Faqīh (plural Fuqahā') (Arabic: فقيه, pl. فقهاء) is an
Islamic jurist, an expert in fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudence and
Islamic Law. (While most expert in Islamic jurisprudence are Muslims
and Faqīh, some non-Muslims also study fiqh.)
2 Methods of derivation
3 Conditions for being a "Faqih"
4 See also
6 External links
Main article: fiqh
Islamic jurisprudence or fiqh is the human understanding of the
Sharia (believed by Muslims to represent divine law as revealed in the
Quran and the
Sunnah (the teachings and practices of the Islamic
prophet Muhammad)) —sharia expanded and developed by
interpretation (ijtihad) of the
Sunnah by Islamic jurists
(Ulema) and implemented by the rulings (Fatwa) of jurists on
questions presented to them.
Fiqh deals with the observance of rituals, morals and social
legislation in Islam. In the modern era there are four prominent
schools (madh'hab) of fiqh within
Sunni practice and two (or three)
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), sinful (haraam),
recommended (mandūb), disapproved (makrūh) or neutral (mubah)".
This definition is consistent amongst the jurists.
Another definition of
Fiqh is "Knowledge of legislative rulings,
pertaining to the actions of man, as derived from their detailed
"Legislative rulings..." here excludes rulings that are purely
theoretical in nature, such as those found in the science of Usul Al
Fiqh, as well as those theological in nature, generally discussed in
the books of
Aqidah or Kalam.
"derived from their detailed evidences" here connotes two things:
that there is a method of derivation; and,
that the source for such derivation are the various evidences
considered valid Islamically.
Methods of derivation
Methods of derivation are laid out in the books of Usul Al Fiqh
(principles of fiqh), and those evidences which are deemed valid for
deriving rulings from are many in number. Four of them are agreed upon
by the vast Majority of Jurists, they are:
Ijma' or Consensus
Qiyas or Analogy
These four types of evidence are seen as acceptable by the vast
majority of Jurists from both the schools of
Sunni Jurists (the
Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, and
Hanbali and sometimes the Zahiriyah), as
Shi'a Jurists. However,
Zahiriyah or Literalists do not see
Qiyas as valid.
Twelver Shia see edicts of the Twelve Imams as holding the same
weight as the
Quran and Sunnah, this is seen as debatable and at times
Conditions for being a "Faqih"
The Faqih is one who has fulfilled the conditions for
in their entirety or in piecemeal. In the
Sunni point of view it is
generally held that there are either no (or very few) Jurists or
Fuqaha that have reached the level of
Mujtahid Mutlaq in our day and
age. In the
Twelver (Ithna Asheri) Shia view, each of their Marja'
have reached this level.
The Faqih who fulfills all conditions of
Ijtihad is sometimes referred
to as a
Mujtahid Mutlaq or Unrestricted Jurist-Scholar, while he who
has not reached that level generally will master of the methodology
(Usul) used by one or more of the prominent madhhab and then able to
apply this methodology to arrive at the traditional legal rulings of
his/her respective madhhab. According to the
Sunni Muslim website
Living Islam, "There is no mujtahid mutlaq today nor even a claimant
to that title."
Below the level of
Mujtahid Mutlaq is the
Mujtahid Muqayyad or a
Restricted Jurist-Scholar. A
Mujtahid Muqayyad must pass rulings
according to the confines of his particular madhhab (school of
jurisprudence), or particular area of specialization. This is
according to the view that
Ijtihad or the ability of legal deduction
can be achieved in specified areas, and does not require a holistic
grasp of the
Shariah and its entailing Laws and legal theory.
List of Islamic studies scholars
Grand Ayatollahs - Fuqaha throughout history
Fiqh Encyclopædia Britannica
^ a b Vogel, Frank E. (2000).
Islamic Law and the Legal System of
Saudí: Studies of Saudi Arabia. Brill. pp. 4–5.
^ Glasse, Cyril, The New Encyclopedia of Islam, Altamira, 2001, p.141
^ Levy (1957). Page 150.
^ Kulseth, P. M. (2010). Redeemed: The Saga of Eyja's Family in
Iceland and the Muslim World. Xlibris Corporation. p. 440.
Retrieved 9 September 2015.
^ Haddad, GF. "What is the definition of a mujtahid mutlaq, and are
there any today". livingislam.org. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
Sunni Path (15th ed.). Hakikat Kitapevi. p. 33. Retrieved 9
Levy, Reuben (1957). The Social Structure of Islam. UK: Cambridge
University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-09182-4.
Who is a Faqih