Now, the task of the faqih, the Muslim jurist, is to classify the immense, colourless mass of human actions and to paint them white, or black or grey. And what is the reasoning followed by the jurist? The answer is simple God cannot prescribe anything except that which is morally beautiful; He cannot forbid anything but that which is morally ugly; He cannot allow anything that is, at the very least, in-between the beautiful and the ugly.
Following this reasoning, Muslim jurists have often adopted a five-fold classification of the nature of human acts, as being (i) strictly enjoined, or (ii) simply advised, or (iii) permitted, or (iv) unadvised, or (v) strictly forbidden.
Most authorities on Islam have thus defined fiqh in terms of its four basic components thus: “Fiqh or the science of Islamic law is the knowledge of one’s rights and obligations derived from the Koran or the Sunna of the Prophet, or the consensus of opinion of the learned (ijmaa) or the analogical deductions (qiyas). (All these four components are discussed at length later in this Chapter.)
Fiqh can be divided Into Two Parts:
(i) The Usui (literally meaning “the roots of law”) which deals with Muslim jurisprudence, that is, the first principles of Muslim law.
(ii) The Furu, which deals with substantive law or particular injunctions.
The main distinction between shariat and fiqh is that the former is a wider circle which embraces all human actions within its fold, whereas fiqh is a narrower circle which takes in only legal acts within its ambit.