The Difference between Shariah (Fiqh) and Aqeedah

Consider the degrees of halal (what is lawful) and haram (what is unlawful – and sinful) in Islam. There are 5 degrees:

  1. Fard, Wajib: This is Obligatory: You MUST do this. No excuses. Severe in punishment for failure.
  2. Mustahabat*: This is Preferred or Rewardable: For example, Qiyyum al-Layl; fasting in Shawwal; i.e. doing the Sunnah.
  3. Haram: This is Forbidden or Illegal.
  4. Makruh#: This is Hated or Disliked: i.e. it is better to avoid it for more Taqwa (piety; fear of ALLAH) – but it is not haram.
  5. Mubah: This is Allowance: For example, to eat meat… there is silence about it – it’s not haram, not mustahabat and not makruh. It’s just O.K..

*Mustahabat are those actions that if performed will achieve rewards, but if these actions are not done, they will not incur a sin.

# Makruh are those actions that if is performed will not acquire a sin, but if they are avoided will gain a reward.

الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

All praise is due to ALLAH and peace and blessing upon His Messenger

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful


The Difference between Shariah (Fiqh) issues and Aqeedah issues

For Shariah (Fiqh) issues, therefore, the default position is ‘EVERYTING IS ALLOWED!’ – unless it is clearly forbidden (Haram) or obligated (Fard, Wajib) by Qur’an or Sunnah (that is to say, by ALLAH, The Most Exalted, and His Messenger, peace be upon him).

For Aqeedah issues, however, it is the very reverse: Everything is NOT allowed unless it is clearly allowed! For instance, ALLAH is definitively The Unique Creator and therefore He (alone) deserves our obediance and reliance; He is not ‘three persons in one’ where we divest our obediance and reliance to others alongside Him (i.e. in this case, Jesus, peace be upon him, and a ‘Holy Ghost’). The former notion is true because ALLAH, Himself, states this in the Last Revelation of the Qur’an (43:84; 18:26; 11:1230; The latter notion is false and rejected as a matter of Aqeedah (23:91; 4:171).



  • We can drink anything except alcohol, which is explicitly haram.
  • We can eat anything except pig-meat, which is explicitly haram


Illuhiyya (that only ALLAH deserves our worship because He is solely in management of our affairs) is truth – and since everything in the world is in the control of ALLAH, noone can claim illuhiyya for themselves; (i.e. if you try and step in and suggest that something else has this measure of control in terms of being able to provide us sustenence, security and guidance) anything that claims this idea of ‘control’ for themselves – is false – and this is the root of kufr and shirk. This point is non-negotiable.

The Muhsin (the Muslim who actively strives for excellence) – on top of avoiding the Haram and performing the Fard, Wajib – he will do the Mustahabat and avoid the Makruh… even some of the Mubah, because he is extra-careful. They are very strict on themselves. Such people might be termed Zahid or Warra’ (ascetic).

Differences of Opinion

Many people confuse terms or conflate issues. This is due to a lack of knowledge about the priorities of the Deen (which is the subject of Aqeedah). So, we have some who say there is only one Islam and others who say, no, there are many Islams.

The fact is there is truly only one Islam. However, there might seem to be to the uninformed an appearance of ‘many Islams’ because in Fiqh, for instance, there is some allowance of slight differences in practice – for instance the position of hands in salah. Fiqh is the study of how best to apply and practice general Islamic guidance in specific situations and scenarios; but, more importantly, there are different legal schools of thought (i.e. Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali) that derive rulings in slightly different ways too. Relying on Qur’an and Sunnah is very important as sources of evidence. However, it is possible to witness other differences that might actually even be wrong practices – like asking ‘saints’ to intercede in our prayers etc, which is bid’ah (a religious innovation); such practices are not Islamic and therefore can lead us out of the scope of Islam. This is why we ought to be careful or mindful in our comprehension and practice of Islam.


The problem is, this appearance of difference is magnified by others; those who say since there are different legal schools that use slightly different methods to come up with an ‘Islamic’ solution, it is plausible to increase the scope of this inquiry onto the core principles of what Islam even is. But this is a logical leap. That is to say, since we have different types of Muslims, let’s celebrate that difference by making more areas of difference. In other words, let’s celebrate our own individuality and autonomy by having Islam to mean what we interpret it to mean. Each one of us can have our ‘own Islam’ – just like Christians might ask, “what does Jesus (who they believe is God) mean to you?”

The problem here is the allowance of difference in Fiqh issues has now spilled over into issues of Aqeedah. This is dangerous and blatantly wrong.

There is no difference of opinion on Aqeedah issues in Islam. That is to say, the Companions of the Prophet, May ALLAH be please with them all, and their Successors (of the first and second generations) did not differ on matters of first principle (i.e Aqeedah). The evidence for this can be seen here: the Golden Generation.

This point must be fully digested before moving on.

The fact is, if we have different Aqeedahs, what we will have are different religions!

There are some who in a bid to celebrate diversity (which incidentally is a modern principle) project this principle onto the Islamic religion and suggest there are indeed many Islams. (NOTE: Muslims ought to celebrate – that is to say – glorify ALLAH, The Most Exalted; this is our priority.) However, by not comprehending the difference between Fiqh and Aqeedah, they believe it makes no difference to live a life where, for instance, deen only happens in the masjid (a privatised faith) and not in public (i.e. like the Christian ‘Church and State’ paradigm). But it is a matter of Aqeedah to know that if faith (imaan) does not manifest in the limbs (in action) – which would interact with the public domain when necessary – then one would have to ask: ‘Where is the imaan?’ For this would be (at best) “the weakest of faith”. (Source.)

Conclusion: Knowledge of Tawheed is key to differentiate the Islam from the non-Islam. And this is the mainstay of Aqeedah. If we have no idea about Aqeedah, we probably have no idea of the value of our Imaan (faith) and certainly the priorities of our deen (Islam).

We ought to upgrade our priorities – you and I – and learn the Aqeedah fully and thoroughly first, and fast, to protect our deen – especially in these turbulent, modern times, in shaa Allah.



QUESTION: Why do deviants say that the Sahaaba differ in ‘aqeedah?

ANSWER: So they can justify their hizbiyyah and their differing. They work night and day to try to find differing of the sahaaba, so they can justify their opposition to the Sunnah – i.e. sahaabah differed so we can differ. (Source)


سبحان ربك رب العزة عما يصفون وسلام على المرسلين والحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله محمد وعلى اله وصحبه أجمعين

Exalted be your Lord, the Lord of Glory, above what they attribute to Him, and peace be upon the Messengers, and all praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe. And the peace and blessing upon prophet Mohammed and his relatives and all his companions.


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