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Shari’ah and Islamic Banking

Shari’ah is the body of Laws which Allah prescribed for His servants through Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Fiqh is the knowledge of the rules of Shari’ah. A “Fiqh” is the one who is knowledgeable to these rules and their relevance to changing circumstances.

Shari’ah is a much wider concept than the term “Law” in English or “Droit” in French. This is because Shari’ah is actually the worldly side of the religion Islam.

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Rules of Shari’ah relate to beliefs and to acts.

A Muslim is required to obey and adhere to the rules of Shari’ah, as part of the faith.

This body of laws contain rules about actions (conduct and behavior) of the believers. These rules are in the form of:

1- obligation

2- recommendation

3- prohibition

4- disapproval

5- permission.

Rules of Shari’ah and Rules of Law

Positive law is a body of rules and precedents which lay to the people a specific conduct, and prescribes punishment to those who violate, awarded by the authorities responsible for the protection of law.

Rules of Shari’ah differ significantly from rules of law:

a) The source of the rules of Shari’ah is divine. It is the judgment of Allah conveyed by the Messenger (PBUH) and expounded by the great learned jurists who derived (and do derive) from the texts of Shari’ah and its sources. These sources are the Quran, Sunnah, Consensus and Analogy. Rules of Shari’ah are settled, can’t be changed. Their application to contemporary incidents and events may change. The Fatwa (legal opinion) may change and vary from time to time and from place to place and from juristo jurist, yet Shari’ah remains the same. Human effort doesn’t create new law but only reveal from the texts and sources the rules of Shari’ah.

b) The subject matter of the rules of Shari’ah is not confined to rules regulating the relations between human beings such as sale and partnership, but also includes acts an deeds e.

Man made law doesn’t concern itself with the relationship between people and their lord.

Punishment for violating man made laws are in this world only. Obedience to Shari’ah is a devotion to Allah, a firm belief in the just rules of Shari’ah and a hope for great rewards in the hereafter.