What Is the Best Way To Master Fiqh?

Answered by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Kharsa


What is the best way to master Fiqh?


Praise be to Allah,

Fiqh in religion is among the most important and greatest ranked Islamic sciences. Through it, the lawful is distinguished from the unlawful; it is a means to draw closer to Allah (Most High); through it, judgments are established, and the knowledgeable are distinguished from the common folk. Seeking it for the sake of Allah is a means by which those who seek closeness to Him worship and devote themselves. And if Allah grants a servant the understanding of religion, it is a sign that He wants good for him, as the truthful and trustworthy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“Whomever Allah intends good for, He gives him the understanding of the religion.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

Smaller Texts

The best way to master Fiqh for the student is to start with the smaller texts before the larger ones, such as “Nur al-Idah,” for example. He should read it thoroughly with complete understanding and then memorize it by heart. For it is said that one who does not memorize the texts will not master nor will he be proficient in the sciences.

“So memorize, for every memorizer is an Imam.”

Commentary and Glossary

Then, he should read a commentary on this text he has memorized, such as “Maraqi al-Falah Sharh Nur al-Idah,” reading with understanding, not leaving a sentence until he has understood it. Then, he should refer to works written on Maraqi, such as “Hashiyat al-Tahtawi,” for example, benefiting from its rectifications, corrections, and discussions.

Longer Texts

Next, he should advance to a higher level and read a longer text in the madhhab that includes all chapters of Fiqh, such as “Tanwir al-Absar, “ for example. He should read it multiple times, attempting to memorize it, then read a commentary on it like “al-Durr al-Mukhtar,” for example, understanding it deeply as it is the most comprehensive book written in the madhhab for adjudication and fatwa. Then, he should refer to what the last of the great scholars, Ibn ‘Abidin, wrote in his margin notes, “Radd al-Muhtar,” frequently consulting it as it is a great commentary that gathered in the madhhab what no book before it had collected.

Extensive Books

Then, he progresses to a third level, diving into and exploring the extensive books of the madhhab and the deep commentaries such as “al-Binaya,” “al-Nihaya,” and “al-Ghaya,” among others. He should continue reading, studying, and comparing until he becomes a sea of knowledge in the madhhab. And this is not difficult for Allah, and whoever strives shall find.

Four Pillars of Success in Mastering Islamic Fiqh

However, for this method to be successful, it is essential to emphasize the necessity of several matters, without which success cannot be achieved:

Firstly, the correctness of intention in seeking knowledge and the goodness of purpose in learning it, for a servant is granted success according to his intention. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“Actions are but by intentions, and every man shall have only that which he intended.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

As the poet said,

والنية اجعل لوجه الله خالصة
إن البناء بغير الأصل لم يقم

“And let your intention be purely for the sake of Allah,
For a building without a foundation will not stand.”

Secondly, seek a knowledgeable Shaykh and a precise, scrutinizing teacher in the madhhab who can guide you, point you towards what to read, and help you correct and understand the text. For the teacher is the key to knowledge, and knowledge cannot be acquired except through its people. It has been said:

“Whoever takes Fiqh from books (without a teacher) changes the rulings, whoever takes grammar from books distorts the language, and whoever takes medicine from books kills the people.”

Thirdly, perseverance and diligence in acquiring knowledge become his main concern day and night, and he is not satisfied with a little time. For knowledge, as they said:

“If you give it all of yourself, it gives you some of itself, and if you give it some of yourself, it gives you nothing.”

Fourthly, acting upon the knowledge for whoever acts upon what he knows, Allah will inherit the knowledge of what he did not know and will open up understanding in it that he had not understood before. Allah (Most High) says:

“Be mindful of Allah, for Allah (is the One Who) teaches you.” [Quran, 2:282]

Many of our scholars, when something of knowledge was difficult for them, would perform ablution, pray, remember Allah, or make dua, and then it would be opened to them.

May Allah grant us and you success as He grants to His righteous servants, and make us among the knowledgeable who act upon their knowledge, the sincere jurists who are profound in understanding, and may knowledge be an argument for us, not against us. He is the Guardian of that and the One Capable of it.

[Shaykh] ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Kharsa

Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Kharsa is a Syrian scholar, born in Damascus in 1971. He obtained his degree in the Arabic Language from the University of Damascus. He received his Islamic education from some of the most prominent scholars of Sham, including Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Shaghouri, Shaykh Taj al-Din al-Kittani, Shaykh Muhammad Karim Rajeh, Shaykh Bashir al-Bari, Shaykh Ibrahim al-Hindi, Shaykh Hisham al-Salahi, among others.

He memorized the Holy Quran and studied the ten Qira‘at (recitations) through the paths of the Shatibiyya and Durra under Shaykh Muhammad Haytham Minini and Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Kurdi.

Shaykh al-Kharsa has taught at Al-Azhar University in the Beqaa Valley, Lebanon. He established Quranic centers in several areas in Lebanon and manages a Quranic center in Istanbul, where he is involved in Quran memorization programs and delivers public and private lessons.

He teaches in the Ijaza system at Dar al-Fuqaha in Turkey. His work also includes scholarly research, particularly in verifying texts within the Hanafi school. Notably, he has done the tahqiq of renowned works such as “Tanwir al-Absar” and “Jami‘ al-Bihar” by Imam al-Tumurtashi. May Allah preserve him and continue to make his efforts fruitful.