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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.
Shariah consists of followings:
The Sunnah (practices) of Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)
Now to make you understand Shariah laws more clearly, you must be explained about the four constituents of Shariah mentioned above.
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 accurately.
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.
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. Click here for more on Sunnah.
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”.
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.
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.
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.