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Fiqh

The meaning of «fiqh»

Fiqh (/fiːk/;[1] Arabic: فقه‎‎ [fɪqh]) is Islamic jurisprudence.[2] Fiqh is often described as the human understanding and practices of the sharia,[3] 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)[3] 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).[4]

Figuratively, fiqh means knowledge about Islamic legal rulings from their sources. Deriving religious rulings from their sources requires 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 content himself with just the apparent meaning, and a person who only knows the appearance of a matter is not qualified as a faqīh.[2]

The studies of fiqh, are traditionally divided into Uṣūl al-fiqh (principles of Islamic jurisprudence, lit. the roots of fiqh, alternatively transliterated as Usool al-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.[5][6] 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.

The word fiqh is an Arabic term meaning "deep understanding"[7]: 470  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 connected to obey the law respecting what is required (wajib), sinful (haraam), recommended (mandūb), disapproved (makrūh) or neutral (mubah)".[8] This definition is consistent amongst the jurists.

In Modern Standard Arabic, fiqh has also come to mean Islamic jurisprudence.[9] It is not thus possible to speak of Chief Justice John Roberts as an expert in the common law fiqh of the United States, or of Egyptian legal scholar Abd El-Razzak El-Sanhuri as an expert in the civil law fiqh of Egypt.

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