An Introduction to Usul AlFiqh


بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

الحمد الله

Fiqh: is the study of the physical rulings of the Shari’ah along with their detail evidences (not related to ‘Aqeedah).

Usul AlFiqh: are the procedures, rules and principals that are used in order to derive Fiqh.

  • A command found in the Qur’an and Sunnah necessitates obligation unless there is some external evidence which shows otherwise.

Sources of Usul AlFiqh:

1) Qur’an

2) Sunnah:

1) Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم’s statement – qawl

2) Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم’ doing – fa’l:

a) What the Qur’an commanded Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to do.

b) What he did explaining the conciseness of Qur’an.

c) Those rulings of the religion that are not found in the Qur’an.

d) Those acts which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did as a worship of Allah but were special for him.

e) Those things the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did as a human being.

f) Actions he did not do (Sunnah Tarkiyyah):

1) Acts that he صلى الله عليه وسلم would leave for religious reasons. Ex: Not shaking hands with women

2) Some type of religious act that Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم could have done but he صلى الله عليه purposely did not do. Ex: Not giving adhan for ‘Eid Salah.

3) Actions Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to show us that they are prohibited.

4) Actions Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم left because he was of a certain culture, time and place.

g) Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم’s silent approval – ‘iqraar. Ex: The hadith when Mu’adh bin Jabal رضي الله تعالى عنه prayed ‘Isha’ behind Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and then lead ‘Isha’ for his tribe.

We do not derive rulings from points 2 d & e

Sunnah is divided in two sections:

1) Mutawaatir

2) Ahaad

3) Ijmaa’ (Scholarly consensus): unanimous agreement of all the scholars of a specific time and place on a certain matter without any difference of opinion

Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “My Ummah will never agree upon a misguidance.”

4) Qiyas (Analogy): is to take a ruling from Qur’an and Sunnah and to apply to a situation that is not found in the Qur’an nor the Sunnah due the commonality between them. Qiyas is based upon four principles:

1) The initial ruling: the presence of a ruling in either Qur’an or Sunnah with which analogy can be made.

2) The situation/matter that is not found in Qur’an and Sunnah.

3) The ruling on case one (initial ruling).

4) The common grounds between the two situations (initial and the one not found in Qur’an and Sunnah).

Dhaahiri madh’ab denied Qiyas as a source of Fiqh whilst Hanafi madh’ab stresses the most on Qiyas from amongst the 4 madha’hib. Hanbalis give the most emphasis on hadith and the least on Qiyas.

5) Statements of the Sahabah رضوان لله تعالى عليهم

6) Common Benefit for the community also known as Muslahah Ex: The Sahabah رضوان لله تعالى عليهم compiled the whole Qur’an into one book.

These are mentioned in order of precedence.

Word Pairs / Terminologies Used in Usool al-Fiqh

1) Aam and Khaas – General and Specific:

‘Aam occurs when a certain word or phrase that has a large set of things that it applies to. Ex: As Allah سبحانه و تعالى has said, كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ

Khaas applies to a specific amount of people. Ex: As Allah سبحانه و تعالى has said,

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّوَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

General ruling is that all mankind is in loss but the specific ruling is that except those who do righteous deeds, enjoin the truth and enjoin patience upon others.

This is used when there are two rulings in the Qur’an and Sunnah. One of them comes in an ‘Aam form and the other one in Khaas form. There is no contradiction between them. In the example given above, Allah سبحانه و تعالى immediately tells which people are not in loss. But sometimes, Allah سبحانه و تعالى does not mention it just after giving an ‘Aam ruling. For example when Allah سبحانه و تعالى said that those people, male and female, who steal, their hands should be cut off. But Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم made this ‘Aam into Khaas when he صلى الله عليه وسلم specifically stated that a person’s hand will be chopped off when he/she steals above a certain value. Or if a person steals in hunger, his hand is not cut off.

2) Mutlaq and Muqayyad – Unconditional and Conditional:

Sometimes a verse comes as a Mutlaq and sometimes Muqayyad. For example ‘Aam applies to everything in its set at that time and Mutlaq applies to just one. For example, Allah سبحانه و تعالى has said if a person does one thing, he should free a slave. This is Mutlaq.

Another example, Allah سبحانه و تعالى has said when someone commits dhihaar with his wife like it was done in Jahiliyyah, and then they should free one slave before they touch their wife. This is also Mutlaq.

A third example, Allah سبحانه و تعالى has said that when a Muslims kills a another Muslims unintentionally, then he should free a believing slave. This is Muqayyad since there is a condition attached to it.

3) Mantooq and Mafhoom – Apparent and Unapparent

Mantooq is something is explicitly mentioned for example, Allah سبحانه و تعالى has said, “Whoever returns from Hajj, then let him fast seven days (if he did not give the penalty he was supposed to give).”

Mafhoom is something that is implied, for example, Allah سبحانه و تعالى said, “Give women their dowers freely and if they wish to return some of it to you freely, then eat of what they return to you.” The Mafhoom of the verse is that if the women don’t give their dowers, you can’t take it. This is not clearly mentions this, but this is rather inferred from the verse itself.

Mafhoom is only taken when doesn’t contradict the Mantooq of any verse or Hadith.

4) Haqiqi and Majazi:

Haqiqi is when a word is used in its primary sense.

Majazi is when a word is used its metaphorical sense.

Everything in Arabic is Haqiqi unless there is a proof that it is Majazi.

There is an Ikhtilaaf upon this issue that when is something Haqiqi and when is something Majazi. For example, does touching a woman break one’s wudu? Imam ash-Shafi’i رحمه الله تعالى has said yes and the proof is, “If you have from the restroom or have touched women (in its literal sense Laamsatum which means touch) and you do not find water, then do tayammum.” Touch in this verse, is it Haqiqi or Majazi? Imam ash-Shafi’i رحمه الله تعالى has said this is Haqiqi whilst others have said its Majazi. But Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would kiss ‘Aishah رضي الله تعالى عنها and would then go for Salah.

There is no Majazi when it comes to Allah سبحانه و تعالى ’s Names and Attributes. They are all Haqiqi

The Goals of the Shari’ah

The Shari’ah came to protect three things:

1) Dharuriyaat – Essentials:

a) Religion of Islam

b) Life

c) Sanity

d) Property

e) Honour (it includes progeny)

2) Al-Hajiyaat:

Those things that are important but are not necessary to live. For example, when a person buys more than his needs.

3) Tahsinaat – Perfections:

These are the things that perfect the Shari’ah but are not required for a person live

By Shaykh Yasir Qadhi حفظه الله



2 Responses to “An Introduction to Usul AlFiqh”

  1. taalibah Says:

    Salaamu alaikum,

    BaarakAllaahu feek for the beneficial posts.

    In addition,

    Of Ijmaa’:

    > Every text of Ijmaa’ must be based on a verse of the Qur’aan or a definite authentic hadeeth.

    > Ijmaa’s can be of many different types. From them:
    ~ Ijmaa’ asSahaabah
    ~ Ijmaa’ asSalaf
    ~ Ijmaa’ Sukooti [silent]
    ~ Ijmaa’ alMathaahib
    ~ Ijmaa’ of a category of scholars

    > Every text of evidence can be either definitive or suppositive in significance to the issue being discussed. An Ijmaa’ may also be of these two types.

    > Other proofs of Ijmaa’ aayah 115 in surat anNisaa’: “And he who digresses from the Messenger after the guidance has been made plain to him and follows other than the path of the believers, we will leave him upon that and take his path towards Jahannam. What an evil destination it is!”
    …there are also other ahaadeeth bar the one you posted above.

    Of Qiyaas;

    > Proof, in surat alMaa’idah aayah 95.

    Salaamu alaikum

    • Abu Dahdah Says:


      Wa ‘Alayki Salam Wa RahmatuLlahi Wa Barakatuh,

      Wa BarakAllah feeki aydhan

      I have an article on Ijmaa’ by Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله check it out insha’Allah.

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