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Meaning of Ijtehaad and Qiyaas

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Please describe in detail the meanings of:

1)    Ijtehaad

2) Qiyas  


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Meaning of Ijtehad & Qiyas


In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Ijtehaad and Qiyaas are terms used in matters of Islamic Fiqh, Jurisprudence, Law or Shariah.


Ref: Ijtehaad

The literal meaning of Ijtehaad is derived from the root word ‘jehad’ (striving) and the meaning of ‘Ijtehaad’ in Islamic Jurisprudence would mean to strive to find a solution to an issue in light of the guidance of the Quran and Sunnah.


Ijtehaad is the process where the scholars of Islam strive to find a solution to an issue on which the Quran and Sunnah are silent.


For example an issue of the modern times is : ‘is it legal to pull off the life-support system of a person who is declared as brain-dead?’.


Because it is a new development of modern technology, the Quran and Sunnah are obviously silent on that particular and specific issue. Thus the respected scholars of Islam must do ‘ijtehaad’ and strive to derive a ruling in light of the guidance of the Quran and Sunnah whether the pulling off of the life support system of a person who is declared as brain dead is permissible or impermissible in Islam.


Ref: Qiyaas

Qiyaas is a term used in Islamic Jurisprudence when determining the ‘root-cause’ of the process to do Ijtehaad. Qiyaas is a process whereby a clear ruling of the permissibility or impermissibility of an act or thing is applied to an issue closest related to it.


For example, Allah and His Messenger (saws) have declared ‘khamr’ (wine, alcohol, etc.) as haraam. Now if someone were to ask for a ruling on the usage of marijuana, the scholars of Islam would do Qiyaas and determine the root cause of the haraam of ‘khamr’ is its intoxication; thus basing their ‘Qiyas’ on intoxication, they would rule that all things that intoxicate would be considered haraam in Islamic Law; and because the usage of marijuana intoxicates, it too would be considered haraam.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,






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