In our last blog, we delved into the concept of Hukm, exploring its definition and classification into two fundamental categories: Al-hukm at-taklifi, encompassing obligatory rulings, and Al-hukm al-wad'i, which pertains to declaratory rulings. Today, our focus shifts to the latter category, Al-hukm al-wad'i, where we try to understand declaratory laws concerning human actions.

What is Al-Hukm Al-Wad'i?

Al-Hukm Al-Wad'i refers to declaratory laws or rulings related to the acts of people, based on communications from Allah or the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). These rulings declare the relationship of an act with the hukm; whether the act is the cause (sabab), condition (sharth), an impediment (mani), or more for the application of the hukm.

For example,

  • Possession of a minimum amount of wealth (nisab) becomes the cause (sabab) for obligation for paying zakat.
  • Having retained wealth for a year becomes condition (sharth) for the hukm to pay zakat.
  • The presence of debts become an impediment (mani) in the way of fulfilling the zakat.

The effect of al-hukm al-wad'i depends on the presence or absence of specific factors. If the factor is present, the ruling applies; if it's absent, the ruling does not apply.

Types of Al-Hukm Al-Wad'i

Al-Hukm Al-Wad'i encompasses several types, each with its own definition and examples:

1. Sabab (Cause or Reason)

Sabab means a cause or reason whose presence obligates a particular ruling (al-hukm al-taklifi). For example, the arrival of the month of Ramadan is the cause (sabab) for the obligation of fasting.

Sabab is further divided into two types:

1) Sabab dependent on the act of the person (mukallaf):

This refers to a cause that depends on the action of the person (mukallaf) to whom the ruling applies.


  • If a person is traveling, it becomes a sabab that allows him to omit/not fast during Ramadan.
  • Another example is intentional murder - this intentional act is the sabab that obligates the law of retaliation (qisas) to be applied.

2) Sabab independent of the act of the person:

This refers to a cause that does not depend on the act of the person, and may not even be within their capability or control.


  • Extreme hunger or necessity is a cause that makes consuming otherwise prohibited (haram) meat permissible (halal).
  • The arrival of the month of Ramadan is the sabab for the obligation of fasting. This is not something in the control of the person.

Difference between Sabab and Illah

Sometimes scholars of usul al-fiqh use the words sabab and illah interchangeably, meaning they use sabab to mean illah and vice versa. In some cases, sabab and illah can mean the same thing.

However, there is a technical difference between the two terms:

  • Sabab refers to a cause or reason for a particular ruling (hukm), where the reason behind the ruling is unclear or not apparent to the intellect.

    Example, The coming of the month of Ramadan is a sabab for the obligation of fasting, because the reason for fasting specifically in Ramadan is not clear to our intellect.
  • Illah, on the other hand, refers to a cause or underlying reason for a ruling where the reason is clear and apparent to the intellect.

    Example, intoxication is considered an illah for the prohibition of alcohol, because the reason (i.e. the harm of intoxication) is clear and apparent to the intellect.

So in essence, if the effective cause and reason for a ruling is clear and discernible, it is called an illah. But if the reason is not clearly apparent, then it is termed a sabab.

2. Shart (Condition)

Shart is a necessary condition for the validity of a ruling. It can be understood better with the following examples:

  1. Wudu (ablution) is a Shart (condition) for the validity of Salah (prayer). If Wudu is not performed, the Salah will be invalid.
  2. The presence of two witnesses is a Shart for the validity of a Nikah (marriage contract). If two witnesses are not present, the Nikah is not valid according to the majority of scholars.

Shart is divided into types:

  1. Shart ash-Shar'i: Imposed by Allah, like wudu being a condition for valid prayer.
  2. Shart al-Jali: Imposed by individuals, like a husband or wife conditioning certain rules within their marriage contract for the marriage to remain valid.

Shart ash-Shar'i

Shart ash-Shar'i refers to conditions that are imposed by Allah (through the Qur'an and Sunnah) in the Islamic Shari'ah (law). It can be understood better with the following examples:

  1. Wudu (ablution) is a Shart ash-Shar'i for the validity of Salah (prayer). This means that without performing proper wudu as prescribed in the Shari'ah, one's prayer will not be considered valid.
  2. The presence of two witnesses is a Shart ash-Shar'i for the validity of Nikah (marriage) according to the majority of scholars. The Qur'an instructs that marriages should be witnessed.

So Shart ash-Shar'i represents conditions that are obligatory and have been laid down by Allah and his Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) through divine revelation.

The key aspects of Shart ash-Shar'i are:

  • It is a prerequisite condition mandated by Allah in the Islamic law
  • Not something instituted by individuals
  • Rooted in the Qur'an and authentic Sunnah
  • Violating it renders the associated act invalid in the sight of Shari'ah
  • Examples are wudu for prayer, witnesses for marriage contracts etc.

Unlike Shart al-Jali which allows personal discretion, Shart ash-Shar'i has to be adhered to exactly as prescribed, since it originates from the divine sources of Islam. It represents an inviolable condition for the legal validity of acts of worship and transactions.

Shart al-Jali

Shart al-Jali refers to conditions imposed by individuals themselves, as opposed to conditions prescribed by Allah (Shari'ah) which are called Shart ash-Shar'i. It can be understood better with the following examples

During a marriage contract (nikah), a person (usually the husband/groom) can stipulate certain personal conditions. For example, the husband can tell his wife:

"If you steal something, then consider this as a divorce from me."

In this case, the act of the wife stealing is made a condition (Shart al-Jali) by the husband for the marriage to remain valid. If she steals, it will be considered grounds for divorce according to the condition laid out.

So in essence, Shart al-Jali allows individuals to impose their own supplementary conditions in addition to the Shari'ah conditions, especially in matters like marriage contracts, business transactions etc.

The key points about Shart al-Jali are:

  • It is a condition imposed by the individuals themselves
  • Not prescribed directly by Allah and His Messenger
  • Commonly stipulated during contracts like nikah, business deals etc.
  • Allows personalizing conditions as per individual circumstances

So it gives a level of personal discretion to the people in adding lawful conditions per their wish, over and above the core Shari'ah requirements.

Difference between Shart (condition) and Rukun

Shart is a condition that is separate or prior to the act itself, while Rukun is a fundamental component that is part of the act from start to finish.

Both Shart and Rukun determine the validity of an act - if either is missing, the act is invalid. However, the difference is:

Shart is outside or separate from the action itself. For example:

  • Wudu is a Shart for Salah, but Wudu itself is not a part of Salah. It is a prerequisite condition.

Rukun is an integral part within the act itself. For example:

  • In a Nikah (marriage) contract, Ijab (proposal) and Qubool (acceptance) are from the Arkan (plural of Rukun) of Nikah, meaning they are fundamental components within the reality of the Nikah act.

So in essence:

  • Shart is a prerequisite condition separate from the act.
  • Rukun is a pillar or fundamental component within the act itself.

The absence of either renders the act invalid, but a Shart is external, while a Rukun is internal to the act.

3. Mani' (Obstacle or Impediment)

Mani' means an obstacle or impediment that prevents the application of a ruling (hukm), despite the presence of its cause (sabab). If a Mani' is present, then the obligatory ruling cannot be applied, even though the cause for that ruling exists.

There are two types of impediments, and they differ in their effect on the legal ruling (hukm) and its cause (sabab).

  1. Mani' al-Hukm (Impediment to the Legal Ruling): Mani' al-Hukm is an impediment that directly prevents the existence or application of a legal ruling (hukm). It is an obstacle that blocks the legal ruling from taking effect, even if the cause (sabab) for that ruling is present.

    For example, insanity (junun) is considered a Mani' al-Hukm for legal accountability. An insane person is not subject to legal obligations, such as performing prayers or fasting, even though the causes for these obligations (e.g., being a Muslim, reaching the age of puberty) are present.

  2. Mani' al-Sabab (Impediment to the Cause): Mani' al-Sabab is an impediment that prevents the cause (sabab) of a legal ruling from occurring or taking effect. If the cause is impeded, the legal ruling (hukm) associated with that cause will not apply.

    For example,

    The one who kills another deliberately cannot inherit from the deceased. (Tirmidhi 2109).

    Meaning they could inherit from each other, but his intentional killing is a cause for losing that status. 

    For example, in the case of ritual purity (tahara), the discharge of semen (mani) is considered a cause (sabab) for the obligation to perform the ritual bath (ghusl). However, if there is an impediment that prevents the discharge of semen, such as impotence or infertility, then the cause (sabab) for the obligation of ghusl is impeded, and the legal ruling (hukm) of performing ghusl does not apply.

The key points about Mani' are:

  • It is an obstacle that prevents a ruling from being applied
  • It exists despite the cause (sabab) for that ruling being fulfilled
  • However, it does not prevent other punishments like imprisonment, fines etc.

4. Sahih (Valid) and Batil (Void)

Sahih refers to when the Hukm is performed in accordance with Arkaan (plural of Rukn) and Shuroot (plural of Shart) in manner prescribed by Allah and his Prophet (ﷺ)  is called Sahih or valid.

For wudu (ablution) to be considered sahih (valid), a person must perform all the required acts like washing the face, hands, wiping the head and washing the feet in the proper manner outlined in the Shari'ah.

Batil means the opposite of sahih. When the Hukm is NOT performed in accordance with Arkaan (plural of Rukn) and Shuroot (plural of Shart)in manner prescribed by Allah and his Prophet (ﷺ)  is called Baatil (Void).


  • Salah (prayer) without wudu is batil (void)
  • Salah without performing ruku' (bowing) is batil
  • A nikah (marriage) without two witnesses present is considered batil by the majority of scholars

So for any act of worship or transaction to be valid, it must fulfill all the required arkan and shurut (plural of sharth). If any pillar or condition is missed, that act becomes batil or void.

Difference between Batil and Fasid:

Most scholars consider batil and fasid (defective) to be synonymous and use them interchangeably.

However, according to the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, there is a slight difference:

  • Batil refers to when the very basis or foundation is invalid, like trying to marry one's sister.
  • Fasid refers to when the required conditions are not met, but the basis is valid.

Hanafis say: If any Rukn or Shart is missing from Ibadaat, then it is Baatil or Faasid. It is used synonymously. 

For example, in a nikah if two witnesses are not present, the Hanafis consider it fasid (defective) but not batil (void). The marriage still holds some validity according to them.

In Muamalat, if Rukn is missing it is Baatil like marrying sister. However if Rukn is not missing but Shart is missing then it is not Baatil but Faasid like marriage without witness. In this case Mahr will be Waajib and children will be ascribed to father.

So in essence, sahih means complete validity by fulfilling all requirements, while batil means the act loses all validity due to shortcomings in fundamental pillars or conditions.

5. Rukhsah (Concession) and 'Azimah (Normative Ruling)

'Azimah (الازيمة): 'Azimah refers to the original or primary legal ruling or injunction in Islamic law. It is the default rule or obligation that applies in normal circumstances without any mitigating factors or exceptions. The 'azimah represents the ideal and intended state of affairs according to the Shari'ah (Islamic law).

For example, the obligation to perform the five daily prayers (salah) is an 'azimah for every Muslim who meets the necessary conditions. The Qur'an and the Sunnah (prophetic traditions) clearly establish this obligation without any exceptions.

Another example of 'azimah is the prohibition of consuming pork or alcohol, which is the general rule for Muslims in normal circumstances.

Rukhsah (الرخصة): Rukhsah refers to a concession, exemption, or dispensation from the original legal ruling ('azimah) due to specific circumstances, hardships, or necessities. It is a form of legal ease or relaxation of the primary ruling to accommodate exceptional situations or mitigating factors.

The rukhsah is based on the principle of removing hardship and difficulty (raf' al-haraj) in Islamic law, as mentioned in the Qur'an: "Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship" (2:185).

For example, in the case of prayer (salah), a traveler is permitted to shorten and combine certain prayers (qasr and jam'), which is a rukhsah or concession from the 'azimah of performing the full prayers. This concession is granted due to the hardship and difficulty associated with traveling.

Another example of rukhsah is the permission to break the fast (sawm) during Ramadan for those who are ill or traveling, as long as they make up for the missed fasts later. This is a concession from the 'azimah of fasting during the entire month of Ramadan for those who are able to do so.

The rukhsah is subject to specific conditions and guidelines, and it should not be taken as a general permission to disregard the 'azimah without valid reasons. Azimah remains the primary and preferred ruling, and the rukhsah is an exception granted only when necessary and justified by legitimate circumstances or hardships.


In this brief exploration, we touched upon the concept of Hukm. Yet, what exactly are the sources from which Hukm is derived, and what are its primary sources? InshaAllah, these are the inquiries we will delve into in our upcoming blog post, as we strive to comprehensively understand the different sources of Hukm.

If you like our content, please subscribe to our blog! And Follow us on Instagram or Telegram to stay up to date!