Translator’s Note: This article has been adapted from the Arabic text Uṣūl ul-Iftāʾ wa Ādābuh[1] by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (ḥf).[2] In its preface, he explains that it is a compilation of years of lecture notes he organized to condense and explain the seminal Sharḥ ʾUqūd Rasm al-Muftī[3] by Ibn ʾAbidīn (rḥ),[4] and to provide to students specializing in issuing edicts [Iftāʾ] at Jamia Darul Uloom, Karachi. Hence, it was originally intended to assist jurists-in-training in understanding the role they would play if they were authorized to assume the position of mufti. The following is therefore limited to the introductory section of the text, which is likely to be of greatest benefit to the layman Muslim in explaining the seriousness of a mufti’s role and the task of issuing edicts. It should serve as an especially relevant and sobering reminder in the social media age, wherein many—knowingly or unknowingly—traffic in questionable rulings and edicts. It behooves every Muslim to carefully examine the approach taken to issuing edicts by the oft-cited and venerated jurists of our past. Many lessons may be gleaned from such an examination—by the layman, student of knowledge, and jurist alike. Footnotes in the original text—including those citing sources and briefly elaborating on prominent figures in the Islamic tradition—have been rendered in English, and in addition, footnotes and parenthetical remarks have been provided by the translator for occasional clarification. As with the footnotes, some sections have been abridged for readability and brevity. Translations of verses from the Qurʾān have been sourced from The Quran: English Meanings and Notes, by Saheeh International.



The words fatwā, or less commonly, futyā (pl. fatāwā or fatāwī) colloquially refer to the act of answering a question, whether it concerns religious law or otherwise. An example of this colloquial usage is present in the 12th chapter of the Qurʾān wherein the sovereign of Egypt asks, ﴾‘O eminent ones, explain to me[5] my vision, if you should interpret visions.’﴿ In another verse in the same chapter, Joseph’s (ع)[6] companion is quoted requesting a dream interpretation: ﴾‘Joseph, O man of truth, explain to us[7] about seven fat cows eaten by seven [that were] lean, and seven green spikes [of grain] and others [that were] dry – that I may return to the people; perhaps they will know [about you].’﴿ Elsewhere in the 27th chapter, the Queen of Sheba is quoted, ﴾‘O eminent ones, advise me[8] in my affair. I would not decide a matter until you witness [for] me.’﴿

All three of these verses are examples of fatwā being employed in a colloquial sense. In other contexts, it is used in a technical sense to refer to the act of issuing a legal edict. An example of this technical usage is found in the 4th chapter, ﴾And they request from you, [O Muhammad], a [legal] ruling[9] concerning women. Say, ‘Allah gives you a ruling about them’﴿ Later in the same chapter, a similar usage occurs: ﴾They request from you a [legal] ruling.[10] Say, ‘Allah gives you a ruling concerning one having neither descendants nor ascendants [as heirs].’﴿ Examples of the Prophet ﷺ employing fatwā in a similar technical sense abound, including his warning: “The most audacious among you in issuing legal edicts will be the first to enter Hell.”[11]

In contemporary usage most references to fatwā are related to the issuance of an answer to a religious question. Keen readers will notice the general usage of “religious question,” without reference to “law.” This is intentional, as the task of a mufti is not limited to answering questions of a legal nature or those concerning rituals. He or she must also be well-versed, for instance, in theological matters, ḥadīth explanation, and chains of transmission [isnād], among many other areas of religious scholarship.


Different Types of Edicts

The term fatwā (and iftāʾ, its verbal noun) as generally intended may refer to one of three broad meanings; these are categorized as divine ordainments, general legal rulings, and particularized verdicts.


Divine Ordainment [al-Fatwā al-Tashrīʿiyyah]

This type of edict is limited to that which is ordained by God himself, whether by way of recited revelation, the Qurʾān, or through the unrecited revelatory tradition of the Honorable Prophet ﷺ in his responses to questions and novel issues that arose during his lifetime. Examples of this kind of edict include the aforementioned verses in the 4th chapter, in which God divinely ordained the law concerning women and inheritance.

Another example of this, among many,[12] is found in the 58th chapter, wherein God addresses Khuwaylah bint Thaʿlabah (rḍ),[13] a companion of the Prophet ﷺ who pleaded her case to him after her husband committed Ẓihār[14] against her: ﴾Certainly has Allah heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah. And Allah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing.﴿[15]

Such divine ordainment also occurred through the instructions of the Prophet ﷺ, as in the incident reported by al-Bukhārī (rḥ) wherein a woman came to the Prophet ﷺ and asked about the permissibility of fulfilling her deceased mother’s vow to complete a pilgrimage [ḥajj] on her behalf. He instructed her, “Yes, perform pilgrimage on her behalf.”[16] This category of edicts came to a conclusion upon the termination of revelation after the Prophet’s life ﷺ.


General Legal Ruling [al-Fatwā al-Fiqhiyyāh]

This second kind involves research conducted by a jurist [faqīh] to derive a ruling or arrive at a general ruling for a question that does not refer to any particular case, such as a jurist’s compilation of the rulings on different scenarios. He or she is then able to conceptualize particular details that have not been asked about by anyone in particular, and using legal evidence, formulate a general ruling; this may be in response to a general question, unprompted, or even hypothetical. This research may then be published or otherwise disseminated. An example of this is if a jurist is asked regarding the ruling for one who uses ambiguous language in implying to his wife that he has divorced her, without reference to any specific incident.


Particularized Verdict [al-Fatwā al-Juzʾiyyah]

This third category refers to the issuance of a verdict in a particular case by applying the wider body of law to the specific circumstances and details of an individual matter. An example of this is a probate law question concerning the specific allocations of a decedent’s wealth after his passing, individualized to his case and his inheritance recipients. Such a specific case involving an individual’s unique circumstances is usually what iftā’ refers to in daily usage, and to a lesser degree, the general legal ruling category.


The Distinction Between the Issuance of Edicts and Adjudication

Although occasionally conflated, there are several fundamental differences between an edict [al-fatwā] issued by a mufti and the decree [al-Qaḍāʾ] of a judge. An edict may be described only as evaluative, and carries no prescriptive force. That is, an edict serves only to clarify for the one seeking it the legal status of the act in question—whether it is permissible, meritorious, mandatory, objectionable, or prohibited. An edict is also authoritative in ruling on the validity or invalidity of a matter. It does not impose on the recipient, however, any obligation to comply.

A matter adjudicated in court, however, may either be decreed as mandatory, prohibited, or odious [makrūh taḥrīmī].[17] The other descriptions are irrelevant to adjudication as they are not prescriptive, and the pronouncement of a court is by its very nature prescriptive. Thus, a decree is fundamentally distinct from an edict in that it carries the weight of enforcement and a judge is authorized to obligate parties to the case to comply, unlike a mufti. The purview of a mufti, however, is considerably more expansive; he or she may rule on theological, ritual, and liturgical matters in addition to legal matters. A judge may, in some cases, also rule on such matters, but this would typically only be subsequent to a mufti’s ruling.

Lastly, an edict is formulated based on the prima facie question presented to a mufti; he or she is not tasked with deeply investigating the particulars of the matter to determine if the solicitor has described it accurately. Hence, it has been the practice of muftis to preface an edict with the caution that it applies solely to the situation as described by the solicitor. This is unlike a judge, who is responsible for ensuring that all parties to the case are being fully truthful and that their narrative of material facts is accurate before he rules.


The Solemnity of Classical Scholars in Issuing Edicts

Imām al-Nawawī[18] (rḥ) wrote in the preface to his legal manual, Sharḥ al-Muhadhabb:

Beware that issuing edicts [iftā’] poses extreme danger, carries great influence, and possesses much virtue—on account of the mufti being a heir to the legacy of the prophets, God’s blessings and protection be upon all of them. He fulfills a communal obligation [farḍ kifāyah] but in so doing exposes himself to danger, which is why some have said, ‘a mufti is a signatory on behalf of God (Perfect and Exalted).’

It is incumbent, then, on the mufti to be cognizant of the hazards inherent to issuing edicts, and that it is not an opportunity to introduce one’s personal views, to rule solely with reference to human intellect [devoid of revelation],[19] or to encourage one’s individual fancies. Issuing edicts only entails explaining the directives and mandates God has legislated for his servants’ individual and collective lives—those guaranteeing them eternal bliss in the present life and hereafter.

It should suffice to emphasize the perilous and solemn nature of this position that a mufti represents God and his Messenger ﷺ in explaining the aforementioned mandates. He or she signs the edict, but in reality draws authority from the Lord of the Heavens and Earth and Lord of Creation, as described by Imāms al-Nawawī and Ibn al-Qayyim (rḥm).

Ibn al-Qayyim (rḥ)[20] wrote:

Given that the august role of a king’s signatory is recognized, his importance is known, and he occupies a place of prestige, what then of the signatory of the Lord of the Earth and Heavens? Indeed, one who holds this role must be well-prepared and equip himself adequately. He must remember the importance of his position, and must have no qualms about speaking and upholding the truth, for God is his ally and guide—and how could he not be? Such is his position that the Lord above all lords entrusted him with it personally, when he (the Exalted) said, ﴾And they request from you, [O Muhammad], a [legal] ruling concerning women. Say, ‘Allah gives you a ruling about them and [about] what has been recited to you in the Book.’﴿ The honor and grandeur God personally confers upon him is clear when he says, ﴾They request from you a [legal] ruling. Say, ‘Allah gives you a ruling concerning one having neither descendants nor ascendants [as heirs].’﴿ A mufti should be mindful, then, of whom he represents in his edicts, and be certain that he will be accountable in the near future before God.[21]

The gravity of this position is also demonstrated in the report that the Noble Prophet ﷺ said, “The most audacious among you in issuing edicts will be the first to enter Hell.”[22] Furthermore, there are numerous quotes and reports that demonstrate classical scholars’ reverent fear of issuing edicts, and their wariness against doing so whenever possible. The following section contains a truncated selection of these.

  • Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr (rḥ)[23] reported from ʿUqbah ibn Muslim (rḥ), who said, “I accompanied Ibn ʿUmar for 34 months and most of his replies to the questions he would be asked were, ‘I do not know.’ He would then turn to me and say, ‘Do you know what they seek? They seek to build a bridge on our backs across Hell.’”[24]
  • Al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī (rḥ)[25] wrote in a chapter disapproving of haste in issuing edicts due to the danger of errors:

God (Blessed and Exalted) said, ﴾Their testimony will be recorded, and they will be questioned﴿.[26] The Exalted also said, ﴾That He may question the truthful about their truth﴿,[27] and ﴾Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared [to record]﴿.[28] The Companions (God be pleased with them) would rarely issue edicts except in novel matters, as they were confident that God would confer success on one who attempted to correctly address a novel issue. Still, each of them would prefer that another one of them shouldered this burden by issuing an edict, sparing him the responsibility.[29]

He then related the following reports[30] from a variety of companions, scholars, and jurists spanning generations:

  • From al-Barāʾ ibn ʿĀzib (rḍ), “I encountered 300 veterans of the Battle of Badr, and without exception, each would prefer that his companion would spare him and issue an edict.”
  • From Imām al-Shāfiʿī (rḥ), “I never encountered anyone who was as qualified to issue edicts as Ibn ʿUyaynah (rḥ), and was as reticent as he was to do so.”
  • From Sufyān ibn ʿUyaynah, “The person most qualified to issue edicts is the most reticent; and the one most unqualified to issue edicts is the most voluble.”
  • From Bishr ibn al-Ḥārith (rḥ), “One who enjoys being asked does not deserve to be asked.”
  • From ʿAtāʾ ibn al-Sāʾib (rḥ), “I encountered a group of people who were such that when one of them was asked about a matter and spoke, he would tremble with fear.”
  • From al-Ashʿath (rḥ) regarding Muḥammad ibn Sīrīn (rḥ), “When he was asked regarding a legal matter concerning permissibility and prohibition, his skin color would drain and he would change, as if he was not his usual self.”
  • From one of Imām Mālik’s (rḥ) students, “I swear by God, when Mālik was asked regarding an issue, it seemed as if he was standing between Paradise and Hell.”
  • From Muḥammad ibn al-Munkadir (rḥ), “A religious scholar occupies a place between God and his creation, so let him be careful about how he approaches them.”
  • From ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿUmar (rḍ), “You ask us to issue edicts like people who do not realize that we too will be held accountable regarding the edicts we issue to you.”
  • From Imām Abū Ḥanīfah (rḥ), “Whoever speaks regarding a religious matter and thereby collars himself, but remains under the impression that God will not take him to task, asking him, ‘How did you rule regarding the religion of God?’ has been negligent with his life and religion.”
  • Also from Imām Abū Ḥanīfah, “Were it not for the fear of God that religious knowledge would vanish, I would not issue an edict to anyone. He is pleased while I bear the burden.”
  • From Muḥammad ibn Wāsiʿ (rḥ), “The first to be reckoned on the Day of Resurrection will be the jurists.”
  • From Sufyān ibn ʿUyaynah, “An ignorant person will have 70 misdeeds forgiven before a learned person will have a single misdeed forgiven.”
  • From Ibn Khaldah (rḥ),[31] who is reported to have said to Rabīʿah ibn Abī ʿAbd al-Raḥmān (rḥ),[32] “I see that people have embraced you, so if a man asks you regarding an issue your primary concern should not be that you save him; your primary concern should be that you save yourself.”
  • From Imām Mālik who reported regarding Ibn Hurmuz (rḥ),[33] “Someone would come to him and ask him regarding a matter and he would answer him, but then he would send someone after the questioner to bring him back and to say to him, ‘I was hasty, so do not yet accept anything I have told you until you return to me.’” And he added, “few among the inhabitants of Medina would issue edicts.”
  • Also from Imām Mālik, “One who fears God and one who does not fear him are not alike.”
  • From Imām Mālik, as well, “Speak about and direct [others] to that in which you are well-versed and stay silent regarding that of which you are ignorant; beware of wearing a dreadful collar around your neck because of people.”
  • From Abū Saʿīd ʿAbd al-Salām (rḥ), also known as Suḥnūn,[34] an Imām of the Mālikīs and compiler of the Mālikī text al-Mudawwanah, “Most wretched of people is he who trades his afterlife for his present life. And even more wretched than him is the one who trades his afterlife for the present life of another person.”[35]
  • Al-Ḥāfiẓ ibn al-Ṣalāḥ (rḥ)[36] wrote after relating this quote, “So I then reflected over the one who trades his afterlife for the present life of another person, and I realized that he was the mufti to whom comes a man who admits that he has violated an oath concerning his wife and concubine, and he assures him, ‘There is no liability upon you.’ The violator then makes an illegitimate advance at one of them, and the mufti thereby trades his religion for the man’s present life.”[37]

Al-Baghdādī then wrote after he recounted all of these reports:

Seldom did anyone vie to, or was eager and keen to issue edicts, except that he was also bereft of divine providence and disturbed in his affair. However, if he was not fond of that [issuing edicts], and—not taking great pleasure—fulfilled that indispensable task, and attempted to refer the issue to another, he would find more assistance from God (the Exalted).

He then cited as evidence to support his argument the authentic Prophetic report, “Do not seek out a position of authority, for if you are appointed due to seeking it, you will be left to your own devices. But if you are appointed despite not seeking it you will be divinely assisted.”[38]

  • Imām al-Nawawī narrated from ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Laylā (rḥ), “I met 120 companions belonging to al-Anṣār, and when one would be asked regarding an issue, he would refer it to another and so on, until it was referred back to the first.”[39] Another report states,[40] “None of them would narrate a report except that he preferred that his brother spared him that task; and none would be asked to issue an edict regarding something except that he preferred that his brother spared him that issuance.”
  • Al-Baghdādī also reported from ʿUmayr ibn Saʿīd (rḥ) an amusing incident wherein he asked ʿAlqamah (rḥ)[41] regarding an issue, who referred him to ʿUbaydah (rḥ). When he went to ʿUbaydah, the latter referred him back to ʿAlqamah. So ʿUmayr informed him that ʿAlqamah was the one who had sent him, so he then referred him to Masrūq (rḥ).[42] When ʿUmayr went to him, Masrūq referred him to ʿAlqamah as well. He explained that ʿAlqamah had in fact referred him to ʿUbaydah, who had in turn referred him to Masrūq. So Masrūq referred ʿUmayr to ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Laylā, and when he went to him and asked him the question, Ibn Abī Laylā was reluctant to reply so ʿUmayr returned to ʿAlqamah and informed him of his quandary. To this, the latter replied, “It was often said, ‘The ones most audacious in issuing edicts are the least learned.’”[43]
  • Al-Nawawī also mentioned a report from Ibn Masʿūd and Ibn ʿAbbās (rḍm), both of whom said, “One who issues an edict in response to every question posed to him is deranged.”[44]
  • Al-Bayhaqī (rḥ) transmitted from al-Shaʿabī, al-Ḥasan, and Abī al-Ḥaṣīn[45] (rḥm), “Some of you issue an edict regarding a matter which if it had been raised to him, ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (rḍ) would have assembled the veterans of the Battle of Badr.”[46]
  • Ibn ʻAbd al-Barr reported from Sufyān ibn ʿUyaynah and Suḥnūn, “The boldest among people to issue an edict is the least knowledgeable.”[47]
  • From Imām Al-Shāfiʿī, it was reported that he was asked regarding an issue and did not answer, so an objection was raised to his silence. He replied that he would stay silent: “Until I know that it is better for me to remain silent or to respond.”

Imām al-Dārimī titled a section in the introduction to his Sunan, “Section on One Who Fears Issuing an Edict and Dislikes Verbosity and Excessiveness.”

  • He reported therein from Zubayd (rḥ),[48] “Whenever I asked Ibrāhim al-Nakhaʿī (rḥ) a question regarding an issue, I would notice distaste apparent on his face.”
  • He also reported therein from ʿUmar ibn Abī Zāʾidah (rḥ), “More often than anyone else I ever saw, al-Shaʿabī would reply, “I have no knowledge regarding that” when asked a question.”
  • He then reported from Ibn ʿAwn (rḥ), “al-Shaʿabī (rḥ) would be reticent when an issue was raised to him, but Ibrāhim would speak at length.” Abū ʿĀṣim (rḥ) understood from this that Ibn ʿAwn deemed al-Shaʿabī to be slightly better in this regard than al-Nakhaʿī.[49]
  • Also reported from Jaʿfar ibn Iyās (rḥ) was that he complained to Saʿīd ibn Jubayr (rḥ) that he did not say much regarding divorce matters. He replied that he had been asked questions regarding everything concerning divorce, but that he disliked the possibility of ruling a prohibited act to be permissible or a permissible act to be prohibited.[50]
  • Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr narrated from Ibn ʿAwn, who reported witnessing a man come to al-Qāsim ibn Muḥammed (rḥ)[51] and ask him a question. Ibn Muḥammed replied that he would be unable to reply as he was not proficient in the subject about which the man had asked. The man protested that he had been referred to him and knew no one else capable of answering his question, so Ibn Muḥammed advised him once again to not judge him based on the length of his beard of the number of people in his assembly, and to understand that he was unqualified to answer his question. An old man nearby belonging to the Quraysh encouraged the solicitor to insist on an answer, reminding him that he was in an assembly more illustrious than he had ever witnessed, but Ibn Muḥammed held his ground and declared, “I swear by God, I would sooner have my tongue severed than speak regarding that which I have no knowledge!”[52]

Many reports have been transmitted from Imām Mālik regarding his extreme caution with respect to issuing edicts, a number of which have been reported in detail by al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ;[53] the following is a truncated selection of these:[54]

  • From ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-ʿUmarī (rḥ), “Mālik said to me, ‘Sometimes I am posed a question that keeps me from eating, drinking, or sleeping.’”
  • From Ibn al-Qāsim (rḥ),[55] who heard Mālik say, “I’ve been pondering an issue for about 10 years, and I have yet to form an opinion on it until today.”
  • From Ibn Mahdī (rḥ), a man asked Mālik regarding an issue and mentioned that he had been sent from a location in the Maghreb that was a 6 month journey away. So Mālik replied to him, “Inform the one who sent you that I have no knowledge regarding that.” So the man asked who would have knowledge regarding it, and he simply replied, “Whoever God has given knowledge.”
  • Imām Mālik said that he heard from his teacher Ibn Hurmuz, “A scholar should instill in his students the phrase, ‘I do not know’ such that it is a foundational position for them, and to which they flee whenever they are asked regarding something they do not know: ‘I do not know.’”
  • From Muṣʿab (rḥ), Mālik was asked regarding an issue and he replied, “I do not know.” So the solicitor scoffed at this and said the issue was insignificant and easy to answer, and that he merely wanted to inform the leader of his reply, as the solicitor was an influential person. Mālik was displeased at this and replied: “An insignificant and easy issue? There’s nothing in the domain of religious knowledge that is insignificant. Have you not heard of God’s statement: ﴾Indeed, We will cast upon you a heavy word.﴿?[56] So knowledge—every bit of it—is weighty. And even more is that which will be accounted for on the Day of Resurrection.”
  • From al-Qaʿnabī (rḥ), who visited Mālik and found him weeping so he asked him why, and he replied, “Who deserves to cry more than me? Every word I utter is immediately written down using pens and carried to the horizons.”[57]

A cautionary incident then concludes this introductory chapter from al-ʿAllāmah al-Māwardī (rḥ),[58] who wrote:

I warn you of my state by this: I wrote a book on transactions in which I compiled all that I was able to from other works—exerting myself and exhausting my mind—until it seemed like it was polished and complete, and I was nearly beginning to be impressed by it. I began to think that I was the most learned among men in the subject matter until two Bedouin men visited my assembly and asked me regarding a transaction that they had finalized in the rural regions based on conditions that comprised 4 issues. I knew of an answer for none of these, so I silently contemplated them, and considered my state and their states. They then said, “Do you not have an answer for the question we asked you despite presiding over this assembly?” I replied that I did not, so they retorted, “Enough with you!” and left. They then came to someone whom many of my companions esteemed for his knowledge, and asked him the same question. He answered them immediately in a way that satisfied them, so they left pleased with his answer and praising his knowledge. That [incident] thus served as an admonition and warning that humbled my soul and subdued my hubris.[59]

  1. Lit: Principles of Issuing an Edict and the Protocols Thereof
  2. Ḥafiḍa hu Allāh: God preserve him. A short, customary, honorific prayer for scholars who are alive.
  3. Lit: An Explication of the Chaplets on the Task of the Mufti
  4. Raḥima hu Allāh: God have mercy upon him. A short, customary, honorific prayer for scholars who are, usually, deceased.
  5. Aftūnī | Sūrah Yūsuf, Verse 43
  6. ʿAlayhi al-Salām: May he be protected. An honorific prayer appended to the names of prophets.
  7. Aftinā | Sūrah Yūsuf, Verse 46
  8. Aftūnī | Sūrah al-Naml, Verse 32
  9. Yastaftūnak | Sūrah al-Nisāʾ, Verse 127
  10. Yastaftūnak | Sūrah al-Nisāʾ, Verse 176
  11. Al-Dārimī, Sunan: 1:179
  12. Sūrah al-Baqarah, verses 189, 217, 219: ordainments concerning, respectively, the crescent moon, combat in the sacred months, alcohol, and gambling | Sūrah al-Anfāl verse 1: concerning the spoils of war
  13. Raḍiya Allāh ʿAnhā: God be pleased with her. An honorific prayer appended to the names of companions.
  14. Ẓihār refers to the outlawed pre-Islamic Arab practice of divorcing one’s wife by declaring her to be akin to the back of one’s mother (i.e., unlawful for sexual intercourse). This is condemned on several occasions in scripture, and is a major offense requiring expiation in order for one’s wife to be lawful for sexual intercourse again.
  15. Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ: Book of Unity, Section on God’s Statement, “And ever is Allah Hearing and Seeing.” | Abū Dāwūd, Sunan: Book of Divorce, Section on Ẓihār
  16. Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ: Book of the Pilgrimage, Section on Fulfilling the Pilgrimage and Vows on Behalf of the Deceased
  17. The aforementioned category of objectionable [makrūh] has been divided by some jurists, primarily of Ḥanafī thought, to include acts that are deemed prohibited by way of speculative [ẓannī] evidence, as compared to definitive [qaṭʿī] evidence. Acts in the former category [makrūh taḥrīman] may be just as reprehensible as those in the latter [ḥarām], so this is largely a technical distinction that does not concern ordinary practice.
  18. A Levantine Shāfiʿī scholar, jurist, ḥadīth collector, and commentator who lived from 631-676 A.H.
  19. Revelation as used here includes the material sources and procedural sources of law: Qurʾān, Sunnah, Ijmāʿ, and Qiyās.
  20. A Levantine Ḥanbalī scholar, jurist, ḥadīth commentator, and exegete; well-known for being a contemporary and stalwart disciple of Ibn Taymiyyah (rḥ).
  21. Ibn al-Qayyim, ʾIʿlām al-Muwaqqiʿīn ʿAn Rabb al-ʿĀlamīn: Ch. 1, pg. 11
  22. See footnote 6
  23. A Spanish Mālikī scholar, jurist, ḥadīth collector, and commentator who lived from 368-463 A.H.
  24. Ibn ʻAbd al-Barr, Jāmiʿ bayān al-ʿilm wa Faḍlih: pg. 316, no. 899
  25. A Baghdadian scholar, jurist, ḥadīth collector, and commentator who lived from 392-463 A.H.
  26. Sūrah al-Zukhruf, Verse 19
  27. Sūrah al-Aḥzāb, Verse 8
  28. Sūrah Qāf, Verse 18
  29. Al-Baghdādī, al-Faqīh wa al-Mutafaqqih: Ch. 2, pg. 349
  30. Ibid.: Ch 2, pg. 249-359
  31. An Ansārī jurist, scholar, and judge presiding over Medina during Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān’s reign; he was contemporaneous with some companions of the Prophet ﷺ, including Abū Hurayrah (rḍ).
  32. A Medinan jurist, scholar, and ḥadīth transmitter who counted Imām Mālik among his students; he died in the year 136 A.H.
  33. A Medinan scholar, ascetic, and extraordinary orator who avoided issuing edicts and ḥadīth transmission, but counted Imām Mālik among his dedicated students; he died in the year 148 A.H.
  34. A Kairouani Mālikī jurist, judge, scholar, and ascetic who was important in the codification of the early Mālikī madhhab; he commanded widespread influence in all of the Maghreb. He was born in the year 160 or 161 and died in the year 240 A.H.
  35. That is to say, he issues an irresponsible edict that has consequences for him in the afterlife while facilitating the present life of another.
  36. A Kurdish Shāfiʿī jurist, scholar, and ḥadīth commentator who left an indelible mark on the ḥadīth sciences; he was born in the year 577 and died in the year 643 A.H.
  37. Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ, Adab al-Muftī wa al-Mustaftī: pg. 31-33
  38. Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ: Book of Rulings, Section 5, no. 7146
  39. Al-Dārimī, Sunan: 1:249
  40. Ibid.: 1:248-249 | Ibn ʻAbd al-Barr, Jāmiʿ bayān al-ʿilm wa Faḍlih: pg. 451, no. 121
  41. A Kufan scholar, jurist, and ḥadīth collector who was contemporaneous with many companions of the Prophet ﷺ although he did not meet him. He was considered an authority even by them, and was looked up to by the great scholars of Kufa, such as Ibrāhim al-Nakhaʿī—whom ʿAlqamah taught—and Abū Ḥanīfah, who was al-Nakhaʿī’s student.
  42. A scholar, jurist, and ḥadīth collector who resided in Kufa, and belonged to ʿAbd Allah Ibn Masʿūd’s circle. He was contemporaneous with many of companions of the Prophet ﷺ and accepted Islam prior to his passing, but did not meet him and is thus not considered a companion.
  43. Al-Baghdādī, al-Faqīh wa al-Mutafaqqih: Ch 2, pg. 24
  44. Al-Dārimī, Sunan: Section 21, 1:56
  45. There exists some uncertainty regarding his identity, but as Dr. al-Aʿẓamī explains in his gloss to Al-Madkhal ilā al-Sunan al-Kubrā, it is likely a reference to ʿUthmān ibn ʿĀṣim al-Asadī.
  46. Al-Bayhaqī, Al-Madkhal al-Kabīr: pg. 434, no. 803
  47. Ibn ʻAbd al-Barr, Jāmiʿ bayān al-ʿilm wa Faḍlih: pg. 453, no. 1222
  48. A Kufan scholar and ḥadīth collector belonging to the latter end of the second generation [tabiʿīn]; he met some companions of the Prophet ﷺ and transmitted from others in his generation. He died in the year 122 A.H.
  49. This report should be contextualized with the aforementioned report from Zubayd indicating that he was still circumspect.
  50. Al-Dārimī, Sunan: 1:247-249
  51. A Medinan jurist, scholar, exegete, and ḥadīth transmitter; he belonged to the esteemed group of 7 scholars called the Jurists of Medina. He was the grandson of the first Rashidun Caliph Abū Bakr and died between the years 106 and 108 A.H.
  52. Ibn ʻAbd al-Barr, Jāmiʿ bayān al-ʿilm wa Faḍlih: pg. 314, no. 895
  53. An Iberian Mālikī jurist, scholar, exegete, and ḥadīth commentator who died in the year 544 A.H.
  54. Additional incidents are mentioned concerning Imām Mālik in the original text that have been omitted for brevity.
  55. An Egyptian Mālikī jurist, scholar, and ascetic who is considered one of Imām Mālik’s key students; he transmitted the latter’s positions and opinions to the aforementioned Suḥnūn, based on which he compiled al-Mudawwanah.
  56. Sūrah al-Muzzammil, Verse 5
  57. al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ, Tartīb al-Madārik wa Taqrīb al-Masālik: 1:144-152
  58. A Basran Shāfiʿī jurist, judge, scholar, and political scientist who left an indelible mark on the development of Islamic political thought. He died in the year 450 A.H.
  59. Al-Māwardī, Adab al-Dunyā wa al-Dīn | al-Subkī, Ṭabaqāt al-Shāfiʿiyyah al-Kubrā: The Fourth Class: Those Who Departed Between 400 and 500 A.H.