How did fatwas come into being? As a response to certain questions regarding people’s everyday life, and how many of these questions there are! This is why the earliest fatwas were called answers, as in the case of “Jābir Ibn Zayd’s Answers” and “Qatāda’s Answers”. As for the aspects that went beyond everyday life, the ulama used to speak, rather, of “issues” and “treatises”. We have texts thus entitled dating to the second century of the Islamic era (the eighth century) and concerning problems that, naturally, have an impact on everyday life but, at the same time, require a sort of in-depth, theoretical consideration that has to do with the fundamentals of religion or life or with Qur’anic concepts. This is what the imam Abū Hanīfa used to call The Greater Knowledge (al-fiqh al-akbar) and what, as is known, others passed on under the name of dialectic theology (‘ilm al-kalām).
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