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Mubāḥ (Arabic:اَلمُباح) is a jurisprudential term denoting an action that has no specific ruling, so doing or Avoiding it is equal and it has no Divine Reward and Punishment. Therefore, any action that is not wajib (compulsory), haram (prohibited), mustahab (recommended) or makruh (disliked) is mubah (permissible).
In hadiths and sources, mubah also is used in a more general meaning of "ja'iz" (unprohibited) and "halal" (allowed). In its narrowest sense "ibaha" is used in fiqh (jurisprudence) as a permission of possessing or utilizing something.
Mubah is the most common ruling among the Five Rulings (al-Ahkam al-Khamsa) as most of human deeds are mubah. Majority of Shi'a faqihs (jurists) believe in Asalat al-Ibaha (primacy of permission) which means everything is mubah unless proven otherwise.
Meaning of Ibaha
Ibaha means to allow and mubah means an action that is permissible to be done. Technically, mubah in fiqh is one of the Five Rulings and denotes an action that doing or Avoiding it is equal and no reward nor punishment, praise nor dispraise is mentioned for it in sources. In other words, mubah is an action that is not wajib, haram, mustahab nor makruh, therefore, mukallaf is completely free to do or leave the action, such as eating, sleeping - which do not have any ruling in normal conditions and one can either do or leave these actions.
According to above-mentioned definition of ibaha, there is no mubah in 'ibadat (acts of worship) as all these actions have the other four ruling - wajib, haram, mustahab and makruh.
Difference Between Mubah and Halal
In fiqh halal is the opposite of haram and includes everything that is not haram. Based on this, halal is more general than mubah, i.e. every mubah is halal; but not every halal is mubah, such as makruh which is halal but not mubah.
Difference Between Ibaha and Jawaz
Jawaz is the opposite of prohibition, therefore, Jawaz, like Halal, has more general meaning than Mubah, as every Mubah is Ja'iz but not every Ja'iz is Mubah, such as Makruh and Mustahab which are Ja'iz but not Mubah.
In the Holy Qur'an and Hadith
The word "ibaha" and its derivatives are not used in the Holy Qur'an nor in hadiths narrated form Prophet Muhammad (s). However, faqihs and scholars believe that several verses in the Holy Qur'an denote ibaha, for instance:
|“||O mankind! Eat of what is halal and pure in the earth.||”|
Primacy of Ibaha in Fiqh
There is a discussion among faqihs and usulis whether mukallaf is allowed to do an action that is not mentioned in sources, or not. There are two approaches answering this question: Asalat al-ibaha (primacy of permission) and Asalat al-hadhr (primacy of prohibition).
- Asalat al-hadhr means everything is prohibited and must be avoided, unless there is shar'i evidence proving that it is permissible.
- Asalat al-ibaha means everything is permissible, unless proven otherwise.
Opinion of Majority of Shi'a Faqihs
Majority of Shi'a faqihs believe that both religion and reason prove asalat al-ibaha (primacy of permission). They mention some hadiths and following verses from the Holy Qur'an proving their opinion:
Permissibility of Possession and Permissibility of Utilization in Fiqh and Civil Law
There is another meaning for ibaha in fiqh, which is permissibility of possessing or utilizing things that do not have certain owners.
- Mubah things that one can use them are things that all Muslim are allowed to use and using them exclusively is prohibited and they must be used in a way that do not prevent others from using it, such as routes and streets.
- Mubah things that one can possess are things that according to permission of Imam al-Muslimin and Islamic laws can be possessed, such as possessing the fish that one catches form mubah waters.
- The Qur'an 2:168
- The material for writing this article has been mainly taken from مباح in Farsi WikiShia.