Nor should the Believers all go forth together; if a contingent from every expedition remained behind, they could devote themselves to studies in religion, and admonish the people when they return to them, that thus they (may learn) to guard themselves (against evil).[1]

Man lives in this world and interacts with all that is in it. There are various relationships between man and the different beings of this world and there are relationships between man and Allah, the most high.

Every relationship is different. A relationship can be between man and Allah, or man and his family, or man and society, or man and government or between one family and another, one society and another or one government and another. Man wants to act according to his knowledge or according to revelation regarding these relationships in order that he can be prosperous and successful.

The divine commands that create the perfect path for man to walk on must be inclusive of all different aspects and dimensions of life.

The Islamic legal system organizes man's life in all dimensions, individual or social. This system is called 'al-ah?ka-m al-shar?i-yyah'. Islamic jurisprudence explains this system and is one if the deepest and widest Islamic science.

Islamic jurisprudence is one of the sciences that glorifies the Islamic civilization.

This jurisprudential system started with the proclamation to prophethood and its principles and were perfected during the life of the prophet.

We will try, in this humble effort, to describe the important general and specific topics that are covered in jurisprudence. The style of this book is in the form of a book to be taught in schools and it is a prelude to argumentative jurisprudence.

I ask Allah, the most high, to make this productive and to glorify me by accepting it and to correct our intentions and actions. Definitely, he is the best helper.

Also, I give special thanks to professor, Shaykh Mah?mu-d al-Sayf and professor, Dr. Ya?qu-b ?Ali- Barji- for his remarks and guidance.

H?assan al-Rid?a-'i-
1426 Hijri- - Qum al-Muqadasah


[1] 9:122

The Arabic term for jurisprudence (fiqh) literally means: knowledge about something and understanding it; being clever.[2]

Fiqh's literal definition does not only mean understanding a word, instead it is a deep knowledge about it. Fiqh has been used in the Qura-n in this meaning:

They have hearts wherewith they understand not.[3]

Figuratively, fiqh means: knowledge about Islamic legal rulings from their sources. So, fiqh's figurative definition is taken from its literal one in the sense that deriving religious rulings from their sources necessitates the mujtahed[4] to have a deep understanding in the different discussions of jurisprudence. He must look deep down into a matter and not suffice himself with just the apparent meaning. A person who only knows the appearance of a matter is not a faqi-h.[5]

The subject of thinking deeply (tafaquh) about religion has been repeatedly mentioned in the Qura-n and traditions transmitted from the prophet (s) and the Ima-ms (a). What is taken from them, on a whole, is that Islam wants man to deeply understand religion. Of course, this understanding covers such subjects as Islamic theology, Islamic ideology, ethics, Islamic upbringing, the Islamic social system, worship, religious rulings and manners that one must have in his individual and social life. The term 'fiqh' has become popular amongst Muslims since the second century after the great migration to mean Islamic jurisprudence or the art of deriving religious rulings from their sources. It has obtained the following meaning: a precise and deep understanding and ability to derive religious rulings from their sources.[6]

The Meaning of Fiqh

Nowadays, the term fiqh is generalized to mean Islamic sciences or Islamic rulings in the broad sense. The broad meaning of Islamic rulings is broken up into three fundamental categories:

1. Theology; what is obligatory for a mukalaf to believe about Allah, his angels, books, messengers and the Day of Judgment.
2. Ethics; the positive traits that a mukalaf must obtain and the negative traits that he must stay away from.
3. Actions; the actions that a mukalaf must perform.

This is proved by the tradition from the prophet (s) who said: Whoever wants Allah to treat him favorably must have a deep understanding (yafaqahu) in religion.[7])

Here, the word fiqh is used in its general sense, synonymous of Islam.

When the different sciences are categorized the term fiqh is used to mean the Islamic rulings regarding one's actions. Fiqh, in its specific meaning and what is discussed in books of fiqh, includes everything that has to do with all aspects of man's life. Everything that is studied today including foundational laws, city management, family relations, individual actions, management, politics, etc is found in the different sections of fiqh.[8]

Shari'ah And Fiqh

Shari-?ah encompasses what was decreed in the time of prophethood found in the Qura-n and prophetic traditions.

Fiqh is what has been gained from the efforts of scholars after the prophet's (s) demise.[9]


[2] Ibn Manz?u-r, Lisa-n al-Arab
[3] 7:179
[4] To be discussed later.
[5] Tafsi-r al-Mana-r, volume 9, page 420
[6] Shahi-d Mut?t?ahari-, Makhul Ila al-?Ulu-m al-Islami-yyah, page 3
[7] Muslim, S?ah?i-h?, volume 3, page 95 (Naysha-pu-ri- print
[8] Shahi-d Mut?t?ahari-, Makhul Ila al-?Ulu-m al-Islami-yyah, page 45
[9] Ayatollah Ja?far Subh?a-ni-, Ta-ri-kh al-Fiqh al-Islami- wa Adwa-rihi, page 6

Allah, the creator of mankind and the world with all its precision and secrets, emphasizes in the Holy Scriptures that man needs order in his worldly life and needs to find the path that leads him to his purpose, which is the eternal blessings of the next life.

Man's divine disposition (fit?rah) necessitates him to follow religion and religious laws. The reason for this is that man, as shown in his nature and throughout history, is unable to understand what is good and what is bad for him in every situation.

Jurisprudence, which discusses the divine code, teaches us religious laws which give order to our worldly life, which give us benefit, which take us away from corruption and show us the path that leads man to his purpose.

The Special Qualities of Jurisprudence

Inclusiveness; it includes everything needed to manage and give order to man's life in every aspect and dimension. Jurisprudence gives order to man's life in every different situation, for example: worship, social relations, business deals, personal affairs such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adequate support (nafaqah), family rights, legal matters, government, war, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, charity and punishments.

Easiness; there is no divine law that puts a mukalaf in extreme difficulty.[10]

Congruence with man's nature; a law that is against one's divine disposition cannot be found. The reason for this is that the one who makes the divine laws is the same one who created man and who knows the secrets of his soul. For this reason it is possible for Islamic jurisprudence to be in congruence with man's divine disposition.[11]

Balance; There is no excessiveness in jurisprudence.[12]

Islamic jurisprudence is what connects this world to the next.


[10] Refer to 22:78
[11] Refer to 30:30
[12] Refer to 2:143