The Poor, Good Word, Shariah and Fiqh

Issue 540 » July 31, 2009 - Shaban 9, 1430

Living The Quran

Al-Shuara (The Poets)
Chapter 26: Verse 111

The Poor
They said, "Are we to believe in you, even though only the lowest of the low follow you?"

The nobility always speak in a derogative manner about the poor. They say that their habits and values are not acceptable to those who are in the higher echelons of society. They have nothing of their refinements. What Prophet Noah's people meant was that it was only the poor who followed him.

The poor are normally the first to accept divine messages and messengers. They are quick to believe in God and submit themselves to Him, because they are not deterred by any hollow status or fear of losing any interest or position as a result. The chiefs and nobles of society often fear for their interests that are based on false considerations, as also myths and legends that are given religious status. Moreover, they are unwilling to accept complete equality with the masses as a result of believing in God's oneness.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 13, p. 60

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Good Word

On the authority of Abu Huraira who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "A good word is a charitable act." [Bukhari, Muslim]

In this hadith one finds an excellent but easy means by which to spread happiness and perform a charitable act. Very few humans are without the physical and mental means to perform this act that is beloved to Allah and that should be performed as an expression of gratitude to Allah.

The expression, "a good word," includes many things. Sindi defines it as "any word by which Allah is remembered or any word which benefits any of Allah's creation."

The words used in making remembrance of Allah (dhikr) are good words. Verbally ordering what is good and eradicating what is evil are considered good words. Advising one's brother forms part of this concept. Speaking to the people in a way that makes them pleased and happy is also a charitable act for the person.

An advanced form of speech is one of the aspects that distinguish humans from the animal world. One should use the very important power of speech for what is good. A believer should either speak what is good or remain silent. To use one's tongue in any other way is a gross misuse of this great blessing of speech that Allah has bestowed upon humans.

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, p. 1002


Shariah and Fiqh

Fiqh is the legal science and can sometimes be used synonymously with Shariah. The two are, however, different in that Shariah is closely identified with divine revelation (wahy), the knowledge of which could only be obtained from the Quran and Sunnah. Fiqh has, on the other hand, been largely developed by jurists and consists of rules which are mainly founded on human reasoning and ijtihad. Shariah is thus the wider circle, and it embraces in its orbit all human actions, whereas fiqh is narrower in scope and addresses mainly what is referred to as practical legal rules (al-ahkam al-amaliyah). The path of Shariah is laid down by God and His Messenger; the edifice of fiqh is erected by human endeavour.

Muslim scholars have generally regarded fiqh as understanding of the Shariah, and not the Shariah itself; a certain distinction between them had thus existed from the formative stages of fiqh. Note, for example, that the leading schools of law that were developed in the first three centuries were all known as the schools of fiqh. They were not known by any such terms as the Hanafi Shariah, or Shafii Shariah but consistently as Hanafi fiqh, Shafii fiqh and so forth. The underlying message was one of unity in reference to Shariah but of diversity with regard to fiqh.

Compiled From:
"Shariah Law - An Introduction" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 15, 16