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Shariah

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Shariah

    God's eternal and immutable will for humanity, as expressed in the Quran and Muhammad 's example (Sunnah), considered binding for all believers; ideal Islamic law. The Quran contains only about ninety verses directly and specifically addressing questions of law. Islamic legal discourse refers to these verses as God's law and incorporates them into legal codes. The remainder of Islamic law is the result of jurisprudence (fiqh), human efforts to codify Islamic norms in practical terms and legislate for cases not specifically dealt with in the Quran and Sunnah. Although human-generated legislation is considered fallible and open to revision, the term shariah is sometimes applied to all Islamic legislation. This was supported by formal structures of juristic literature and many specific statements from the tenth through the nineteenth centuries. Modern scholars have challenged this claim, distinguishing between shariah and fiqh and calling for reform of fiqh codes in light of modern conditions.

    See also Renewal and Reform; Usul al-Fiqh

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