Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Fiqh Definition:

The law of Islam. Also spelled fikh.

Related Terms: Islamic Law, Muslim Law

The term fikh or fiqh simply means Islamic law.

However, as endemic to much of Islamic law, the terms suffers from a lack of a consistent academic description.

To some, like J. Schacht, the term is spelled fikh and is stated to mean the science of Islamic law:

"... the science of the Sharia, the sacred law of Islam."

In Outlines of Muhammadan Law, the author adds that, in regards to fiqh:

"... the term Islamic law is used synonymously with (fiqh)."

In Law in the Middle East, the authors write that:

"The scientific study and elucidation of the shari'a is called fiqh."

Finally, the Oxford Dictionary of Islam:

"Fiqh: conceptually, the human attempt to understand divine law (shariah).

"Whereas shariah is immutable and infallible, fiqh is fallible and changeable."

In Islamic law, lawyers, albeit religious lawyers, are called fakih or, plural, fukaha.

REFERENCES:

  • Esposito, John, Editor, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), page 87.
  • Fyzee, Asaf, Outlines of Muhammadan Law (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1974).
  • Khadduri, M. and Liebesny, H., Law in the Middle East (Washington: Middle East Institute, 1955), page 86.
  • Schacht, Joseph, An Introduction to Islamic Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), page 1,  and 298.

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