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Sharia-Scope

  • Summary: 

    Sharīʿah, also spelled Sharia, the fundamental religious concept of , namely its law, systematized during the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Muslim era (8th–9th centuries CE).

    Total and unqualified submission to the will of  (God) is the fundamental tenet of Islam: Islamic law is therefore the expression of Allah’s command for Muslim society and, in application,  a system of duties that are incumbent upon a Muslim by virtue of his religious belief. Known as the Sharīʿah (literally, “the path leading to the watering place”), the law constitutes a divinely ordained path of conduct that guides Muslims toward a practical expression of religious  in this world and the goal of divine favour in the world to come.

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    In classical form the  differs from Western systems of law in two principal respects. In the first place the scope of the Sharīʿah is much wider, since it regulates an individual’s relationship not only with one’s neighbours and with the state, which is the limit of most other legal systems, but also with God and with one’s own  practices, such as the daily prayers, almsgiving, fasting, and , are an  part of Sharīʿah law and usually occupy the first chapters in the legal manuals. The Sharīʿah is also concerned as much with  standards as with legal rules, indicating not only what an individual is entitled or bound to do in law but also what one ought, in conscience, to do or refrain from doing. Accordingly, certain acts are classified as praiseworthy (mandūb), which means that their performance brings divine favour and their omission divine disfavour, and others as blameworthy (makrūh), which means that omission brings divine favour and commission divine disfavour; but in neither case is there any legal sanction of punishment or reward, nullity or validity. The Sharīʿah is not merely a system of law, but a  code of behaviour that embraces both private and public activities

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    Offenses against another person, from homicide to assault, are punishable by retaliation (qiṣāṣ), the offender being subject to precisely the same treatment as his victim. But this type of offense is regarded as a civil injury rather than a crime in the technical sense, since it is not the state but only the victim or his family who have the right to prosecute and to opt for compensation or  (diyah) in place of retaliation.

    For six specific  the punishment is fixed (ḥadd): death for  and for highway robbery; amputation of the hand for theft; death by stoning for extramarital sex relations (zinā) where the offender is a married person and 100 lashes for unmarried offenders; 80 lashes for an unproved accusation of unchastity (qadhf) and for the drinking of any intoxicant.

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  • Summary: 

    While many secular advocates, right-wing parties and orthodox Islamic groups hold tight to the idea of a static, unresponsive and irrational Islamic law, the traditional framework of Islamic Legal Theory boasts otherwise. Here, the neglected principle of ijtihād is analysed.

    The evolutionary vs. immutable nature of Islamic law has been a controversial topic for centuries abound. Can Islamic law develop in response to the ever changing demands of human life? Or have its dictates been determined once and for all, binding it to a complete, static and indisputable set of laws? Is Islamic law an ancient, outdated system that lives in an era far away from our so-called modern times or can it evolve in response to new challenges and circumstances? As Islam becomes an increasingly hot topic of discussion in the media, amongst universities, work places and the general public, such questions are crying out for attention. So, here is my abridged analysis of the notion that lies at the heart of this discussion: ijtihād.

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    But this assumption rests upon an excessively reductive and shallow perception of the nature of Islamic law. Islamic law can be divided into two spheres: the fixed and the flexible. Both spheres grow from the roots of Islam (Sharī’a) but differ in nature.

    The fixed sphere constitutes the core of Islamic law and can be seen as encompassing those areas of law related to the rights of Allāh over the Muslim community. This includes acts of worship, prescribed penalties and all areas of law that are directly expressed in the Qur’ān and Sunnah, either explicitly or implicitly by way of strict analogy. Examples include daily prayers and the prohibition of interest. Signifying the absolute limits of the law, these rulings are fixed and unalterable; they cannot be revised or renewed at any period, regardless of the circumstances that pertain. This sphereconstitutes the basic laws of Islam and provides the boundaries within which the rest of the law is to be developed.

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