Sharia‘ah means regulation of a society by a particular body using some specific laws and rules. Sharia‘ah in Islam are Islamic laws, principles, doctorines, rules, regulations made by Allah to guide daily lives of muslims. Sharia‘ah is not only made up for punishments. It entails principles of marriage, prohibitions etc.
Sources of Sharia.
- Quran- It is the first source of Sharia‘ah because it is the book of Allah. It contains the words of Allah that He uses to enlighten mankind. It is the first source sought to gather the rulings of Sharia‘ah e.g Quran 17 verse 23 is Sharia‘ah on kindness to parents.
- Hadith and Sunnah- Hadith are the actions and sayings of the Prophet. Sunnah are the traditions of the Prophet. Any rulings or guidance not found explicitly in the Quran will be sought from the hadith and sunnah. For example, hadith 22 of an-nawawi‘s collection is Sharia‘ah on obligation deed.
- Qiyas- Qiyas is analogical deduction/reasoning. It is using a similar incident or deduct rulings on similar cases. For examples, during the life of the Prophet he used to lead the muslims in Solat and one time he was ill and he instructed that Abu Bakr should lead. Then, after the Prophets death, this was one of the reasons that Abu Bakr was considered into being the first caliph.
The using of Qiyas is using normal human discretion although, it is not open to any individual. It is only open to people known as the Mujtahid (someone who is embodied with the full knowledge of figh, hadith). Qiyas is used when the Quran, Sunnah and Hadith does not finalise a particular case. E.g smoking. The ruling of smoking was not explicit either in the Qur’an of Hadith but the Quran says not do to things that is not beneficial. Smoking is damaging to the health, so most mujtahid have considered it makruh( highly disliked) and some have considered it a doubtful matter.
- Ijma- this translates to judicial consensus or juristic agreement. Islamic scholars come together and give their opinions or views on a particular doubtful matter not found in the other sources of Sharia‘ah. Eg some scholars consider smoking haram because it is harmful and Allah has prohibited muslims from taking harmful substances.
- Ijtihad- this is the process on state of struggling for the knowledge of Islam. It can also be called discretion. It means exercising personal judgement. There are four Islamic scholars of fiqh. Their thoughts and agreements are usually considered and viewed before passing Islamic laws.
- Imam Maliki- he is predominant in North Africa and West Africa
- Imam Hanafi- he is predominant in South and Central Asia
- Iman Shafi- he is predominant in Egypt and South East Asia.
- Imam Hanbali- predominant in North and Central Arabia.
Things to be put in considered before finalising on Ijtihad.
- Istishat- selection of best options or opinions from a wide range of Islamic scholars.
- Istislah- consideration of the public interest on whether the ruling in practicable.
- Istishab- presumption of continuity. It means to consider if a law will be relevant and applicable enough to continue its application in the society.
- Taqlid- it means laws that can be adopted in other cases.