5

I understand this question would be pretty opinion based, and broad, because most of the scholars differ with each other whether different subjects are fard (obligatory) or not.

Examples:

  • To say in sha Allah on intended acts (not fard):1

    وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَٰلِكَ غَدًا إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ

    And do not say of anything: Surely I will do it tomorrow, Except [when adding], "If Allah wills."

  • To eat with right hand (mostly say not fard):2,3

    ... إِذَا أَكَلَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَلْيَأْكُلْ بِيَمِينِهِ ...

    ... When any one of you intends to eat (meal), he should eat with his right hand...

  • To only eat meat where the name of God has been provoked. (disagreements, many say it is not fard):4,5

    ... وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرِ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ

    And do not eat of that upon which the name of Allah has not been mentioned

  • To make ghusl in fridays (not fard):6,7,8

    إِذَا رَاحَ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَى الْجُمُعَةِ فَلْيَغْتَسِلْ

    Anyone of you going out for the Jumua prayer should take a bath

  • To read the Quran with tajweed (many say it is fard if you know how to):9,10,11

    رَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا

    and recite the Qur'an with measured recitation.

  • To grow a beard (for men), (fard according to most, while disagreements exists):12,13

    خَالِفُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ، وَفِّرُوا اللِّحَى، وَأَحْفُوا الشَّوَارِبَ

    Do the opposite of what the pagans do. Keep the beards and cut the mustaches short.

  • To say Bismillah over food (not fard):14

    إِذَا أَكَلَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَلْيَذْكُرِ اسْمَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى

    When one of you eats, he should mention Allah's name.

  • To pray Friday prayer/Jumu'a (for men), (fard):15

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ

    O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade.


There are of course many more cases.

When does an order constitute fard?

I understand that scholars have different opinions about this, so when answering. please try to add which view you are quoting or explaining. I am looking for a structured answer with rules/conditions which (different) scholars use to conclude that an order (fi'l amr) is fard.

Relevant:
Is the lack of information in a hadith a proof of something being allowed?
What does “wajib” mean in this hadith about doing ghusl in Jumua (Friday)?

1
+50

My answer relies a lot on the deleted answer of @Medi1Saif:

Based on ibn 'Ashirs عبد الواحد بن عاشر definition in his al-Murshid al-Mo'yn المرشد المعين على الضروري من علوم الدين (A Maliki reference):

مُقدِمةُ مِنَ الأُصُولِ

مُعِينَةُ في فُروعِهَا عَلَى الوُصُولِ

الْحُكْمُ في الشَّرْعِ خِطابُ رَبِّنَا *** الْمُقْتضِي فِعْلَ الْمُكَلَّفِ افْطُنَا

بِطِلَبِ أوْ إِذْنِ أوْ بِوَضْعِ *** لِسَبَبِ أَوْ شَرْطِ أوْ ذِي مَنْعِ

أَقْسامُ حُكْمِ الشَّرْعِ خَمْسّةُ تُرامْ*** فَرْضٌ ونَدْبٌ وكَراهَةٌ حَرامْ

ثُمَّ إِبَاحَةُ فَمَأْمُورُ جُزِمْ * **فَرْضُ ودونَ الْجَزْمِ مَنْدوبُ وُسِم (source or here)

which was translated in English as follows (source):

(Introductory Chapter About the Foundational Principles of Jurisprudence
Which Help One Reach Understanding of its Branches)

A ruling in the Shari`ah is the speech of our Lord

Comment:(read in 12:40 " Legislation is not but for Allah." which is used as the strongest evidence for that.)

| which determines (the rank) of the action of the person who is responsible (for his actions). So, understand this well.
(This ruling is either) a request, a permission, or a stipulation - | with a triggering cause, precondition, or that of prevention.
The divisions of legal rulings are five desired: | (1) obligatory, (2) recommended, (3) disliked, (4) unlawful, And lastly (5) neutral and allowed. So the command which is strict | is called a fard!/wājib. And if it is of a lower level of strictness, it is marked as mandūb.

with the definitions of the terms:

The next five legal ruling terms form the basic vocabulary of Jurisprudence. One cannot study, understand, or follow Law without the knowledge of what these five terms mean:
The first term is wājib, which in (Arabic) language means obligatory.
The second term is mandūb, which in language means recommended.
The third term is mubāh, which in language means neutral and allowed.
The fourth term is makrūh, which in language means disliked.
The fifth term is harām, which in language means unlawful. ...

Wajib is the legal ruling for actions that Allah has commanded us to perform and not given us a choice to leave undone.
Mandub is the legal ruling for actions that Allah has recommended that we perform, but He has given us a choice to leave them undone.

So wajib is anything which we may get rewards if we do it and sin if we leave it. As Allah says:

... So let those beware who dissent from the Prophet's order, lest fitnah strike them or a painful punishment. (24:63)

While for Mandub we have an option: We may get a reward if we perform it, but won't be sinning if we leave it.

The keyword for what constitutes fard is "الْجَزْمِ" which means (determination) or no single doubt or choice!
Note that this is also the definition of the Hanbali school of fiqh and covers the definition of the Shafi'i school of fiqh which adds two other kinds of legal rulings sahih (true, correct) and batil (incorrect, false) while the Hanafis make a distinction between fard and wajib (which basically is that fard is based on a clear order, while wajib is based on a concluded order). For distinguishing orders some scholars point at the importance of verbs in the order or imperative form: افعل.

You may also read for example from in al-Waraqaat (pdf- page 56-57) of imam al-Juwayni the following definition of an order or command:

والأمر: استدعاء الفعل بالقول، ممن هو دونه، على سبيل الوجوب وصيغته : افعل،
وهي ثم الإطلاق والتجرد عن القرينة تحمل عليه، إلا ما دل الدليل على أن المراد منه الندب، أو الإباحة،
ولا تقتضي التكرار على الصحيح، إلا ما دل الدليل على قصد التكرار، ولا تقتضى الفور
والأمر بإيجاد الفعل أمر به، وبما لا يتم الفعل إلا به، كالأمر بالصلاة؛ فإنه أمر بالطهارة؛ المؤدية إليها، وإذا فُعِل يخرج المأمور عن العهدة

A command is a verbal demand obliging an inferior (someone who is below) to perform an act. The verbal form that indicates command is if'al [ افعل - the imperative].
When unqualified, and in the absence of contextual indications [to the contrary], it is interpreted as obligation, except when some evidence indicates that recommendation (الندب) or permission (الإباحة) is meant, in which case it is interpreted accordingly.
The correct view is that command does not require the repetition of the act, unless some evidence indicates that repetition was intended; nor does it require immediate action.
The command to bring about an action is a command to perform both the act and whatever is required for the completion of the act, just as the command to perform the prayers is a command enjoining the purity that paves the way for them. When the commanded act is performed, the one who is commanded is considered to have discharged his responsibility.

As an example you may take:

  • ... So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah ... (73:20)

All three: recite, establish and give are expressing an order which make no doubt!

Now if the order is less strict you move to recommended like:

  • O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down. ... 2:282

Check in Tafsir al-Qurtobi his discussion of the ruling: The majority is of the opinion that writing a contract in this situation is only mandub.

  • ... then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness ... (24:33)

The ruling is the same as above writing a contract is mandub and not necessary. According to the commentary on a poem -written by al-'Amrity العَمْرِيطِي- based on al-Juwayni's al-Warqat of Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki.

  • ... Then when you release their property to them, bring witnesses upon them. ... (4:6)

and from the sunnah:

  • Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "If I had not found it hard for my followers or the people, I would have ordered them to clean their teeth with Siwak for every prayer." (sahih al-Bukhari)
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Pray before the Maghrib (compulsory) prayer." He (said it thrice) and in the third time, he said, "Whoever wants to offer it can do so." He said so because he did not like the people to take it as a tradition. (sahih al-Bukhari)

My understanding of mandub is that the difference between mandub and wajib is that there might be a doubt, an optiona or a specific condition or a difference in interpretation/opinion or even a kind of contradiction with other evidences. All this creates a kind of (minor) doubt, while an order must be crystal clear! Some of the sources or osol which declare fard are the Qur'an (from Allah), sunnah (from the Prophet whom is declared to speak the truth by Allah) and Ijma' (is supported by Qur'an and sunnah as a source determinate of knowledge) as these souces give what we may call a determinate evidence, while one may consider analogy rather human (and failible) source. Also note that the first three sources are those who are common between all madhhabs even if there might be a difference in interpretation and definition.

Discussion of some of your examples:

I've tried to address them according my understanding and Allah knows best.

•To make ghusl in fridays (not fard):

This can hardly be considered as fard if one believe that the hadith in sahih Muslim quoting wudu' instead of ghusl is sahih as there would be a contradiction. Therefore considering it as strongly recommended is the best was out!

•To read the Quran with tajweed (many say it is fard if you know how to):

Here we should know that memorizing the Qur'an is fard kifaya and therefore reciting it correctly also should be the same, as one shouldn't memorize Qur'an without knowing the correct tajweed! Beside this not all Muslims are fluent Arabic speakers! Also read Can someone give me examples of fard kifaya?

•To pray Friday prayer/Jumu'a (for men), (fard):

Well when you read the Arabic text one may say hey way do Muslims make here a distinction between women and men (which usually is not the case in worship matters), but we have the sunnah and ijma' who tell us that this is the way it has been performed. Also note that the verb expressing the order here is in passive form so it is not a strict order in Arabic language and the sentence is also conditional due to the term: "when is called". All this might explain a restriction. Note that fard kifaya has strong similarities to sunnah/mandub as one must not do it and wouldn't be sinning if only one Muslim performed it, but if anybody else left it also all would sin

•To only eat meat where the name of God has been provoked. (disagreements, many say it is not fard):

and

•To say Bismillah over food (not fard):

These both are due to the verse from surat al-Maidah allowing Muslims to eat the food of the people of the book. So one could speak about a kind of naskh in this case.

•To grow a beard (for men), (fard according to most, while disagreements exists):

Here there are some athar saying that ibn 'Omar -one of the sahaba whom followed the sunnah one could say extensively- used to take from his beard (shorten it) which a few scholars interpret as an indication to allow shaving it.

Some references I've consulted: islamqa, al-mustasfa of al-Ghazaly (shafi'i), sharh mukhtassar ar-Rawdah also known as al-Bulbul of at-Toufi الطوفي -not at-Toussi as quoted by islamweb- (hanbali)

Note: When I started investigating I found that in some of the examples you presented we may find the opinion of one (maybe two) single scholars against the majority and I've read in tafsir al-Qurtobi a comment on one point where at-Tabari held an opinion which was hardly supported by any source while the majority held was in consensus about a different ruling, al-Qurtobi commented this that saying something like "at-Tabari held the wrong opinion that..." .Unfortunately I couldn't find that comment nor recall the verse I've been checking at the time.

  • I know you added some more info but I wondered if the first part which you copied of Medi1Saif complies with site policies. I know you acknowledge that you based it on that but you could've referred to it and then add your bit but he did delete it so I guess it's alright. – Armaan Feb 13 '18 at 18:31
  • Thanks for your answer and time! Could you add some more details about the following: "All this creates a kind of (minor) doubt, while an order must be crystal clear! " With other words; could you define crystal clear? Does it mean that in order for an order to be fard, there should be no contradictions in the Quran or Sunnah? Could the source be reasoning only or does it have to be from the Quran and sunnah? For instance, the hadith about eating with right hand, which isn't fard, if I recall correctly it's on adab, which is based on reasoning and not quran and sunnah (correct me if wrong – Kilise Feb 13 '18 at 20:07
  • Okay. Isn't categorizing eating with right hand to be among "adab", dhanni reasoning? If one follows the rules given above in your answer, I would conclude that that reasoning isn't enough to not call it fard, since there are no contradictions (except that dhanni reasoning). Notice, I am not saying that it should be fard to eat with right hand only, even though some scholars say it is, I am just trying to figure out the rules of when an order really can be concluded to be fard – Kilise Feb 13 '18 at 20:36
  • @Jamila I added the bounty on you since it was going to expire, and you did a good answer anyways. However, I still miss some more information about when an order is fard (or strict enough to be fard), i.e more comments and details on my last (explainatory)question in this comment section. It would be nice if you find time to add some details about that in your answer. Thanks again! – Kilise Feb 14 '18 at 22:01
  • @Kilise thanks, I will try to check and find an answer on that (no promises). I'm surely not too deep in this topic: errors in my explanations are not excluded. – Jamila Feb 16 '18 at 12:41

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