Are Masa’il different and in opposition to the mizaj of Shari`ah?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by


Assalamualaikum 1. As an aalim, is it correct for me to make ikhtilaf with my spiritual mentor in terms of furuu’i masaail (keeping in mind that he is a hanafi)? 2. An aalim said that masaa’il are different and the mizaj of shari’ah is different. Do masaa’il contradict with the mizaj of shari’ah? References would be appreciated. Jazakallahu khairaa


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

With regards to your first query, the role of a spiritual mentor is guidance in spiritual related issues.  If his school of Fiqh is identical to yours and he is learned in Fiqhi issues, you may learn your Fiqh of your Maẓhab from him.  However, if his school of Fiqh is different to yours, you will not follow his Maẓhab.  You will follow the rulings of your school of Fiqh.

As for the second question, it is becoming increasingly common by some to disregard fatwas and opt for the mizāj of Sharī`ah or ‘taqwā’.  This is partly due to being unmindful of the essence of Masā`il and Fiqh. Masā`il are a mere codification of laws.  They have never addressed ethics nor has ethics been in the scope of Masā`il.  Masā`il merely address permissibility and impermissibility; not advisability and inadvisability.

Fiqh on the other hand is more profound than a simple categorisation of laws.  Imam Abū Hanīfah raḥimahullah defined Fiqh as: “Knowing the rights and duties of oneself.”[1] `

Allamah Ibn Nujaym raḥimahullah expounded on the above and stated:
“Fiqh incorporates I`tiqādāt (beliefs), Wijdāniyyāt (sciences of the heart) and `Amaliyyāt (external actions).”

A scholar who is trained in the field of Iftā’ and Fiqh under an expert Muftī is trained to issue a ruling which is practical for the questioner and yet in line with the Mizāj of Sharī`ah.  This is a shade of Tafaqquh (juristic insight).  He is spiritually trained alongside the academic training to bring every person closer to Allah Ta`ālā through the fatwa he issues.

A Mufti is one who has excelled in Fiqh.  His Tafaqquh has grown.  He thus applies Fiqh in its true sense by reaching a practical solution for `amaliyyāt (external actions) within the boundaries of I`tiqādāt (beliefs) and Wijdāniyyāt (sciences of the heart).  He therefore issues a three-dimensional ruling as oppose to a one dimensional ruling.

Taking masā`il from people bereft of this training who focus only on the mizāj of Sharī`ah can cause great hardship in matters where Sharī`ah has provided lawful alternatives.  This further results in extremism, unwarranted complications and often despondency.

Furthermore, Masā`il are laws of Sharī`ah. How can the laws of Sharī`ah be against the mizāj of Sharī`ah? If the laws of Sharī`ah are against the mizāj of Sharī`ah, we need to ask whose laws are the laws of Sharī`ah? Are they not directly or indirectly attributed to Allah and his Rasul ṣalallahu `alayhi wasallam? So are the ahkām of Allah different from the mizāj of Allah? In conclusion, there is no contradiction between Fiqh and the Mizāj of Sharī`ah.  Rather, this conclusion is a result of a misunderstanding on the nature of Fiqh and Masā`il.

And Allah Ta’ālā Knows Best
Mufti Faraz Adam,  

Checked and approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai Sahib

[1]  وَعَرَّفَهُ الْإِمَامُ الْأَعْظَمُ بِأَنَّهُ مَعْرِفَةُ النَّفْسِ مَا لَهَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا لَكِنَّهُ يَتَنَاوَلُ الِاعْتِقَادِيَّاتِ كَوُجُوبِ الْإِيمَانِ وَالْوِجْدَانِيَّات أَيْ الْأَخْلَاقَ الْبَاطِنَةَ وَالْمَلَكَاتِ النَّفْسَانِيَّةَ وَالْعَمَلِيَّاتِ كَالصَّلَاةِ وَالصَّوْمِ وَالْبَيْعِ فَمَعْرِفَةُ مَا لَهَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا مِنْ الِاعْتِقَادِيَّاتِ عِلْمُ الْكَلَامِ وَمَعْرِفَةُ مَا لَهَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا مِنْ الْوِجْدَانِيَّاتِ هِيَ عِلْمُ الْأَخْلَاقِ وَالتَّصَوُّفِ كَالزُّهْدِ وَالصَّبْرِ وَالرِّضَا وَحُضُورِ الْقَلْبِ فِي الصَّلَاةِ وَنَحْوِ ذَلِكَ، وَمَعْرِفَةُ مَا لَهَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا مِنْ الْعَمَلِيَّاتِ هِيَ الْفِقْهُ الْمُصْطَلَحُ، فَإِنْ أَرَدْت بِالْفِقْهِ هَذَا الْمُصْطَلَحَ زِدْت عَمَلًا عَلَى قَوْلِهِ مَا لَهَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا، وَإِنْ أَرَدْت عِلْمَ مَا يَشْتَمِلُ عَلَى الْأَقْسَامِ الثَّلَاثَةِ لَمْ تَزِدْ وَأَبُو حَنِيفَةَ – رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ – إنَّمَا لَمْ يَزِدْ؛ لِأَنَّهُ أَرَادَ الشُّمُولَ أَيْ أَطْلَقَ الْعِلْمَ عَلَى الْعِلْمِ بِمَا لَهَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا سَوَاءٌ كَانَ مِنْ الِاعْتِقَادِيَّاتِ أَوْ الْوِجْدَانِيَّاتِ أَوْ الْعَمَلِيَّاتِ وَمِنْ ثَمَّ سَمَّى الْكَلَامَ فِقْهًا أَكْبَرَ كَذَا فِي التَّوْضِيحِ وَذَكَرَ الْعَلَّامَةُ خُسْرو أَنَّ الْمَلَكَاتِ النَّفْسَانِيَّةَ لَيْسَتْ مِنْ الْفِقْهِ بِاعْتِبَارِ ذَاتِهَا، وَأَمَّا بِاعْتِبَارِ آثَارِهَا التَّابِعَةِ لَهَا مِنْ أَفْعَالِ الْجَوَارِحِ فَهِيَ مِنْ الْفِقْهِ اهـ. (البحر الرائق ج 1 ص 6 أيج أيم سعيد)

This answer was collected from, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Faraz ibn Adam al-Mahmudi, the student of world renowned Mufti Ebrahim Desai (Hafizahullah).

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