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Individual Obligation


I have been deeply perplexed by the issue of the obligation for every adult Muslim to learn the Fard Ain. I have found it almost impossible to find a source of information on what the Fard Ain consists of. I understand that it is a set of obligations upon every Muslim but my question is, where do you find out what it is? I have looked at some books like 'Bidayat al Mujtahid' and 'al-Mudawanah al-Kubra'. Do these contain everything I need to know in order to fulfill my obligation to know the Fard Ain or do they contain far more information than I need to achieve this goal? Conversely, do they contain less than I need? I have heard that the Fard Ain is basically to know the correct rules of prayer, Zakah, fasting, and Hajj as well as the basic Islamic creed. Is this correct, and if so, do the books I have mentioned above cover this sufficiently? (If one is studying Maliki Fiqh I assume. I am not specifically Maliki but these are the only books I have looked at. Perhaps you can suggest other books for other Madhabs). Also, I have heard that it is Fard Ain to know the diseases of the heart. Mat'harat Al-Qulub li Musawi was cited as a source for learning these. Is this correct? And if so, how many other books should I be studying in order to know the Fard Ain?


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

A pubescent Muslim is required to learn the individual obligations of Islam. These obligations are of two kinds:

Firstly, (1) The pillars of Iman (faith) that comprise belief in Allah, His Angels, His Books, The Day of Judgement and al-Qadar (Divine Destiny) whether it is good or bad, and (2) performance of purification, ablution, performing the prayer, fasting, as well as purifying one's heart from pride, hypocrisy and arrogance. It is every Muslim's duty to learn these kinds of obligations as long as he is a pubescent.

Secondly, these kinds of individual obligations come into effect when a Muslim becomes liable from the Sharee’ah point of view to do them, such as Hajj and Zakat, or when he assumes some activities such as selling and purchasing (i.e. he has to know the Sharee’ah rulings of selling and purchasing).

Al-Qurafi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him differentiated between Fardh ‘Ayn (individual obligation) and Fardh al-Kifaayah (communal obligation), since many people cannot distinguish between them.

He  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “To make them dear and visible, we state that deeds are of two categories: (1) Those deeds whose benefits are repeated due to their recurrence, and (2) those deeds whose benefits are not repeated due to their recurrence.'

As for the first category, it is legislated (by Allah or His Messenger) on every individual to increase benefits by recurrence of these deeds, such as the prayer (of Thuhr …), since its benefit constitutes submission to Allah, understanding His words (Quran) and glorifying Him; the more we pray, the more benefits we gain.

Saving a drowning person is Fard Kifayah. So, if someone saves that person from drowning, this constitutes a good favor. But, if somebody else wants to save the same drowning person, then this is considered as nothing since everything is finished [i.e. the person has already been saved from drowning]. This is the example of Fard al-Kifayah. Other examples are clothing a naked person and feeding a hungry person, and so on.

For further information on this issue, you can benefit from the following two books: (1) Maa laa yassa'u al-Muslim Jahluhu (what a Muslim is required to know) by Dr. Salah al-Sawe and Dr. Abdullah al-Musleh, (2) Tahtheeb Madarej al-Saalikeen, by Ibn al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.

As for the book of “Manarat al-Qulub” by al-Mausawi, we know nothing about it. The books of Bidaayatul-Mujtahed and al-Mudaawana al-Kubra contain details of Fiqh, which we are not required (as individual obligation) to know.

For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 281047, 329527, 15872, and 87011.

Allah knows best.

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