid if the knowledge of that dead Mujtahid was more
than the knowledge of Ayatullah Seestani at that time.
Thus all followers of Ayatullah Khui and Ayatullah Khomeini,
now through the above fatwa of Ayatullah Seestani, must
continue to follow the masail of their dead Marja as long as
the above conditions exist. Only in new masail (not covered
by their dead Marja), they can follow the fatwa of Ayatullah
Due to above fatwa of Ayatullah Seestani, only two
types of persons can start and remain in complete taqleed of
A person, who has never done taqleed of any Marja
(b) Children born in or after 1985 (because these
children became sensible after the death of two main
Marja i.e. Khui and Khomeini; Khui died in 1992 and
Khomeini in 1989).
CONTINUING IJTIHAD BY A MUJTAHID
A Mujtahid, even if he has become a marja, continues to do
further study and research and undertakes jurisprudence (ijtihad)
in different masail. He can even review and change his
opinion on an issue, on which he has already issued a fatwa
earlier. Thus a Mujtahid can change his fatwa and issue a
new fatwa on the same issue.
Ayatullah Seestani published his first book of ahkam
(Islamic Laws or Tauzeehul Masail) about 10 years ago. He
has published a revised book of ahkam in 2002, in which he
has made changes to some of his previous fatwas.
5 kinds of rules:
1. WAJIB: The
religious duties performance of which is rewarded and
neglect of which is punishable are classified as WAJIB.
HARAM : Deeds, doing of which is sinful and
punishable and abstinence from them rewardable, are
termed as HARAM.
3. MUSTAHAB OR
SUNNAT: Such of the rites performance of which is
rewardable but their commission is not punishable are
termed as SUNNAT.
Those deeds, abstinence from which is rewarded, but
committing them is not sinful are termed as MAKROOH.
5. MUBAH :
Those deeds which are allowed by the Sheriat, but there
is neither reward nor punishment for doing or neglecting
them, are called MUBAH.
A Muslim is
at liberty to ignore the rule (3) and (4) even without any
excuse. But he cannot tamper with a Wajib or Haram
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