Legal Dictionary


Definition of fiqh


    Arabic فقه.



  1. (Islam) jurisprudence in the Islamic law, shari'a

Further reading

Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct (Sharia) expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition (Sunnah) and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists.

Fiqh deals with the observance of rituals, morals and social legislation in Islam. There are four prominent schools (madh'hab) of fiqh within Sunni practice and two within Shi'a practice. A person trained in fiqh is known as a Faqih (plural Fuqaha).


The word fiqh is an Arabic term meaning "deep understanding" or "full comprehension". Technically it refers to the body of Islamic law extracted from detailed Islamic sources (which are studied in the principles of Islamic jurisprudence) and the process of gaining knowledge of Islam through jurisprudence. The historian Ibn Khaldun describes fiqh as "knowledge of the rules of God which concern the actions of persons who own themselves bound to obey the law respecting what is required (wajib), forbidden (haraam), recommended (mandūb), disapproved (makrūh) or merely permitted (mubah)". This definition is consistent amongst the jurists.

In Modern Standard Arabic, fiqh has come to mean jurisprudence in general, be it Islamic or secular. It is thus possible to speak of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. as an expert in the common law fiqh of the United States, or of Farouk Sultan as an expert in the civil law fiqh of Egypt.


The Qur'an gives clear instruction on many issues, such as how to perform the ritual purification (Arabic: wudu) before the obligatory daily prayers (Arabic: salat), but on other issues, some Muslims believe the Qur'an alone is not enough to make things clear. For example the Qur'an states one needs to engage in daily prayers (Arabic: salat) and fast (Arabic: sawm) during the month of Ramadan but some Muslims believe they need further instructions on how to perform these duties. Details about these issues can be found in the traditions of Islamic prophet Muhammad (Arabic: Sunnah), so Qur'an and Sunnah are in most cases the basis for (Arabic: Shariah).

With regard to some topics the Qur'an and Sunnah are silent. In those cases the Muslim jurists (Arabic: Fuqaha) try to arrive at conclusions by other means. Sunni jurists use analogy (Arabic: Qiyas) and historical consensus of the community (Arabic: Ijma). The conclusions arrived at with the aid of these additional tools constitute a wider array of laws than the Sharia consists of, and is called fiqh. Thus, in contrast to the sharia, fiqh is not regarded as sacred and the schools of thought have differing views on its details, without viewing other conclusions as sacrilegious. This division of interpretation in more detailed issues has resulted in different schools of thought (Arabic: madh'hab).

This wider concept of Islamic jurisprudence is the source of a range of laws in different topics that govern the lives of the Muslims in all facets of everyday life.

Islamic Law

Fida Hussain solangi, a renowned jurist has discoursed upon the following issues as under:

Islamic law (fiqh) covers two main areas, rules in relation to actions and rules in relation to circumstances surrounding actions.

Rules in relation to actions ('amaliyya - عملية) comprise:

  • Obligation (fardh)
  • Recommendation (mustahabb)
  • Permissibility (mubah)
  • Disrecommendation (makrooh)
  • Prohibition (haraam)

Rules in relation to circumstances (wadia') comprise:

  • Condition (shart)
  • Cause (sabab)
  • Preventor (mani)
  • Permit/Enforce (rukhsah, azeemah)
  • Valid/Corrupt/Invalid (sahih, faasid, batil)
  • In time/Debt/Repeat (adaa, al-qadaa, i'ada)

Fiqh is grouped into two parts:

  1. Ibadaat (worship)
  2. Mua'malaat (dealings & transactions)


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


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