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Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence): The Mechanism to Understand the Islamic Law (Shari’ah)

Islamic Religious Council of Singapore

Friday Sermon

26 January 2024 / 14 Rejab 1445H

Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence): The Mechanism to Understand the Islamic Law (Shari’ah)

My blessed Friday congregants,

Let us all enhance our efforts to elevate our taqwa towards Allah (s.w.t.) by obeying all His commands, and by abstaining from all His prohibitions. May we be blessed with the wisdom to navigate our lives in this world and remain guided by authentic religious knowledge. Amin.

My beloved fellow brothers and sisters,

When the Prophet (s.a.w.) sent Mu'adz Bin Jabal to Yemen, he asked Mu’adz, "How will you guide the Muslims there when faced with a new situation, and there is no guidance from the Qur'an and the Sunnah?" To which Mu’adz replied, "I will spare no effort to form an opinion, and I will guide with my opinion, and I will not deviate (from the general principles found in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah)." The Prophet then said:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي وَفَّقَ رَسُولَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ لِمَا يُرْضِي رَسُولَ اللَّهِ

Which means: “All praise be to Allah, Who has guided the messenger of the Messenger of Allah with something which pleases the Messenger of Allah.”[Hadith narrated by Imam Tirmizi].

What is the lesson in this story? It shows that the Companions were highly educated, to the extent that they were able to make ijtihad (exercise in driving legal rulings), or give opinions on legal issues, because they had profound understanding of the religion. This indicates that they had a clear understanding of how religious law can be applied in daily life.

My beloved brothers and sisters,

Fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudence, is a discipline within the Islamic sciences which specifically addresses legal issues governing various aspects of human life, encompassing our personal lives, our community, and our relationship with Allah (s.w.t.).

Religious scholars such as Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i and others formulated approaches and methodologies in deliberating legal issues. For example, one of the mazhab (school of law) refers to the practices of the early Muslims of Medina as a basis for legal considerations. Another mazhab distinguishes between what is fard (“obligatory”) and what is wajib (“compulsory”) based on the strength of the evidence available. In conclusion, the guidance and rulings issued by scholars are based on extensive studies, research, and approaches in understanding the Shari’ah.

Brothers and sisters,

The field of Islamic jurisprudence highlights the abilities and intellectual prowess of the past scholars in analysing our religious laws. Occasionally, differences of opinion arose regarding the same issue due to the complexity of the analysis involved. However, this typically occurred in relation to ancillary or subsidiary issues, rather than the root issue or legal principle itself. For example, there was a scholarly debate regarding the rules of wiping or washing of the head during ablution, guided by the words of Allah (s.w.t.) in surah Al-Ma'idah, verse 6:



Which means: “… and wipe your heads.” 

Some scholars interpreted the word "al-mash" in the above verse as implying the act of wiping part of the head. The Hanafi mazhab, for instance, holds the opinion that this necessitates wiping a quarter of the head. A few others believed that the entire head should be washed.

Each of these opinions was based on arguments and principles derived from authoritative methodologies. We should thus view these opinions through the lens of knowledge. Hopefully, we are able to comprehend and appreciate the various views of our scholars regarding issue that was discussed. Differences of opinion among human beings are a natural aspect of life. Let us embody the words of Allah (s.w.t.):


Which means: “Had your Lord so willed, He would have certainly made humanity one single community of believers, but they will never cease to disagree.” [Surah Hud, verse 118]

May Allah (s.w.t.) grant us knowledge and understanding of the religion, and may we be among those who succeed in this world and in the Hereafter. Amin Ya Rabbal 'Alamin.

أَقُوْلُ قَوْلِي هَذَا وَأَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ العَظِيْمَ لِي وَلَكُمْ، فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الغَفُوْرُ الرَّحِيْم




الحَمْدُ للهِ حَمْدًا كَثِيرًا كَمَا أَمَرَ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَن لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ سَيِّدَنَا مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَأَصْحَابِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ. أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَيَا عِبَادَ الله، اِتَّقُوا اللهَ تَعَالَى فِيمَا أَمَرَ، وَانتَهُوا عَمَّا نَهَاكُم عَنْهُ وَزَجَرَ. 


أَلَا صَلُّوا وَسَلِّمُوا عَلَى النَّبِيِّ الْمُصْطَفَى، فَقَدْ أَمَرَنَا اللهُ بِذَلِكَ حَيْثُ قَال فِي كِتَابِهِ العَزِيزِ: إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَـا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ. 


وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ المَهْدِيِّينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيِّ، وَعَن بَقِيَّةِ الصَّحَابَةِ وَالقَرَابَةِ وَالتَّابِعِينَ، وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ، وَعَنَّا مَعَهُم وَفِيهِم بِرَحْمَتِكَ يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ. 


اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِلمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالمُؤْمِنَاتِ، وَالمُسْلِمِينَ وَالمُسْلِمَاتِ، الأَحْيَاءِ مِنهُم وَالأَمْوَاتِ. اللَّهُمَّ ادْفَعْ عَنَّا البَلَاءَ وَالوَبَاءَ وَالزَّلَازِلَ وَالمِحَنَ، مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ، عَن بَلَدِنَا خَاصَّةً، وَسَائِرِ البُلْدَانِ عَامَّةً، يَا رَبَّ العَالَمِينَ. اَللَّهُمَّ انْصُرْ إِخْوَانَنَا اْلمُسْتَضْعَفِيْنَ فِي غَزَّة وَفِي فِلِسْطِينَ وَفِيْ كُلِّ مَكَانٍ عَامَّةً، يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ. اللَّهُمَّ بَدِّلْ خَوْفَهُمْ أَمْنًا، وَحُزْنَهُمْ فَرَحًا، وَهَمَّهُمْ فَرَجًا، يَا رَبَّ العَالَمِينَ. رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنيَا حَسَنَةً، وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً، وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.  


عِبَادَ اللهِ، إِنَّ اللهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي القُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ، فَاذكُرُوا اللهَ العَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ، وَاشْكُرُوهُ عَلَى نِعَمِهِ يَزِدْكُمْ، وَاسْأَلُوهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ يُعْطِكُم، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ، وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ.