What is the purpose of Fiqh or Islamic laws in Islam? Do we really need them?


A brother asked me recently as to the importance of Fiqh [Jurisprudence]. I mentioned to him how it is essential and important in relation to the practical aspects, however, the brother seems unconvinced as to what is the end product from this, so I would appreciate it if one of the Sheikhs can provide an answer regarding this please. Also, some reading material would also be appreciated.


There are a few principles to remember in answering this question:

1- Practice is an essential part of faith. The manifestation of true faith in the heart is that this belief and faith is manifested in outward action. Alledged belief or faith which does not reflect itself in outward action is not real. In the Holy Qur’an, when Allah (SWT) introduces the mu’minun (believers), He introduces them through their practical actions:

“Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness. And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (vain talk), And those who pay the Zakat And those who guard their chastity…” (23: 1-5).

2- When it comes to these practical aspects, as mere humans, we have no knowledge of how to best serve God and worship Him, and thus we need instructions and guidelines on how to do this, so that we do it in the correct way. The more detailed and particular these instructions, the more benefit we can gain from our worshipping acts.

3- Again as humans, we do not know what is the best way to live our lives as believers, and so we need specific instructions on aspects such as marriage, divorce, career choices etc…so that we do not harm ourselves through bad choices which will later have bad consequences.

Fiqh or jurisprudence is an expression for rules in relation to all the above: how to best manifest our faith in practice, how to worship God correctly the way He wants and Commands, and how to live our lives in the best way possible.

With regard to some materials:

1. for general public ‘a Resa’le of the most learned living jurist’ is the best book in Fiqh to have.

2. for philosophy of Islamic rules: logic for Islamic rules: Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi,

3. for spirituality and in depth meaning of Islamic rules: refer to the works of Imam Khomeini (ra) such as “The Secrets of Prayers”.

Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei