Responses to several current Fiqhtions

Fiqh: “Due to the aforementioned verses, hadiths, and unanimous consensus of the Ummah—”

Fiqhtion: “I object! That’s not how we do things in America!”

Explanation: The primary sources of Islamic Law that are accepted across the board are the Quran, the Sunnah, legal analogy, and consensus. There are other sources. None mention “How we do things in America!” How things are done in America is irrelevant unless the issue is based upon custom AND it meets all the conditions for custom to be a source. You can read more about those conditions here.

Fiqhtion: There can be no ruling in the absence of evidence that is certain.

Fiqh: Many definitions of the primary fiqh rulings refer to certainty and its lack in differentiating between (fard & wajib), (wajab & mustahhab), and (haram & makruh).

Scholars also refer to certain and its lack when discussing the origins of a text and its interpretations (e.g. certain that a given text exists as we have it and certain that it means this and not something else, uncertain that a given text exists as we have it and uncertain that its interpretation is this and not another possible interpretation). If certainty was required, only most verses of the Quran and most hadiths would be removed from consideration.

Anyone with the slightest familiarity with the works of the fuqaha and their methods knows that most evidence is not certain and that the bulk of fiqh revolves around following the strongest evidence available.

Additionally, fuqaha are certain that they must consider and act upon legitimate evidence even though the provenance or interpretation of that evidence is uncertain.

Also, there is debate whether matters of certainty are even technically part of fiqh since fiqh is the product of ijtihad, and ijtihad is all about making extracting confident answers from uncertain evidence.

Fiqhtion: The number of people who profess an idea does not determine its truth.

Fiqh: No, the number itself does not determine its truth. But then again, truth is not the subject of fiqh. Instead, the subject of fiqh is determining the legal value of actions based upon particular evidence. And concerning particular evidence, a faqih is required to take into consideration all legitimate evidence relevant to a given issue. Sometimes that evidence isn’t consistent. The faqih isn’t allowed to just arbitrarily pick and choose which evidence to consider and which to ignore. When presented with two mutually contradictory transmitted ideas that cannot be reconciled by interpreting them together, the faqih will look for reasons to consider one preponderant over the other. One of those reasons is the number of independent transmissions for each idea.

This is something anyone familiar with fiqh and its methods ought to know.

Fiqhtion: Muslims are not required to follow the lawful commands of Muslim authorities.

Fiqh: We are required to follow the lawful commands of Muslim authorities. It’s strong enough that authors writing about faith/shuʿab al-īman usually include it as a branch. Its evidence includes

  • Allah (Most High is He) saying, “O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority.” [Al-Nisāʾ, 4:59]
  • The Prophetﷺ said, “Whoever obeyed my commander has obeyed me. And whoever disobeyed my commander has disobeyed Me.” [Abū Hurayrah: al-Bukhārī; Muslim]
  • Heﷺ said, “I counsel you to fear Allah and to listen and obey—even if an Abyssinian slave [rules over you].” [Abū Dāwūd]
  • Heﷺ said, “There is no obedience to an individual in what is disobedience to Allah; obedience is in what is virtuous.” [al-Bukhārī; Muslim; Abū Dāwūd; al-Nasāʾī; Ibn Ḥibbān]
  • Heﷺ said, “There is no obedience to a creature if it involves disobedience to Allah.” [Aḥmed; Ibn Jarīr; Ibn Khuzaymah; al-Ṭabarānī]

Fiqhtion: What you said is rejected because it does not agree with our American concept of freedom, liberty, bearing arms, and arming bears.

Fiqh: Allah (Most High is He) says and His Messengerﷺ says, and your reason for rejecting what they said is “That’s not how we do things in America”?!

Fiqhtion: Fiqh rulings are just conjecture. They’re not certain. So you don’t really need to follow them.

Fiqh: The rulings are actually certain. Al-Bayḍāwī responded to similar claims and gave the following response, with the part in bold being what is important:

It is not said that fiqh is from the category of uncertain opinions because we say: If the mujtahid believes it preponderant, it is obligatory for him to issue the fatwa [accordingly] and act upon it because of the definitive proof supporting the obligation to follow preponderant opinion.

Thus, the ruling [itself] is definitive and the uncertainty is in the way it is reached.

—Al-Bayḍāwī’s Ghāyat al-quṣwā fi dirāyat al-fatwā, 1:206

I picked his quote for its simplicity. Similar arguments in far greater detail are found in the books that folks speaking about fiqh ought to already be familiar with.

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