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Sharia law (Arabic: شريعة) is the body of Islamic law. The term means "way" or "path"; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam.
There is not a strictly codified uniform set of laws that can be called Sharia. It is more like a system of several laws, based on the Qur'an, Hadith and centuries of debate, interpretation and precedent.
Sections of Sharia law
Sharia law is divided into three main sections:
- Faith (Aqaida).
- Ethics (Akhlaq).
- the acts of Muslim which divided into two sections;-
- The acts of worship, or al-ibadat, called the 5 pillars of Islam:
- Human interaction, or al-mu'amalat, which includes:
- Financial transactions
- Laws of inheritance
- Marriage, divorce, and child care
- Foods and drinks (including ritual slaughtering and hunting)
- Penal punishments
- Warfare and peace
- Judicial matters (including witnesses and forms of evidence)
Laws and practices under Sharia
- The Muslim man who is not currently a fornicator can only marry a woman who is not currently a fornicatress or a chaste woman from the People of the Book.
- The Muslim fornicator can only marry a Muslim fornicatress.
- The Muslim woman who is not currently a fornicatress can only marry a Muslim man who is not currently a fornicator.
- The Muslim fornicatress can only marry a Muslim fornicator.
- The woman cannot marry without the consent of her guardian. If she marries, her husband becomes her new guardian.
- The guardian may choose a suitable partner for a virgin girl, but the girl is free to contest and has the right to say 'no'.
- The guardian cannot marry the divorced woman or the widow if she did not ask to be married.
- "Do not marry unless you give your wife something that is her right." It is obligatory for a man to give bride wealth (gifts) to the woman he marries.
The penalty for theft
The Qur'an and several hadith set out two different punishments for theft (stealing). They say that the punishment should depend on how many times the person stole, and what he stole. One punishment is imprisonment. Another is amputating (cutting off) the hands or feet. However, before a person is punished, two eyewitnesses must swear, under oath, that they saw the person stealing. If this does not happen, then the punishment cannot be carried out. Also, some other requirements have to be met. These requirements have to do with the theft, what was stolen, and how the theft happened. All of these requirements must be met, as decided by a judge.[Qur'an 5:38]
The penalty for adultery
In The Quran it is stated that if an unmarried man or woman commit adultery (sleep with a person they are not married to), the punishment should be 100 lashes. In the Hadith the punishment is 100 lashes and banishment for a year, and if a married man or woman commit adultery the punishment should be 100 lashes and then stoning to death. There are some requirements that need to be met before this punishment can happen. For example, the punishment cannot happen unless the person confesses, or unless four male eyewitnesses each saw, at the same time, the man and the women in the action of adultery. Every requirement must be met, as decided by a judge, before the punishment can happen.(Qur'an 24:2)
During these festivals, specific rituals are used:
- Sadaqah (charity) before Eid ul-Fitr prayer.
- The Prayer and the Sermon on Eid day.
- Takbirs (glorifying God) after every prayer in the days of Tashriq (see footnote for def.)
- Sacrifice of unflawed, four-legged grazing animal of appropriate age after the prayer of Eid ul-Adha in the days of Tashriq.
Islamic law does not list every food and drink that is thought to be pure. It does list some specific foods and drinks that are not allowed.
- Pork, blood, and the meat of dead animals are not allowed. People are also not allowed to eat animals that were slaughtered in the name of someone other than God.
- Animals must be slaughtered in the manner of tazkiyah (cleansing) by taking God’s name.
- Intoxicants (like alcoholic drinks) are not allowed.
While Islamic law prohibits (does not allow) dead meat, this does not apply to fish and locusts. Also, hadith literature prohibits beasts having sharp canine teeth, birds having claws and tentacles in their feet, Jallalah (animals whose meat stinks because they feed on filth), tamed donkeys, and any piece cut from a living animal.
Most interpretations (or ways of understanding Sharia) do not allow Muslims to convert to other religions. This is strictly forbidden, and is called apostasy. In Muslim theology, apostasy is equal to treason. In most interpretations of Sharia, the punishment for apostasy is death. However, in some interpretations, there is no capital punishment for a Muslim who peacefully converts away from Islam (i.e. without becoming violent or aggressive towards the Muslims).
In many Muslim countries, some people may be accused of apostasy even if they have non-conventional (non-traditional or unusual) interpretations of the Quran. The severe persecution of the famous expert in Arabic literature, Prof. Nasir Hamid Abu Zayd, is an example of this. In some countries, Sunni and Shia Muslims often accuse each other of apostasy. Many people explain the current civil conflict in Iraq by pointing to the very harsh religious opposition between Sunnis and Shias in the country.
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- Division of Inheritance According to Qur'an