|Part of a series on Islam|
|Legal vocations and titles|
Ahkam (aḥkām, Arabic: أحكام "provisions", plural of ḥukm (حُكْم)) is an Islamic term with several meanings. In the Quran, the word hukm is variously used to mean arbitration, judgement, authority, or God's will. In the early Islamic period, the Kharijites gave it political connotations by declaring that they accept only the hukm of God (حُكْمُ اللّهِ). The word acquired new meanings in the course of Islamic history, being used to refer to worldly executive power or to a court decision. In the plural, ahkam, it commonly refers to specific Quranic rules, or to the legal rulings derived using the methodology of fiqh. Sharia rulings fall into one of five categories known as "the five decisions" (al-aḥkām al-khamsa): mandatory (farḍ or wājib), recommended (mandūb or mustaḥabb), neutral (mubāḥ), reprehensible (makrūh), and forbidden (ḥarām). According to scholar of Islam Joseph Schacht, the categories were developed at least two centuries after Muhammad's time.[Note 1]
Sharia rulings fall into one of five categories known as “the five rulings” (الأحكام الخمسة, al-aḥkām al-khamsa):
It is a sin or a crime to perform a forbidden action or not to perform a mandatory action. Reprehensible acts should be avoided, but they are not considered to be sinful or punishable in court. Avoiding reprehensible acts and performing recommended acts is held to be subject of reward in the afterlife, while allowed actions entail no judgement from God. Jurists disagree on whether the term ḥalāl covers the first three or the first four categories. The legal and moral verdict depends on whether the action is committed out of necessity (ḍarūra).
The ḥukm shar‘ī (aḥkām) in its literal sense carries the meaning of a rule of Islamic law. Thus aḥkām (rules) is the plural form of ḥukm (rule), which means rule, command, the absolute, order, judgment, injunction, prescription, and decree. This rule could be a rule of any kind; it is to command one to delegate an order to another whether approval or disapproval. You could say that the moon is rising or the moon is not rising, or that fire burns. Technically, it is considered a rule of Islamic law. Āmidī (d. 631/1234) defines adillah as the science of the proofs of fiqh and the indications that they provide with regard to the aḥkām of the sharī‘ah. The ḥukm shar‘ī consists of four fundamental elements. These elements are: the Ḥākim (Lawgiver), the maḥkūm alayh (the subject), the maḥkūm fīh (the act of the mukallaf), and the ḥukm (ruling).
Religious precepts may be relaxed under certain extraordinary conditions. For example, although Muslims are required to fast during Ramadan, it is not only acceptable but recommended for an ill man to break his fast if fasting will worsen his illness.