Establishing the Principles: Principles of Understanding – Book 1- Class 3

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Our teacher began with praising Allaah and sending salaat and salaam on the Messenger of Allaah, his family, companions and followers until the Last Day and began:

The main topic of today’s lesson will be: Knowing what is Usool, what is Fiqh and what is Usoolul-Fiqh.

THE TEXT >>>

The author says:

أمَأ بَعْد: فَهَذِهِ رِسَالَةٌ لَطِيفَةٌ فِي أُصُولِ, سَهْلَةُ الأَلْفَاظِ وَاضِحَةُ المَعانِي, مُعِينَةٌ عَلَي تَعَلُّمِ الأحِكامِ لِكُلِّ مُتَأَمِّلٍ مُعَانِي. 

Amma ba’d:  fahaadhihi risaalatun lateefatun fee usoolul fiqh, Sahlatul alfaath wadhihatul ma’aanee, Mu’eenatun ‘alaa ta’allumil ahkaam Likulli muta’ammlin ma’aanee

Whatever comes after:  This is a fine treatise in the foundations of understanding, of easy words and clear meaning, assisting in learning the rulings for every contemplative, hardworker.

  • أمَأ بَعْدُ:  (Ammaa ba’du)  means: Whatever comes next
    • It is said when one is about to jump into the topic; when one is about to leave the style of the introduction to enter the style of speaking about the topic. 
    • It literally means “whatever comes next or whatever comes after – meaning: whatever comes after what I’ve just said/whatever comes after the introduction, I say the following…
  • فَهَذِهِ رِسَالَةٌ لَطِيفَةٌ  (fahaadhihi risaalatun lateefah)  This is a fine treatise 
    •  لَطِيفَةٌ  (lateefah)  means something small; delicate; fine- here it means that it isn’t a big or long book.
    • The author is telling us that this  treatise is easy and not heavy on us; very gentle; very concise; very short; it is not long, a couple of papers.
  • فِي أُصُولِ الفِقْهِ  (fee usoolil fiqh)  In (this topic which is called): Usuulil-Fiqh – Principles of Understanding.
    • أُصُولِ (usool) is the plural of أصل (asl) which means root; foundation; principle; base;  law; rule
    • فقه  (fiqh) is understanding.
  • سَهْلَةُ الأَلْفَاظِ   (sahlatul alfaath)  It is of easy words- its words are easy (to understand).
    • سَهْلَةُ  (sahlah) means: easy
    • ألفاظ  (alfaath) is the plural of لفظ (lafth) which means word i.e utterances, specifically that which contains letters. 

Our Teacher explained that:

This  book is not a complicated one, unlike some books that were written about it which are difficult to understand due to the high language used in it i.e.  the technical terms used  when the scholars speak together, unlike that which laymen use. If he (layman) sits with them (scholars) and listens, it is as if he is hearing codes, not understanding a thing.

 This is why the scholars stressed the fact that a person must start gradually from the principles, step by step. There is a principle that says:”Whoever rushed something before its time, will be punished by having that thing taken away from him.”

 Example given:

You are getting yourself adjusted to these studies and have just been introduced to scientific classes in Monotheism, Creed, Arabic etc. and you are all enlightened and overwhelmed with the many beautiful things that you can learn. So what happens, the Shaytan comes to you and entices you to go and read the big books so you go and buy them. And a lot of brothers do this and sad to say that when they are advised, some of them do not listen. They buy books in Arabic even when they have not learned proper Arabic yet, intending to benefit their children in the future. But some of them try to start reading those books themselves, jumping to the high levels. He did not wait until he finished the first levels before going to such level when he is able to understand those books.   Knowledge does not come in a day and a night, it comes gradually. Our righteous predecessors said, “Whoever gets knowledge at once, it will leave him at once” and “The seeker of knowledge starts with little drops until those droplets form a river.”

Take knowledge by the drop—here and there—and you will not even feel it. A few months from now you’ll look at yourself at how you were in the beginning and tell yourself how you’ve learned a lot. So do not rush. This is a juristic principle.

CONTINUING WITH THE EXPLANATION  >>>

  • وَاضِحَةُ المَعانِي، (Waadhihatul ma’aani)  clear meanings
    • وَاضِحَةُ   (waadhih) means: clear
    • المَعانِي-   (al-ma’aanee) means: meanings
  • مُعِينَةٌ عَلَي تَعَلُّمِ الأحِكامِ  (mu’eenatun ‘alaa ta’allumil ahkaam)  Assisting in learning the rulings
    • مُعِينٌ-  (mu’een) is a helper; one who helps or an  assistant.
    • مُعِينَةٌ  (mu’eentatun) here is assisting you in learning the rulings.
  • لِكُلِّ مُتَأَمِّلٍ مُعَانِي  (li kulli muta’ammilin mu’aanee)  for every thoughtful/contemplative hard worker.
    • لِكُلِّ-  (li kulli) for everyone
    • مُتَأَمِّلٍ-   (muta’ammil) a person who is giving much thought
    • مُعَانِي-  (mu’aanee) one who gives much effort into doing something.  It comes from المُعانَة (al-mu’aanah)  which means putting much effort on doing something; working on it again and again, time after time.

The Teacher explained that:

This book will help you learn the rulings. Why, because you cannot ever reach to the rulings without knowing how to derive these ruling from the sources of evidence. You can never know and understand the rulings properly and know how the scholars have reached to these ruling unless you study this Science which is called Usoolul Fiqh. That’s why we have chosen to have this dars, before (discussing) what we have promised you of the series of some issues that are the center of attention nowadays, like the face and should the woman cover it or not, and many things. So you have to properly study this science because learning these sciences will help one gain the following benefits:

  1. It shows us the sound methodology on which the scholars follow to derive the rulings from their sources of evidence.   Did the scholars say “haram or halal” from their own selves just randomly? No, they walked and balanced themselves on sound principles in order to understand the Qur’anic verses or Prophetic statements, in order to derive a ruling from it.
  2. It prevents from falling into error in understanding Islamic rulings.
  3. It makes one appreciate the scholars and their role in clarifying this religion to the people. Many people nowadays have enmity to other opinions in which they don’t see as valid, making a big deal out of these disputes until it reached a point where they (themselves) start to have enmity with each other on certain topics that is a matter of dispute (amongst scholars)  (transcriber’s notes).  In these matters of dispute, each party of the scholars who differed into 2 or 3 opinions or more, wanted to follow the Quran and the Sunnah. There is not a scholar, as Shaykh ‘Uthaymin said: There is no scholar out there before, who deliberately wants to contradict or oppose the Qur’an and the Sunnah.”  But they have differed, as not all the scholars have the ahadeeth and statements of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم reaching them. And you will not understand why they have differed until you study this Science.  
  4. It leads to having less disputes among the people in the Religion. Sad to say, people are fighting on the issue of where to place your hand in your prayer. Do you place it on your chest, on your belly button or under it?   I wish that his issue is just mentioned and looked over, but now people are fighting over it, to the point that whoever is seen placing his hands under his belly button is abandoned or attacked or looked down at.   This is not the way of our rightly guided scholars. Even Imam Maalik رحمه الله  says: “It is not the scholars’ right to force people to follow his opinion.”. And we are talking about matters of dispute that are strong matters of dispute; otherwise, the weak matters of dispute are looked at a different issue (angle). This is because once a hadeeth is proven, no one can say otherwise unless there is a dispute in the understanding of a certain hadeeth. Taken as an example is that of our rightly guided ancestors and predecessors, where it only takes a matter of days until a dispute is resolved. Why, because they take the matters of dispute back to the Quran and Sunnah— with the right understanding derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. So if it is clear, no one else can say otherwise. And whoever says otherwise from the ancient scholars, we give him the excuse that such a hadeeth might not have reached him or that he might have thought that another hadeeth was stronger than it.  But as for us, we live in an age where all the sources of the Sunnah have been gathered and made available and you can stop yourself by a hadeeth just by a click on the net. Now we have no excuse because we have all the hadeeth   gathered in front of our eyes. So we give them (scholars) the excuse. But do we have an excuse? No we don’t. If the hadeeth reached us, we don’t have an excuse.
  5. It shows one the perfections of this religion.

*The Teacher advised that these benefits (in learning this science) are very important to know and must be written down.*

~~~

CONTINUING WITH THE TEXT >>>

نَسْأَلُ اللهَ أَنْ يَنْفَعَ بِهَا جَامِعَهَا وَقارِئَهَا ،إِنَّهُ جَوَادٌ كَرِيمٌ  

Nas’alul’Allaaha an yanfa’a bihaa jaami’ahaa wa qaari’ahaa, innahu jawaadun kareem.

 We ask Allaah that He benefits by it, it’s author and reader, it is He who is Most Generous, Most Providing

  •  نَسْأَلُ اللهَ (nas’alul’Allaah) means: We ask Allaah
    • One might ask, “Why did the scholar speak about himself as a group?”  There are many justifications to this. We say that it is either  a.) He is speaking on behalf himself or one behalf of the scholars like him – It is as if the scholars were the reason for the writing of this book because this book was summarized from the books of the scholars before him,  or – b.) He treated himself as a group of people expressing the desperate need for Allaah to answer his dua’.  Why so, because who is in a greater need—the individual or a group of people? When an individual suffers from hunger, is it like a group of people?( No, because the need of a group of people is greater than a sole individual)  So it is like he is speaking for himself as of he is a group who is expressing his desperate need for Allaah to answer his dua. Just like saying, “I am so desperate in your answering to my du‘a just as a desperate as a group of people are.”
  • أَنْ يَنْفَعَ –(an yanfa’a) means, That he benefits
  • بِهَا- (bihaa) by it (this book Risaalah Lateefah),
  • جَامِعَهَا-its author
  • وَقارِئَهَا-  (wa qaari’ihaa) and its readers.
    • He made du’a for himself and for whoever who reads this book, adn its covers us also. So we say  Ameen. 
    • One might say, and who does he think he is? As if saying that his book is something that benefit. This has no pride in it. It is meant that it is beneficial not because they wrote it but because of what it contains, of the refined principles that it contains.
  • إِنَّهُ –(innahu) It is He
  • جَوَادٌ كَرِيمٌ –(Jawaadun Kareem)
    • كَرِيمٌ –(Kareem) The Most Generous
    • جَوَاد –(Jawaad) One who gives a lot; Katheerul Ataa; Katheerul Jood; The One who provides excessively.

THE TEXT >>>

١-   أُصُولُ الفِقْهِ: هِيَ الْعِلْمُ بِأَدِلَّةِ الْفِقْهِ الْكُلِّيَّةِ.

1- Usuulul-Fiqhi hiyal-`Ilmu bi’adillatil-fiqhil-kulliyyati

1 “Usuulul-Fiqh is the knowledge ( Al-`ilmu here means the understanding  –  الفهم ) of the general principles of fiqh.

  •  فصل (faslun) means: Chapter
  • أُصُولِ الفِقْهِ  (Usoolul Fiqhi):  The Knowledge of the General Evidences/Foundations of Fiqh
    • Why did he say evidences?   It is because those foundations are evidences that are taken from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. It is taken from the Revelation.  It tells us something   – It tells us that Allaah did not only reveal the Qur’an and Sunnah to the Prophet – Sallallaahu`alayhi wasallam- but He revealed the Qur’an and the Sunnah AND the correct understanding of the Revelation.  We have three things:
      1 – The Qur’an
      2 – The Sunnah
      3 – The Correct of Understanding of the Qur’an and the Sunnah

Not anyone who follows the Qur’an and Sunnah understand them correctly.  When we say “Foundations of Fiqh” it means, that the Fiqh is based upon those foundations.  And what is Fiqh? It will be explained in the coming classes (in shaa Allaah).

~~~END of DARS ~~~

 llaahu ta’aala ‘aalam, was salallaahu ‘alla Nabiyyinaa Muhammad, wa ‘alaa aalihi wa sahbihi ajma’een.

Notes Transcribed by UmmuYusuf Iman al-Filibiniyyah (any mistake is mine)

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