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SHARIAH: Sharia law, or Islamic law is the religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God’s immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim traditionalists and reformists.

Traditional theory of Islamic jurisprudence recognizes four sources of sharia: the Quran, sunnah (authentic hadith), qiyas (analogical reasoning), and ijma (juridical consensus). Different legal schools—of which the most prominent are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali and Jafari—developed methodologies for deriving sharia rulings from scriptural sources using a process known as ijtihad. Traditional jurisprudence distinguishes two principal branches of law, ʿibādāt (rituals) and muʿāmalāt (social relations), which together comprise a wide range of topics. Its rulings assign actions to one of five categories: mandatory, recommended, neutral, abhorred, and prohibited. Thus, some areas of sharia overlap with the Western notion of law while others correspond more broadly to living life in accordance with God’s will.

Historically, sharia was interpreted by independent jurists (muftis). Their legal opinions (fatwas) were taken into account by ruler-appointed judges who presided over qāḍī’s courts, and by maẓālim courts, which were controlled by the ruler’s council and administered criminal law. Ottoman rulers achieved additional control over the legal system by promulgating their own legal code (qanun) and turning muftis into state employees. Non-Muslim (dhimmi) communities had legal autonomy, except in cases of interconfessional disputes, which fell under jurisdiction of qadi’s courts.

In the modern era, sharia-based criminal laws were widely replaced by statutes inspired by European models. Judicial procedures and legal education in the Muslim world were likewise brought in line with European practice. While the constitutions of most Muslim-majority states contain references to sharia, its classical rules were largely retained only in personal status (family) laws. Legislative bodies which codified these laws sought to modernize them without abandoning their foundations in traditional jurisprudence. The Islamic revival of the late 20th century brought along calls by Islamist movements for full implementation of sharia, including reinstatement of hudud corporal punishments, such as stoning. In some cases, this resulted in traditionalist legal reform, while other countries witnessed juridical reinterpretation of sharia advocated by progressive reformers.

The role of sharia has become a contested topic around the world. Attempts to impose it on non-Muslims have caused intercommunal violence in Nigeria and may have contributed to the breakup of Sudan. Some Muslim-minority countries in Asia (such as Israel), Africa, and Europe recognize the use of sharia-based family laws for their Muslim populations.. There are also a few countries that outright ban sharia law, or restrict it in some form or another. In Canada, sharia law is explicitly banned in Quebec, upheld by a unanimous vote against it in 2005 by the National Assembly, while the province of Ontario allows family law disputes to be arbitrated only under Ontario law. In the United States, various states have “banned Sharia law”, or passed some kind of ballot measure that “prohibits the states courts from considering foreign, international or religious law.” As of 2014 these include Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee.. There are ongoing debates as to whether sharia is compatible with secular forms of government, human rights, freedom of thought, and women’s rights.

 

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/shariah/
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  • writerPosted On: August 2, 2017
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