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Individual obligation

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Individual obligation (Arabic: الواجب العيني) is a type of religious obligations that all mukallaf people should perform. Individual obligations are opposite to collective duties which are discharged from other people, if some mukallafs perform them. Daily prayers, fasting, zakat, doing good to parents and strengthening ties with blood relatives are among individual obligations.

Jurisprudential Definition

Individual obligations are opposite to collective duties which are not assigned to certain people; meaning that according to the Islamic view, it is sufficient if anyone performs it. Daily prayers, fasting, zakat, hajj,[1] doing good to parents and strengthening ties with blood relatives are among individual obligations.

Difference with Collective Duties

Main article: Collective obligation

Individual obligations are opposite to collective duties which are not assigned to certain people; meaning that according to the Islamic view, it is sufficient if anyone performs it. Thus, if they are performed by some mukallafs, they are not obligatory for others; such as enjoining good and prohibiting the evil, jihad, replying a greeting, shrouding, praying over and burial of a dead body and saving a person's life.

According to scholars of the principles of jurisprudence, the reason why others will be discharged of collective duties, in case they are performed by some mukallafs, is that in collective duties, the fulfillment of the duty is desired and it is not important who fulfills it.

Recognition of Individual and Collective Obligations

Scholars of the principles of jurisprudence say that in cases when there is no proof about whether one order of God is an individual or a collective duty, the person should consider it as his individual obligation; because, intellect rules that when the person is not certain that he would become discharged of God’s order if performed by others, he should perform it.

See Also

Notes

  1. Ḥusaynī, al-Dalīl al-fiqhī, p. 301.

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from واجب عینی in Farsi WikiShia.
  • Ḥusaynī, Muḥammad. Al-Dalīl al-fiqhī ṭaṭbīqat fiqhiyya li muṣṭalaḥāt ʿilm al-uṣūl. 1st edition. Damascus: Markaz-i Ibn Idrīs Ḥillī li-l-Dirāsāt al-fiqhiyya, 2007.