Sources Of Authority And Sharia
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What is Sharia?
What aspects does Sharia cover?
What does Sharia mean?
Sharia is a code for living based on the concept of Islam.
It covers all aspects of day-to-day living, public and private, from the spiritual (prayer, fasting, pilgrimage) to the secular (politics, banking, businesses).
It means ‘the way’ or ‘the path t
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What is Sharia derived from?
Sharia derived from a range of primary (scriptural) and secondary (non-scriptural) sources developed through centuries of research, preservation, debate and interpretation.
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What is the scriptural order of importance?
Quran – Believed to be the revealed word of God.
Sunnah – The actions of the prophet.
Hadith – The sayings of the prophet.
Sira – Biographies of the life of the prophet.
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What is the non-scriptural order of importance?
Ijma – Consensus of the community.
Qiyas – Analogical reasoning.
Ijtihad – Interpretative effort or intellectual struggle.
Urf – Local traditions and customs in the time of the Prophet.
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How is Sharia civil law?
How is Sharia religious law?
How is Sharia a moral guide?
Laws relating to family life and society, including criminal cases. Sharia court set up to help resolve disputes regarding personal matters.
Islam teaches importance of good deeds, in some countries this influences punishments for certain offences (blasp
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Arguments for Sharia being described as law x3
The great lengths taken by classical scholars to compose a comprehensive system for fiqh means shariah should be regarded as a legal code.
Shariah courts exist to ensure Islamic laws are being followed.
Some give shariah ultimate status and support the i
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Arguments against Sharia being described as law x3
Is it relevant when secular laws, like the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, grant religious freedom?
Faith is a personal matter – the Quran declares ‘There is no compulsion in religion’ so everyone is accountable for themselves.
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Arguments against Sharia being described as law x3 (continued)
No Muslim country claims to follow Shariah fully. Most countries have their own laws organised through state systems. Some governments consult scholars and muftis (experts in Islamic law) but don’t have to accept their advice.
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Why are the sources of Sharia reliable?
Why are the Hadiths criticised?
Meticulous care was taken by the earlier Muslims to preserve and interpret the sources. They took this role seriously and made great sacrifices.
When compiling Hadiths, the criteria was set by people, not God or the Prophet (SAW).
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What is the Quranic response to disagreements between Muslims?
What is the importance of experts?
‘If you are in dispute over any matter, refer it to God and the Messenger.’
People look for and value experts in various fields – why not in shariah matters too?
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What is the criticism of human interpretation?
Attempts by humans to understand and implement God’s will have been flawed and led to chaos in the Muslim world due to conflicting opinions from different scholars.
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Ijma, Qiyas And Ijtihad
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What is ijma?
Why must ijma always be secondary to primary sources?
Hadith supporting ijma
This is consensus opinion or agreement.
As obeying divine commandments and the Prophet (SAW) must always come first.
‘My ummah will never agree upon an error.’
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When does the Quran give permission to use ijma?
How has ijma been used?
If issue isn’t directly addressed by the scriptures, the Quran gives permission for Muslims to form opinions and make decisions through ‘mutual consultation’ as long as they’re based on the primary sources.
It was through ijma that the Rightly Guided Cal
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What are 3 points of disagreement concerning what ijma includes?
Only the first generation of Muslims
The consensus of the first three generations of Muslims (salaf)
Scholarly consensus, the agreement of jurists (legal experts) and scholars of the Muslim world.
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What is qiyas?
What is an example of ijma being used?
Type of reasoning that uses analogies – reaching judgements by applying existing rulings to new situations. Like ijma, this developed out of the main sources.
Prohibition of alcohol, which is stated in the Quran, was extended to drugs that were not menti
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Who is this approach largely adopted by and why?
What method do Shias prefer to use?
Sunnis as it helps apply Islamic principle to the ever-changing circumstances. Shias prefer to use a method known as aql (logical reasoning on areas where the Quran and Hadith are unclear) and for this to be conducted by descendants of Prophet Muhammad’s
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What is fiqh?
What led to the introduction of the discipline of the fiqh?
What did the fiqh lead to?
‘Deep understanding’ or ‘intelligence’, later simply known as Muslim jurisprudence or law.
As the Islamic empire grew, various interpretations of shariah were formed.
It led to a number of schools developing in both Sunni and Shia communities.
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What is ijtihad?
How is ijtihad used as a method?
What do people think ijtihad is required to be used for?
What are experts in ijtihad called?
Intellectual struggle.
This is a method of using the principles of the Quran, Sunnah and Hadith to identify the best course of action if there is no clear instruction in the sources.
To help find solutions to new problems.
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Give an example of contemporary issues that have been solved with ijtihad.
Many mujtahids concluded if the effects of using particular drugs are similar to the effects of alcohol, these drugs are included in the Quranic prohibition. They would still induce sin, which is forbidden by God. However, if an intoxicating substance is
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Give an example of contemporary issues that have been solved with ijtihad.
Making interest (riba) on loaned money (usury) is the basis for Western banking but it’s banned by the Quran. Some Muslims argue that taking out an interest-bearing loan or mortgage is acceptable as it’s unavoidable, while others have worked to create ‘sh
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Give an example of contemporary issues that have been solved with ijtihad.
Shia scholars have varied views on smoking as cigarettes weren’t available at time of Prophet and Imams. Most Sunni scholars consider smoking haram (forbidden) and use Hadith ‘There should be no harm (against oneself) and not harming (against others)’. Pr
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What does Taqlid mean?
How is Taqlid used?
When were people able to receive direct guidance on all matters?
Literally means ‘to follow’ or ‘to imitate’ and is used in Shia Islam.
It refers to following past scholarly authority and opinions as closely as possible.
From the time of the Prophet to their eleventh Imam.
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What do Shias believe about the 12th Imam?
Who made the decisions for Shias in the Imam's absence?
What do Twelver Shias call the decision makers?
They believe the 12th Imam was taken by God when he was young and will return with Isa (Jesus) near the end of time.
Shias follow the decisions made by a mujtahid or faqih (expert in Islam jurisprudence).
For Twelver Shias, this is the Marja Taqlid (sou
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What do their judgement relate to?
Their judgments relate to legal and moral matters and not questions of belief.
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What is the support for taqlid x3
Ijtihad is essential for Islam to be reformed and modernised. Without it, questions about new issues as they arise would remain unanswered.
The Prophet had said that in each century, a mujaddid (reformer) would be raised by God to revive Islam and with t
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What is the support for taqlid x3 (continued)
In another Hadith, the Prophet spoke of the Messiah and Mahdi in the future being a ‘judge’ on religious matters to resolve differences (Hadith)
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What is the disagreement for taqlid x3
The 11th century reformer, Al-Ghazali, declared the gates of ijtihad closed as Muslims no longer had the knowledge and insight to make reinterpretations.
Ijtihad and taqlid were necessary among the earlier generation of Muslims who had the right to use t
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What is the disagreement for taqlid x3 (continued)
Relying on the mujtahids to prove rulings can be seen as bidah (innovation) and even shirk.
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What is Rashid Rida's approach on taqlid? x4
Believed Quran, Hadith and accounts of sahabah were the basis for reform.
Supported reopening ijtihad to make fresh judgements, rather than following traditional scholars unquestioningly.
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What is Rashid Rida's approach on ijtihad? x4 (continued)
Rejected taqlid and was disappointed by the poor level of intellectual progress in the Muslim world, seeing the West as more advanced in education and science.
Thought ijtihad was best practised in an Islamic state and supported the revival of the Caliph
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What is Tariq Ramadan's approach on ijtihad? x3
Respects traditional teachings while being open to questioning their relevance today.
Called for a suspension on the use of capital punishment in Muslims countries and promoted debate between scholars to see if particular beliefs and attitudes in Islam ar
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What is Tariq Ramadan's approach on ijtihad? x3 (continued)
Believes Muslims should take pride in their identity and not integrate into non-Muslim societies at the expense of their values.
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Madinah As The Model State
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What was the Prophet's mosque used for in Madinah?
What other 2 things happened in the Prophet's mosque?
Quran quote on religious freedom
The Prophet’s mosque became the centre of teaching, practicing and preaching of Islam. The Prophet would lead prayers, hold meetings and engage in dialogue with Jews and Christians.
It was also here that qiblah changed from Jerusalem to Madinah and freedo
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What did the Constitution do?
What new things occurred in Madinah?
The Constitution promoted a new code of ethics that encouraged mutual respect between all communities of Madinah.
This applied within economic context of the time with redistribution of wealth from Zakah, new culture of honest trade and prohibition of cha
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Quran quote on trade and usury
What system did the Prophet set up between the migrants and helpers?
“God has allowed trade and forbidden usury.”
The Prophet set up a system between the Muhajirun or migrants (from Makkah) and Ansar or helpers (converts in Madinah) whereby each helper took in a migrant and treated them like a family member which set a pre
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Quran quote for refugees
What was the change in the use of the term 'ummah'
“… show love to those who migrated to them for refuge and harbour no resentment in their hearts for what has been given to them.”
The term ummah was originally used for all citizens of Madinah, including non-Muslims, before it changed to mean the worldwi
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Who was Bilal ibn Rabah?
What rights did the Prophet stand for?
An Ethiopian slave appointed by the Prophet to be the first Muslim to make the call to prayer and
Upheld the rights of women, thus promoting racial and gender equality.
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What was the political structure under the Prophet's leadership like?
Sought to provide rights and protection to all citizens on the condition they followed same rules and didn’t break tribal alliances. Reconciled and made peace between conflicting tribes, even when hostilities reached boiling point. Prophet became military
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Religion And State In Pre-Modern Islam
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What is a Caliph?
How is each Caliph appointed?
The Caliph is the guardian of the Islamic law. The four Rightly Guided Caliphs had both spiritual and temporal authority, continuing from the role of the Prophet.
With the agreement of the community and would consult a shura (consultative body), pointing
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What were muftis appointed to do?
What was the ummah?
What was the role of the Caliphs?
Appointed with the authority to pass edicts (fatwas).
The ummah was a brotherhood of believers based on religious rather than tribal solidarity.
The role of the Caliphs was to consolidate Islam, defend and expand Muslim borders and uphold shariah.
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What happened after the collapse of the Rightly Guided Caliphate?
Why did the Abbasid Caliphs rule separately from the ulama?
What did the rulers control?
What did religious officials handle?
It led to the rule of the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties.
The Abbasid Caliphs sometimes came into conflict with the religious scholars.
Rulers controlled many political affairs (managing the government and the army and providing services)
Religious offici
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What are the characteristics of the Imam?
How were the Imams chosen?
What was the Imams' responsibility?
The Imam has supreme authority and is considered to be perfect, pure and infallible.
From the ahl al-bayt and were chosen by the preceding Imam (nass).
Responsibility for guiding people on the correct understanding of the Quran. This makes them the best
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Who do Shias seek guidance from in the absence of Imam Al-Mahdi?
The Marja Taqlid (Grand Ayatollahs) who are the highest authorities in Shia jurisprudence and most senior among the ulama. When the Mahdi comes, he will be the final authority.
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Sharia Law In Practice
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Sharia Law in Iran
What do head of state do in Muslim countries when being sworn into office?
Representatives must be vetted and confirmed to be pious and belong to the ahl al-bayt before being given office.
Recite the Shahadah and other Islamic declarations.
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How is Sharia law implemented in Iran?
The laws of a parliament, known as Majlis, must be authorised by religious leaders as compliant with shariah.
Women can serve in the government and in 1997, they had the first female vice-president.
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How is Sharia law implemented in Saudi Arabia?
The country is a monarchy ruled by the House of Saud family and follows Islamic law.
They follow the Salafi strand of Islam which advocates a return to the original Islam of Muhammad, independent of schools of thought.
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How is Sharia law implemented in Pakistan?
A former British colony, Pakistan retains British law as its main system of law and has Islam as the state religion.
Sharia law courts adjudicate on religious and family matters through these can be overruled by a higher secular court.
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How is Sharia law implemented in Turkey?
Ottoman rule paved the way for a modern, secular state where some social policies (legislation of homosexuality) were implemented many years before in the UK.
President Mustafa Ataturk’s reforms in early 20th century allowed Muslims to practise faith fre
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Name the criticisms of living an Islamic way of life in a non-Muslim state x5
Traditional Islamic governance has politics and religion heavily intertwined; secular societies make a point of separating the 2 and making religion a strictly personal matter. Democracy represents the will of humans which may not be the same as the will
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Name the criticisms of living an Islamic way of life in a non-Muslim state x5 (continued)
Secular societies may pass laws that conflict with beliefs and morals of some Muslims or laws of Islam given in the Quran. In France, some traditional Muslim dress for women has been banned. Some feel the shifting picture of what behaviour is legal and ac
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Name the criticisms of living an Islamic way of life in a non-Muslim state x5 (continued)
Harder to observe Muslim practices like Eid and follow a Muslim way of life. For example, Muslim views of modest dress may clash with views of wider population, causing stigmatisation and discrimination.
Secular states allow criticism of Islam (and relig
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Name the criticisms of living an Islamic way of life in a non-Muslim state x5 (continued)
Some may feel political secularism allows non-Muslim countries to control or exert pressure on Muslim countries. Countries with imperialistic intent could use secularism as a tool to threaten sanctions and embargoes against countries that use shariah.
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Name the support for living an Islamic way of life in a non-Muslim state x3
1The Prophet and the Rightly Guided Caliphs established a society which included non-Muslim people, and instructed some Muslims to live in non-Muslim majority countries (for example, the first hijrah to Abyssinia), suggesting that a country with Islamic g
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Name the support for living an Islamic way of life in a non-Muslim state x3 (continued)
Secular states ensure freedom of religion, even as a minority of the population. They also allow people of all faiths to participate in the democratic political process, including running for office. Arbitration courts, legal in the UK and many secular st
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Name the support for living an Islamic way of life in a non-Muslim state x3 (continued)
Many Muslims feel their beliefs are a personal matter and most principles of modern and secular government are appropriate and compatible with Islam. The historical ideas of justice (capital punishment) are no longer acceptable. Also, many Muslim states h
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Experience in Britain
Experience in France
What is the affect of there being no version of Sharia agreed on by all Muslims?
Britain uses public money to fund religious institutions and causes (faith schools, religious charities).
France bans religion from public life and state-run institutions, like banning religious symbols in schools.
The diversity of interpretation informs
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Card 2


What is Sharia?
What aspects does Sharia cover?
What does Sharia mean?


Sharia is a code for living based on the concept of Islam.
It covers all aspects of day-to-day living, public and private, from the spiritual (prayer, fasting, pilgrimage) to the secular (politics, banking, businesses).
It means ‘the way’ or ‘the path t

Card 3


What is Sharia derived from?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What is the scriptural order of importance?


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Card 5


What is the non-scriptural order of importance?


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