Meaning and content of Shariah

25-4-2004 | IslamWeb


What is the meaning and contents of Shariah? Please give details of it and elaborate as much as possible.


Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.


Dassuki says in the footnote of Al-Dardir’s book: 'Al-Shariah means the Islamic rulings that Allah has legislated for His slaves.  And it is called so “i.e. Shariah” because the legislator legislated them as Shariah in Arabic means: legislation. It is also called 'Millah', 'dictation' because it is dictated to be written.  It is also referred to as 'religion' because people worship and perform religious acts based on it….’.

In the Kuwaiti encyclopedia of Fiqh, Al-Shariah is defined as:

Linguistic meaning: it is the spring of water, it is called so because it is clear and apparent, and the word 'Shar’' is a verbal noun of Shara’a, meaning to be apparent and clear.  The plural is Sharai'a.  This word is most commonly used in religion and in all its rulings.

Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {Then We have put you (O Muhammad SAW) on a plain way of (Our) commandment [like the one which We commanded Our Messengers before you (i.e. legal ways and laws of the Islâmic Monotheism)]. So follow you that (Islâmic Monotheism and its laws),}[45:18].  Allah also Says (interpretation of meaning): {To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way….}[5:48].

In terminology this word means or refers to:

“What has been revealed to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) as Islamic rulings in the Book and in the Sunnah in relation to creed, emotions and the actions of persons commanded to perform religious acts, whether this is absolute or assumed.”

However, Shariah and Fiqh have general and particular rulings, on one hand they both have the same meaning regarding to the scientific rulings confirmed by the Book of Allah and the Sunnah, or on which there is a consensus of the whole Ummah.  On the other hand, Al-Shariah is exclusively used for the rulings of Aqeeda (creed) whereby Fiqh deals with rulings of Ijtihad on which there is no definite text in the Book of Allah or the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam), and on which there is no consensus of scholars.

 Allah knows best.