With the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its affiliated "lone wolf" attackers garnering much media coverage, there is a concern that attempts by radical Muslims to attack Westerners is one stage in a longer process to spread Islam and Sharia law. The term Sharia is generally used in a vague manner, particularly by media outlets and political pundits. In essence, Sharia law refers to the body of laws and culture surrounding religious prescriptions in Islam. It encompasses the Qur'an, the Hadith, as well as legal opinions developed since Islam's inception in the 7th century CE.
While many Muslims claim that legal opinions on particular topics have been settled and the community as a whole accepts certain actions as right or wrong, one can see this may not always be the case when delving deeper. An interesting fact about Islam is that there is no central governing body of the religion, like the Pope and the Vatican in Roman Catholicism. Instead, there are Muslim religious scholars and leaders around the world who utilize particular standards of practice to enact rulings on the issue of the day. In fact, it is possible to search for databases developed and maintained by Muslim religious leaders containing religious rulings, or fatwas, on a variety of topics that touch the everyday lives of Muslims around the world. So, Sharia law is not a monolithic entity that coherently and ubiquitously controls each aspect of Muslims' lives. Instead, one should view Sharia law as a process by which norms, traditions, and values are negotiated and renegotiated based on the context in which Muslims live.
This audiobook explores the basics of Sharia law in Islam and how it is rooted in the important foundations set by the prophet Muhammad during his lifetime, as well as the traditions developed after his passing by the Caliphs. It is important as well to look at the conditions of life in the Arabian Peninsula prior to the founding of Islam so that we may juxtapose and understand the changes that took place when Muhammad was called to prophethood. This book also chronicles the development of Sharia law under the Sunni Ottoman Empire, as well as the Shi'a Safavid Empire, to understand Sharia law's development within both sects of Islam. In most cases, religious leaders like muftis provide fatwas so as to provide guidance to believers based on the original sources (the Qur'an and the Hadith).
These various topics are chosen to provide a broad analysis of various issues surrounding Sharia law so that a newcomer may understand law in Islam beyond the headlines and, rather, see into the lives of Muslims affected by these laws and processes.
©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors