Praise be to Allaah.
fiqh al-waaqi‘ refers to two things:
the circumstances of the person who asked for the fatwa, his situation and
the situation of his country. No fatwa concerning issues of jihad should be
issued in any country before the mufti has a full picture of the situation
in that country. Similarly, he should not issue a fatwa concerning anything
that has to do with computers and the Internet, unless he has knowledge of
these things and what happens in them.
what is going on in the world of current events, political analysis, finding
out about the enemies’ plots by reading their books and newspapers and
following their plans to conquer the country or spread corruption.
With regard to
the use of this phrase in the first sense, we say:
There is no
doubt that the issuing of a fatwa requires the mufti to have an
understanding of the Qur'aan and Sunnah, and scholarly consensus, and he
should also understand the realities of people’s situations, time and place,
otherwise his fatwa may not meet the people’s needs or may be beyond their
ability to implement it because it is far away from the reality of which
that mufti is
(may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The mufti or
judge is not able to issue a fatwa or verdict without understanding two
Understanding and having a good grasp of reality: he should have a good
understanding of what is happening, on the basis of circumstantial evidence
and other signs, so that he has a full understanding of it.
Understanding what is required in the light of these circumstances, which
means understanding the ruling of Allah that He issued in His book or on the
lips of His Messenger concerning this reality, then he should apply the one
to the other.
respectable scholars applied this to many fatwas, such as that issued by
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, when he was asked about fighting the Tatars
even though they bore witness that there is no god but Allah. He said:
Yes, it is
obligatory to fight them on the basis of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of
His Messenger, and the consensus of the imams of the Muslims. This is based
on two principles: knowledge of their reality and situation, and knowledge
of the rulings of Allah concerning people like them.
With regard to
the first principle: everyone who is in contact with these people knows
their situation; the one who is not in contact with them will only know that
from what he hears of authentic reports and honest news. We will explain
about their situation after explaining the other principle, knowledge of
which is limited to people who have knowledge of Islamic sharee‘ah. So we
that rejects one of the tangible, practical laws of sharee‘ah that are
proven on the basis of tawaatur must be fought, according to the consensus
of the imams of the Muslims.
With regard to
fiqh al-waaqi‘ in the second sense, there are people who go to one extreme
or another, exaggeration or neglect, concerning this matter. Hence we say:
Some of those
who got involved in this type of fiqh went to extremes, to the extent that
this type of understanding took precedence over proper, shar‘i fiqh in their
minds. Some of them even went so far as to adopt this fiqh and regard it as
being obligatory for the scholars of sharee‘ah and the fuqaha’. Some of them
accused many of the shaykhs and scholars of not understanding reality and
not having enough knowledge of it; on the other hand, there is a group who
disallow paying attention to events happening around the world. But the best
of matters are those that take a middle course.
al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
turmoil there were some people who brought up the issue which is called fiqh
al-waaqi‘. I do not disagree in principle with this concept for which they
came up with this name of fiqh al-waaqi‘, because many of the scholars
stated clearly that those who lead the ummah and give answers to solve its
problems should have knowledge and understanding of circumstances and
realities. Hence one of their famous sayings is: The ruling on a thing is a
projection of one’s understanding of it, and that cannot be achieved except
by understanding the circumstances surrounding the issue for which they have
to give an answer. This is one of the bases of giving rulings and fatwas in
particular, and is one of the principles of knowledge in general. So fiqh
al-waaqi‘ means understanding what concerns the Muslims with regard to their
own affairs or the plots of their enemies, so as to warn them or help them
to progress in a real sense and not just in theory when focusing on news of
the kuffaar or focusing totally on their analysis and ideas. Understanding
reality in order to reach the shar‘i ruling is an important duty that a
specialised and smart group of seekers of knowledge have to do. This is just
like any other branch of knowledge, whether it has to do with sharee‘ah,
social sciences, economics, military matters or any other branch of
knowledge that is of benefit the Muslim ummah and will bring it back to its
position of glory and leadership, especially when these branches of
knowledge are developing from one time and place to another.
But we have
heard and seen that many young Muslims are confused with regard to this type
of knowledge that we referred to above by the name of fiqh al-waaqi‘. They
have, unfortunately, divided into two groups; some went to extremes with
regard to this matter and others fell short. Now you can see and hear --
from those who exaggerate about the importance of fiqh al-waaqi‘ and raise
it above its rightful level -- that they want every scholar of sharee‘ah to
be knowledgeable about what they call fiqh al-waaqi‘, and the opposite is
also applicable to them. They give the impression to those who listen to and
support them that anyone who has knowledge of what is happening in the
Muslim world has good understanding of the Qur’aan and Sunnah and is
following the path of the righteous Salaf! But that is not necessarily the
case, as is quite obvious. We cannot imagine the existence of a man who is
perfect in all senses, i.e., one who could have knowledge of all the
branches of knowledge referred to and discussed above.
So what is
required is for those who have devoted themselves to knowing the reality of
the Muslim ummah and the plots that are made against it is for them to
cooperate with the scholars of Qur’aan and Sunnah, according to the way of
the early generations of this ummah, so that the former may present their
understanding and ideas and the latter may issue the Islamic ruling on them,
based on sound evidence and proof. As for the one who speaks of fiqh
al-waaqi‘ being regarded in the minds of his listeners as a scholar or mufti
for no other reason than that he is speaking to them on the basis of this
“fiqh”, this cannot be correct in any way, because his words may be used as
a reason to reject the fatwas of the scholars and their views and rulings.
Jawaab hawla Fiqh al-Waaqi‘,
And he (may
Allah have mercy on him) said:
So it is as
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Thus We have made you [true
Muslims — real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet
Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and his
Sunnah (legal ways)], a just (and the best) nation” [al-Baqarah 2:143].
in the correct shar‘i sense is undoubtedly something obligatory, but that is
a communal obligation (fard kifaayah): if some of the scholars undertake it,
the obligation is waived for the other scholars, let alone seekers of
knowledge and let alone the ordinary Muslims.
moderation is essential when calling upon Muslims to be aware of fiqh
al-waaqi‘, and we should not overwhelm them with political news and analysis
of western thinkers. Rather what is needed -- always -- is to focus on
purifying Islam from any contamination, then to educate the Muslims --
collectively and individually -- in this pure Islam and to bring them back
to the original message: the Qur’aan and Sunnah according to the
understanding of the early generations of the ummah.
Jawaab hawla Fiqh al-Waaqi‘,
al-Fawzaan (may Allah preserve him) said:
focusing on contemporary reality -- or fiqh al-waaqi‘ -- this can only be
done after attaining understanding of sharee‘ah, because it is on the basis
of understanding sharee‘ah that one should look at people’s real-life
situation and what is happening in the world of ideas and opinions, and
measure them against sound shar‘i knowledge, in order to distinguish between
which of these things are good and which are bad. Without shar‘i knowledge
one cannot distinguish between truth and falsehood, guidance and
misguidance. The one who starts initially by focusing on current affairs,
newspaper articles and political issues, and has no understanding of his
religion, will be led astray by these matters, because most of them are
based on misguidance, the call to falsehood, fancy words and temptations. We
ask Allah to keep us safe and sound.
min Fataawa al-Shaykh al-Fawzaan,
comments of Shaykh ‘Uthaymeen on this issue in the answer to question no.
information of what is meant by the idea of variations in fatwas according
to time and place, which has previously been discussed in detail, please see
the answer to question no. [What is meant by variations in fatwas according
to time and place].
And Allah knows best.