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THE LAW: SHARI'AA

The word Shari'aa has been translated by most as jurisprudence. However, it is believed that the word jurisprudence does not fully describe what Shari'aa is. It is preferred to translate Shari'aa as “the law.” This approach follows the same tradition as the revelations to Moses (pp), which were translated as “the law,” and to Jesus (pp) as “the Gospel” (implying “the law”). The use of the terminology “the law” also confirms the Judeo- Christian-Islamic nature of the religion of Islam and hence the RF laws, regulations, and disciplines.

The word Shari'aa is derived from the root Arabic word Shara'aa', which means “to introduce,” “to enact,” and “to prescribe.”[1] It is composed of and embodies spiritual beliefs and rules of the religion (based on the Judeo-Christian-Islamic body of laws) that includes ethics, morality, and behavioral admonitions. Shari'aa then is the divine, immutable law. It details the set of rules a Muslim should live, judge, and govern by, and it includes the moral and legal rulings and mandates of Islam. In other words, it is the integration of all the laws sent by God through all of His prophets.

Sources of Shari'aa

The principal sources of Shari'aa are the Qur'aan, which is the unchangeable and the proven inculcation of all of God's messages to all Elis prophets, including the Torah and the Gospel; and the way of life and example of living (Sunnah) and sayings (Hadeeth) of Prophet Muhammad (pp).[2]

The Qur'aan

Being a Muslim is a description of the state of a person who has chosen to submit his/her will to that of God. Based on this foundation, the Qur'aan teaches that Noah (pp), Abraham (pp), Ishmael (pp), Isaac (pp), and their descendants, as well as Moses (pp), Jesus (pp), and Muhammad (pp) are all Muslims, as they all submitted their will, their way of life, and their style of living to the will of God. It is believed that in order to open up our hearts, our spirits, and our minds here in the United States and in the world, God's messages to His last three brothers in the faith — Moses (pp), Jesus (pp), and Muhammad (pp) — it is preferred and strongly recommended that we should popularize Islam, not as a stand-alone religion, but as a manifestation of the Judeo-Christian-lslamic integration of recorded human religious and spiritual experiences, as taught by God through His revelations to all His peoples and prophets (pp).

The Qur'aan[3] charts out the sequence of truths and its revelation throughout history:

3:84 Say: “We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed by their Sustainer unto Moses and Jesus and all the [other] prophets: we make no distinction between any of them. [68] And unto Him do we surrender ourselves.

3:3 It is He Who sent down to thee [step by step], in truth, the Book [the Qur'aan], confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law [of Moses] and the Gospel [of Jesus] before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the [Qur'aan] criterion [of judgment between right and wrong].

The Qur'aan also confirms the sequence of revelation from the Torah (the Jewish Bible) to the Gospel (Christian Bible.) The Qur'aan uses the word Injeel, which means the Gospel or the teachings of Jesus Christ, based on the Old Testament and the New Testament. (Christian Arabs also use the word Injeel for the Bible).

5:46 And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law [of Moses] that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who revere God.

46:12 And before this, was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: And this Book [The Qur'aan] confirms [it] in the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and as Glad Tidings to those who do right.

Furthermore, the Qur'aan instructs the believers in an effort to tie together all of God's messages, messengers, and prophets in the chain of life and human development:

2:136 Say: “We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus; and that which has been vouchsafed to all the [other] prophets by their Sustained we make no distinction between any of them. And it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.

And referring to Prophet Abraham's offspring, the Qur'aan reveals:

6:84 And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob; and We guided each of them as We had guided Noah aforetime. And out of his offspring, [We bestowed prophethood upon] David, and Solomon, and Job, and Joseph, and Moses, and Aaron: for thus do We reward the doers of good.

As to Prophet Moses (pp), the Qur'aan reveals clearly that he indeed spoke to God, and it details his history in a way very similar to what we read in the Old Testament:

2:53 And [remember the time] when We vouchsafed unto Moses the divine writ — and [thus] a standard by which to discern the true from the false — so that you might be guided aright.

In our efforts as believers in Moses (pp), Jesus (pp), and Muhammad (pp), or the Judeo-Christian-Islamic foundation for building a decent, peaceful, and wonderful society, we are advised by God in the Qur'aan:

42:13 In matters of faith, He has ordained for you that which He had enjoined upon Noah — and into which We gave thee [O Muhammad] insight through revelation as well as that which We had enjoined upon Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus: Steadfastly uphold the [true] faith, and do not break up your unity therein.

[And even though] that [unity of faith] to which thou callest them appears oppressive to those who are wont to ascribe to other beings or forces a share in His divinity, God draws unto Himself everyone who is willing, and guides unto Himself everyone who turns unto Him.

That is, the application of the Law of God (the Torah and Prophet Moses [pp], the Gospel and Jesus [pp]) is confirmed, complimented, and expanded on by the Qur'aan; it is the responsibility of all people of all faiths, and especially Muslims. It is not the intent here to make this chapter a detailed study of the Judeo-Christian-lslamic promise of the future; however, it is hoped that this new approach will be researched and expanded upon in the future to popularize this concept in order to build a peaceful and prosperous world.

  • [1] Huston Smith, “Introduction,” The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989), 361-363.
  • [2] Riad Adhami, “Maqasid Al Shari'aa.” Islamic Horizons Magazine (January/ February 2006): 48-50.
  • [3] Translations of the Qur'aan were obtained from Islamicity.com. Sources used are: (1) Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur'an, Eleventh Edition, (Beltsville, MD: Amana, 2009); and (2) The Qur'an, a translation by Muhammad Asad (Gibraltar: Andalus Press, 1980). The translation of the Holy Qur'aan by Yusuf Ali is one of the original, and in my opinion, the better translation because it adds to the meanings a wealth of information on historic references and events and especially on links to Judeo-Christian traditions, making it a wonderful foundation for a Judeo-Christian-Islamic future.
 
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