The term ‘Fiqh’ in the Quran & Hadith

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SHAFAQNA – The word ‘Fiqh’ and its derivation ‘tafaqquh’ has been extensively used in the Quran and Hadith, and in almost all cases it denotes in ­depth study and profound understanding. The Quran says:

“If a group of people from every tribe stayed behind to study (and ponder on) the religion, (they would be able) to warn and admonish their people when they return to them so that they are cautious.” (Al­-Tawbah. V.122)

And the Prophet (s.a.w) is reported to have said:
“Whoever commits forty Hadith for the sake of my Ummah shall be resurrected by Allah as a learned faqih.”

It is not known whether the term faqih was applied to the learned companions of the Prophet (s.a.w). However, we certainly know that the generation which followed the companions, known as tabe’een, used this appellation for a number of scholars among them. There were for example, seven great jurists among them who are known as ‘fuqaha sab’ah’ i.e. the seven fuqaha. The year 94 A.H. was known as ‘sanatul fuqaha’ (the year of the Fuqaha) because in that year, together with our fourth Imam, Ali b. Hussain (A.S.), great jurists like Saeed b. Musayyab, Urwah b. Zubair, Saeed b. Jubayr and others died. Thereafter, great Islamic scholars, particularly the jurists were commonly classified as Fuqaha.

Our Imams (peace be upon them) have used the term Faqih quite often. Some of their companions were recommended to study religion thoroughly and become Faqih, and when they attained that degree of knowledge, they were called fuqaha. We know of quite a few students of our Imams (A.S.) who were known as Shi’ah Fuqaha by their contemporaries.

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