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Sharia Laws In Layman's Terms

Understanding Sharia Law

In layman's terms - Religious and moral guidelines for Muslims that comes from the teachings of the Quran, Hadith, Ijma, and Qiyas.

 

What Is Sharia Law?


Sharia, in literal terms, translates to 'the way'. The way of Islam as a religion is practiced by around 1.9 billion Muslims worldwide, making it one of the most practiced religions in the world. The way of Islam is practiced through the teachings of the Al-Quran and the Prophet Hazrat Mohammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. The practices and words of the Prophet are compiled into Hadith which serves as a guideline for the Muslims to live their life.

Categorizing Acts of Men

Sharia Law

Several countries still follow the Sharia Law as their national law to govern the state. They have been the empirical source of governance for Muslims. It has set the rules and categorized acts of men into 5 types. Recommended, Obligatory, Permitted, Disliked, and Forbidden.

Recommended

Recommended acts are the ones that are recommended by the Sharia but have no obligations to be strictly followed.

Obligatory

These are the actions that Muslims must perform. They make up the 5 pillars of Islam. Namely Salah, Zakat. Sawm, Hajj, and Jihad. If performed with good intent, then there is a reward. Failing to do so will result in punishment by Allah.

Permitted

Most actions are permitted by Sharia Law. That means they are not expressly recommended nor forbidden. Thus, they are attributed as permitted.

Disliked

These actions are looked down upon but not permitted by Sharia Law. The actions disliked by the religion are not punishable like the ones described as forbidden.

Forbidden

Actions that have been termed forbidden are punishable by law with strict measures. There are punishments for theft, murder, robbery, adultery, homosexuality, and rape. Many actions fall under the forbidden act, which is harmful to society and mankind.

Sharia Has Three Primary Elements

Sharia Three Elements

Aqidah means 'Creed' in Arabic. Which is concerned with the belief of Allah and his creation of the entirety.

Fiqh is known as the human understanding and practices of Sharia. It means Islamic jurisprudence. This governs the relationship between man and the creator as well as man and man.

Akhlaq is the practice of Islamic belief in manner, virtue, and morality. The Islamic theology and philosophy govern the practice.

Punishments of Sharia Law

Every act prohibited by the Quran and Sunnah (teachings & practices of the Prophet) is regarded as forbidden and punishable. Punishments for the forbidden acts show that Islam has no tolerance for certain crimes. The penalties are laid upon the person who caused the sin.

A few punishments for crimes under Sharia Law are:
Haddi lashing, Death by stoning, Amputation, Caning, Corporal punishment, and fines.

Practitioners of Sharia Law

Several countries still practice Sharia Law and embed the practice withy their legal system.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that strictly follow Sharia Law. Until recently, it was common to carry out judgment for crimes in public. The usual time to lay the punishment was before Jumma(Friday midday prayer).

Iraq

Iraq's legal system has mirrored French Civil laws along with Sharia Laws. Their constitution permits marriage, divorce, and inheritance to be governed by the respective religious groups through Article 41.

Malaysia

Malaysia has two simultaneous court systems governing Muslim and non-muslim Malays. A civil court and a Muslim Sharia court try crimes separately. Although the system might seem confusing, the practice is still present in their legal system.

Indonesia

Indonesia has one of the largest Muslim populations globally, specifically in the Aceh region. They have adopted Sharia Law practice after achieving autonomy in 2001. Public flogging is a common sight there.

Brunei

In 2019 the Monarch imposed extreme Sharia Law on the nation. The action created outrage in the world. The Sultan later declared that a lot of measures would not be enforced as part of Sharia Law. Measures like stoning to Death for committing homosexuality.

Pakistan

In 1979, shortly after gaining power, Zia-ul-Haq started reforming Pakistan's legal system by incorporating Islamic rules and Sharia. He introduced the Hudood Ordinance, which punishes false accusations, usage of drugs & alcohol, Extra-marital sex, and many other crimes under the rule of Islam.

Sources of Sharia Law

Sources of Sharia Law

There are 4 sources of Sharia Law in Islam. They are Quran, Hadith, Ijma, and Qiyas. They are regarded as the primary sources. However, the interpretation varies.

The Quran – The Al-Quran is the holy book that was introduced to mankind through the last Prophet of Islam. The book contains messages to the Prophet by Allah and rules to be obeyed by all Muslims.

The Hadith – The Hadith is known as-Sunnah. The teachings, practices, and life of the Prophet are the primary compilation sources.

Ijma – Ijma is known as the opinion of Islamic scholars regarding the law.

Qiyas – Qiyas is a deductive analogy that compares Hadith and AL-Quran to answer difficult questions.

 

Is Sharia Law Harsh?

From the western perspective, it might seem harsh and brutal. That is probably because of the limited information and misrepresentation of the practices of Muslims. However, from the broader perspective, Islamic scholars argue that Islam only punishes harmful acts to mankind in the journey of life. Public display of punishments discourages citizens from committing the crime. Although some might argue that the rulings are draconian, Islamic jurisprudence has an explanation. Only a few acts result in corporal punishment, and they are heinous.

The punishment of stoning to death as a form of capital punishment is controversial. However, many countries, including Saudi Arabia, still practice this punishment. The world has pinned a brutal picture of Muslims into people's minds around the world. Understanding Islamic Sharia Law is simple, but judgment regarding the practice is subjected to perspectives.

References:

https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/finance/sharia-law/

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210820-sharia-law-around-the-world

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-27307249

https://www.tbsnews.net/world/countries-follow-sharia-law-297286

https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/beliefs/sharia_1.shtml

https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-and-subject-groups/death-penalty-research-unit/blog/2021/01/introduction-sharia-law-and

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