Fiqh is Speculative

Fiqh is Speculative

A common question I often here from young zealous brothers who are newly seeking knowledge is “What is the correct opinion regarding xyz issue?” Today, I want to discuss why this question is wrong, what led to us having this incorrect approach to Fiqh, the correct approach to Fiqh, and why this matters.

I want to start with an issue that does not seem relevant here but is actually crucial for understanding why we approach Fiqh incorrectly in the modern era, and that is the school system. Now most of you already know that I am highly critical of the current school system and believe that it is greatly flawed. One of the biggest flaws of modern education is that it trains the human brain to assume that there is only one right answer on any issue. School forces young people to spend 13 years in a system in which every test and question has just one right answer. Often the system is so strict that even if you arrive at the correct answer through a creative or different approach, it is still graded wrong, because you have to give the exact answer with exact method that the teacher prescribed.

This trains the human mind to think in a very binary way, that for every issue, there is a right answer and a wrong answer. We then carry this mindset into our study of Fiqh which leads to a completely incorrect approach to Fiqh as a whole. Fiqh as a science has always been a field of probability, in which no matter what conclusion you come to, you accept the possibility that you could be wrong and someone else could be right. To appreciate Fiqh, we need to let go of this binary thinking and accept the idea of a spectrum of possibility correct opinions. It is this adjustment in mindset that many people find difficult to make.

You may find it difficult to reconcile between the fact that Islam is the true religion with very clear beliefs and primarily laws, and the fact that Fiqh is mostly speculative and probabilistic, but the Muslims of the past did not see this as a contradiction. A distinction needs to be made between that which is known of the religion by necessity and that which Allah has left open to interpretation as a Mercy to us. Things like the six pillars of faith, the five pillars of Islam, and the major sins are clear and agreed upon. These are the fundamentals that every Muslim must know and follow, and in which there is no room for differences of opinion.

However, Allah as a Mercy to us, did not make the entire religion so stringent. It is only a few issues in which things are this clear-cut and agreed upon. The bulk of Fiqh was left purposely open to interpretation for a number of reasons which include to make things easy for people, to accommodate a diversity of thought patterns and approaches, and to keep the law flexible and practical. Scholars of Fiqh have always viewed Fiqh as a Dhanni science meaning that Fiqh is probabilistic and speculative, and there is always a possibility that you are wrong. It is learning to accept that possibility that is crucial for become tolerant to other Fiqh opinions and learning to live in peace with Muslims that follow a different opinion from you.

Let us look at a contemporary issue as an example, the issue of smoking cigarettes and related tobacco products. My opinion is that smoking such products are haram because these things are dangerous for one’s wealth and cause millions of deaths every year. A Muslim should not purposely destroy their own body in this manner. However, I accept the possibility that my opinion could be wrong, and that another opinion may be correct. I know that many scholars consider smoking to be makruh which means it is disliked but not sinful and they have good reasoning behind their opinion too. So how do we live with this clear difference of opinion.

The first step is to accept that both opinions have the possibility of being correct so whichever opinion you believe is stronger, you follow that, but you cannot make this issue a big deal or force your opinion on others. If someone else is convinced of a different opinion from you, you have to let them follow that opinion and respect their decision. This means that when I teach or advice people, I will make my opinion clear, explain the reasoning behind it, and try to persuade them to follow it. But in my daily dealings with fellow Muslims, I will not enforce my opinions on others, treat them badly for following a different opinion, or make it a big deal.

This is why it is important for us to have the correct approach to Fiqh. When we accept that Fiqh is about following what is probably the strongest opinion while accepting that you could be wrong, you automatically become more tolerant of the diverse range of opinions that exist within mainstream Islam. You do not force your opinion on others, make differences of opinion a big deal, or break ties with other Muslims over these issues. Over time, you may learn to appreciate these differences more, enjoy the diversity that makes up the ummah, and marvel at the vast scholarship behind these various madhabs.

I will end with a beautiful quotation from the great Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz (RA), when he was asked about why differences of opinion exist in such issues. He replied, “It pleases me that the companions disagreed on some matters because if not, then there would have only been one view, and this would be difficult on the people.” This should be our approach to dealing with differences in Fiqh, we must view them as a mercy from Allah and a gift from Allah that makes life easier for the believers.

Learn more with our latest course “An Introduction to Islamic Law” on sale here.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam
40 Personal Development Tips

40 Personal Development Tips

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Peace be upon the Final Messenger.

Here are 40 important tips to help you along your personal development journey:

  1. Your number one priority in life must be your relationship with Your Creator. Everything else is secondary.
  2. Make time daily to worship your Creator and to connect with Him. The five daily prayers being the bare minimum of this.
  3. Spend time in the company of the righteous. You will always benefit from any time spent around pious people.
  4. Small consistent daily effort works best. Focus on the small things and be consistent at them.
  5. Have a vision and have clear goals that fit within that vision. This gives you something to work towards.
  6. A strong work ethic is key for succeeding at anything. Get accustomed to hard work.
  7. Never neglect your family in pursuit of your own goals. Your personal vision must include strong family ties.
  8. You will gain more happiness from a strong relationship with your spouse, children, siblings and parents, then you will from being a wealthy loner.
  9. Discover what you are good at and passionate about. Work on the side on building something that aligns your skills with your passions. Do not neglect these two sides of you.
  10. Starting your day early leads to a blessed day in which a lot gets done.
  11. You do not need to be good at school to succeed at life. Forget about your traumatic school experiences and focus on learning knowledge that benefits and growing into the best version of yourself.
  12. Focus on one task at a time. An hour of intensive focused work produces better results than a week of unfocused work.
  13. Develop a routine that s productive and healthy. Routines help you stay focused and work hard even when you are unmotivated.
  14. It is okay to sometimes feel overwhelmed or sad, to take breaks, but you need to eventually get back at it and work through your emotions.
  15. There will always be obstacles and challenges. Nothing worth having comes easy. Be ready to face a lot of resistance on the path to success.
  16. Invest in your own learning. Read daily, study a wide range of topics and skills. Keep building your skillset over a long period of time.
  17. Take time daily to relax, have some halal fun, and recharge. Do not overwork your body or mind.
  18. Take care of your health. Ensure that you eat healthy, get enough sleep, and exercise enough to keep your body working well.
  19. Some days will be harder than others. Cut yourself some slack and focus on what is necessary during those days.
  20. We stress too much about things that are outside our control. Trust your Creator, accept your Destiny, and focus on what is within your control.
  21. We worry too much about things that may never happen. Be optimistic about the future, but also be prepared for realistic things that may go wrong.
  22. Being obsessed with things that went wrong in the past will prevent you from excelling today or building a brighter tomorrow. Focus on the present and the future. Learn from the past.
  23. Community is important. Build strong relationships with members of your community and be there for each other.
  24. A life of service to others is better than the pursuit of selfish desires. Do what you can to assist others and be of service to your family and community.
  25. Be generous always. With your wealth, time, skills, knowledge, experience, and wisdom.
  26. Learn from the wisdom of your elders. Make time to sit with them, listen to their life experiences and benefit from their wisdom.
  27. You will not be able to achieve perfect work/life balance. That is fine. Just focus on working hard, and spending quality time with family, while carving out some time for yourself too. Perfection is impossible.
  28. Conflict is a part of life. Learn how to resolve conflicts, forgive each other, and rebuild relationships. Do not cut people off easily due to one bad experience.
  29. But do not be a fool either. There are people out there who are really evil and will take advantage of good people, when you encounter such people, stay far away from them.
  30. Success is not measured in wealth or fame. Success is God’s pleasure, a happy family, a content soul, and a sense of purpose and community.
  31. Halal Wealth is important, but do not make wealth your primary objective. Once you have enough to not worry about money anymore, then be content and focus on more important things. Do not feed the greed monster, it never gets satisfied.
  32. You do not have to do things alone. Work with others, benefit from mentors, and let others help you.
  33. Spend time in nature. It reconnects you with God, calms the soul, and helps boost your creativity.
  34. Learn quickly how to make money, save money, invest, and grow your wealth. These skills will help you escape the rat race quickly.
  35. Try to build hobbies that sharpen the mind, strengthen the body and channel your creativity. This will benefit you in every aspect of life.
  36. Good manners and good character are necessary for building successful relationships. Invest in your own character development.
  37. Live a life of dignity, morality, modesty, and honour. This will save you from a lot of unnecessary drama and trouble.
  38. Treat the trials in your life like opportunities for levelling up. You will unlock your greatest skills and qualities during difficult times.
  39. Be grateful for every little blessing in your life. Make time daily to focus on the blessings in your life and to thank God for them.
  40. Make peace with your mortality. Accept that death is sudden and inevitable. Focus on being the best you can be everyday knowing full well that it will end one day.

We ask our Creator for a good life in His Service, with strong relationships, consistency, strength, and a good end.


Learn more with our Self Help Starter Bundle, on sale here:

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Productivity
New Course: An Introduction to Shariah

New Course: An Introduction to Shariah

​We are excited to announce our newest course, for 2024, an Introduction to Shariah. 

Shariah (Islamic Law) is one of the most misunderstood topics among Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. In this course, we will take a deep dive into the history of Shariah and its application in various Muslim Empires. This course will focus on historical examples of how Shariah worked, and clear up misconceptions about Shariah along the way. 

The course will be part of the Islam Intensive program, so if you are already signed up for that, you will have free access to the new content. If not you can either sign up for the Islam Intensive program here or for the Shariah course by itself here

The course textbooks are already uploaded along with some bonus material. The first lecture will be uploaded this weekend in shaa Allah. 

Sign up here:

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam
Golden Ages and Theories of History

Golden Ages and Theories of History

Whenever an excited young Muslim discovers history for the first time, it often sparks a debate. The young person may be impressed by the accomplishments of the Muslim Empires of past and talk proudly about the Muslim Golden Ages. At some point, he may encounter Muslims who take offense to the term Golden Age for referring to any period past the first generation. They insist that the first generation of Muslims were the only Golden Age and it was all downhill from there. This can often leave the youngster confused, not understanding why someone would take offense to the existence of Golden Ages.

I believe these two groups are speaking past each other, because they are both looking at history from different, yet equally valid, angles. History is a touchy subject as there are so many ways to analyse history that people can often look at the same events in radically different lights. It may be, and I believe this to be the case, that both groups are right in their own way. The peak of the Abbasid and Ottoman Empires was on one hand a Golden Age for that empire, but also spiritually weak compared to the first generation. To understand this, let us look at some perspectives from which people analyse history. We will analyse three perspectives; the common Theory of Progress model pushed by schools today, the Theory of Spiritual Regress model, and the Cycles of Power model.

The Theory of Progress

Schools around the world today are based on the Western School System that emerged during Colonization. This model is designed to push forward a colonial model of history that is radically different from the Islamic model. I only raise it here because many readers may have grown up on this model and never questioned it. We need to unlearn this myth about history before studying Muslim History. The theory of progress suggest that the world is moving forward for the better. Past civilizations and systems are deemed to be backwards or barbaric, while new ideas are considered progressive and logical.

This theory paints a distorted view of Muslim History. It categorizes the Shariah as a barbaric outdated system of governance. Anyone who is clinging onto the Shariah is viewed as backwards and uncivilized. The idea is that all nations must let go of their past models and adapt new (Western) models in all aspects of life. Sadly, many Muslims hold on to this theory. This can be noticed in their speech patterns when they make statements like “get with the times” and “we know better now than they did then” indicating that they view the Muslims of the past as less enlightened and civilized than them.

Not only is this theory false, but it is also unislamic and borderline blasphemous. Believing that we know better than the Muslims of the past or are more morally upright than them is an insult to the Prophet and his companions. It also distorts the way Muslims view their own history. Instead of looking to the past for role models, such Muslims look at the past as something to be avoided. To counter this mindset, I propose we study history utilizing two distinct theories. For our spiritual history, I propose we analyse it from a Theory of Regress perspective, and politically, I suggest we understand it as cycles of power.

The Theory of Spiritual Regress

The theory of regress simply means that spiritually, this nation peaked with its first generation. The most pious human beings, as a collective, were the Prophet ﷺ and his companions. After that, with each passing generation, Muslims as a whole grow spiritually weaker and distant from the ideal. This does not mean that individuals cannot reach high levels of piety, or that they may be bubbles of pious communities. It simpler means that there is no comparison spiritually between the first generation and those that come after them, and they will always remain our role models of piety.

This theory is based on the hadith in which the Prophet ﷺ said, “The best people are those of my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them…” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6429, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2533). It is also supported by the verses in the Quran that indicated that the pious will be many in the early generations but few in the latter generations. (Qur’an 56:13-14) When some Muslims claim that the first generation was the only Golden Age of Islam, they are referring to spiritual greatness, and this is true.

Spiritually, our Golden Age was the first four decades of Islam. It was during this time that piety was the norm, and the righteous led the nation. Spiritually, no empire that came after them could ever match them. No king, sultan of Caliph could ever match the spiritual greatness of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, or Ali (RA). It was the best of times, and the most important period of history for any Muslim to study. This does not mean that later empires could not have their own Golden Age. To understand how that is possible, let us look at the theory of cycles of power.

Cycles of Power

The cycles of power theory was made popular by Ibn Khaldun, who proposed that every nation goes through a similar cycle. First it rises to power, it eventually hits a peak, then the decline begins, and eventually it collapses. This theory can also be deduced from the Quran in which it is stated “Such days We alternate between the people.” (Quran 3:140) This verse was revealed after the first military setback faced by the companions in the Battle of Uhud. It created realistic expectations regarding war and power, Muslims would not always emerge victorious, and victory was not guaranteed. Based on this concept, it is also possible for Muslim nations to fall and lose their power as has happened many times in our history. Because of this verse, military defeat and loss of political power does not affect our faith in Allah or the truth of this religion.

As every nation has its rise and peak, it makes sense to describe the peak as a Golden Age. The Golden Age of the Abbasids does not mean that they were more pious than the companions. I do not think any historian would suggest that. It simply means that in the cycle of power of the Abbasid Empire, it peaked during that period. It was the time when the Abbasid Empire produced its best leaders, scholars, inventions, and contributions to society. Likewise, stating that the Ottoman Empire experienced a Golden Age during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent does not mean that people at the time were more pious than the companions. It simply means that the Ottoman Empire peaked during this period.

This is what I mean by both groups are speaking past each other. Those who claim that the only Golden Age was the first generation are looking at history from a spiritual perspective, and that is a valid reading of history. Those who are discussing the Golden Ages of the Abbasids or Ottomans are looking at it through a cycles of power perspective and are amazed at the heights of political and civilizational greatness that Muslims reached during the peak of these might empires. Both perspectives are valid.

In terms of practical application, the theory of regress gives us realistic expectations of Muslims today. While we strive to revive Islam and educate our communities, we are realistic about the levels of piety we could attain as a collective. But the cycles of power theory gives us hope politically. It gives us hope that a new Muslim Empire could emerge during our lifetime and that another Golden Age for a Muslim civilization is still possible. This hope inspires us to work hard, dream big, and remain optimistic about the future of the ummah.

Learn more with the History of Islam online course, our bestselling product, on sale here.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam
New eBook: A Caller’s Code of Conduct

New eBook: A Caller’s Code of Conduct

We are excited to announce our final product launch for 2023, a brand-new ebook: A Caller’s Code of Conduct: 12 Principles from the Qur’an and Sunnah.

This brand-new exclusive ebook will focus on 12 crucial principles that every da’ee (caller to Islam) must live by, with a critical focus on contemporary problems in the Dawah scene, and how they can be resolved by living by this code of conduct.

The book is currently available for early access along with a 14 video series explaining the book. (The first three videos are already up on our YouTube channel)

Paperback Edition available here:

Every caller must live by a code!

As a caller to Islam (da’ee), you have a sacred duty to invite people to Islam in the best of manners. To do this, you must learn and live by the caller’s code of conduct. In this important new book, Shaykh Ismail Kamdar extracts from the Qur’an and Sunnah 12 crucial principles that every caller should live by.

Dawah Drama

There are many problems with the way dawah is conducted today. Many young men who lack both wisdom and knowledge take a harsh arrogant approach to preaching Islam that pushes people away and serves only to boost their own egos.

Others go to the opposite extreme, being too soft and lenient, not wanting to upset anyone, and as a result being ineffective in proving why Islam is superior to other ways of life. In both cases, the problem is simply a lack of balance. A preacher should understand that there is a time for softness and a time for harshness, and wisdom dictates when we should utilize each method.

Living By a Code

There are many teachings of Islam that preachers need to live by, we have limited the discourse to twelve principles for the sake of ease of learning, and so that this book does not become too long. A preacher must have ikhlāṣ (sincerity) which means doing whatever he does for the sake of Allah, never for ego or fame. He must be a student of knowledge, continuously seeking to increase his own knowledge of Islam for life. Preachers must make time to focus on their own spiritual development through purifying their souls regularly. They should seek sincere counsel, keep good company, have righteous mentors, and work towards a vision.

Learn more here:

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books