The Importance of Fiqh
- If Allah desires good for someone He will grant him understanding (fiqh) of this Deen.
- Halal is clear, haram is clear and there are ambiguous matters in between. Those who stay away from the doubtful, ambiguous matters have preserved their Deen, their honor and themselves.
Recap of the Hadith of Jibreel
We began a journey of meaningful exploration to answer the question: what is this religion known as al-Islam? The map we used to embark on this journey is the profound Prophetic tradition known as the mother of all Prophetic traditions (Umm al-Hadith), the Hadith of Jibreel.
The hadith is comprised of an initial scene and four essential questions:
- What is islam?
- What is Iman?
- What is Ihsan?
- What are the signs of the Hour?
The Essence of the Hadith of Jibreel is the Asking of Questions
- From the analysis of the original scene we extracted the requisite character traits (adab) we must cultivate within ourselves and the significance of collective, communal learning (suhba).
- It is essential to be a person of inquiry.
- The philosophy of the question is to be sure to ask the right question with the right disposition: humility.
- We must learn the ethic of asking questions in the state of humility, seeking knowledge from credible sources.
- Make certain the people you ask have the credentials to speak authoritatively on matters of scripture through their connection to scholars who have taken from unbroken chain that reach all the way back to the Prophetic source.
The Religion of Islam Address The Whole Human Being
- As human beings, we are comprised of parts: an external/physical reality, an intellect with which to reason, and the spiritual reality of the heart and the soul (qalbi, ruhani) that comprise a mystical reality that is unclear.
- The totality of the religion of Islam addresses each of these parts.
- As we strive to be good Muslims in loving surrender to our Creator, we must understand that Allah is concerned with each of these parts.
Enter into the Totality Of Islam
- Allah (swt) tells us in Qur’an: Enter into the totality of this religion (2:208)
- Don’t be like those Allah describes in Surat al-Baqara: Do you believe in a portion of the Book and disbelieve in another part? (2:85)
- The reality of a Believer is one who says, “O Allah! I enter into Your Religion in its entirety and I want to absorb it completely.”
- There are those who only concern themselves with the external realities/physical dimension of this religion, neglecting the intellectual and spiritual dimensions.
- Others disregard the legal, fiqhi orientation that governs the body and actions and engage only in an esoteric orientation of religious practice.
- If we focus on one orientation and neglect the other, we are telling Allah what religion is instead of following what Allah says His Religion is.
- Do not belittle or neglect the legal (fiqhi) tradition commanded to us in the scripture found in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
- Recognize that if you want the spiritual nourishment of Islam to be a truly transformative force in your life, you must embrace it all: the external self, the rational self and the spiritual self must all be in harmony. If one is off, there is imbalance.
Attaining Understanding (Fiqh)
- Allah (swt) specifically tells us to go out to attain understanding (fiqh) in the basic tenets and practices of this Deen. (9:122)
- There is a notion of external submission. Allah does care about what you do with your body and how you negotiate your social reality.
- If you claim surrender to God, you must negotiate your realities as prescribed by Allah, not as assumed by yourself.
- The first dimension of the Hadith of Jibreel is the space of legal tradition, and the entire legal tradition spawned from the first question in the Hadith of Jibreel.
- It is essential to become intimately familiar with this first dimension of islam.
- When you pick up a book of fiqh you see the meticulousness with which this dimension was approached by the scholars with laws that govern the way you practice rituals, how to purify the body, how to pray the five daily prayers, how to fast, what to fast from, how to make sure your Hajj is performed meticulously,how to conduct the affairs of relationships, how to marry, who can be married, what is required for marriage, how to divorce, rights and responsibilities of divorce, who takes guardianship, who has financial responsibility, when someone dies how to assure their burial is done correctly, how to assure your financial dealings are halal, your contracts are good, your financial reality is in accordance with the Shar’iah of this religion.
- Concern yourself with what Allah has told us to be concerned with. On the Day of Judgment, we have to show Allah that we cared about every part His religion.
- Learn that which is individually obligatory (Fard al-Ayn) for a legally responsible Muslim (mukallaf).
- Double check whether what you are doing is correct: is your clothing halal, is your money halal, is what you look at and listen to halal, are you making wudu and ghusl correctly, are you praying correctly, calculating your zakat correctly?
- In matters of religious obligation, go to the people of knowledge. Do not subjectively project onto this religion what is important and what is not important.
- Learn to exercise the muscle of surrender.
- Fiqh constitutes the boundaries outlined by Allah. We must study and learn them and live our lives within them.
- Halal and Haram matter.
- The four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanifi, Hanbali) meticulously describe the boundaries set forth by Allah. If you are not familiar with any one of them, find a credible scholar who has credentials and peer recognition to make sure you are fulfilling your individual obligations (Fard al-Ayn).
- These boundaries of halal and haram, these do’s and don’ts that govern our external social behavior are good for us. They “enjoin what is good and prohibit what is bad.”
- The entirety of this religion with all its meticulous detail is all for our benefit. It is all about our happiness and wellness in this life and happiness and wellness in the Afterlife.
Exacting Fiqh in our Lives
- Because Allah (swt) says so and we must surrender to the decree of Allah.
- If we want spiritual equilibrium we must live in accordance with the boundaries Allah has established for us.
- When we exact the boundaries of Allah in this life, only goodness will be produced.
- If we want goodness in this life and goodness in the Afterlife we must commit ourselves to surrendering to what Allah has prescribed for us.
- May Allah help us to internalize the meanings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah and to follow in the footsteps of our righteous predecessors, and to take from the wellspring of legal theory, fiqh, and law that has been handed down to us generation after generation. May Allah help us to exact it in our lives, to live by it every day.
- May Allah make us responsible citizens, righteous Muslims who live lives that are pleasing to Him.May Allah forgive our sins and our shortcomings and weaknesses.
- How can I take greater responsibility for living my life within the boundaries< Allah has established for humanity?
- What am I willing to give up to make sure I am fulfilling my Fard al-Ayn?
- How often do I ask questions in matters of Fiqh, rather than rely on my subjective opinion?