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Introduction to Ussul-Al Fiqh (Fiqh principles)  


5.1 Its definition


5.1.1 Linguistically: The word "Ussul" (or principles) refers to the low or the bottom of a thing, or what something is built on and founded. "Holding up" is either what is related to the concrete like the holding up of a roof by walls or what is related to reason like promulgating a law according to proofs and arguments.


Fikh means understanding. The Almighty Allah Say: «…and remove the impediment from my speech, in order that they may understand what I say. » [Surat Taha, 27-28], and the prophet May peace be upon him Said: «the one whom Allah like make him skilled in religion» (This Hadith is agreed on).


5.1.2  Its deepest meaning: It is the knowledge of the practical religious instructions according to their detailed arguments.


5.1.3The difference between the fundamentalist and the skilled in jurisprudence:


a. The fundamentalist is mainly concerned with Ussul; his domain of research is the general, total arguments for the resolution of Ussul's bases.


b. Whereas, the skilled in jurisprudence is mostly concerned with Fikh (the knowledge of jurisprudence), his domain of research is the partial proofs. He works on deducing detailed instructions (stances) relying on the bases that are given by the fundamentalists. For example, the skilled in jurisprudence rule obliges the fulfillment of contracts. This is done in accordance with the Almighty Allah's Saying: « O you who believe! Fulfill the pledges. All kinds of cattle-like animals have been made lawful to you except those which are now recited to you, you should not make hunting lawful when you are in pilgrim sanctity. Indeed God ordain whatever he pleases» [Surat Al Ma'ida/Table, 1]. They relied on the fundamentalists' rule which says that the order should be fulfilled.


5.2 Its benefits/ advantages


The science of Ussul El Fikh (Fikh's principles) is a great and worthy science, it is of a paramount importance, and it is convenient, useful and beneficial. Among its benefits we may list the following ones:


1- The knowledge of the diligent methods concerning their way of deducing rules. By this, persons not only accept the religious rules but also feel a certain quietness and tranquility to what is attained by the diligent.


2- It is the science that shapes the right way to the diligent, the way that leads him to infer the religions instructions on the basis of its detailed arguments. It also provides him with the necessary tools to achieve this goal. In fact, this will facilitate for the Ulama the knowledge of the religious stance/ rule at any time and place. In fact, this ensures the continuity and the suitability of the Islamic sharia.


3- It is an efficient means for protecting religion from falsification and perversion/corruption. This would emerge from the subjects and the researches that it deals with among them:


- The divergence in the legislation source, the fundamental and the complementary. The limitation /control of the sources, the restriction of the different kinds of the religious instruction and the study of the linguistic bases of Ussul.


4- It enables its learner to posse a great mental and learning abilities. The latter help him know the correct way and the right method upon which Ijtihad (diligence) and deducing rules depend.


5.3 Its transcription


Imam Shafi was the first to record the science of Ussul El Fikh, and to set up its bases in his Fundamental Message. (It was the first to be written about this science). This was at the end of the second Hegirian century. Ibn Khaldoun said: «this art is among the new arts in religion. The predecessors were needless to such a science because the understanding of meaning did not exceed their linguistic property (language) i.e. they understood easily the texts because they were fluent and they possessed a rich language. Concerning the laws that this science needs, mainly for the deducing rules, most of them are taken from our predecessors. As for ascribing, they did not need to look after them because of the nearness of the epoch, the practice of transmission/ transcription and their expertise and knowledge of them.


When the predecessors and the first front part of the Islamic era had gone, sciences became "industrialized, so it was necessary for the knowledgebles and the diligent to acquire and learn these laws and rules in order to deduce instructions according to proofs. For this reason they wrote it as an art and called it "Fikh's principle".


The first contribution was made by the Imam Chafii, may God be pleased by him ».


There were many other reasons that helped Imam Shafi to set up the bases of Ussul's science, among them:


His surfeit of great scientific wealth, the latter's origin was the science that was left by the Sahaba (the prophet's friends) and their followers and also the knowledge of many Ulama like Imam Malik and Mohammed bnu El hassan Echaibani.


His witnesses of meetings and debates that hold between the skilled in jurisprudence of Medina and those of Iraq.

The witness of the Arabian tongues after their mixture with the non Arabs (foreign to Arabs). As a result, there was a difficulty in deducing rules and instructions on the bases of their arguments.


The appearance of new matters whose judgment needed certain rules or methods to follow and which were specific to Ussul's science.


5.4 methods of writing in usul's science


Three ways or methods are followed by the ulama concerning writing in the field of Usul' science.


5.4.1.The theologian method (Shafiia)


It concerns the using of matters and the dissolution of bases. The rule or the basis, according to this method, is what is accepted by the mind/ reason and supported by arguments, regardless to its conformity with the doctrinal branches.


According to the fundamentalists, Ussul is an independent art upon which Fikh may be based. This was the method of the dogmatic theologians. This is why their method is called the "Theologian Method" It is also known as the "Shafiia Method".


Among the famous books which were written within this method, we have the following ones:


-  The message (Letter), by Imame Shafi, died in 462 Hegira.


-  Approximation and guiding in arranging the ways of Ijtihad: by judge Abi baker El baklani, he died in 403 Hegira.


-  Peremptories:by  Imam Abi Elmodhafar Essamaani.


-  The representative: Abi alhasanElbasseri, he died in 463Hegira.


-  Brightness/Chining: by Imam Abi Isaac Echirazi. He died in 476 Hegira.


-  The proof: by Imam Harameine Eldjouaini, he died in 478.


-  The pur/ general: by Abi Hammid El ghazali, he died in 505 Hegira.


-  Chifaoul ghalil fi bayan masail El taalil (quenching the thirst in explaining the ways of allegation/plea: by Abi  hamid El ghazali.


-  El makhoul min taalikate alussul:by El ghazali.


- The result: by Fakher eddin Errazi, he died in 606 hegira.


-  Minuteness in Ussul's rules:  (El Ihkam fi ussul El ahkam: byAmadi, he died in 631 hegira.


5.4.2. The method of the skilled in jurisprudence: Hanafia


The efforts of those persons were directed toward the resolution of Ussul rules on the light/basis of Fikh 's branches . The Ussul rules that they form agree with the fikh's deductions of Hanifete Imams. It is called the method of the skilled in jurisprudence and Hanafia, because the first to be involved in this method and the pioneers to create it are the Hanifates skilled in jurisprudence.


The famous books that were written in the light of this method are:


- The sources of the charia, Elmatridi. He died in 330 Hegira.


- The rudiments of Imam Abi Elhassan El karakhi. He died in 340 hegira.


- The rudiment of Abi Baker El djassam. He died in 370 hegira.


- The establishment of vision/ the foundation of vision, Abi zayed Edaboussi. He died in 430 hegira.


- "The rudiments " Elbazadaoui. He died in 483 hegira.


- The rudiments of Essarkhassi. He died in 460 hegira.


-  "Amending chapters in Ussul'science" El korafi. He died in 684 hegira


-  "Elmanar"Enoussoufi. He died in 648 hegira.


-  "Initiation to the extraction of branches from principles, Imam El Isnaoui. He died in 772 hegira.


5.4.3. The method that gathers the two preceding ones


It mingles the advantages of the first method with those of the second one. It works on the resolution of Ussul rules in conformity with what the Chafiia Method requires, and is interested in applying them on the branches of Ussul i.e. the extraction of Fikh's instructions from the Ussul rules/ bases.


Many books were written within the frame of this method, among them are the following ones.


- "Badii Enitham" (floweriness of system) that mingles Bazdaoui's Ussul with minutness written by Imam Mouthafar Eddin Essaati. He died in 694 hegira.


- "Tankih El Ussul" ( amending Ussul) of Aubeid Allah bnu Massoud El bouhkari, he died in 747 Hegira.


-  "Atahrir" (Enfranchisement/ reduction) of Kamel Eddin bnu El Hamam, he died in 861hegira.


-  "Moussalim Ethubute " Evidenceof persistence), the thoroughly learned Mehei Eddin bnu Abdu Echakour El hanafi, he died in 1119 hegira.This book contains an explanation called "Fawatik Erahmoute"( Keys of mercy/pity) of Abdu Elali Muhamed bnu Nitham, he died Eddin El anssari.


5.4.4. The new books/ writing in Ussul science


Many new books are composed in Ussul' science by Ulama who have great weight in the domain of Charia's studies. These books are written in a simple and straightforward style in order to avoid obscurities. In fact, this helps a lot the students and the searchers in Ussul ' science.


These books provide them with the necessary keys which they need to understand the mothers of ussul's (the original books of Ussul). Among these books, I can mention the following ones.


- "Irchad Elfuhul ila Tahkik El hakmin Ilm El ussul" (Guiding the strong people towards realizing truth in Ussul' science) of Echaoukani, he died in 125 hegira.


- "Tashie Elwoussul ila Ilm Elussul" (Facilitating the way to reach Ussul science. Chikh Mohamed bnu Abdu Arahman El mahlaoui, he died in 1920 hegira.


- "Ussul Elfikh" (Fikh's rudiments) of cheikh Mohamed El Khodri Bik, he died in 1927.


- "The science of Ussul Elfikh of chaeikh Abdu Elwahab Khalaf, he died in 1956.


- "The Islamic Fikh Rudiments" of Zaki Eddin Chabane.

- "The Islamic legislation's Ussul" of Ali Hassb Allah.

- "Fikh Rudiment" of Mohamed Zakaria Elbardissi.

- "The Islamic fikh's rudiment" of Mohamed salam Madhkur.

- "The Islamic fikh's rudiment"of Zakaria Elbiri.

- "The Islamic fikh's rudiment" of Abdu Elmadjid Mahmoud Mathoub.

- "Scopes of research of the book (Koran) and the Sunna" of Mohamed Said Ramadhan Elbouti.


"Studies in the fikh's rudiments" of Abdu Elfatah Hosni.

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