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Vol. 10 (2017)


Shari’a or Shari’a Law?

DOI:  [Google Scholar]
Published: 2017-12-31


Shari'a is not a legal system. It is the overall way of life of Islam, as people understand it according to traditional, early interpretations. These early interpretations date from 700 to 900 CE, not long after the Prophet Muhammad died in 632 CE. Shari'a can evolve with Islamic societies to address their needs today. Shari'a is the code of conduct or religious law of Islam. Most Muslims believe Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Qur'an, and the example set by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of Sharia to questions not directly addressed in the primary sources by including secondary sources. These secondary sources usually include the consensus of the religious scholars embodied in ijma, and analogy from the Qur'an and Sunnah through qiyas. Shia jurists prefer to apply reasoning ('aql) rather than analogy in order to address difficult questions. Muslims believe Sharia is God's law, but they differ as to what exactly it entails. Modernists, traditionalists and fundamentalists all hold different views of Sharia, as do adherents to different schools of Islamic thought and scholarship. Different countries and cultures have varying interpretations of Sharia as well.


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