Fiqah and Ethics

Fiqah and Ethics

Fiqah is a never ending phenomenon, growing with time as the complexity of the world affairs grows. Fiqah will govern laws in worship – the allowable modes of worship, service to humanity, pleasure, and will cover all aspects of human life. Only it will not deal in the fundamentals of faith and ethics. But Fiqah is a dominant factor beside all these, collecting and arranging rules, supporting the two and creating the basis of the religion and giving customs and traditions to its followers – like the determination of the size of the beard and the type of the dress to be worn. And the fundamentals of the faith like the ‘Adl’ – the justice, which is an inclusive of a particular Fiqah gives distinct character to the follower. And ethics moulds the nature of the follower to softness of character making him more humane. Ethics is a universal property and it belongs to and tones all the religions of the world. For example it is ethics not to lie and ethics is a choice, not a law.

The verses dealing on the ethics; Aayat 2.267, 268 of Quran are the universal properties. Though through these Aayat God draws the attention of the believers – the faithful believing in the Oneness of God: in the Messengership of the Prophet Mohammad SAWW: and in the Wilayet – the commandership with the uninhibited sanction from God with infusion of the property of righteousness in Hazrat Ali Als, who as such was master of the souls of all human. But the Aayet justifies and bespeaks: ‘He SWT means to address the entire universe through these Aayat.’ The Quran says in the Aayat:

267: O believers from your earnings and from that we have grown from the earth for you spend in the way of God and do not even think of spending from the unclean wealth (in the way of God), though if someone wanted to give you such a wealth then do not become (a willing) acceptor of that and that you show reservation in accepting that and know that God is all content and worthy of praise.

268: Satan instils fear in you of poverty and commends you to do evil thing (miserliness) and God promises you of His gifts and benevolences and God is of immense resources and the knower of all things.

These are great Aayat, they broaden the heart of the Momin and he becomes benevolent without to have to harbour fear of deprivation. The Aayat forcefully invite to adopt the ethics of giving charity and make oneself firm against whims and misgivings. God’s sovereignty promises reward for charity and it is assured in these Aayat, and simultaneous with that the trap of the Satan is loosened through the Aayet to overcome the notion of losing the wealth if given in charity. And these Aayat bind all the humanity in one unified deed of charity, binding themusing the force of ethics.

It is unethical to disturb peace and tranquillity of a people and rattle the whole region through an aggressive policy. Saudi Arabia is buying 60 billion dollars worth of arms from the United States, 84 updated F-15 Fighters, 190 US Helicopters, Missiles, Bunker Buster Bombs, and Radar Warning System to be delivered by 2015. Saudi Arabia will never develop the skill to handle these sophisticated weapons and will drain its treasury to pay the Americans to run the show for them.

Ethics demands that there be no war in the world and issues solved amicably and the Palestinians and the Israelites live in peace. They are placed there which is their ancestral home and they were all Israelites sometime and the contribution of the Israelites to history and the culture of the land still stands there and ethics is not ready to push them in the sea. Only wants the barrels of the guns plugged with stoppers, silenced and guns thrown in the sea.

And the Turks and the Kurds in Turkey and the divided Kashmiris in Kashmir should be allowed to live as one people with their identities. And the big ones of the region withdraw their guns from Kashmir. What plebiscite is needed for that, they every day under their separate flag register their plebiscite? There are twenty million Kurds and the minimum reckoned are ten million in Turkey, of whom Turkey says there are only Turks in Turkey and there are six million Israelites, they need a country and their recognition. And there are fourteen million Kashmiris who have been divided in ten and four and made to suffer the wounds of bullets and curfew and restrictions. If ever the big powers saw the wisdom and united the Kashmir, the borders between will open up and melt away. And from Calcutta to Toorkahm’ gas and oil and Good will, will flow.

And of the Fiqah; if it was styled to suit a concept and nailed, oriented to worship, and not to stress on the ethical bind towards justness and fairness then it was not doing service to the religion and the people. In fact it was making the people a beguiled cluster of sheep pursuing a ritual without lifting their souls to heights and it was herding the flock to be that busy bee animal who was going through the ritual of the practices of worship with no end seen and forsaking their duty towards the creation. They were incapacitated to give fair treatment and unable to render fair deal to all, like our Taliban doing and going through all the worship but disrupting the peace and the tranquillity of the Nature.

It is well nigh impossible to think that why the great Faqih like Imam An Nauman Thabit Abu Hanifa 700 - 67 AD, Imam Abd Allah Malik Ibn Anas 715 – 95 AD, Imam Mohammad Ibn Idris Ash Shafi 767 – 820 AD, and Imam Ahmad Ibn Mohammad Ibn Hanbal 780 – 855 AD, the initiators of the four Sunni school of jurisprudence have not included Adl- the justice as one of the fundamental principles of faith in their Fiqah and without the Adl the society crumbles. But yet they have introduced components of faith with evasiveness from the property of justice and not allowing the Fiqah enter into the thorny field of justice, since it differentiates between men and their actions and places them at their right places.

They would equate the deserving with the undeserving, and they will stress on the equality of men, which was a denial of justice where just evaluation was neglected. All human were equal in their social needs and they had equal rights to access to the natures bounties, but their social status was to be determined by the knowledge and the piety they possessed. The degree of valour they owned, and the degree of service to the cause of humanity they rendered.

It is one of the Fiqahee riddle if the definition of the companion of the Prophet of God Hazrat Mohammad Mustifa SAWW is so given that they look all equal in status. It is a denial of the natural laws governing human behaviour. The book of Hadees Sahih Bukhari defines the Sahabi as one:

‘Whoever has been in the company of the Messenger of God, or might have seen him, be any one from among the Muslims then he is a Sahabi- a companion.’

In this definition all with malice and rancour if they were there, they were included in the companion status, which was injustice with those companions who were good and sincere and devout, and then the definition of the Sahabi in the book of Hadees says all the Sahabi are Jannati – earmarked to enter in the paradise, which is a denial of the authority saying, ‘the deniers in the hearts of the truth will not go to Paradise.’

Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal who is one of the four recognised Imams of the Sunni world of Islam says: Everyone of the men who has been in the company of the Prophet SAWW for a month, for one day, for one hour, or had seen him, he is Sahabi. This is again denying Adl and equating anyone and everyone of unknown character to the raised status of those Sahabis who have taken part in battles and staked their lives to save Islam. It is again abusiveness to Adl – the justice.

Qazi Abu Bakr Mohammad Bin Abdul Baqi Ansari was a great Faqih of the mid 4th century Hijri, died 403 AH. He was a great scholar and jurist of the Sunni School of jurisprudence of the Malaki Mazhab and he says: Sahabi is that person who has narrated a Hadees.

This definition to some extent was right if the narrator was the original person and narrated true Hadees. This was a guarantee that the person must have obtained the grace of the company of the Prophet SAWW and was truthful. But here again the true Hadees must be true and the test would be that it will conform to the words of Quran.

The Shia definition of a Sahabi:

The Sahabi is that, who enters in the company of the Prophet SAWW? Accepts Islam from the bottom of the heart, then he shows faithfulness and does not show a dragging of feet in obedience and till to the last moments of his life holds the Prophet SAWW in reverence.

This definition is true and rational. A companion - status cannot be granted to one who does not carry in him the virtue of steadfastness to adhere to the virtues as enunciated and propagated by the Prophet SAWW. And the degree of faith in the companion driving the affixing of the logical conclusion of the grade of the companion is the Adl- the justice.

The basic faith of the Sunni and the Shia Islam is in the beliefs and the pillars of the faith. And we shall venture to look into this aspect of the two faiths governed by their Fiqah.

Sunni Faith:

The Basic Belief: 1. Monotheism. 2. Angels. 3. Holy Books. 4. Messengership. 5. Day of Judgement. 6. Predestination.

Five Pillars of Faith: 1. Declaration of Faith. 2. Prayer. 3. Charity. 4. Fasting. 5. Pilgrimage.

Schools of Law: 1. Al Quran 2. Al Hadees. Schools: Hanafi, Malaki, Shafii, Humbali.

Schools of Theology: Athari, Maturidi, Ashari, Barelvi, Deobandi.

Hadees Collection: Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, AlSunan alSughra, Sunan Abu Dawood,

Sunan al Tirmidhi, Sunan Abu Majah al Muwatta, Sunan alDarimi.

Shia Faith:

Shia Faith is governed by two components; Knowledge and Practice. That is matter concerning the intellect and matter relating to the human body. The matter which concerns Knowledge is Usul-addin - The Fundamentals of the Religion, these are five And the matter concerning the practice of religion is Froo-e Deen – the duties to the religion, these are nine.

Usool-e Deen - Fundamentals of Religion:

1. Tauheed: The Oneness – God is one.

2. Adl: Justice – Justice keeps any system under balance

3. Nabooat: Prophethood

4. Imamat: Vicegerency

5. Qiyamat: Day of judgement

Froo-e Deen – Duties to the Religion:

1. Kalamah, 2. Namaz, 3. Roza, 4. Hajj, 5. Zakat, 6. Khums, 7. Jihad.

Besides above Froo – the branches, the Shias have also to believe and practice in: 8. Amr Bil Maroof – draw oneself towards good deed, and Nahee Anil Munkar – refrain oneself from bad deed. 9. Tawalla – Pay the Prophet his due, and Tabarra – Disown the enemies of God, the Prophet and his family.

The Shiyan-e Ali have the following branches, but most of the Shia branches have accepted Shia Asna Asheri beliefs, including the Ismailis. Their Imam Agha Khan has though phased it to a gradual unfolding to merge with the Asna Asheri Shia.

Shia Asna Asheri

Ismaili: Their one branch is Dawoodi Bohra


Ghulat: The branches are - Alawites, Druzes, Ahl-e Haque, Alevi.

So the fundamentals of faith of the Sunnis and the Shias are nearly the same except for the difference in Adl and the Imamat. The Adl has given the Shias a just and balanced outlook and the Imamat has given them the surety that whatever they are doing is right. The Imamat is a continuation of the virtues of the Prophet SAWW and has therefore given to the Shias a model to follow.

The Sunni school of jurisprudence do not follow their Imams as models who have presented the Fiqah to them. They have for their models the first three Caliphs of Islam and out of them the second Caliph Hazrat Umar is their hot favourite. But the Shias reject all the three of them because of their non performance in Tawalla. It is naught, whether it is a battlefield, obedience of the Prophet SAWW, affection to the family of the Prophet SAWW or showing restraint in not taking to deviations from the set course laid down by the Prophet SAWW.

Jane O’Grady is the Guardian news paper obituary writer. She is an excellent speaker on ethics, emotions and hilarity. And what a unique people Englishmen are, she says in the course of her talk, ‘Englishmen don’t cry.’ I told her the art of the Shia speaker in the Majlis is to create emotion and make the Shia cry. She was thrilled by it and asked me later innocently, ‘Why the Shias and the Sunnis hate each other.’ It is certain they hate each other when the faith consideration props up in the conversation. And the reason, Jane would know now. The reason is not the individual’s personalities who are ordinary people. It is the ruler’s status, the status of the first three caliph to which the Shias do not extend recognition.


Sayed Athar Husain

Afkar-e Shia (Shia Thought)





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