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The Waraqat of Imam al Haramayn – Commentary pdf download

The Waraqat of Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni, a classical manual of Usul Al-Fiqh

  • Book Title:
 The Waraqat Of Imam Al Haramayn
  • Book Author:
Imam Al-Haramayn
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These pages deal with the knowledge of Usul al-fiqh ((Imam Shafi’i is considered to be the founder of Usul al-Fiqh as a discipline in an organized textual form. He studied with Imam Malik, Imam Ahmed and famous students of Imam Abu Hanifah including Imam Muhammad al-Shaibani (Firas Al-Khateeb, 2013; Sheikh Abdullah Oduro, 2015).

Having studied under the Maliki School as well as Hanafi School, Imam Al-Shafi observed a difference of opinion between the people of Madinah (Ahlul ul Hadith) and people of Iraq (Ahlul Ra’y). As explained before, the use of Ra’y was not a negative practice but the one in line with prevalent situation in Iraq at that time (Sheikh Abdullah Oduro, 2015).

Having studied both schools of fiqh, as well as having a vast knowledge of authentic hadith, Imam al-Shafi’i sought to reconcile the two philosophies and introduce a clear methodology for fiqh – known as usul al-fiqh. His efforts towards this end resulted in his seminal work, “Al-Risala”. The framework he provides for Islamic law became the main philosophy of fiqh that was accepted by all subsequent scholars of Islamic law. Even the Hanafi and Maliki schools adapted to work within the framework that al-Shafi’i provided – May Allah raise his status in Jannah.

The contributions of Imam al-Shafi’i in the field of usul al-fiqh were monumental. His ideas prevented the fraying of the study of fiqh into hundreds of different, competing schools by providing a general philosophy that should be adhered to. But it also provided enough flexibility for there to still be different interpretations, and thus madhabs.)).

The phrase Usul al-fiqh is composed of two simple parts:

  • Usul, and
  • Fiqh ((The word fiqh, linguistically, refers to jurisprudence, an understanding, or to know something. Some linguists consider it beyond mere understanding and use this for ‘precise understanding’(Sheikh Abu Zaid Zameer, 2013; Sheikh Sajid Umar, 2015)))

An asl [اﺻل] (plural: Usul) is something on what other things are built upon (on the other hand, a far’ [ﻓرع], on contrary, is what is built on another).

Fiqh is the “knowledge of revelatory rulings (Ahkam Ash-Sharia’a – اﻷﺣﻛﺎم اﻟﺷرﻋﯾﺔ that are established through ijtihaad” ((See definitions for Ahkam and Ijtihaad in glossary for further clarification of Imam Al-Juvaini’s definition of Fiqh)).


There are seven revelatory rulings ((The 7 categories of rulings mentioned here are called Ahkam At-Takleefi)): Islamically, however, it takes its cue from knowing something based on statements and actions derived from the revelation to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This is what forms the foundation of Islamic Legislation, also called Shariah, whose rulings or HUKM is based on four principle sources:

  1. The Book of Allah – The Quran
  2. The Sunnah – The teachings of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
  3. Ijma – The consensus of the ulema on a particular matter.
  4. Qiyas – Logical deduction. This is not merely deducing according to one’s whims, but in light of clauses that may be in place and in order to facilitate the best position in light of the law of Allah.

Each of these four principles needs to be researched properly, so that the procedure of deriving rules can be fully understood. (Abdul Aleem, 2015)

Also refer to earlier discussion on sources of Shariah in the Foreword of this book. Imam Shafi’i defines it as follows: “‘Knowledge of the practical rules of shariah acquired from the detailed evidences in the sources of shariah” (Sheikh Abu Zaid Zameer, 2013; Sheikh Sajid Umar, 2015; 1998ﻋـﺒـﺪ اﻟـﻌـﻠـﻲ ﻣـﺤـﻤـﺪ ﺑﻦ ﻧـﻈـﺎم اﻟـﺪﯾـﻦ, )

Parallels between types of Fiqh Rulings

Mandoob and Mustahab carry same meanings (Sheikh Muhammad Nuruddeen Lemu, 2013). Similarly, Mahzoor and Haram are also used interchangeably.  We see that in Hanafi fiqh, rulings related to ‘mandatory or obligatory’ have been subdivided into ‘Fardh’ and ‘wajib’. Similarly, we see that they have two different types of Makrooh – Makrooh Tahrimi and Makrooh Tanzihi.

In case of types of revelatory rulings mentioned by Imam Al-Juvaini in Al-Waraqat, two addition entities are found: Valid (sahih) and Invalid (batil).  Sahih and Batil (or butlaan) i.e. validity and invalidity: The meaning of Sahih (validity) is that certain legislative consequences and effects follow on from it (e.g. reward etc.) and the


An obligatory act is that whose performance is rewarded and whose non-performance is punished ((Al-Wajib, according to Hanbali, shafi’i and Maliki school is known as ‘fardh’. However, in Hanafi school, it is further sub-divided in two categories: The personal obligation (fardh ayn e.g. 5 obligatory prayers) and the communal obligation (fardh kifayah e.g. salat ul jinaza). Performance of fardh ayn acts is sought from every mukallaf (morally responsible), baaligh (mature) ’aaqil (sane) person. (2006اﻟﻔﻮزان, ))).

meaning of Batil (invalidity) is the absence of legislative consequences and effects following on from it. 

When a person performs actions requested in the Shariah, then depending on the presence or absence of various causes and conditions, those actions might be judged as being valid or invalid. 

It is the last two of the seven categories where Hukm al-wad’ee determines the validity and invalidity of actions.

For example, if a person doesn’t do wudhu before Salah but offers Salah in a good manner, his prayer will not be valid as one of the essential hukm al-wad’ee condition was not met. Same goes for the person who starts fasting for Ramadan when Ramadan has actually not begun.

Fardh Ayn and Fardh kifayah are known as Wajib Ayn and Wajib Kifaya in schools other than hanafi’ites.

Sheikh Yahya Ibrahim explains this further:

If there is a communal need, such as Dawah, then there must be a person or a group of persons fulfilling this religious requirement. Unless this group exists, the whole Ummah in that part of the world is liable and responsible on the Day of Judgment. This requirement also goes outside of religious requirements—for example if the community needs a doctor, they are required to train someone from their community in that profession in order to take care of the community.

There are three aspects related to the Wajib in daily life:

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