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Fard (الفرض), mostly synonymous with wajib, is a term of Islamic law meaning Compulsory. It is one of the five rulings (or ahkam) that Islamic jurisprudence applies to any action a person can do.
Types of fard
Fard refers to religious duties incumbent upon all Muslims, of which there are two types:
- Individual duty (الواجب العين, or fard al-ayn)
Meaning something all individual Muslims must perform.
- Sufficiency duty (الواجب الكفائي, or fard al-kifaya)
Meaning something that is a collective duty among the body of believers, but may not require each individual Muslim to perform. This type of duty is fulfilled so long as someone in the local community of Muslims is doing it.
Fard vs. wajib
Hanafi fiqh differentiates between fard as that which is obligatory and wajib as that which is necessary. An example of wajib is the performance of ritual ablution, or wudu, prior to performing the daily prayers, which are themselves fard. In this example, it is simply necessary that a person perform wudu in order to complete their prayers, which are themselves obligatory, but performing wudu is not itself an obligation (that is to say, a person is not required to make wudu at any point in the day)
The most famous examples of fard, or obligatory, actions in Islam are the five pillars of Islam, which include: stating the Shahadah (testimony of faith), praying Salah, completing the Hajj, fasting during Ramadan, and giving Zakat.