Short Answer: Not every scholar of fiqh has this talent of deducing the rules of the Shari`ah. It needs an intensive study of the sources and their implications. The jurist must be familiar with the language of the Quran and the history of the Sunnah. The jurist must know the difference between the command, the prohibition, the recommendation, the permissibility, etc.
Salam, dear questioner,
Thank you for your question. It is of extreme importance, of course, to understand how these rulings are declared.
Rules and Methods of Deducing Shari`ah
The issue of legal (Shar`i) rulings has to do with two important sciences; i.e. the science of Usul al-Fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) and the science of Fiqh.
Usul al-Fiqh explains the indications and methods by which the rules of fiqh are deduced from their sources. These indications are found mainly in the Qur’an and Sunnah, the principal sources of the Shari`ah.
Thus, the rules of Shari`ah are derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah in conformity with a body of principles and methods which are collectively known as Usul al-fiqh.
As for Fiqh, it is the knowledge of the practical rules of Shari`ah acquired from the detailed evidence in the sources.
Based on these definitions, the difference between fiqh and Usul al-fiqh is like the difference between grammar and language.
The rules of the Shari`ah are deduced by jurists who have a proper understanding of the Quran and the Sunnah. The process of deducing these rules is called ijtihad (personal reasoning).
To deduce the rules of the Shari`ah, the jurist must know the proofs of the Shari`ah or adillah (sing. dalil). The dalil (evidence) is an indication in the sources from which a practical rule is deduced.
The level of the rule depends on the nature of the subject, clarity of the text, and the values it seeks to establish.
Main Sources of Shari`ah
There are four main sources of the Shari`ah on which most of the rules of the Shari`ah are based. These sources are referred to in this verse:
O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result. (Quran 4:59)
‘Obey God’ in this verse refers to the Qur’an.
‘Obey the Messenger’ refers to the Sunnah.
Obedience to ‘those who are in charge of affairs’ is held to be a reference to ijma` (consensus).
The last portion of the verse which requires the referral of disputes to God and to the Messenger refers to qiyas (analogy).
Five Categories of Rulings
The rulings are divided into five categories:
- Obligatory (fard): It is what the Shari`ah imposes on man without any doubt. This includes things such as the obligation of prayer, of fasting, or of paying Zakah. Whoever applies such things will be rewarded, and whoever neglects them will be punished by Allah.
- Preferable (mustahab): They are the actions that the Shari`ah encourages people to do without having made them obligatory. Whoever does them will be rewarded, but whoever neglects them is not punished by Allah. Such actions include brushing one’s teeth with the As-Siwak before prayer.
- Permissible (mubah): They are the acts which neither incur reward nor punishment, such as walking, using the car or an airplane, and any other such actions.
- Disliked (makruh): These are acts which are discouraged by the Shari`ah, but there is no prohibition on them. So whoever abstains from them is rewarded, but the one who does them is not considered to have sinned and he is not punished by Allah.
- Forbidden (haram): They are the actions the Shari`ah forbids. So, whoever does them is considered to have sinned and is punished by Allah, while whoever abstains from them is rewarded. Such acts are the prohibition of alcohol and adultery. (Quoted from Al-alukah.net)
The Process of Deduction and Qualifications of Fuqaha
The process of deducing these rules is very complicated and the scholars of fiqh have covered it extensively in the books of fiqh.
Whenever you want to know the ruling of a certain issue, you have to consult these books. Not every scholar of fiqh has this talent of deducing the rules of the Shari`ah. It needs an intensive study of the sources and their implications.
The jurist must be familiar with the language of the Quran and the history of the Sunnah. The jurist must know the difference between the command, the prohibition, the recommendation, the permissibility, etc.
Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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