Institute of Business Management
What is Fiqh?
Fiqh is the understanding and comprehending of the object of nusoos (text). This is something which Allah Ta'ala had bestowed the pious predecessors with. Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shaafi (rahmatullah alaihima), etc. were Imams because of their deep understanding of this knowledge. All the Aimmah-e-Mujtahiddeen excels in this quality and field of knowledge. None (in present times) can ever match them. The question of who is the best of them all should never arise. This discussion should never emerge from our mouths. We are not qualified to grade the Aimmah-e-Mujtahiddeen, because it is beyond our limitations. Secondly, we do not know the proper limits and in lauding the one we are bound to degrade the others.
The Definition of Fiqh
Imam Sahib (rahmatullah alayh) has defined Fiqh as follows: “The recognition of the soul (insofar as its objective in life and its journey to Aakhirah).” This is a general definition which encompasses both the external (zaahiri) and internal (baatini). What is then the difference between tasawwuf and fiqh? The predecessors used to combine fiqh and tasawwuf. Amongst the salf, fiqh was not only the knowledge of the zaahiri (external factors), in fact, it was the combination of both the zaahiri and baatini knowledge. This included tasawwuf as well.
The reality of Tafaqquh-fi-Deen (in-depth understanding in Deen) Tafaqquh-fi-Deen (understanding in Deen) is not merely the literal understanding of the words (in the kitaabs). The kuffaar also understand written words. So if the mere understanding would be Tafaqquh then the kuffaar would also be amongst the Ahle Khair (chosen, good people). The real meaning of Tafaqquh-fi-Deen is that together with understanding the literal import of the words, it is the recognition of its reality, as well. There are many amongst the Hanafi scholars who qualify. [ibid. page 387, vol.4]
Fiqh is amongst the most difficult and delicate from the other faculties and sciences (of Deen) Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi (rahmatullah alayh) says that in his opinion, the science of Fiqh is the most difficult. He also humbly states that he does not have much compatibility with this science. He says it renders him helpless. [Majaalis Hakimul Ummat, page 330]
The science of Fiqh is very profound. This is the reason why I do not encourage or compel any student to study other Fiqh kitaabs besides those of the Hanafi Fiqh. [Ashraful Ma`moolaat, page 9]
The science of Fiqh is very subtle. I don’t fear anything more than when a ruling or mas`alah is presented before me (to solve or give a ruling). Many thoughts and possibilities conjure up in my mind. This is the reason why nowadays I refer fatwas to others. Some people are more daring in it (i.e. issuing fatwas), whereas there has to be extreme caution in this. [Al-Ifaadhaatul Yoymiya, page 299, vol.8]
Fiqh is not the mere superficial reading of kitaabs Fiqh would not be defined as the mere superficial perusing of kitaabs. Fiqh is a celestial light (noor) which subsists in the heart. It is the blessing of this that the holder thereof gains an understanding of Deen. It is this very noor which Allah Ta`ala sometimes snatches away. This is something which is not in the control of man. Now, you can read and study thousands of kitaabs, but because you have no understanding of the Deen, you will never become a Faqeeh.
This noor of fiqh increases with obedience and wanes with sin. That ‘Faqeeh’ who is not obedient or pious, is a Faqeeh of the kitaabs (and not of the Deen). He is not a haqeeqi (real) Faqeeh and is not included in the class of fuqaha regarding whom Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) gave glad tidings. And since we are aware that fiqh is the understanding of the Deen, what doubt can there now be that a Faqeeh is also a soofi. All our Fuqaha, as many as there were, were all Sahib-e-Nisbat and...