Introduction to Islamic
Nazmul Hasan Sarker
Lecturer, Department of Law
EXIM Bank Agricultural University Bangladesh (EBAUB)
What is Islamic Jurisprudence
• The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, Whomever Allah wants good for, He
will grant him fiqh (deep understanding) of the religion. (Sahih Bukhari ) All Muslim
Jurists are unanimously agreed that every word and action of a man though related to
worship, trade, crime, and politics or even to personal life, has legal ruling (Hukm) under
• From these legal rules (Ahkam), some of them explicitly have been described in the text
of Quran and Sunnah and some legal rules are not mentioned, however guidance has
been provided to Muslim Jurists (Mujtahideen) to find and explore in the light of Quran
and Sunnah. The study and exploration of these legal rules by Muslim Jurists may be
called as Islamic Jurisprudence.
• Islamic Jurisprudence is the study of Islamic law. It is a type of science that explores the
creation, application, and enforcement of laws. It is the study of theories and
philosophies regarding Islamic law. If we understand the theories and philosophies
behind law, then we can better understand laws. Islamic Jurisprudence (Usul al Fiqh)
discusses both the sources of Islamic law and the law. Primarily Islamic Jurisprudence
deals with the sources or roots of Islamic law.
• Islamic Jurisprudence deals with the primary sources of Islamic law, the Quran and the
Sunnah, and what are the methods of deduction of law from primary sources. It also
discusses the secondary sources of Islamic law, the Ijma (consensus), Qiyas (analogical
deduction), Istihsan (Juristic preference) and other methods of Ijtihad (reasoning and
investigation) etc. All the secondary sources are either directly or indirectly based on the
primary sources of Islamic law, the Quran and the Sunnah.
• Example: The Science of Usool al-Fiqh is about the method by which rules are deduced
from indications (evidences), so imagine a man thinking of a way to pick a fruit from a
tree! The man is the mujtahid; the tree is the source/ evidence; the fruit is the hukm
(ruling) and the method of picking is the procedure of deduction.
1- The Rules (Fruit)
2- The Sources (Tree)
3- The Rules of Interpretation (Istinbaat)/ Implications (Dalalaat) (Method of Picking)
4- The Interpreter (al-Mujtahid) and His Work (Ijtihaad) (Man)
Importance of Islamic Jurisprudence
• The benefits of the study of Islamic Jurisprudence are many. From a study of
Jurisprudence, we come to know the methods of interpretations of the Quran
and Sunnah, all the secondary sources of Islamic law, the views of major scholars
of the past and present, the rules of Qiyas and other methods of Ijtihad, the
history of development of Islamic law and legal theory. All these make anybody
who studies Islamic Jurisprudence cautious in approach to Islamic law. The need
for the methodology of usul al-fiqh became prominent when unqualified persons
attempted to carry out ijtihad, and the risk of error and confusion in the
development of Shari'ah became a source of anxiety for the Ulama.
• This subject has much importance because deduction (ijtihad) of an authentic
Muslim jurist is applicable on every Muslim to follow the rules laid down by him.
The Muslim Ummah can produce great mujtahid only by study of Jurisprudence
in addition to other sciences. No Muslim can do Ijtihad or interpret Islamic law
without having command on this subject.
• A Muslim, who has command on Islamic Jurisprudence, is called
Mujtahid. The principal objective of Islamic Jurisprudence is to
regulate Ijtihad and guide the jurist in his effort at deducing the law
from the sources. Literal Explanation Islamic Jurisprudence and Usul
al Fiqh are used as synonyms. Both terminologies are
interchangeable, but they have slight differences in their origins and
meanings as following: Uṣūl al-fiqh ( الفقه
أ (comprises the
conjunction of two Arabic terms, usool and fiqh. Usool is derived
from the root word ASL (Usul is plural of Asl) which refers to the bases
or roots (principles or rules) of Islamic Law. Fiqh linguistically refers to
knowledge, deep understanding or comprehension.