What Is Al Fiqh Fid-Deen [Understanding In The Religion?]- By Al Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi


In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

The Comprehensive Sharee’ah understanding of Al-Fiqh Fid Deen: “Whoever Allaah wishes good for, He grants him understanding in the religion”. When this ‘Understanding in the religion’ is stated amongst the people, they understand it to mean the books of Islamic jurisprudence [the books that discuss the rulings related to prayer, zakat, fasting, marriage etc]. This is a deficient understanding. Fiqh (understanding) – first and foremost – is the understanding of the creed and Tawheed. This is the highest level of Fiqh, because the nobility of knowledge is (determined based on the) nobility of its subject matter. The best and noblest subject matter is Tawheed, which teaches the people about the Attributes of their Lord and the perfection of His Attributes, His Oneness, to worship Him (alone) and sincerely establish the religion for His Sake. Therefore, we seek understanding of Tawheed from Allaah’s Book, the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] and from the understanding of our pious predecessors. We seek understanding in all areas of knowledge – understanding of halaal and haraam, acts of worship, mutual dealings, Siyaasah [(sound Islamic politics) see footnote a], economics and in every affair. All these affairs – and all praise and thanks be to Allaah – are extensively (found) within the (message) brought by Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him].

When Fiqh is mentioned, its intended (meaning includes) understanding of every affair that is connected to our religious and worldly affairs, and the foremost of them is the knowledge of Tawheed. There is nothing that can do without the knowledge of Tawheed, (because) some people deeply preoccupy (themselves with other) sciences and subject matters, but do not know this knowledge brought by the Messenger – to such extent that you find many people who are well versed in language, Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy and the science of rhetoric; but – by Allaah – do not know (the correct meaning) of Laa ilaaha illal laah – the Islamic Monotheism, which Allaah sent all the Messengers with- the first and last of them.

[وَلَقَدۡ بَعَثۡنَا فِى ڪُلِّ أُمَّةٍ۬ رَّسُولاً أَنِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱجۡتَنِبُواْ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتَ‌ۖ – And verily, We have sent among every Ummah [community, nation] a Messenger [saying]: “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) all false deities]. [Surah An-Nahl Aayah 36]

Every Messenger came with this until the advent of the seal of the Messengers Muhammad, who resided in Makkah for ten years and called to Tawheed. Tawheed was the foremost aspect and basis of his call. The prayer – the second pillar of Islaam after the testimony of faith Laa ilaaha illal laah – was not legislated until in the 10th year (of his Messengership), and the full details of Zakat was not legislated until (after his migration to) Madeenah and all the other laws. This shows the importance of Tawheed, so how is it that many people who ascribe to Islaam- those who claim knowledge – are ignorant of it, then how about the ignorant people. And due to this, misguidance, bidah and grave worship has become widespread, and this arose due to ignorance regarding the (perfect) Names and Attributes of Allaah and negation of Allaah’s Attributes. And people from the other religions entered into Islaam and plotted against the people (through) corrupt sciences – rhetoric, philosophy, forged (or spurious) historical accounts (or events) and what is similar to that, and thus corrupted their creed and methodology. (1)

Footnote a: What is Siyaasah? It means to regulate the affairs of the citizens. It has jurisdiction over the individual’s behaviour and the society as a whole. It involves Islamic jurisprudence by way of which the rulers are facilitated with knowledge and understanding of the rulings related to looking after the affairs of the state, its set-ups and Sharee’ah principles. (3)

Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: What is intended by ‘Separation between religion and Siyaasah’ is that the ruler can do what he wants based on what he thinks is a means of fulfilling (responsibilities related to) affairs of the state, whether it agrees with Sharee’ah or not; or even if what he does is based on the judgement of the religion, because the meaning of separation is to distinguish between two things and give them specific definitions. Therefore, in relation to this, the ruler looks at what he considers to be beneficial even if it opposes the Sharee’ah. There is no doubt that this is a false and sinful statement, because the religion itself is Siyaasah and Siyaasah itself is the religion, but what we mean by Siyaasah is the Siyaasah that is based on equity and not oppression. The religion of Islaam came to bring about wellbeing [and upright conduct] for the people in their behaviour towards their Lord and between themselves. It establishes the Rights of Allaah, rights for the people- rights for parents, relatives, wives and the Muslims – in general. And even for non-Muslims, Islam has given them rights that are well-known to the scholars. It laid down the means and conditions for war and peace making, punishments for crimes – some of which are determined by way of specific texts and some are left to the jurisdiction of the ruler, as well as other affairs which clearly shows that Islaam in its entirety is Siyaasah. The root of this word Siyaasah is Saa’is and that is the person who is responsible for looking after the affairs of animals – fulfilling that which brings them wellbeing and repelling that which will harm them. This is Siyaasah. We find this meaning when we contemplate on affairs of the religion, and that Allaah has legislated – for the servants – things without which humans will not be able to establish [a fruitful, stable, orderly, safe] life, and forbade them from things that will corrupt their state of affairs – either affecting everyone or specific individuals. Therefore, in reality the entire religion is Siyaasah. And we are certain that anyone who separates Siyaasah from the Religion and establishes Siyaasah based on what he sees fit and what he forbids, then indeed his Siyaasah is corrupt, and it will cause more harm than good. If it rectifies one affair based on his limited [or deficient] opinions, then indeed it greatly corrupts from another angle. So, this makes it incumbent that one contemplates on the state of affairs of those who base their Siyaasah on their desires and opinions, and became distanced from the religion of Islaam, you will find -after contemplating – that either all that Siyaasah is corrupt or most of it, and that if it rectifies an affair from one angle, it corrupts from another angle. So, based on this, separation between Siyaasah and Religion is a sinful deed and it is obligated on the one who seeks to rectify himself and others that he does so only based on the religion of Islaam. [https://binothaimeen.net/content/7366. Paraphrased]


[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm – pages 243-244. slightly paraphrased]

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