Basics on Sharia – What is Sharia?

Islamophobia takes professional failures and gives them an avenue to flourish as supposed experts in Islam albeit having no credentials at all. That industry is about who can yell the loudest and insult in a way which appeals to the right wing – as well as fear monger the most.

 

Suhaib Webb is a specialist in Sharia and he finds it incredible that most books and media presentations in the West about the Sharia are being produced by people who are untrained, to say the least, in Islamic studies.

Meaning of Sharia

Sharia comes from the word Sh-Ra-3

It has a number of linguistic meanings:

Way, Path, Legislation, Oasis in a desert

Everything that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Quran and Sunnah) is called Sharia. Sharia implies those things which are not interpreted such as praying, pilgrimage, being honest, eating certain kinds of meat etc.. This is definitive and non-negotiable.

People confuse two different topics; Sharia and Fiqh.

Sharia is everything that was revealed to the Prophet (p). The text of Sharia is limited. Part of the Sharia is universal and another part is particular. The universal part generally comes from the Quran and the particular part comes from the Sunnah.

The actions of people are not limited. Imam Shafi spoke about a methodology of dealing with these actions of people – Fiqh. Fiqh means to understand. Fiqh is an attempt (when needed) to understand Islam in situations such as when Sharia texts are not clear to us or when there is no text about a topic (such as T-cells, abortion, when somebody is in a vegetative condition in hospital, plastic surgery etc). About 95% of legal rulings in Islam come from Fiqh (thus meaning it’s not necessarily binding). Fatwa: is an opinion.

Harith ibn Amr reported: Some men among the companions of Mu’adh said the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, sent him to Yemen and the Prophet said:

كَيْفَ تَقْضِي

How will you judge?

Mu’adh said, “I will judge according to what is in the Book of Allah.” The Prophet said:

فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ

What if it is not in the Book of Allah?

Mu’adh said, “Then with the tradition (sunnah) of the Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet said:

فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِي سُنَّةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ

What if it is not in the tradition of the Messenger of Allah?

Mu’adh said, “Then I will strive to form an opinion (ijtihad).” The Prophet said:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي وَفَّقَ رَسُولَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ

All praise is due to Allah who has made suitable the messenger of the Messenger of Allah.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1327, Grade: Sahih

This narration demonstrates the proper procedure for applying Islamic guidance that would eventually develop into the discipline of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh). Taken from: http://abuaminaelias.com/lessons-from-the-journey-of-muadh-ibn-jabal-to-yemen/

The goals/objectives of Sharia

Al Ghazali in the 4th century of Islam wrote about the goals of Sharia (law). The goal of Sharia is not to destroy people but to bring benefit and prevent harm – legal theorists across different eras and geographical plains all concluded the same thing about Sharia (i.e. bring benefit and prevent harm).

Al-Ghazali wrote:

لكننا نعنى بالمصلحة المحافظة على مقصود الشرع ومقصود الشرع من الخلق خمسة وهو أن يحفظ عليهم دينهم وأنفسهم وعقلهم ونسلهم ومالهم فكل ما يتضمن حفظ هذه الأصول الخمسة فهو مصلحة وكل ما يفوت هذه الأصول الخمسة فهو مفسدة

Welfare which we mean here is the protection of the objectives of the law (sharia). Namely, the objectives of the law are five in creation: the protection of religion, life, intellect, family relations, and property. Everything that advances the protection of these five fundamentals is considered benefit, and everything which fails to protect these five fundamentals is considered corruption. Source: Al-Mustasfa min Ilm al-Usul 287

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