What is Sharia law?

Author :- Sandeep Rana


 Sharia law is a legal system of Islam. It is derived from the Quran- Islam Centre text and fatwa which are the rulings of Islamic scholars. Sharia means “the clear, the way to water”. In Islamic terminology, Sharia means the legal system or law of Islam. Allah has sent a prophet to educate or guide people about the well being of their life. Sharia can also help in other areas of the daily life of Muslims for guidance including family law, finance, and business, etc. from the technical and legal usage of point of view, Sharia is nothing but command, prohibition, guidance, principles derived from primary sources of Islam. Sharia broadly could be categorized into rituals and worship, transactions and contracts, morals and manners, beliefs, and punishment. It can be defined as God’s will for humankind. Islamic law incorporates the diversity and differences of opinion within certain limits. Something that is unchangeable and infallible but ultimately cannot be known by the human in its entirety.

What Islam is all about?

In the literal sense, it means submission to the will of God, a creator of the whole universe. Will is basically a set of guidelines. These guidelines have been mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah, the important sources from where these guidelines are derived.  Basically, Islam is a comprehensive system of life.

Primary sources of Sharia law

The Islamic Sharia consists of laws and these laws are abstracted from the following four sources-

  1. Quran (holy book or a book of Allah)
  2. Sunnah (the tradition or known practices of Holy Prophet Muhammad)
  3. Ijma (consensus or approval and agreed opinion of the Muslim jurists)
  4. Qiyas (analogy from Quran, Sunnah, and ijma)


  1. Quran

Quran is the first and primary source of Sharia. The Quran is the sacred book of Muslims. Reveal as a final revelation for the guidance of mankind. Quran contains 114 chapters and around more than 6000 verses.  These verses are related to various aspects of human life. Quran is a complete code of conduct itself.

  • Sunnah

The word Sunnah means a path or the way of the prophet.  It includes sayings, actions, and tacit approvals. In Islam, the practices of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his life examples. The Sunnah is the things that Prophet Mohammed (peace be agreed upon) himself did or agreed to. The Sunnah clarifies the details of what is generally stated in the Quran. 

Who were the sahaba?

They were prophet family members and the companions who observed him during his lifetime and share with others exactly what they have seen his words and behaviors.

  • What are Ahadith?

They are saying, actions, and the action done with the approval of Prophet Muhammad. They include issues concerning personal conduct, community, family relations, and political matters. Ahadith were collected and compiled very carefully since the death of the Prophet Muhammad. They were reported by sahaba.

  • Ijma

It is the third primary source of Sharia. It may be defined as the consensus of opinion of the companions of holy prophet Muhammad (please be upon him) or Muslim jurist of first three centuries of Hijra .ijma is simply agreed upon decision. It is used in Islamic society to overcome the problems which could not be found in the Quran or Sunnah. Ijma may be understood from the following of Hadith of Prophet Muhammad. he said, “if anything comes to you for the decision, according to the book of Allah, if anything comes to you which is not in the book of Allah, then looked to the sunnah of Prophet (please be upon him) and if anything comes to you which is not in the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad then look into what people unanimously agreed upon.”

  • Qiyas

It is the last primary source of Sharia. It means to judge by comparing it with something. It may be defined as an analogy from Quran, Sunnah, and ijma. It can be carried out only in the Sharia government state where the solution to the problem cannot be found in the Quran, Sunnah, or ijma. When something needs a legal ruling but has not been clearly addressing in other sources, Islamic jurists may use an analogy, reasoning, and legal precedents to decide new case laws. Qiyas may be understood as the following of Hadith of Prophet Muhammad. He said, “Judge upon the book of Allah, upon the Sunnah of Prophet and if you do not find it in that, then use your personal opinion.”

Why Sharia is important?

Muslim believes that the purpose of their creation is nothing but servitude means being a servant to the creation of mankind. They also believe that without the guidance of Allah no one will ever meet this purpose. Therefore, for the fulfillment of the servitude mission in following the guidance of the law which is Shariah. it can be defined as the path set by Allah in order to attain success both in worldly life and hereafter to those who accept him.

Limitations of Islamic Sharia

The word Muslim means the one who submits to Allah.  Islam expects Muslims to follow their law in every aspect of life. The Sharia is not limited and some aspect of human life is outside its domain whether it is personal & familial, religious & social, moral and political, briefly relating to business and economics. Sharia is rampant in India.

Harsh punishment for crimes

In Islamic law, severe punishment for certain crimes (the hudud) was demanded or as set out in Quran and Sunnah especially in case of violation of the rights of God.

Difference between sharia and Islamic law

Sharia is not a legal system and includes Islam principles and common cultural practices. Many Islamic countries follow Sharia in family law matters but not as a legal system because it is a more religious system. There are several reasons for not applying Sharia across the board as a law because it is open-ended and flexible .its Principles do not provide everything needed for a complete legal system. Sharia was generally not revealed by Allah (God) is mainly based on the Quran and Sunnah and the things the Prophet Muhammad said and did.


It can be concluded that sharia act as a code for living that all Muslims should adhere to including prayer fasting and donation to poor. It also helps the Muslim community in leading their every aspect of lights according to God (Allah) wishes. The debate regarding Sharia law and about Sharia in our society is going to continue more generally. Liberal Muslims pretend that sharia law doesn’t exist and support these courts and sharia by denial or defending it as mediation. There is a need for changes in our conversation for making real progress and also need to confront are our assumptions and worry about other people. we are as a nation should reject hated and fearfulness and also to remove myth in the minds of the people about Sharia law that sharia law is anti-woman, demands brutal punishment, and about conquest.

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