Shariah also spells out Shariah, the law, which is the basic religious concept of Islam. Islamic religious law is considered an expression of God’s commandments to Muslims and, in its application, represents a system of obligations that all Muslims are obliged to do based on their religious beliefs. Known as Shariah (literally the “road leading to the drinking fountain”), this law sacredly guides Islam to the practical expression of religious beliefs in this world and the goal of God’s grace in the coming world. It represents the path of action taken.
Within this paper, we shall explore the meaning and scope of Shariya. It will mostly be based in the Indian sub-continent, though; some excerpts shall be picked up from all over the world, particularly Saudi Arabia, as it is the birthplace of Islam. We shall explore the four major sources of the Sharia – Quran, Sunna or Hadis, Ijma and Qiyas. Furthermore, we will also explore the Hanafi explanations to other sources such as the (i) Isti Hasan - Juristic preference – Equity, (ii) Isti Salah – Public Interest, (iii) Ijtehad - Exercising one’s own reasoning to deduce the rule of law (Shariat), (iv) Taqlid - Law of Precedents & (v) Fatwa’s - Decisions of Muslim Judges.
Finally, we will cover ancient, medieval and contemporary applications of Islamic law, its evolution, particularly in the Indian sub-continent and the importance of this evolution.
We shall also learn the different views, consistencies and inconsistencies of each Muslim source of law among different scholars, as per their understandings and their followers’.
This research paper will cover vast sources from which we will trace the sources of Islamic laws and their importance, their scope and evolution. To conclude, we will discuss the state of Indian Islamic law and the usage of these sources within Indian courts.