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Understanding and Types of Rukhsah (Concession) in Islam

The following will explain the meaning of Rukhsah (Concession) and its various kinds in Islamic law. Rukhsah (Concession) aims to provide legal relief for people who are mukallaf.

Islam, with all its rules, requires benefit for its adherents. Islam does not want its adherents to fall into evil and harm. 

The main goal is to make it easier, not difficult. Therefore, the prescribed laws will always adapt to the situation and condition of the mukallaf concerned.

المشقة تجلب التيسير  

Every time there is a difficulty, there will be ease. 

For some reason, a difficult law turned into an easy one. Even if something heavy becomes light to do, this is Rukhsah (Concession) in Islam.

However, the notion of Rukhsah (Concession) is not cursory. It didn’t just appear either. There are reasons behind its appearance. For that, see the following explanation:

Definition of Rukhsah (Concession)

Etymologically, Rukhsah (Concession) means easy and light. In terms of terminology, Rukhsah (Concession) is waivers in law that the Shari’ah to a mukallaf because there is an excuse that causes the birth of the relief.

Imam al-Ghazali explained in his book al-Mustashfa, page 78;

“Rukhsah (Concession) in the language is an expression of ease and lightness. Meanwhile, regarding syara’, Rukhsah (Concession) is an expression of things permissible for the mukallaf because there is an excuse. Which things were originally not allowed and the causes that did not allow it still exists.”

Sheikh Nidzamu al-Din al-Syasyi also gave a similar explanation in his book Ushulu al-Syasyi, page 385;

ا الرُّخْصَة ارة الْيُسْر السهولة الشَّرْع الْأَمر الى اسِطَة الْمُكَلف

“Rukhsah (Concession) is an expression of ease and lightness. In terms of syara’ Rukhsah (Concession) is the transfer of a matter from difficulty to ease with the intermediary of udzur on mukallaf.”

Thus, Rukhsah (Concession) can be said that it is legal ease or relief for mukallaf that applies to certain situations and conditions. The Shari’ah gives this ease and relief because difficulties (udzur) hinder it.

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For example, a very hungry person who does not find food other than carrion is allowed to eat the carcass. Because there is an excuse, eating carrion which was originally not allowed, turns into permissible.

Causes of Rukhsah (Concession)

Imam Jalaluddin al-Suyuthi, in his book al-Asybah Wa al-Nadzȃir, page 126, mentions that there are seven reasons behind the emergence of Rukhsah (Concession);

First, Traveling (al-Safar)

Traveling (safar) is one of the reasons for Rukhsah (Concession), but not all types of traveling can be used as reasons for Rukhsah (Concession). Two things must be fulfilled to make traveling a cause of Rukhsah (Concession);

(1). Travel distance reaches a certain radius. According to Imam Shafi’i, the minimum distance to be traveled is 80 km, while Imam Abu Hanifa is 125 km.

(2). The purpose of travel is not immorality, such as robbing, stealing, killing, etc. According to Jumhur Ulama, while according to Imam Abu Hanifah, traveling for any purpose gets relief. 

The reason is that something that causes Rukhsah (Concession) already exists, namely traveling. Meanwhile, immorality is separate from traveling.

If these two conditions are met, then traveling can be the cause of Rukhsah (Concession) (lightening). Among them are paying for prayer, not fasting, and the like.

Second, Sick (al-Maradh)

Pain that can cause Rukhsah (Concession) is a disease that allows tayammum, namely pain that makes it difficult for a mukallaf to worship. This kind of pain allows taking the relief provided by the Shari’ah. Among them is tayammum, not fasting during Ramadan, sitting while performing the fard prayer, plural prayers, and so on.

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Third, coercion (al-Ikrah)

Ikrah is a condition where a person is forced to do something unlawful and has no power to refuse it—for example, forced to commit adultery. If he refused, he would be killed. This situation gave birth to Rukhsah (Concession).

Fourth, Forgetting (al-Nisyan)

Forgetting is a condition in which a person no longer knows something that was previously known or cannot bring knowledge about something when needed when he previously knew it. One relief from forgetting is that it does not break the fast when eating in a state of forgetfulness.

Fifth, Ignorance (al-Jahlu)

Ignorance is the cause of Rukhsah (Concession) if it does not cause dhaman (responsibility) and does not harm others. For example, a garden owner vowed that people could take fruit from his garden. A few months later, he retracted his vow. Then someone took the fruit there, not knowing that the garden owner had withdrawn his vow. In this condition, the person does not have to replace the fruit he took.

Sixth, al-‘Usru wa ‘Umumu al-Balwȃ

‘usru wa ‘umumu al-balwa is a difficulty where a person finds it difficult to stay away from it, and it has mingled with human life—for example, praying while the body carries unclean (tolerated) such as pus, boiled blood, insect blood, and so on.

Seventh, imperfect nature (al-Naqsu)

The deficiency referred to here is like the nature of children and madness. A small child is not tackling to perform religious obligations, likewise with crazy people. In this condition, both of them get relief; namely, they may not fulfill their obligations as people in general.

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If one of the seven causes is present in a mukallaf, then there are legal dispensations (Rukhsah (Concession)) from the Shari’a for the person concerned.

Kinds of Rukhsah (Concession)

Regarding taking Rukhsah (Concession) or not, Rukhsah (Concession) is divided into five kinds;

  • First, Rukhsah (Concession), which must be taken. It’s like eating the carcass of someone near death and can’t find any other food.
  • Second, the Rukhsah (Concession) that is sunnah is taken. It is like making up for prayer on the way, not fasting for those who are sick and looking at the face and hands of a woman who wants to be married.
  • Third, Rukhsah (Concession) can be taken like practicing a salam contract.
  • Fourth, the more important Rukhsah (Concession) is not taken. Such as wiping shoes, multiplying prayers in a state where there is no dharar, and so on.
  • Fifth, the makruh Rukhsah (Concession) is taken. Such as performing the prayer on a journey with less than a radius of 3 mashallah (120 Km).

Thus the explanation of the concept of Rukhsah (Concession) in Islam. It may be useful. Wallahu a’lam bi al-Shawab.