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Introduction to Islamic law 
Islamic Law is also called and known by Sharia. Sharia is the moral 
code and religious law o...
History of Islamic Law (Sharia) 
The origin of sharia is the Quran, and traditions gathered from the life of the 
Islamic ...
Definition and Descriptions 
Sharia, in its strictest definition, is a divine law, as expressed in the Quran 
and Muhammad...
Sources of Islamic law (Sharia) 
There are two sources of Sharia (understood as the divine law): the Quran 
and Sunnah: 
T...
philosophical, social, political and economic basis on which a society 
should be constructed. The verses revealed in Mecc...
Secondary Sources: 
 Ijma (Consensus) 
 Qiyas (Analogical reason) 
Ijma: 
The ijma' , or consensus amongst Muslim jurist...
is the process of legal deduction according to which the jurist, 
confronted with an unprecedented case, bases his or her ...
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Introduction to islamic law

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Introduction to islamic law

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Introduction to islamic law

  1. 1. Introduction to Islamic law Islamic Law is also called and known by Sharia. Sharia is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Though interpretations of sharia vary between cultures, in its strictest definition it is considered the infallible law of ALLAH—as opposed to the human interpretation of the laws. (fiqh) There are two primary sources of sharia law: the precepts set forth in the Quranic verses (ayahs), and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Where it has official status, sharia is interpreted by Islamic judges (qadis) with varying responsibilities for the religious leaders (imams). For questions not directly addressed in the primary sources, the application of sharia is extended through consensus of the religious scholars (ulama) thought to embody the consensus of the Muslim Community (ijma). Islamic jurisprudence will also sometimes incorporate analogies from the Quran and Sunnah through qiyas. The concept of crime, judicial process, justice and punishment embodied in sharia is different from that of secular law.The differences between sharia and secular laws have led to an on-going controversy as to whether sharia is compatible with secular democracy, freedom of thought, and women's rights. In secular jurisprudence, sharia is classified as religious law, which is one of the three major categories that individual legal systems generally fall under, alongside civil law and common law.
  2. 2. History of Islamic Law (Sharia) The origin of sharia is the Quran, and traditions gathered from the life of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. Sharia underwent fundamental development, beginning with the reigns of caliphs Hazrat Abu Bakr R.A (632–34) and Hazrat Umar Farooq R.A (634–44), during which time many questions were brought to the attention of Muhammad's closest comrades for consultation. During the reign of Muawiya & Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Islam undertook an urban transformation, raising questions not originally covered by Islamic law. Since then, changes in Islamic society have played an ongoing role in developing sharia, which branches out into fiqh andQanun respectively. The formative period of fiqh stretches back to the time of the early Muslim communities. In this period, jurists were more concerned with pragmatic issues of authority and teaching than with theory. Progress in theory happened with the coming of the early Muslim jurist Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi'i (767–820), who laid down the basic principles of Islamic jurisprudence in his book Al-Risala. The book details the four roots of law (Quran, Sunnah, ijma, and qiyas) while specifying that the primary Islamic texts (the Quran and the hadith) be understood according to objective rules of interpretation derived from careful study of the Arabic language. There has been a growing religious revival in Islam, beginning in the eighteenth century and continuing today. This movement has expressed itself in various forms ranging from wars to efforts towards improving education.
  3. 3. Definition and Descriptions Sharia, in its strictest definition, is a divine law, as expressed in the Quran and Muhammad's example (often called the sunnah). As such, it is related to but different from fiqh, which is emphasized as the human interpretation of the law. Many scholars have pointed out that the sharia is not formally a code, nor a well-defined set of rules. The sharia is characterized as a discussion on the duties of Muslims based on both the opinion of the Muslim community and extensive literature.Hunt Janin and Andre Kahlmeyer thus conclude that the sharia is "long, diverse, and complicated. From the 9th century, the power to interpret and refine law in traditional Islamic societies was in the hands of the scholars (ulema). This separation of powers served to limit the range of actions available to the ruler, who could not easily decree or reinterpret law independently and expect the continued support of the community. Through succeeding centuries and empires, the balance between the ulema and the rulers shifted and reformed, but the balance of power was never decisively changed. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution introduced an era of European world hegemony that included the domination of most of the lands of Islam. At the end of the Second World War, the European powers found themselves too weakened to maintain their empires. The wide variety of forms of government, systems of law, attitudes toward modernity and interpretations of sharia are a result of the ensuing drives for independence and modernity in the Muslim world.
  4. 4. Sources of Islamic law (Sharia) There are two sources of Sharia (understood as the divine law): the Quran and Sunnah: The Quran is viewed as the unalterable word of God. Much of the Quran exhorts Muslims to general moral values; only 80 verses of the Quran contain legal prescriptions. The Sunnah is the life and example of the Islamic prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. The Sunnah's importance as a source of Sharia, is confirmed by several verses of the Quran The process of interpreting the two primary sources of Islamic law is called fiqh (literally meaning "intelligence") or Islamic jurisprudence. While the above two sources are regarded as infallible, the fiqh standards may change in different contexts. Fiqh covers all aspects of law, including religious, civil, political, constitutional and procedural law. Fiqh depends on 4 sources: 1. Interpretations of the Quran 2. Interpretations of the Sunnah 3. Ijma, consensus amongst scholars ("collective reasoning") 4. Qiyas/Ijtihad analogical deduction ("individual reasoning") Primary Sources:  Quran  Sunnah Quran: The Qur'an is the first and most important source of Islamic law. Believed to be the direct word of God as revealed to Muhammad through angel Gabriel in Mecca and Medina, the scripture specifies the moral,
  5. 5. philosophical, social, political and economic basis on which a society should be constructed. The verses revealed in Mecca deal with philosophical and theological issues, whereas those revealed in Medina are concerned with socio-economic laws. The Qur'an was written and preserved during the life of Muhammad P.B.U.H, and compiled soon after his death. The verses of the Qur'an are categorized into three fields: "science of speculative theology", "ethical principles" and "rules of human conduct". The third category is directly concerned with Islamic legal matters which contain about five hundred verses or one thirteenth of it. The task of interpreting the Qur'an has led to various opinions and judgments. The interpretations of the verses by Muhammad's companions for Sunnis and Imams for Shias are considered the most authentic, since they knew why, where and on what occasion each verse was revealed. Sunnah: The Sunnah is the next important source, and is commonly defined as "the traditions and customs of Muhammad" or "the words, actions and silent assertions of him". It includes the everyday sayings and utterances of Muhammad, his acts, his tacit consent, and acknowledgments of statements and activities. According to Shi'ite jurists, the sunnah also includes the words, deeds and acknowledgments of the twelve Imams and Fatimah, Muhammad's daughter, who are believed to be infallible. Hadith are classified into three categories. 1. Undubitable (mutawatir), which are very widely known, and backed up by numerous references. 2. Widespread (mashhur), which are widely known, but backed up with few original references. 3. Isolated or Single (wahid), which are backed up by too few and often discontinuous references. In a shariah court a qadi (judge) hears a case, including witnesses’ nd evidence. Then the qadi makes a ruling. Sometimes the qadi consults a mufti or scholar of law, for an opinion.
  6. 6. Secondary Sources:  Ijma (Consensus)  Qiyas (Analogical reason) Ijma: The ijma' , or consensus amongst Muslim jurists on a particular legal issue, constitutes the third source of Islamic law. Muslim jurists provide many verses of the Qur'an that legitimize ijma' as a source of legislation. Muhammad P.B.U.H. himself said:  "My followers will never agree upon an error or what is wrong".  "God's hand is with the entire community". In history, it has been the most important factor in defining the meaning of the other sources and thus in formulating the doctrine and practice of the Muslim community. This is so because ijma' represents the unanimous agreement of Muslims on a regulation or law at any given time. Qiyas: Qiyas or analogical reason is the fourth source of the sharia for the majority of Sunni jurisprudence. It aims to draw analogies to a previously accepted decision. Shiites do not accept analogy, but replace it with reason (aql); among Sunnis, the Hanbalites have traditionally been reluctant to accept analogy while the Zahirites don't accept it at all. Analogical reason in Islam
  7. 7. is the process of legal deduction according to which the jurist, confronted with an unprecedented case, bases his or her argument on the logic used in theQur'an and Sunnah. Legally sound analogy must not be based on arbitrary judgment, but rather be firmly rooted in the primary sources. Supporters of the practice of qiyas will often point to passages in the Qur'an that describe an application of a similar process by past Islamic communities. According to supporters of the practice, Muhammad P.B.U.H. said: "Where there is no revealed injunction, I will judge amongst you according to reason."

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