A Faqīh is an expert in fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

, or, Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...


A faqih is an expert in Islamic Law
Islamic law
Islamic law can refer to:*Sharia: The code of conduct enjoined upon Muslims in the Quran*Fiqh: Muslim jurisprudence...

, and, as such, the word Faqih can literally be generally translated as Jurist.

The definition of Fiqh and its relation to the Faqih

To understand the Faqih, one must have a base understanding of Fiqh..

Fiqh linguistically means "understanding".
As a technical term it is defined as "Knowledge of legislative rulings, pertaining to the actions of man, as derived from their detailed evidences."

"Legislative rulings..." here excluded 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
ʿIlm al-Kalām is the Islamic philosophical discipline of seeking theological principles through dialectic. Kalām in Islamic practice relates to the discipline of seeking theological knowledge through debate and argument. A scholar of kalām is referred to as a mutakallim...


" ...as derived from their detailed evidences." here connotates 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 and Evidences derived from

Methods of derivation are laid out in the books of Usul Al 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:
  • The Qur'an
    The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

  • The Sunnah
    The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

  • Ijma' or Consensus
  • Istishab al Hal or presumption of continuity

These four types of evidence are seen as acceptable by the vast majority of Jurists from both the schools of Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 Jurists (the Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

, Maliki
The ' madhhab is one of the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is the second-largest of the four schools, followed by approximately 25% of Muslims, mostly in North Africa, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and in some parts of Saudi Arabia...

, Shafi'i
The Shafi'i madhhab is one of the schools of fiqh, or religious law, within the Sunni branch of Islam. The Shafi'i school of fiqh is named after Imām ash-Shafi'i.-Principles:...

, and Hanbali
The Hanbali school is one the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. The jurisprudence school traces back to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal but was institutionalized by his students. Hanbali jurisprudence is considered very strict and conservative, especially regarding questions of dogma...

 and sometimes the Zahiriyah), as well as Shi'a
Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī , meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is...


Questionable Evidence among various schools of Fiqh

Various other evidences are debatable, such as Qiyas
In Islamic jurisprudence, qiyās is the process of deductive analogy in which the teachings of the Hadith are compared and contrasted with those of the Qur'an, in order to apply a known injunction to a new circumstance and create a new injunction...

, which the Zahiriyah or Literalists do not see as valid.

Issues such as the edicts of the Twelve Imams holding the same weight as the Quran and Sunnah, are largely seen as debatable and at times unacceptable by Sunni Jurists, while at the same time the acceptance of statements by some of the Sahabah
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

 or companions of the Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 are held as questionable by Shia Jurists.

Jurists of the Ibadi
The Ibāḍī movement, Ibadism or Ibāḍiyya is a form of Islam distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations. It is the dominant form of Islam in Oman and Zanzibar...

 school, which is neither Shi'a nor Sunni, deem their own collection of traditions (in the form of Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

 they themselves have collected) to be evidence as well; however, these traditions are largely seen as either apocryphal or redundant by proponents of the previous two schools.

Conditions for being a "Faqih"

The Faqih is one who has fulfilled the conditions for Ijtihad
Ijtihad is the making of a decision in Islamic law by personal effort , independently of any school of jurisprudence . as opposed to taqlid, copying or obeying without question....

 either in their entirety or in piecemeal.

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 ma?hab.

One who is still below the level of Mujtahid Mutlaq will generally be referred to as Mujtahid Muqayyad or a Restricted Jurist-Scholar, passing rulings according to the confines of his particular ma?hab, 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.

Thus those working in occupations which entail knowledge of Fiqh, such as the Judges, Lawyers, and Court Scribes are expected to have knowledge of Fiqh, either advanced or rudimentary respectively.

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 Shia Ithna Asheri view, each of their Maraja have reached this level.

See also

  • List of Islamic studies scholars
  • Modern Day Mujtahids - Modern day Fuqaha
  • Grand Ayatollahs
    Ayatollah is a high ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hojatoleslam wal-muslemin...

    - Fuqaha throughout history

External links

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