RUKHSAH – رخصة
Literally: Permission. License. Facility. A certificate of permission. A permit. A license.
As a fiqh term: A dispensation given by Allah in order to lighten a religious duty. An exception to a general law granted by Allah in order to preserve life.
‘Azîmah is the original rule, which everyone has to abide by, while rukhsah is a permission and ease used temporarily and in a specific situation that Sharî’ah legitimated in the secondary degree.
For example: Holding the sawm is a fardh for all Muslims. Rukhsah for sawm is what Islam legislated temporarily for a specific situation like not holding the sawm while travelling or if there is a dharûrah (Please refer to the compilation What is dharûrah?)
For example: If someone is forced through death or losing one member of his to make a statement of kufr, it is to be made permissible by Sharî’ah and given rukhsah to ease his hardship, so long as his îmân remains firm in his heart. If ‘azîmah and rukhsah are gathered together in one event, following the ‘azîmah is a sign of taqwâ.
In the âyah (Qur’an 4:160) of the Qur’an, it is declared that Allah made haram some halal things and actions for the Jewish community due to their dhulm and dhalâlah. It is understood from this event of making haram that the Sharî’ah legislates the injunctions through the situation of the community. When dissipation and sins arise in the community, injunctions of the Sharî’ah become severe. Yes, it is a principle of Islam that in the time of fitnah or if there is a possibility of fitnah the way of rukhsah is to be closed, and when the piety of the community gains strength, acting through rukhsah becomes permissible.
“The careless should not be indulged with rukhsahs, but determinedly and severely warned by ‘azîmah.” The Letters ( 553 )
The rule of اِنَّ الضَّرُورَاتِ تُبِيحُ الْمَحْظُورَاتِ , that is, “Dharûrah makes halal what is haram”. Thus, this rule is not universal. If dharûrah did not occur by way of haram, it causes to make halal what is haram. Otherwise, if dharûrah occurred due to misuse of the will or haram causes, it cannot make halal what is haram, cannot be the source of the judgements with rukhsah and cannot constitute an excuse.
For example, if, through misusing his will, in a haram way, a man makes himself drunk, according to ‘ulamâ of the Sharî’ah, his actions are in force against him; he is not accepted as excused. If he divorces his wife, the divorce is in force. And if he commits a crime, he receives the punishment. But if it is not through misusing his will, the divorce is not in force neither does he receive any penalty. And, for example, an alcohol addict — even if his addiction is at the degree of dharûrah — cannot say: "It is a dharûrah; it is halal for me."
Thus, at this time, there are many matters that are considered dharûrah; they have taken the form of a general calamity that causes people to be addicted to them. Since they were born out of misuse of the will, haram inclinations and acts, they cannot be the source of the judgements with rukhsah and cannot cause to make halal what is haram. Whereas, since the people of ijtihad of the present time make those dharûrahs the source of judgements of the Sharî’ah, their ijtihâd is earthly and philosophic; they arise from the desires of their nafs; they cannot be sâmâwî and are not from the Sharî’ah. Whereas, if there is no ma’nawî permission of Al-Khâliq, the interference in the laws of Al-Khâliq of the samâwât and the earth and meddling in the ‘ibâdah of His ‘abds are rejected.
The Twenty-Seventh Word/The Third/The Fifth
“On the basis of only absolute dharûrah, there is rukhsah within the Sharî’ah to prefer what is glass (such as this world and wealth) over what is clearly known as diamond (such as the âkhirah and îmân). Otherwise, to make this preference based on a minor need, a fancy or greed and slight fear, is a foolish ignorance and loss that is deserving of a slap.” Kastamonu Addendum (33)
“Then those dhâlims who occupy high places in the eyes of the world said: "Not once in twenty years have you worn our headgear; you have not uncovered your head in the presence of either the former court or the present courts; you have presented yourself in the former attire. Whereas seventeen million have taken to modern dress." So I replied: rather than wearing through a rukhsah of the Sharî’ah and under the constraint of the law, the dress, not of seventeen million or even seven million, but with their own consent and sincere acceptance of seven thousand European-smitten drunkards, I prefer to wear, in conformity with ‘azîmah of the Sharî’ah and taqwâ, the dress of seven thousand million.” The Rays ( 315 )