Programs of Study

Iftā

Background

Completion of the requirements of the Iftāʾ program provides the student with the necessary skills to navigate through the millennium-long tradition of Ḥanafi doctrine, legal theory, judicial & legal practice, and ethics, across empires and geographies, like the ʿAbbāsids, Mamlūks, Ottomans, Timurids, and the Mughals; Kufa, Samarqand, Bukhārā, Herāt, ʿIsfahān, Cairo, Isṭanbūl, and Delhi. How did a Muftī write fatwas in his capacity as a jurisconsult? How did a premodern Muftī read texts?– how did he write texts? How did a Muftī and a Qāḍī interact in a highly complex web of political and social interaction? What is demanded of a Muftī at a social level? A political one? An ethical one? This two-year intensive course of reading, writing, researching will ask the Muftī-trainee to not only see themselves as a recourse for Islamic Law, but in line with previous Muftīs like ʾIbn Nujaym, Mullā Jīwan, Ibn ʿĀbidīn, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, and Rashīd Aḥmed Ludhyānwī. It will seek to train them as an intellectual, one able to speak with authority, clarity, and indeed critically, about the world, in and around them.

Program Name & Objective

Iftāʾ: Specialization in Fiqh and Fatwa, Jurisconsult-training

Length

Two years of coursework (How to Write a Fatwa, Islamic Bioethics, Legal History, Qaḍā, etc.), two-hundred fatwas, four essay-fatwas (10-15 pgs. each), followed by a thesis. 

Eligibility/Prerequisites

Completion of the Advanced Program at Darul Qasim or equivalent ʿĀlimiyyah degree. Students must have demonstrated a high level-aptitude in texts like al-Hidāyah, Sharh al-ʿAqāʾid, and Uṣūl al-Fiqh in their education. A high-level Arabic comprehension is fundamental throughout the course. Urdu reading ability will be of high utility. Placement assessments will be given to all incoming students, followed by an interview. 

Skills Achieved

  • Mastering protocols of issuing fatwa per Ḥanafī doctrine
  • Proficiency in grasping the intricate process of tarjīḥ and taṣḥīḥ of fatwas
  • Research Methodology within classical and post-classical Ḥanafī texts
  • Rooting fatwas in multiple social milieus– local, national, and international
  • Exploring topics in various Islamic disciplines: ʿaqīdah, hadith, tafsīr, etc., as it relates to writing legal verdicts
  • Exposure to various fields and industries: Banking, Bioethics, Psychotherapy, Fintech, and many more, through and by an approach of Ḥanafī doctrine
  • Navigating more than a thousand years of Ḥanafī literature & an ability to synthesize legal conclusions across time and space
  • Grounding in legal theory of thinkers like Qāḍī Khān, Ibn ʿĀbidīn, and Taqi Usmani
  • Forums with Muslim experts in various spaces to expand one’s grasp and repertoire of the Muftī.

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What to Expect

Building upon the Advanced Law Program and Dawrat al-Hadith, the Iftāʾ program translates and bridges much of the theory learnt in previous study to everyday (con)texts. Students will research classical, post-classical, contemporary, and post-contemporary topics, working closely with their faculty— refining critical thinking  vis-a-vis Ḥanafī legal thought and history.  Students will be required to pour through volumes, commentaries, and super-commentaries (ḥawāshī) to root themselves in dialogues of scholars across temporalities and geographies. One fatwa may require a student to explore Muḥammad al-Shaybānī’s Aṣl, then Kāsāni’s Badāiʿ al-Ṣanāiʿ, followed by Mullā Niẓam al-Dīn’s Fatāwā-i Ālamgīri, then concluding with Ibn ʿĀbidīn and Mawlānā Ashraf ʿAlī Thānwī’s works– with perhaps some rasāil of Zāhid al-Kawtharī and Muftī Muḥammad al-Shafīʿ. There is no required order, but it is demanded of a student that, by the end of the course, they are trained to hold a panoramic view of the Ḥanafī tradition.

Aside from attending mandatory classes and lectures, where students will be engaged in constant dialogue, discussions, and editing with their supervisor-Muftīs, program completion requirements include answering approximately 200 questions (istiftāʾ) from the Darul Ifta, reading over 10 volumes of Fatāwā, writing 4 short papers, and a submitting dissertation approved by the Darul Ifta. 

What Darul Qasim Believes & Delivers

Inside the classroom, Darul Qasim believes in a never-ending forum of texts, students, faculty, and duʿāʾ. Outside the classroom, Darul Qasim emphasizes this skillset with an additional grounding of social and intellectual bridges. Legal study is fundamental to the curriculum, however, the metaphysical component of ethical-refinement– that we are inheritors to the Prophet ﷺ (may joy cradle him)– is deemed just as foundational to the training of the Muftī. For a thousand years and more, the Muftī served as an intellectual, a social critic, a legal advisor, a counsel to the sultans, a fountainhead of disciplines, a financial advisor, a spark of creativity– Darul Qasim believes in resurrecting that role in modernity, and firmly holds that the Ummah’s intellectual sustenance lies in developing the Muftī qua Muftī. Whether in Ottoman Albania or Mughal Gujarat, the Muftī was crucial to the social order, structuring the lives of everyday Muslims and non-Muslims by addressing their familial, artistic, and civic needs. That modern joys like coffee, cannons, muslin, Masjid-fountains, and compasses were all first researched and then disseminated by Ḥanafī Muftīs is no coincidence, but rather consistent with Islamic civilizational creativity.

Darul Qasim champions its past and heritage, understanding that Muslims are indebted to a millennium of Islamic civilization– and that Fiqh was a centerpiece of this everyday reality. Without the Muftī, Muslims are left without a central method by which to understand how waḥy translates and is embodied in the everyday life of Muslims. Only by a reckoning with this past, with this body of ethics, where religion, law, and ethics culminate in the canon of Fiqh, can we even begin to understand the civilizational beauty of Islam.