A faqīh (plural Fuqahā, Arabic: فقيه, pl. فقهاء‎) is an Islamic jurist, an expert in fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic Law.


Islamic jurisprudence[1] 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))[2] —sharia expanded and developed by interpretation (ijtihad) of the Quran and Sunnah by Islamic jurists (Ulema)[2] 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) within Shi'a practice.[3]

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), sinful (haraam), recommended (mandūb), disapproved (makrūh) or neutral (mubah)".[4] 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 evidences."[5]

  • "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:
  1. that there is a method of derivation; and,
  2. 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:

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 well as Shi'a Jurists. However, Zahiriyah or Literalists do not see Qiyas as valid.

While Twelver Shia see edicts of the Twelve Imams as holding the same weight as the Quran and Sunnah, this is unacceptable by Sunni Jurists.

Conditions for being a Faqīh

The Faqīh is one who has fulfilled the conditions for Ijtihad either 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 Faqīh 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."[6]

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.[7] 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.

See also


  1. ^ Fiqh Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ a b Vogel, Frank E. (2000). Islamic Law and the Legal System of Saudí: Studies of Saudi Arabia. Brill. pp. 4–5. ISBN 9004110623.
  3. ^ Glasse, Cyril, The New Encyclopedia of Islam, Altamira, 2001, p.141
  4. ^ Levy (1957). Page 150.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Haddad, GF. "What is the definition of a mujtahid mutlaq, and are there any today". livingislam.org. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  7. ^ The Sunni Path (15th ed.). Hakikat Kitapevi. p. 33. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  • Levy, Reuben (1957). The Social Structure of Islam. UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-09182-4.

External links

Aban ibn Uthman

Abū Saʾīd Abān ibn ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān (died 105 AH/723 CE) was a muhaddith, faqīh, mufassir, Muslim historian. He also served a seven-year stint as governor of Medina in 695–702, during the reign of the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik.

Abdallah al-Hubal

Abdallah al-Hubal (born 1955; died August 16, 1998, in Bayt al-Faqīh) was a Yemeni serial killer.

After killing seven people in 1990 after the Yemeni reunion, he was imprisoned in Aden, but was able to flee for a short time. He was not found until the beginning of August 1998, when he killed a couple and three other people in Bayt al-Faqīh. The latter were, according to the police, witnesses of the first two murders. On August 16, 1998, al-Hubal engaged in a firefight with the police killing one policeman and injuring several others before being shot himself.

Abu Imran al-Fasi

Abū ʿImrān al-Fāsī mūsā ibn ʿīsā ibn abī ḥāj̲j̲ (or ḥaj̲j̲āj̲) (also known as simply known as Abū ʿImrān al- Fāsī, born between 975 and 978, died 8 June 1039) was a Moroccan Maliki faqīh born at Fez into a Berber family whose nisba is impossible to reconstruct.He is regarded a saint by later Sufi mystics. He played an important role in the history of the Almoravid dynasty. It was his teaching in Qayrawan (Tunisia) that first stirred the Sanhaja. He wrote a commentary on the Mudawana of Sahnun.

Qadi Ayyad (d.544/1129), author of the Kitab Shifa bitarif huquq al-Mustapha (The Antidote in knowing the rights of the Chosen Prophet), hagiographied Abu Imran al-Fasi in his Tadrib a-Madarik (Exercising Perception), an encyclopaedia of Maliki scholars.


ʿAbd al-Ghanī ibn Ṭālib bin Ḥamāda ibn Ibrāhīm al-Ghunaymī al-Dimashqī al-Maydānī (عبد الغني الغنيمي الميداني الحنفي) was a jurist (faqīh) and legal theorist (uṣūlī) adhering to the Hanafi school as well as a traditionalist (muḥaddith) and grammarian (naḥwī). Born in 1222 AH in the Maydān neighborhood in southern Damascus, he was known for his vast knowledge and his eagerness to apply it. Just as the neighborhood of his birth still bears this name to this day, he too has become known popularly as al-Maydānī.

Aliabad-e Faqih Mahalleh

Aliabad-e Faqih Mahalleh (Persian: علي اباد فقيه محله‎, also Romanized as ‘Alīābād-e Faqīh Maḩalleh; also known as ‘Alīābād) is a village in Goli Jan Rural District, in the Central District of Tonekabon County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 133, in 41 families.

Bayt al-Faqih

Bayt al-Faqīh or Beit al-Faqih (archaic Betelfaguy; Arabic: بيت الفـــقية‎ Bayt al-Faqīh, 'House of the Jurist') is a city in Al Hudaydah Governorate in Yemen. It is located on the pilgrimage and trade route across the Tihamah plain between Al Hudaydah and Ta'izz. It is 50 km south of Al Hudaydah and 150 km southwest of the Yemeni capital of San‘a’ and lies at an altitude of 122 m. Its population was 28,773 in the 1994 census and estimated at 41,652 in 2005.

Ibn Battuta visited the grave of the individual for whom the city is named after, the celebrated jurist Ahmad b. Musa b. Ali Ujail (1212-1291).

Although today most of the population of Bayt al-Faqih work the weaving or jewelry industries, the city was historically known as the source of coffee exported through the port of Mocha. The town's Friday souk (market) is a remnant of the town's once-thriving coffee trade.

Divar, Iran

Divar (Persian: ديور‎, also Romanized as Dīvar; also known as Dībar, Faqīhā, Faqīh Kān, and Faqīkān) is a village in Zherizhah Rural District, in the Central District of Sarvabad County, Kurdistan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 137, in 32 families.

Faqih-e Hasanan

Faqih-e Hasanan (Persian: فقيه حسنان‎, also Romanized as Faqīh-e Ḩasanān and Faqīh Ḩasanān; also known as Fadī Hasān, Faghih Hasnān, and Faoih Hasanān) is a village in Khvormuj Rural District, in the Central District of Dashti County, Bushehr Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 147, in 30 families.

Faqih Ahmadan

Faqih Ahmadan (Persian: فقيه احمدان‎, also Romanized as Faqīh Aḩmadan; also known as Faqīh Ahmad, Fagīh Aḩmadān, Faqih Ahmed, and Faqīh-he Aḩmadān) is a village in Cheghapur Rural District, Kaki District, Dashti County, Bushehr Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 27, in 8 families.

Faqih Beyglu

Faqih Beyglu (Persian: فقيه بيگلو‎, also Romanized as Faqīh Beyglū) is a village in Baranduzchay-ye Shomali Rural District, in the Central District of Urmia County, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 391, in 99 families.

Faqih Mahalleh

Faqih Mahalleh (Persian: فقيه محله‎, also Romanized as Faqīh Maḩalleh) is a village in Goli Jan Rural District, in the Central District of Tonekabon County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. According to the 2006 census, the population was 240 people within 75 families.

Faqih Soleyman

Faqih Soleyman (Persian: فقيه سليمان‎, also Romanized as Faqīh Soleymān; also known as Faq-i-Sulaimān) is a village in Avalan Rural District, Muchesh District, Kamyaran County, Kurdistan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 41, in 8 families.


Fiqh (; Arabic: فقه‎ [fɪqh]) is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is often described as the human understanding of the sharia, that is human understanding of the divine Islamic law as revealed in the Quran and the Sunnah (the teachings and practices of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and His companions). Fiqh expands and develops Shariah through interpretation (ijtihad) of the Quran and Sunnah by Islamic jurists (ulama) and is implemented by the rulings (fatwa) of jurists on questions presented to them. Thus, whereas sharia is considered immutable and infallible by Muslims, fiqh is considered fallible and changeable. Fiqh deals with the observance of rituals, morals and social legislation in Islam as well as political system. In the modern era, there are four prominent schools (madh'hab) of fiqh within Sunni practice, plus two (or three) within Shi'a practice. A person trained in fiqh is known as a faqīh (plural fuqaha).Figuratively, fiqh means knowledge about Islamic legal rulings from their sources and deriving religious rulings from their sources necessitates the mujtahid (an individual who exercises ijtihad) to have a deep understanding in the different discussions of jurisprudence. A faqīh must look deep down into a matter and not suffice himself with just the apparent meaning, and a person who only knows the appearance of a matter is not qualified as a faqīh.The studies of fiqh, are traditionally divided into Uṣūl al-fiqh (principles of Islamic jurisprudence, lit. the roots of fiqh), the methods of legal interpretation and analysis; and Furūʿ al-fiqh (lit. the branches of fiqh), the elaboration of rulings on the basis of these principles. Furūʿ al-fiqh is the product of the application of Uṣūl al-fiqh and the total product of human efforts at understanding the divine will. A hukm (plural aḥkām) is a particular ruling in a given case.

Ibn al-Faqih

Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadani (Persian: احمد بن محمد ابن الفقيه الهمذانی‎) (fl. 902) was a 10th-century Persian historian and geographer, famous for his Mukhtasar Kitab al-Buldan ("Concise Book of Lands") written in Arabic.

In the 1870s the dutch orientalist Michael Jan de Goeje edited a selection of geography works of Arab geographers in an 8-volume series titled Bibliotheca geographorum Arabicorum published by Lugduni-Batavae (Leiden) Brill publishers. Al-Hamadhānī's Mukhtasar Kitab al-Buldan was published in volume 5 of this series.

In 1967 second editions were printed by Dar Sadir (Beirut) and E.J. Brill (Lugduni Batavorum).

Kaneh Rashid-e Allah Feqid

Kaneh Rashid-e Allah Feqid (Persian: كنه رشيدالله فقيد‎, also Romanized as Kaneh Rashīd-e Allah Feqīd; also known as ‘Ālgeh, ‘Ālgeh Faqīh, and Kaneh Rashīd-e Algah) is a village in Gurani Rural District, Gahvareh District, Dalahu County, Kermanshah Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 61, in 13 families.

Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih

Man Lā Yahḍuruhū al-Faqīh (Arabic: من لا يحضره الفقيه‎) is a Hadith collection by the famous Twelver Shia Hadith scholar Abu Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn ʿAli ibn Babawayh al-Qummi, commonly known as Ibn Babawayh or Sheikh al-Saduq. This work is included among the Four Books of Twelver Shia Islam.

Mazraeh-ye Faqih

Mazraeh-ye Faqih (Persian: مزرعه فقيه‎, also Romanized as Mazra‘eh-ye Faqīh) is a village in Khir Rural District, Runiz District, Estahban County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its existence was noted, but its population was not reported.

Morteza Haeri Yazdi

Morteza Haeri Yazdi (Persian:مرتضی حائری یزدی; October 12, 1916 – March 16, 1986) was the son of Shia Islam Faqīh Abdul-Karim Haeri Yazdi.

Umara bin Abi al-Hasan al-Yamani

Umāra bin Abī al-Ḥasan al-Yamanī (عمارة بن ابى الحسن اليمنى), also known as Najm al-Dīn Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥakami, or Umāra ibn Abī Ḥasan ibn Alī bin Zaidan, or Najm ad-dīn 'Umarah ibn Abī 'l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad Zaidan, or al-Faqīh Abū Muḥammad Umāra tibn Abī’-Ḥasan Alī Raidān Ibn Aḥmad al-Hakami al-Yamani, or even Omara Tal-Yamani the Jurisconsult. He was a historian, jurist and poet of Yemen of great repute who was closely associated with the late Fatimid caliphate of Egypt. Executed by order of Saladin at Cairo on April 6th 1174 for his part in a conspiracy to restore Fatimid rule. His Tarikh al-Yemen is the earliest, and in respects the most important, history of Yemen from the Islamic era.

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