Shari'ah, Qur'an and Sunnah

  • The Muslim way of life is centred on following the Shari'ah.
  • Although Shari'ah involves law it is a much broader term referring to a complete code of Muslim conduct, including worship, morality, and criminal and civil law. God doesn't reveal himself instead his Shari'ah is timeless.
  • Shari'ah is seen to mean the "straight clear path" and it is seen to be used by Muslims in preparation for the Last Day.
  • In the early days, the role of the Khalifahs was to interpret and apply the Shari'ah, but over a period of time a more formal system was needed. The legal scholars developed fiqh(from the word for 'intelligence'/'knowledge') the theory of law, which agreed that there should be four roots when deciding on the Shari'ah- The Qur'an, Sunnah, Ijma and qiyas and custom of Medinah( as it was the first Muslim State)

The Quran

  • Is the revealed word of God.
  • It provides the bedrock of Shari'ah.
  • However only 10% actually applies specifically to the law and conduct.


  • It means example
  • In the early days it included decisions and examples of the Khalifahs
  • However the Sunni Law Schools established that it should only be the example of the Prophet Muhammad and his example at Medinah(the first Muslim Ummah)


  • Means consensus
  • Refers to the practise of the community
  • In a Muslim society what is accepted by the people ultimately decides what constitutes Shari'ah
  • So Shari'ah will vary from place to place according to custom


  • Is the rational process by which a decision is made by drawing analogies from the Qur'an and Sunnah when there is no specific ruling
  • Therefore they are used to decide between contradictory texts


  • Ijtihad is the working out of Muslim principles. This is done by using