An existing translation of as-Sa'dee's work titled (رسالة لطيفة جامعة في أصول الفقه المهمة) "A Brief, Concise Treatise Regarding Important Principles of Fiqh" has been used as a basis for these articles with corrections to numerous errors in the translation, improvements and amendments to make the material easier to read and comprehend. This translation was received and published 14 years ago on the Salafi Publications website and is also widely distributed on the web.
Chapter: The Ahkaam (Rulings) Upon Which Fiqh Revolve
فصل: الأحكام التي يدور عليها الفقه خمسة : الواجب : الذي يثاب فاعله ويعاقب تاركه ، والحرام : ضده ، والمسنون : الذي يثاب فاعله ولا يعاقب تاركه ، والمكروه : ضده ، والمباح : مستوي الطرفين. وينقسم الواجب : إلى فرض عين ، يطلب فعله من كل مكلف بالغ عاقل ، وهو جمهور أحكام الشريعة الواجبة ، وإلى فرض كفاية : وهو الذي يطلب حصوله وتحصيله من المكلفين ، لا من كل واحد بعينه ، كتعلم العلوم والصناعات النافعة ، والأذان ، والأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر ، ونحو ذلك. وهذه الأحكام الخمسة تتفاوت تفاوتاً كثيراً بحسب حالها ومراتبها وآثارها ، فما كانت مصلحته خالصة أو راجحة ، أمر به الشارع أمر إيجاب أو استحباب ، وما كانت مفسدته خالصة أو راجحة نهى عنه الشارع نهي تحريم أو كراهة ، فهذا الأصل يحيط بجميع المأمورات والمنهيات. وأما المباحات : فإن الشارع أباحها وأذن فيها ، وقد يتوصل بها إلى الخير فتلحق بالمأمورات ، وإلى الشر فتلحق بالمنهيات . فهذا أصل كبير : أن الوسائل لها أحكام المقاصد ، وبه نعلم : أن ما لا يتم الواجب إلا به فهو واجب ، وما لا يتم المسنون إلا به فهو مسنون ، وما يتوقف الحرام عليه فهو حرام ، ووسائل المكروه مكروهة
The ahkaam (rulings) upon which fiqh revolve are five:-
: Waajib (obligation): that for which the one who performs it is rewarded, whilst the one who abandons it is punished. : Haraam (prohibition): this is the opposite of an obligation [its performer is punished and its abandoner is rewarded]. : Masnoon (recommended): that for which the one who performs it is rewarded, whilst the one who leaves it is not punished. : Makrooh (detested): this is the opposite of a recommendation (its abandoner is rewarded but its performer is not punished). : Mubaah (permissible): this is where both (its doing or leaving) are equivalent [its performer is not rewarded or punished and its abandoner is not rewarded or punished].
Those rulings which are waajib (obligatory) are divided into two catagories: fard 'ayn (individual obligation), the doing of which is sought from every mukallaf [the one legally bound to abide by the Sharee'ah commands], who is baaligh (mature) 'aaqil (sane) person. The majority of the Sharee'ah rulings enter into this category. The second is fard kifaayah (collective obligation), the performance of which is sought from the mukallafeen (the legally bound) collectively, but not from every individual specifically; such as the learning of the various branches of useful knowledge and beneficial (types of) manufacture (crafts, skills); the adhaan; the commanding of good and forbidding of evil; and other similar matters.
These five rulings differ widely in accordance with its state (i.e. of that to which it relates), its levels and its effects. Thus, whatever is of pure or of overwhelming maslahah (benefit), then the Shaari' (Lawgiver) has commanded its performance with either an obligation (waajib) or a recommendation (masnoon). Whatever is of pure, or of overwhelming mafsadah (harm), then the Lawgiver has prohibited its doing with either an absolute prohibition (haraam) or dislike (makruh). So this asl (fundamental principle) encompasses all matters commanded or prohibited by the Lawgiver.
As for those matters which the Lawgiver has permitted and allowed (mubaahaat), then at times they lead to that which is good, and so are joined to those matters which have been commanded (ma'mooraat); and at other times they lead to that which is evil, and so are joined to those matters which are prohibited (manhiyyaat). So this is a great asl that: 'al-wasaa'ilu lahaa ahkaamul-maqaasid' (the ways and means take on the same ruling as the actual objectives).
From this we learn that: 'maa laa yatimmul-waajib illaa bihi fahuwa waajib' (that without which an obligation cannot be fulfilled is itself an obligation). Likewise, the principles that "whatever is required to fufill a masnoon (recomendation) is itself recommened" and "whatever leads to the establishment of a haraam (prohibition) is itself prohibited" and "whatever leads to the establishment of a makrooh (detested act) is itself detested."