Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Introducing Shāfiʿī Fiqh (part 2)

The second part of this article

Stairs leading to the minaret of Imam ash-Shāfiʿī’s Masjid, Cairo

Islamic Fiqh comprising everything that mankind needs

There is no doubt that the life of man has various aspects and that man’s felicity requires that all of these aspects be taken care of through organisation and legislation, and as Islamic fiqh is an expression of the rulings that Allah has legislated for His slaves in order to look after their interests and protect them from causes of harm, this Islamic fiqh has thus come to cover all of these aspects and through its rulings organise everything that mankind needs. Here is an elucidation of this:

If we look at the books of fiqh that contain the rulings of the Revealed Law derived from the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Messenger and the consensus[1] of the scholars and their personal reasonings,[2] we find that they are divided into seven groups

The first group: rulings that are connected to the worship of Allah, such as wuḍūʾ, prayer, fasting, zakāh, Ḥajj and so forth, and these rulings are called al-ʿibādāt.[3]

The second group: rulings that are connected to the family, such as marriage, divorce, lineage and fostering, financial support and inheritance, and these rulings are called al-aḥwāl ash-shakhṣiyyah.[4]

The third group: rulings that are connected to the actions of people and their transactions with each other, such as buying, putting up collateral, renting, lawsuits, evidences, judicial decision and so forth, these rulings are called al-muʿāmalāt.[5]

The fourth group: rulings that are connected to the duties of the ruler, such as establishing justice, warding off injustice and implementing rulings, as well as the duties of the ruled, such as obedience in that which is not disobedience,[6] and so forth, and these rulings are called al-aḥkām as-sulṭāniyyah,[7] or as-siyāsiyyah ash-sharʿīyyah.[8]  

The fifth group: rulings that are connected to the punishment of criminals and maintaining security and order, such as punishing the murderer, the thief, the drinker of wine and so forth,[9] and these rulings are called al-ʿuqūbāt.[10]

The sixth group: rulings that regulate the relationships of the Islamic country with other countries, such war and peace and so forth, and these rulings are called as-siyar.[11]

The seventh group: rulings that are connected to manners and decorum, good and evil deeds and qualities and so forth, and these rulings are called al-ādāb and al-akhlāq.[12]

Thus we find that Islamic fiqh comprises all the rulings that man needs, covering all institutions of life, at the level of individuals as well as that of communities and societies.

The regard for ease in Islamic fiqh and the removal of hardship

The meaning of ease:

In legislating rulings, Islam considers mankind’s needs and ensures their felicity, and that is why all of these rulings are within man’s ability and within the bounds of his capacity. There is no ruling that man is incapable of performing and carrying out, and whenever a legally responsible person[13] finds hardship that is beyond his capacity, or will bring further difficulty and an adversity to his particular situation, the religion opens the door of concession and mitigation for him.

The evidence that Islam is a religion of ease:

There is no clearer evidence that Islam is a religion of ease than the Exalted’s statement: “…He has not placed any constraint upon you in the religion…” (Sūrat al-Ḥajj 22:78) and the Exalted’s statement: “Allah desires ease for you; He does not desire difficulty for you.” (Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:185) and the Exalted’s statement: “Allah does not impose on any soul any more than it can bear.” (Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:186) and his statement, may Allah bless him and grant him peace: {Indeed the religion is ease.} (Related by al-Bukhārī: 39)

Examples of Islam’s ease:

1 – One can pray sitting if it is difficult to stand. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {Pray standing, and if you are not able to, then sitting, and if you are not able to, then on your side.} (Related by al-Bukhārī: 1066)

2 – Shortening four-rakʿah prayers and combining prayers while travelling. The Exalted has said, “When you are travelling in the land, there in nothing wrong in your shortening your prayer.” (Sūrat an-Nisāʾ 4:101]

And al-Bukhārī has related on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās, may Allah be pleased with both of them,[14] who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, would combine between the prayers of ẓuhr and ʿaṣr whilst travelling, and he would combine between maghrib and ʿishāʾ.

[Translated from al-Fiqh al-Manhajī ʿalā Madhhab al-Imam ash-Shāfiʿī (Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 1433/2012), p.12-14]

[1] Ar. ijmāʿ
[2] Ar. ijtihādāt
[3] (tn): i.e. acts of worship
[4] (tn): i.e. personal status
[5] (tn): i.e. transactions
[6] (tn): i.e. that which is not disobedience to Allah
[7] (tn): i.e. the rulings of the sultan, or ruler
[8] (tn): i.e. the political rulings of the Revealed Law
[9] (tn): it should be kept in mind that for Allah, the Revealed Law applies everywhere, but for the Muslim ruler, the Revealed Law only applies in the public sphere. If an individual drinks wine in the privacy of his own home, there is nothing the ruler can do about it unless there are witnesses or a confession. If not, the matter is left to Allah.
[10] (tn): i.e. punishments or punitive measures
[11] (tn): i.e. conduct, way, manner
[12] (tn): i.e. etiquettes and manners
[13] Ar. mukallaf, i.e. someone who is pubescent (bāligh) and sane (ʿāqil)
[14] (tn): i.e. ʿAbdullah and his father, ʿAbbās

No comments: