Importance - Basics of

'Sharia & its sources ' - An Extract from Islam faith Practice & History by Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi

 Notes 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 different issues.

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.

1. Tauheed
(Oneness of Allah)
4.  Adalah
(Justice of Allah)
2.  Risalah
5.  Imamat
(Belief in12 Imams)
3.  Qiyamah
(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:-

i)   Tauheed
ii)   Risalah
iii)  Qiyamah
iv)  Necessities of Religion (Established tenets of Islam).

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.

Furoo-e-Deen are wajib on a person, who has the following 4 conditions:

i)    Alive (Zinda)
ii)   Mature (Baligh)
iii)  Sane (Aql)
iv)  Capable (Mukhtar)

There are 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 conditions:

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 two situations:

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 the fiqh.

Hukm (Laws) are of two types:-

.^. Hukme Takleefi (regarding sawab or azaab)

.^. Hukme Waz-ee (regarding other characteristics like right or wrong)

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 Arabic).

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.

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 himself too).

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


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 Seestani.

Due to above fatwa of Ayatullah Seestani, only two types of persons can start and remain in complete taqleed of Ayatullah Seestani:

(a) A person, who has never done taqleed of any Marja before,
(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).


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.

Shariah contains 5 kinds of rules:

1. WAJIB: The religious duties performance of which is rewarded and neglect of which is punishable are classified as WAJIB.

2. 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.

4. MAKROOH; 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