The Methods of Deriving Fiqh

The sources and methodology of deriving fiqh are all essentially the same.

However; the considerations of the various Aimmah, vary across the different madhahib.



The Scholars in Islam consider certain key sources; primary and secondary sources, these are considered with other surrounding aspects key to the derivation of fiqh. The surrounding aspects are the Maqasid al-Shariah or the goals, objectives, and intent of the Quran and Sunnah.


Primary Sources (Shariah)


  • Quran – The Quran is given precedence over all other sources of fiqh and thus no pre-conditions are considered for its application.


  • The Sunnah – The Sunnah is captured in the six books of ahadith;

Sahih Bukhari

Sahih Muslim

Sunan Abu Dawud

Sunan Al-Tirmidhi

Sunan Al-Nasai

Sunan Ibn Majah



Secondary Sources (Derivation of Fiqh /  Fatawa)


  • Ijma – Consensus of the Scholars and /or the Sahabah as regards the understanding  of ahadith or on an aspect of Shariah (Islamic Law)


  • Qiyas – Analogical deduction considering earlier sources on a particular matter to be applied to a similar matter at hand


  • Ijtihad – Independent reasoning considering the primary and secondary sources in consideration of a matter at hand.


Thus a fatwa or a ruling of fiqh is derived by following this method of considering each of these sources; Primary: Quran, Sunnah, Secondary: Ijma, Qiyas, Ijtihad. Thus the deriving of fiqh follows a process that has been firmly established by the early Muslims.




Maqasid takes into account the principles, objectives and intent of the Quran and Sunnah.

There are essentially three levels of Necessities (Dharuriyat) of maqasid al shariah which would require consideration in light of Quran and Sunnah with the view to change in fiqh.


Levels of Necessities (Dharuriyat-Traditional View) 

  • Necessities
  • Needs
  • Luxuries


Within the aspect of Necessities, there are five key considerations (Maqasid- al -shariah) which require consideration in determining whether fiqh requires change or not, in a particular circumstance.

Typically; a circumstance would give rise to the ummah or person experiencing a dire necessity or a desperate necessity for the fiqh to be considered for change.

In the traditional view, the fiqh requires change when there is an impact on the preservation of  certain necessities (Dharuriyat) :

1. Deen

2. Life

3. Wealth

4. Mind – Sanity

5. Progeny

6. Honour (Certain Fuqaha have added a sixth)




In considering the Maqasid, which is the principles, objective, and intent of Quran and Sunnah,  the public interest (Maslih-al-a’mah)  would also require being considered. In other words, the question arises, in fiqh being changed what would the public benefit (Maslih-al A’mah) be from such change?


The aspect of Maqasid, Dharuriyat, Masalaha and other concepts require in-depth understanding which can never be captured in its full extents. These are however considerations in the deriving of fiqh in particular circumstances and in particular locations.



© Copyright  – Shekh Ebrahim




Credits due to:

Shekh Bilal Philips – Evolution of Fiqh

Jaser Auda – Maqasid Al Shariah