Monday, October 17, 2016

The difference between Usool ul-Fiqh and Al-Qawa’id Al-Fiqhiyyah

1) The ‘Ilm of Usool ul-Fiqh represents the methodology (Minhaaj) that the Mujtahid abides by for the purpose of deducing or extracting the Ahkam Shari’ah and so that he does not fall into error in the deduction. His principles therefore represent controls for the Shari’ah evidences sources in terms of establishing and affirming that they are from Allah (swt) and in terms of the manner of how to deduce Ahkam by them.
As for the Qawa’id Al-Fiqhiyyah (Fiqhi principles) then they are principles that bring together partial Ahkam which share a single attribute or description in common with each other. They are therefore from the area of Fiqh and not from Usool ul-Fiqh.
2) The Qaa’idah (principle) in Usool ul-Fiqh is ‘Aammah (general) and it is possible to be applied upon numerous types of evidences and Ahkam equally whether these Adillah are the Qur’an, the Sunnah and Ijmaa’ or if the Ahkam related to the ‘IbaadaatMu’aamalaat or ‘Uqoobaat.
So in respect to the Qaa’idah in Usool ul-Fiqh which states:
مَا لَا يَتِمُّ الوَاجِب إِلَّا بِهِ فَهُوَ وَاجِب
‘That which the Waajib is not completed except with it is (in itself) Waajib
It is necessary to apply it upon the Ayah:
ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ
“Then complete the fast until the night”  [TMQ Al-Baqarah 187]
The principle applied here indicates that it is Waajib for a part of the night to be entered into with the fast so that the fast will be valid. That is because the obligation of the fast and its validity requires that the whole day be fasted whilst it is not possible for us to be absolutely certain that the day has ended without entering into a part of the night and even if it is only very briefly. Therefore, fasting that part (of the night) would be Waajib because the Waajib, which is to fast the day until the sunset, cannot be fulfilled or completed except by it. This is in accordance to the principle:
That which the Waajib is not completed except with it is (in itself) Waajib’.
It (the principle) also applies to indicate the obligation of establishing the Islamic State as follows: Establishing the Hudood like cutting the hand of the thief and stoning the adulterer amongst other rulings are Waajib (obligatory) upon the Muslims. Establishing these obligatory Hudood cannot be implemented except in the existence of a State that applies the Shar’a of Allah. Therefore, bringing that State into existence is an obligation upon the Muslims based upon the same Usooli principle:
مَا لَا يَتِمُّ الوَاجِب إِلَّا بِهِ فَهُوَ وَاجِب
‘That which the Waajib is not completed except with it is (in itself) Waajib’
Consequently, as can be seen by the two examples, the very same Qaa’idah (principle) was used to derive a Hukm in the ‘Ibaadaat and another Hukm in relation to the ruling system.
The Fiqhi principle (Al-Qaa’idah Al-Fiqhiyyah) does not cover except one kind from the Ahkam that are similar to each other. This is like the ‘Uqoobaat (penal code/punishments) in respect to the Qaa’idah‘Avert the Hudood by doubts’. This is because it is specific to the Hudood and does not extend to other Ahkam beyond them.
Another example is the principle: ‘The command of the Imaam resolves the disagreement/dispute’ and this is specifically related to what the Khalifah adopts in terms of Ahkam which have been differed upon. So what the Khalifah adopts is binding upon the Muslims to follow. This principle does not include within it the Wulaah (governors) or the Qudaah (judges) and it also does not include within it or cover that which the Khalifah has not made an adoption upon.
Another Fiqhi principle is: ‘The original position is innocence’ and there is the principle: ‘The proof (Bayyinah) is upon the claimant/accuser (to establish/produce) and the Yameen (oath) is upon the who denies (the accusation/charge)’. These two Fiqhi principles are therefore specific to judging between to disputants whilst neither have any relationship to the ‘Ibaadaat or the Akhlaaq (for example).
Adapted from Al-Waadih Fee Usool ul-Fiqh by Muhammad Hussein Abdullah. The book was recently published by MaktabaIslamia and is available for purchase from the following link 

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