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7/3/2009 Fiqh

Shariah Laws:
Shariah is a complete code of Islamic law pertaining to the rights and duties of a Muslim. It
governs the conducts of a man, at the same time it removes the ignorance of a man and gives true
prospective of his rights and duties. It is mainly concerned with the methods of worship, social
principles, law regarding man's relations with each other, the rules and conditions regarding the
lawful and unlawful and similar other problems.
The only purpose of Shariah laws is to regulate people's life. Shariah laws are so much
comprehensive that it deals from dressing to complex law making. It is for all type of people no
matter they are the sweeper or the king. And it clearly defines the dealing of non-Muslims.
Literally Shariah means “the clear path to be followed”, and technically it stands for the
regulation of man's life in way, which is best for him. Shari'ah is the code of law for the Islamic
way of life which Allah swt has revealed for mankind and commanded us to follow.
The word Shari'ah means a clear straight path or example.
Shari'ah, or Islamic law, is the code of conduct for Muslims and is based on two main sources:
The Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet. It aims towards the success and welfare of mankind
both in this life and the life after death.
Shari'ah prescribes a complete set of laws for the guidance of mankind so that Good (Ma'ruf)
may triumph and Evil (Munkar) disappears from society. It provides a clear and straight path
which leads to progress and fulfillment in life and the attainment of Allah's pleasure.
Shariah consists of followings:
Holy Quran
The Sunnah (practices) of Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)
The Qiyas.
Now to make you understand Shariah laws more clearly, you must be explained about the four
constituents of Shariah mentioned above.
Holy Quran
Holy Quran is the sacred book of Muslims and is the principle source of the Muslim laws.
Allah, dictated Quran through Gabriel (the Angel) to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). It was
revealed towards the end (most probably 27th) of Ramadan (the holy month of Muslims). Quran
was revealed in Arabia and in the Arabic as the first target people were all those who knew
Arabic. Allah through the Quran once said:
“So we have made it easy in their tongues that they may be mindful”. (Az-Zumar: 28)
Quran was first written on skins of palm trees and leather by Zaid bin Sabt. Later in times of
caliphate of Hazrat AbuBakr (r.a), he gathered prominent Hafiz-e-Quran (people who have learnt
Quran by heart) were gathered and Quran was compiled into one complete form as a book, while
being divided into 30 parts or chapters. He also added “arrabs” so that non-Arabs can read it
Quran is a complete code of conduct itself. You can find what Allah wants you to do, from
birth of a baby to death of a person. It has everything in it. For more information click here.
Muslims believe the Qur'an to be the direct words of Allah, as revealed to and transmitted by the
Prophet Muhammad. All sources of Islamic law must be in essential agreement with the Qur'an,
the most fundamental source of Islamic knowledge. When the Qur'an itself does not speak
directly or in detail about a certain subject, Muslims only then turn to alternative sources of
Islamic law.
The Sunnah
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It is the secondary source of Muslim laws. Sunnah means the doings of Prophet Muhammad
(s.a.w), reported through different “Sahabahs” (close friends or people who worked and lived
with him).Holy prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), all his life acted on what Allah told him to do and in
respect of everything one can do to be a pious and complete Muslim, there is no one but prophet
Muhammad (s.a.w)'s Sunnah which is so much complete and comprehensive that it must be
followed. Sunnah is the traditions or known practices of the Prophet Muhammad, many of which
have been recorded in the volumes of Hadith literature. The resources include many things that
he said, did, or agreed to -- and he lived his life according to the Qur'an, putting the Qur'an into
practice in his own life. During his lifetime, the Prophet's family and companions observed him
and shared with others exactly what they had seen in his words and behaviors -- i.e. how he
performed ablutions, how he prayed, and how he performed many other acts of worship. People
also asked the Prophet directly for rulings on various matters, and he would pronounce his
judgment. All of these details were passed on and recorded, to be referred to in future legal
rulings. Many issues concerning personal conduct, community and family relations, political
matters, etc. were addressed during the time of the Prophet, decided by him, and recorded. The
Sunnah can thus clarify details of what is stated generally in the Qur'an.
Shari'ah has two other sources: Ijma' (consensus) and Qiyas (analogy or reasoning on the basis of
similar circumstances). These sources must still be based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
The word Sunnah means a system, a path or an example. In Islam it refers to the practice of the
Prophet, his life example. It is embodied in the Ahadith (plural of Hadith) which are the
Prophet's saying, actions and the actions done with his approval. Ahadith have been very
carefully collected and compiled since the death of the Prophet. Six collections of Hadith are
regarded as the most authentic. They are:
1. Sahih Al-Bukhari
(Collected and compiled by Muhammad bin Isma'il, known as Imam Bukhari, born 194 AH, died 256
2. Sahih Muslim
(Muslim bin al-Hajjaj, known as Imam Muslim, born 202 AH, died 257 AH).
3. Sunnah Abu Dawud
(Aulaiman bin Ash'ath, known as Abu Dawud, born 202 AH, died 275 AH).
4. Sunnah Ibn Majah
(Muhammad bin Yazad, born 209 AH, died 273 AH).
5. Jami' At-Tirmidhi
(Muhammad bin 'Isa, date of birth not known died 279 AH).
6. Sunnah An-Nasa'i
(Ahmad bin Shu'aib, born 215 AH, died 303 AH).
In addition to this, the Muwatta' of Imam Malik (born 93 AH, died 179AH), Mishkaat Al-Masabih of Abu
Muhammad al-Husain bin Mas'ud (died 516 AH) and Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal (born 164 AH, died
241AH) are also well known.
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Ijma' (consensus)
Ijma is the third source of Shariah laws. It can be defined as the “consensus of opinion of the
companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) or Muslim jurists”. It is the approval and
agreed opinion of the Muslim jurists of the first three centuries of the Hijra.It is simply an agreed
upon decision. It is also used in an Islamic society to overcome a problem, which could not be
found in Quran or in Sunnah. It is narrated in a hadith.
“If anything comes to you for decision, according to the book of Allah, if anything comes to
you which is not in the book of Allah, then look to the Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w), if
anything comes to you which is not in the Sunnah of Prophet (s.a.w), then look to what
people unanimously agrees upon”.
In situations when Muslims have not been able to find a specific legal ruling in the Qur'an or
Sunnah, the consensus of the community is sought (or at least the consensus of the legal scholars
within the community). The Prophet Muhammad once said that his community (i.e. the Muslim
community) would never agree on an error.
Qiyas (analogy)
Qiyas is the fourth important source of Sunnah. The word Qiyas means, “comparing with” or
“judging by comparing with a thing”. Qiyas is a process of deduction by which the laws of a text
is applied to the cases which though not concerned by the language, are governed by the reason
of the text. It is actually analogy from the Quran, the Sunnah and Ijma.
In cases when something needs a legal ruling, but has not been clearly addressed in the other
sources, judges may use analogy, reasoning, and legal precedent to decide new case law. This is
often the case when a general principle can be applied to new situations. (See the article
Smoking in Islam for an example of this process at work.)
Qiyas can be carried out only in a Shariah governed state when a solution to problem cannot be
found through Quran, Sunnah and Ijma.
This can confirm Qiyas' authentication that when Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) choose Muaz bin
Jabal as Governor, he asked him what he will do if a problem rises. He said he will follow the
Quran, and if it is not clear there then will consult Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and in
case if it fails to satisfy then he will use his own judgment (Qiyas). Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)
encouraged him on listening to his reply.
Another hadith tells:
“Judge upon the book of Allah, upon the Sunnah of the Prophet and if you do not find it in
that, then use your personal opinion”.
Now why the Shariah laws are important? And are they used against non-Muslims? First of all
Islam is a religion which gives teaching of tolerance towards everyone and Shariah law enforces
it. For example when Makkah was conquered by Muslims under Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), he
did not allowed anyone to occupy the houses or gardens of the non-Muslims there.
According to Shariah law if someone is doing a wrong act (i.e. against the law), he/she must be
then punished equal-lent to that of the crime and in case if he/she escapes justice then Allah will
do the Justice.
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For your convenience some of the Shariah laws are mentioned below:
A murderer must be killed in the same way as he murdered but can be set free if the bereaved
family agrees to take some money instead of killing murderer.
A thief's hand must be cut, and for a decoct opposite hand and foot must be cut.
A person can only keep four wives at a time. Only if he can keep them all with justice,
otherwise he can be trialed in a court.
One cannot keep two real sisters as wife at one time.
Man should pay some good amount of money or some articles as a dower to the bride at the
time of “Nikkah” (marriage). And he cannot take it back.
If a man blames his wife of adultery and fails to prove then will be punished by court.
These are just few Shariah laws, while it covers all the aspects of life. Also it must be kept in
mind that these under this law the punishment can be executed only be the court. No individual
can practice these powers. For more information, questions are welcomed.

Shari'ah (Islamic Law)

"The rule is to none but Allah."(TM.Qur'an. Ana'am:57).
"If anyone rules by other than what Allah has revealed they are kafireen (unbelievers)."
(TM.Qur'an. Maida 5:47).
The Qur'an is the main basis of Shari'ah. It states the principles while the sunnah of the Prophet
provides the details of their application. For example, the Qur'an says: establish salah, observe
sawm, pay zakah, take decisions by consultation, do not earn or spend in wrong ways- but it does
not describe how to do these things. It is the sunnah of the Prophet which gives us the details.
The Qur'an is the main book of guidance and the Prophet taught how to follow it. The Prophet
not only told us how to follow the guidance, he also practiced it himself.
Shari'ah has rules for every aspect of life. It is complete and perfect, and guarantees us success,
welfare and peace in this life on earth and in the life after death.

Man-made laws differ from Shari'ah in a number of significant ways.

Man-made law Shari'ah or The Creator, Allah's law.
1. Men make laws when they feel the need; these laws 1. Islamic Law is complete and perfect
start from a few and then grow in number over the and covers all aspects of human life.
years. 2. Shari'ah is permanent for all people all
2. Man-made laws are not permanent; they can be the time. It does not change with time
changed according to the time and circumstances. For and conditions. For example, drinking
example, in a particular country at a particular time, alcohol and gambling are not allowed
drinking alcohol may be banned; but this can change under Islamic law. No-one can change
when public pressure grows. The American this; it is a law that is valid for all time
Government once banned alcoholic drink but removed and for all places.
the ban after a time because it could not be applied. 3. Allah is All-knowing and All-powerful;
3. Man does not have knowledge of the future. Hence, He is the most Wise and His laws are the
manmade laws cannot stand the test of time. best and are complete.
4. Man is a created being. His laws are the creation of 4. Allah swt is the Creator and His laws
the created. are for men, His creation.
5. Man-made laws may be suitable for a particular 5. Allah's laws are for all nations, all
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nation or country. They cannot be universal. countries and for all time. They are
6. Men make laws to suit their own needs. Suppose universal.
members of parliament want to decrease the rate of tax 6. Allah is above all needs. He is not
on rich, they would do so, even if the majority of the dependent on anything, so His laws are
people suffered and there was high unemployment in for the good of all people and not for a
the country. few, selfish people.
Fiqh is the science of Islamic Law or jurisprudence. It refers to the collection and compilation of
Islamic laws based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet. The word Fiqh means
knowledge and understanding.
Some great Muslims devoted themselves to the task of developing the science of understanding
Islamic law and its practice. The four best-known compilers of Islamic law or Shari'ah are:
1. Abu Hanifah Nu'man bin Thabit, known as Imam Abu Hanifah (born 80AH, died 150AH).
2. Malik bin Anas, known as Imam Malik (93-179AH).
3. Muhammad bin Idris Al-Shafi'i, known as Imam Shafi'i (150-240AH).
4. Ahmad bin Hanbal, known as Imam Ibn Hanbal (164-241 AH).
Islamic law divides human activies into:
1. Fard or Wajib (duty or obligatory)
-performance of these actions is rewarded and their omission is punished.
2. Mandub (recommended)
-actions the performance of which is rewarded but omission of which is not punished.
3. Mubah (silent)
-actions permitted by silence.
4. Makruh (disliked)
-actions disapproved of but not punishable.
5. Haram (forbidden)
-actions punishable by law.
The scholars and experts on Islamic Law have made Shari'ah easier to understand and practice
by science of Fiqh. Fiqh is the explanation of the Islamic laws based on the Qur'an and Sunnah.
Islamic law or Shari'ah embodies the ideal Islamic life. Islam is the complete way of life and
Shari'ah is the means to arrive at the ideal life recommended by Islam. Shari'ah enables us to
bring our life in line with the will of Allah swt. It is the process of achieving our goal of life.
Ref.. Islam Beliefs and Teaching by Ghulam Sarwar