How to study Usul al-Fiqh

By Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
Extracted from Mastering Usul Fiqh in Islamic Studies Bulletin – 9 Shawwal 1434

To master usul for a person with a Hanafi background, one must first have a strong foundation in fiqh. Study Usul al-Shashi to get an in-depth understanding of the central masa’il covered in usul fiqh as well as an introduction to the core principles. Thereafter, read Manar al-Anwar along with Nur al-Anwar to understand the principles in detail along with the evidence which support and justify these rules as well as answers objections posited by the mutakillimin. This will make it easy to decipher the usul of Bazdawi, Sarakhsi, Jassas and make Talwih accessible. Now that a solid foundation in the Hanafi approach is developed, one should consolidate the learning with the reading of Husami with special attention on the Qiyas section; this will cover the topics in Taqwim al-Adillah, Tasis al-Nazar and Usul Karkhi. This should suffice for one to understand the Hanafi evidence and usul.

To advance one should study Tawdih with Talwih. This will summarise the key mutakallimin works such as Ihkam and Muntaha al-Sul along with what was covered in Manar and Husami in addition to gaining the Ash’ari insight via Talwih. This should give one scope to understand most of the books of the other Mazahib. Follow up with the study of Musallam al-Thubut with Fawatih al-Rahmut; this will suffice to understand the works of the later works of the muta’akhkhirin including Jam’ al-Jawami’ and Tahrir.

For further detail, read Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami’s article, ‘Mastering Usul Fiqh’. Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 3. Available at http://uloom.com/dibaj/article/130818501

Types of mutawatir

Tawatur can be achieved in four ways – tawatur fil isnad, tabaqat, ta’amul and qadr mushtarak. All of them lead to certainty.

Mutawatir

By Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
8 Rabi II 1437 | 19 January 2016

The author of Usul al-Shashi writes,

Mutawatir is that which is transferred from one group to [another] group such that there is no possibility of collusion upon a lie due to them being so many. [Furthermore,] it should have reached you in the same way. Examples of it is the reporting of the Quran, numbers of raka’ats and amount fixed for zakat. Its ruling is that it results in certainty (ilm qat’i) and to deny it is kufr.

Tawatur can be achieved in four ways – tawatur fil isnad, tabaqat, ta’amul and qadr mushtarak. All of them have the same ruling.

Tawatur fil Isnad

The message which is narrated with so many sanads in every generation from the time of the Prophet to now such that it is impossible for them to have colluded upon a lie in any given generation.

Example: من كذب علي متعمدا فليتبوء مقعده من النار

Tawatur fi al-tabaqat

The message for which there are no huge collection of identifiable sanads but in every generation there are so many narrators stating it from the time of the Prophet to now that it is impossible for them to have colluded upon a lie in any given generation.

Example: The Quran

Tawatur fi al-ta’amul

The message for which there are no huge collection of identifiable sanads or statements but in every generation there are so many people acting upon it from the time of the Prophet to now that it is impossible upon to have colluded upon a lie in any given generation.

Example: The five times prayer

Tawatur fi al-Qadr al-Mushtarak

The message for which there are no instances which are reported or acted to the level of tawatur, however, when multiple corroborative instances are combined it becomes such that is was impossible for them to have colluded upon a lie in any given generation.

Example: The miracles of the Prophet (peace be upon him)