SHARI'AH - THE WAY TO GOD
by Khurram Murad
The Islamic Foundation
Some people (nonbelievers of Islam) attempt to question the very basis, nature and role of the Shari'ah. For many of them, the Shari'ah is something barbaric and cruel, inhuman and uncivilised, which is trying to turn the clock back on progress and modernisation and plunge the world back into the Dark Ages (as if it was 'dark' in the world of Islam at the time it was 'dark' in Europe!): women will be no better than slaves and non-Muslims treated as second-class citizens. Cut off the hand of a thief; stone the adulterer; veil the woman; this, according to its opponents, is the sum substance of that Shari'ah which is so deeply inspiring Muslims everywhere today.
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The Shari'ah is the fulfilment of the total man- inner and outer, individual and corporate-as he seeks to live by the will of his one and only God.
Historically, the term Sharī‘ah refers to all the elements of a proper, i.e. righteous life; this includes moral behaviour, proper respect towards Allah, correct belief, personal piety, and so on. In other words, it means the right way to live one's life as a Muslim in conformity to God’s will.
Shari'ah is the code of conduct for total life laid down by Islam.The Shari'ah includes both faith and practice. It embraces worship, individual attitude and conduct as well as social norms and laws, whether political, economic, familial, criminal or civil. It is the Shari'ah which translates faith and moral ideals into clear, definable, viable and concrete goals, forms and codes and brings them within the grasp of every ordinary man and woman; this is why it is one of the greatest blessings of God and one of the greatest vehicles for human progress. Lastly, it is also used as the equivalent of the Islamic laws.
There are four sources of justifying or believing that shari’ah, th will of God these are: (I) the Qur'an, (2) the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him), (3) ijma, and (4) Ijtihad.
The entire sanction behind the Shari'ah is man's inner relationship with his Lord, his love and fear of Him, and his sense of responsibility and accountability to Him, here and after death.
In my point of view those who question the basis, nature and role of shariah will not be possible for him to appreciate and understand the essence, the mean, teaching, the idea, the law of shari’ah until they study, love, submit his entire being, and believe that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.