Important Shari’ Terminology | Definition of sharee’ah (sharia), fiqh
There are a few important technical terms of Shariah that need to be explained here, as they will be helpful throughout this book.
Fard-e-E’tiqaadi (Explicit Obligatory Act): refers to a command of Shariah which is proven by the distinct evidence of Shariah (in other words by such proof that is beyond any doubt). According to Hanafi scholars, one who denies this is an absolute infidel. There is Ijma (consensus of the learned Muslim scholars) that the one who denies any Fard-e- E’tiqaadi, the ruling regarding which is commonly known and obvious as to be related directly to an issue of Obligation in Religion then such a person is not only himself an infidel but one who doubts the infidelity about such a denier, is himself regarded as an infidel. Nonetheless, one who deliberately leaves out even once, any Fard-e-E’tiqaadi such as Namaaz, Ruku, Sujood without a valid reason permitted by Shariah is a fasiq (a transgressor), guilty of having committed a major sin and is deserving of the torment of hellfire.
Fard-e-Amali (Implicit Obligatory Act): This is a command of which is not as explicit (as Fard-e-E’tiqadi) but in view of the consensus of the Mujtahideen, (if) the command is based on the evidence of Shariah one is regarded as guilty of transgression (if left out) and one will not be relieved of his responsibility unless he fulfills it and such as the case when it is Fard in any Ibaadat (worship), then that (Ibaadat) will be regarded as invalid and nullified if that particular (action) is not fulfilled. To reject (deny) it without valid reason is an act of transgression and misguidance. However, if there is one who based on the views of Shariah, is worthy of arguing a certain view (This refers to a Mujtahid) then he has the right to differ with it on the basis of any evidence of the Shariah. (An example) of this is the differences between the righteously guided A’ima-e-Mujtahideen (viz. Imam Abu Hanifa – Imam Shafi’i, Imam Ahmed bin Hambal – Imam Maalik), where one Imam considers something to be Fard whilst the other does not. For example, according to the Hanafi School of thought the Masah (to pass wet hands over the head in Wudu) of one-fourth of the head in
wudu (ablution) is Fard and according to the Shafa’i school of thought, even the masah of one strand of hair is sufficient (to fulfil the Fard); whilst according to the Maaliki school of thought the Masah of the entire head (is Fard). Another Example is that according to the Hanafi School of thought, to recite the Bismillah and to make the intention for wudu is Sunnat, whereas these are regarded as Fard according to the Hambali and Shafi’i Schools of thought; i.e. saying Bismillah is Fard for Hambalis and Niyyat is Fard for Shafi’is; and with the exception of these, there are numerous other examples. In Fard-e-Amali, every person should adhere to the (principles of) the Imam of whom he is a Muqallid (adherent). It is unlawful (impermissible) to follow any other Imam besides your own Imam without any legitimate reason of Shariah.
Waajib-e-E’tiqaadi (Explicit Compulsory Act): is that which is proven as essential through Daleel-e-Zan’ni (a tradition reliably transmitted by one or a few people). Fard-e-Amali and Waajib-e-Amali are the two categories of this and it is enclosed within these two.
Waajib-e-Amali (Implicit Compulsory Act): is that Waajib-e- E’tiqaadi that even though one does not fulfill it, there is the probability that one will be absolved of his responsibility. However, its necessity (to be fulfilled) is given precedence. If the Waajib-e-‘Amali is omitted in any Ibaadat (worship) where it is regarded as necessary to be fulfilled (in other words it is an essential part of that Ibaadat) then without it being done, such Ibaadat will be regarded as defective but valid. A Mujtahid has the right to disagree with (differ regarding) the rules of a Waajib, based on evidence in the light of the Shariah. To intentionally omit even a single Waajib is a minor sin (Gunah-e-Sagheera) and to do so more than once (i.e. a few times) is a major sin (Gunah-e-Kabeera).
Sunnat-e-Mu’akkadah (Regular Emphasised Practice of The Holy Prophet ): It is a practice which was always (regularly) practiced by the Holy Prophet but he occasionally omitted it
to show it as permitted (i.e. so that it is not regarded as Fard). It (can also be understood) in the sense of it being an importantly emphasised practice, to which he did not completely close off the part of it being omitted. To
leave it out is Isa’at (bad but less than abhorrent) and to practice it is Thawaab (deserving of reward). To miss it on the odd occasion is deserving of a warning of serious consequences and to leave it out habitually is deserving of punishment.
Sunnat-e-Ghair-Mu’akkadah (Not A Regular Practice But Deserving Of Reward): It is that desired action in the light of Shariah, that leaving it out is regarded as undesirable but it is not regarded as undesirable to the extent where (one who omits it) has been warned of receiving punishment for doing so, even if the Holy Prophet regularly practiced it or not. To practice it is to attain reward and to omit it even habitually does not incur warning of serious consequences.
Mustahab (Desirable Action): This refers to that practice, which in the view of the Shariah is desirable and omitting it is not regarded to be undesirable, even though it was practiced by the Holy Prophet himself and it was something that was encouraged; or even if the Learned Scholars of Islam (Ulama) were pleased with it (being practiced) even though it may not have been mentioned in the Ahadith. It is worthy of reward if it is done and if it is not done then there is absolutely no accountability.
Mubah (Lawful): The law regarding this is alike, either if it is done or not (In other words either doing it or not doing it, are both lawful).
Haraam-e-Qat’ai (Explicitly prohibited): This is comparable to Fard. To intentionally carry out such an action is a major sin and transgression (of the law) and to abstain from (such an action) is Fard (an obligation) and deserving of reward.
Makrooh-e-Tahreemi (Disapproved to the Point of Being Forbidden): This is comparable to Waajib. By committing such an action, the Ibaadat becomes defective and one who commits such an action is regarded as sinful, even though the sin of such an action is less than that of committing a Haraam (Forbidden / Prohibited) offence; the
committing of such an offence on a few occasions’ amounts to it being regarded a major sin (Kabeera).
Isa’at (Bad Action): The committing of such an action is bad and one who commits it occasionally deserves chastisement, whereas making it a habitual action causes one to be culpable of punishment. This (Isa’at) is comparable to Sunnat-e-Mu’akkadah.
Makrooh-e-Tanzeehi (Undesirable Action): That action which is regarded as undesirable in the Shariat but it is not to the extent where there is warning of any punishment for committing it. This is comparable to Sunnat-e-Ghair Mu’akkadah.
Khilaaf-e-Ula (Contrary to what is best): This means to do something which was best not done. However, if it is done, then there is no harm or any chastisement for it. This is comparable to Mustahab.
One will find numerous discussions regarding these technical terms of Shariat, but this (which has been presented) is the essence of the research done.