My English Shafi’i fiqh curriculum plan

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Several people have asked me what order they should read my Shafi‘i books in, and whether the books I have done are part of some overall plan. I’m going to try to answer both of those questions. Yes, my books are part of a Shafi‘i fiqh curriculum that I have in mind. I’m trying to … Read more…

Accessible Conspectus: Pilgrimage and the conditions for it being obligatory

This post is part of a series of posts aimed at making The Ultimate Conspectus accessible to readers who have never read fiqh before. The Greater and Lesser Pilgrimage (Ḥajj and ʿUmrah, respectively) are both obligatory to perform at least once in an individual’s life. The textual foundation for Ḥajj being obligatory is from the Quran … Read more…

Accessible Conspectus: Selling & Other Transactions

This post is part of a series of posts aimed at making The Ultimate Conspectus accessible to readers who have never read fiqh before.


7 Selling And Other Transactions

Something to be aware of is that describing a transaction or contract as “permissible” indicates its validity. It does not necessarily indicate that everything related to the contract is lawful. This is in contrast to actions, where “permissible” indicates lawfulness.

7.1 Types of Sales

A sale, linguistically, is exchanging one property for another property. Its technical definition in fiqh is exchanging one property that is subject to disposal for another property that that is subject to disposal, with an offer and an acceptance, in a manner that has been permitted for it to be done. An exchange can involve items or services. For example, someone might sell a stick of gum for ten cents, or do laundry for someone else for a week in exchange for a book. In the first example we exchange a physical item for a physical item; in the second we exchange a service for a physical item.

The textual foundation for sales is from the Quran. Allah Most High says, “…But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest [ribā]…,” [Q2:275].

Throughout the rest of this book, there will be more emphasis on integrals. These integrals are the essential elements that must be present for an action, contract, or transaction to be valid. Each integral has conditions that must be fulfilled for the integral to be considered present. These integrals and their conditions are usually the very first things to look at whenever we have a real-world event and want to identify what it corresponds to in the Sacred Law, and its status. The integrals and conditions also help us focus on what features of a real-world event are legally significant.

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Accessible Conspectus: Things that Invalidate the Fast

This post is part of a series of posts aimed at making The Ultimate Conspectus accessible to readers who have never read fiqh before.


5.3 Things that Invalidate the Fast

The fast is invalidated if any of the following ten things occur.

The first three are anything intentionally reaching a body cavity; insertion of something into the anus, urethra or vagina. The fast is invalidated whenever a substance is introduced into the body through one of its openings and then reaches a body cavity. The natural openings are the mouth, the nostrils, the ears, the urethra, the vagina, and the anus. The body cavities are the brain, chest, abdomen, and head.

If something is somehow introduced into the body through another opening, it does not invalidate the fast.

The fast is not broken if the substance is introduced through the eyes or absorbed through the skin. It also is not broken if someone takes an injection or draws blood, and the location of the insertion is in the arm or leg. But it would break the fast if the location of the insertion was the abdomen or chest. (Yes: gynecological exams and pap smears do break the fast.)

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Accessible Conspectus: Fasting Ramadan

This post is part of a series of posts aimed at making The Ultimate Conspectus accessible to readers who have never read fiqh before.


5 Fasting

Fasting is one of the pillars of Islam mentioned in the well-known hadith narrated by ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb (may Allah be pleased with them): the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Islam is based on five pillars: testifying that there is no deity except for Allah and that Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, establishing prayer, offering zakāt, performing Ḥajj, and fasting Ramaḍān.”

The Arabic word for “fasting” is “sawm.” Its basic linguistic meaning is abstention. Its technical meaning in the books of fiqh is to restrain oneself from things that invalidate the fast while having a specific intention for doing so, for the entire duration of the daylight hours of a day that can be fasted, by a Muslim who is of sound mind and free from menstrual and post-natal bleeding. This chapter will go into the details of what was mentioned in this technical definition.

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The Accessible Conspectus: Congregational Prayer

This post is part of a series of posts aimed at making The Ultimate Conspectus accessible to readers who have never read fiqh before.


2.5 Congregational Prayer

The textual foundation for praying in a congregation comes from the Quran and Sunnah. Allah Most High says, “And when you are among them and lead them in prayer…,” [Q4:102]. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times superior to prayer offered by an individual.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Congregational prayer of the five obligatory daily prayers is an emphasized sunnah [mu’akkadah]. This is one opinion in the school, and it is the one advocated by Imām al-Rāfiʿī. Imam al-Nawawī says that the stronger opinion is that it is a community obligation. According to this stronger opinion, the obligation is to establish praying the five obligatory prayers in a congregation and doing so in a way that is public. If a group of individuals has done this, the obligation falls from the rest of the community.

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Accessible Conspectus: Invalidators of prayer

This post is part of a series of posts aimed at making The Ultimate Conspectus accessible to readers who have never read fiqh before.


2.3.6 Invalidtors

When you pray, you are worshiping Allah Most High in a manner that He has prescribed. A prayer must include certain things for it to be valid. These are its integrals, which were covered in section 2.3.2. A prayer must also be free of certain things for it to be valid. These are its invalidators, and they are the topic of this section.

The following eleven things invalidate prayer and require that the prayer be performed again.

The first invalidator is intentional speech consisting of a single letter that conveys a meaning, or two consecutive letters that do not convey meaning. The prayer is not invalided by the intentional speech that occurs as part of a supplication.

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The Accessible Conspectus: Integrals of Prayer

This is the seventh installment from a series of posts aimed at making The Ultimate Conspectus accessible to readers who have never read fiqh before or are looking for a refresher.


2.3.2 Integrals

There are eighteen integrals [arkān] of prayer. Each of them is required of the imam, his follower, or an individual praying alone. The absence of a single one along with its conditions prevents a prayer from being valid. So if a single one is missing, the prayer must be made up. These eighteen are mentioned in their order of occurrence in the prayer.

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