1 While the majority of jurists regard fard and wajib as synonymous, the Hanafis draw a
clear distinction between the two. Ishaq b. Ibrahim al-Shashi in defining the two states, “Linguistically fard means
to decree, whilst in the Shari`a, it denotes that which is delineated in such a manner that no increase or decrease is possible.
The command of a fard is communicated by a definite (qat`i) text wherein there is no ambiguity, clear and specific.
To act upon it and to believe in it is binding… wajib, technically means that which is established by a text of
an ambiguous or
speculative (zanni) authority, such as an allegorically interpreted (mu’awal) verse.”
The majority of jurists and Hanafis agree that fard and wajib are both binding. Fard is
by a clear definite text with no ambiguity or speculation and wajib by a speculative text. As a consequence the obligation
emanating from a fard is of a greater degree than that from a wajib. The omission of a fard invalidates the act, such as the
unanimous view of the jurists that the omission of the stay at `Arafa (def: 5.12 (s)), which is a fard act, renders one’s
hajj null and void.
Whilst the omission of sa`i (pacing) between al-Saffa and al-Marwa (def: 5.12 (t)), which is communicated
by a speculative authority will not invalidate the hajj. Another distinction is that one who refuses to believe in a
fard such as salah or zakah is rendered an unbeliever. However, the denial of believing in an obligation established
by a speculative authority will not make one an unbeliever. (edited excerpts from Usul al-fiqh, p.23 and Usul al-Shashi,
The term wajib, when used in a non-Shari` context, has the connotation of ‘necessary.’
An example is ‘al-qir’at wajib `alayk’ (it is necessary that you read). Whenever the term has occurred
in this work, I have endeavoured to discern whether it is the Shari` or non-Shari` term that is implied. However, if
I have failed to understand its precise connotation at any place, such discrepancies are from Satan and myself, for which
I seek refuge in Allah and seek His and your pardon.
2 Sunna mu`akkada (emphatic sunna) is an act upheld by the Prophet (may Allah bless him
and grant him peace) perpetually whilst letting it be known that its performance is not fard, such as the two rak`ahs before
the fard of the fajr prayer and after zuhr, maghrib and `isha’. The abandonment of a sunna mu`akkada (emphatic
sunna) is not punishable, but nevertheless the perpetrator will be reproached, because its omission would be tantamount to
opposing that which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) perpetuated. (edited excerpts from Usul al-fiqh,
The giving of non-obligatory charity for one who is capable, the four rak`ahs before `asr and `isha’
are sunna ghayr mu`akkada, namely, actions which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not perform perpetually.
(edited excerpts from Usul al-fiqh, p.31) It is also referred to as mustahab.
3 Adab (sing: adab) is that which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)
did only once or twice throughout his life. It is a rewardable act with no reproach for one who abandons it. It
has also been defined as praiseworthy manners. (Maraqi al-falah, p.111)
4 Haram is an obligatory command from the Lawgiver demanding abstinence from something.
It is communicated by a definite authority. Examples are eating the flesh of a dead animal, drinking alcohol, fornicating,
adultery, unjustly killing someone and many others. (edited excerpts from Usul al-fiqh, p.33)
5 Makruh according to the Hanafis is a command for abstinence from something established by a speculative
proof. It is divided into two categories, namely, makruh tahrim and makruh tanzih. The former is closer to haram
and can also be defined as being in diametrical opposition to a wajib. Makruh tanzih is closer to mubah and in diametrical
opposition to a mustahab. (edited excerpts from Usul al-fiqh, p.36)
6 Mubah is an allowance from the Lawgiver to a mukallaf (a competent person who is
in full possession of his faculties) in performing or refraining from an act, such as eating or drinking. Shawkani defined
mubah as that “upon which no commendation is shown upon its performance or omission.” At times it is used
to illustrate the permissibility of a generally prohibited act such as the statement ‘The blood of an apostate is lawful
(mubah)’ meaning there is no harm upon one who
kills him. Mubah is also referred to as halal and ja’iz.
(edited excerpts from Usul al-fiqh, p.36)
7 Communal obligation (al-fard al-kifaya) is an obligation which is incurred upon
all, without specifying those who should perform it. Its obligation upon all will be lifted if fulfilled by a few. Examples
of al-fard al-kifaya are the funeral prayer, to enjoin good and forbid evil, furnishing definite proofs upon the existence
of Allah etc. (al-Mawsu`a al-fiqhiya, (32/96))