Definition of Fiqh and the need to compile Fiqh

Islam Contributor
Today's Focus
definition of fiqh
© Kseniya Bogdanova |

Islam provides man with clear and intellectual guidance about his life. It is the basis of all his thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Such a foundation demands the existence of a holistic system of life, each part of which is in all respects a follower of the original and consistent with it. Therefore, even in the case of Islamic knowledge, it was inevitable that a branch would emerge. That would meet this need in practical life. Ilm Al-Fiqh or Islamic Jurisprudence is that special branch of Islamic knowledge. Definition of Fiqh explains the importance of this particular branch, the Prophet (peace be upon him) also said,

“Everything has a pillar. And the pillar of Islam is Fiqh.”

Definition of Fiqh

Fiqh is the Arabic meaning. Whose lexical meaning is ‘deep knowledge or understanding’. Islamic knowledge is as much dependent on the Quran and Hadith as it is on Fiqh. Therefore, when the revelation was revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), the Quran spoke of the practice of Fiqh. And the Prophet’s Hadith also has encouraged the practice of Fiqh.

Although ‘Fiqh’ literally means deep knowledge or understanding of any subject, in various verses of the Quran and various hadiths, ‘Fiqh’ refers to the deep knowledge of the religion. For this reason, in the early days of Islam, ‘Fiqh’ did not refer to any particular branch of Islamic knowledge, but to the religion as a whole.

But later on, as all the branches of the religion developed and expanded individually. The word ‘Fiqh’ became specific only to the special field of deriving the rules of practical life from the Quran-Sunnah. Therefore, in the terminology of Islamic Shariah, Fiqh is the special branch of knowledge that reveals the rules and regulations related to the branches of Shariah from all the authentic sources of Shariah.

Definition of Fiqh according to scholars

Imam Shafi’i (Rah) has given a complete definition of fiqh. He said,

“Gaining knowledge of the practical rules and regulations of Islamic Shariah from the detailed evidence of Islamic Shariah is called Fiqh.”

In short, ‘Fiqh’ is the law of Islamic Shariah and special knowledge about it. And the aim and purpose of this knowledge are to achieve success in both this world and the Hereafter.

For all the reasons that compilation of Fiqh is required

1. There are some matters in the Quran-Hadith which have only been explained in principle. But no detailed explanation was given. Sometimes it is not possible for the general public to comprehend it without a detailed explanation. In the light of these principles, a compilation of Fiqh is needed for a detailed explanation.

2. In some places of the Quran, contradictory verses can be seen outwardly. As mentioned in one verse,

“And those of you who die and leave their wives, then the duty of those wives is to keep themselves waiting for four months and ten days. (2: 234)

Elsewhere, mentioned in another verse,

“If there is any doubt among your wives about the expectation of menstruation, then their waiting period is three months. And those who have not yet reached the age of menstruation will have a similar waiting period. The waiting period for pregnant women is childbirth. ” (65: 4)

Fiqh is needed to solve all these issues

3. Sometimes the Quran and Hadith are outwardly contradictory. As Allah says, “So recite the Quran as easy as it is easy for you.” (73: 4)

It is also mentioned in the hadith, “Prayer is not possible without Surah Fatiha.” (Bukhari)

Fiqh is needed to resolve all these crisis.

4. From time to time, Fiqh is needed for the proper resolution of seemingly contradictory hadiths. For example, it has been said in a hadith, “There is no prayer without Surah Fatiha.”

Another hadith says, “The Qirat of the Imam is the Qiraat of the Muqtadis.”

Now, if one prays with the congregation, then Fiqh is needed to decide whether to recite the Fatiha or not.

5. Fiqh is needed given change of time

New problems are constantly emerging in terms of space, time, and conditions. Now that Islam is a complete way of life, all problems should be solved according to the principles of the Quran and Hadith. If new problems arose with the passage of time and no direct solution could be found in the Quran and Hadith, then the Islamic scholars would try to find a solution through Ijtihad and in this context the compilation of Fiqh became essential.

There are many other reasons that make the compilation of Fiqh essential. Although the practice of Fiqh dates back to the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), at one stage an era emerged when the compilation of Fiqh began in its entirety. It added a new dimension to the world of Islamic knowledge. Which makes Islam perfectly age-appropriate for all ages.