The Difference between a Hukm( Legal Ruling) and a Fatwa( Legal Opinion)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

There is a real difference that people should be aware of between a Hukm and a Fatwa

Hukm ( a legal ruling) Fatwaa (a legal opinion).
The Hukm  defines the Islamic law and it’s must to adhere to . The Fatwaa (legal opinion) puts Islamic legislation in plain words, but it isn’t obligatory to adhere to the opinion given.
The parties involved seek a decision from a religious authority about an issue. The parties involved seek a decision from a religious authority about an issue.
The Hukm only applies to one judgment has been passed on. People of knowledge say a Fatwa is more dangerous than a Hukm because the legal opinion isn’t only restricted to the one asking for the fatwa and in actual fact the fatwa is practiced by others. In this instance it becomes a way that is followed
Some people of knowledge say the Hukm is more serious than the legal opinion, because it’s compulsory for the person to follow, and it is possible the wrong verdict was given. The Fatwa isn’t a must for the questioner to abide by. He has the right to take the Fatwa or leave it based on what he feels is correct in his heart. He mustn’t reject accepting the legal opinion based on his personal whims and desires.
The Mufti isn’t required to follow up and execute his legal opinion on the person who asked the question, unlike the judge. The judge must execute his judgment and make sure it’s being implemented.
The judge in the legal verdict takes time to issue his verdict. He isn’t required to rule at that moment. He can postpone the verdict to a later date in order to study the case throughly before issuing his judgment.[1] .
The legal verdict is between to disputing parties seeking their rights in a case.
The judge  appointed by the Muslim ruler decides between disputing the two disputing parties involved. Other scholars say “A Fatwa” is more dangerous than a Hukm because sometimes the Mufti doesn’t take time to contemplate over the question clearly before issuing the fatwa.”
Ibn Qudamah said : A judge mustn’t issue a legal opinion  for questions concerning people’s disputes, but there is no problem for him to do so in issues about worship.[2]
The scholars say it is wrong for a judge to be asked about rulings regarding selling, issues of marriage, murder, issues about bequests, and questions about the Muslim’s honor. Why? Because if the people knew the judge’s answers about those topics they would explain their cases based on what he ruled by whenever a dispute arises












Translated and compiled by:

Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle


[1] Sh Salih ibn Fawzan, (Al-Muntaqa min Fatawa) vol 5/pg 357.


[2] Shaykh Salih ibn Abdil Aziz Al-Shaykh (Al-Fatwa bayna Mutabaqa) vol 2/227



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