THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY VRINDA CHAUHAN A STUDENT OF ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY.
Law is what ought to be and what not ought to be. Law changes with the changing times. And that is the reason why we find so many amendments in the laws prevailing presently. These amendments address the needs of the society. The situation now is that the amendments are more than the actual laws. Why is this so? – is the pertinent question. The answer is – varied legislators, varied laws.
Shariah is the Islamic Law of which The Almighty Allah is the Legislator. Law is at its best when it remains in its pure, original form. Basically, Shari’ah is a wholesome package – a complete message and surely a way of life. Shariah represents the Path to Allah, pre-arranged by Allah, The Originator of all lives. It is the disciplines and principles that govern the behavior of a Muslim individual towards his or her family, neighbors, community, city, nation and the Muslim polity as a whole (the Ummah). Similarly Shariah governs the interactions between communities, groups and social and economic organizations. Shariah establishes the criteria by which all social actions are classified, categorized and administered within the overall governance of the state. It comprises of Quran, Sunnah, Ijma(consensus) and Fiqh(rationality).
DISPARITY BETWEEN THE WORDLY LAWS AND “THE LAW”
- To typify as to how this Law stands out from others is first glancing at its origin. It originated from the Ultimate source i.e. Allah and so it is the perfect law. While other laws are plainly derived from human intellect. ‘To err is human’- makes one thing clear that what human devises cannot be absolute.
- The primary objective of Shariah is Allah says in Quran: “And We did not send you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy for all creation” And the Prophet (s) said, “The Most Merciful shows mercy to those who have mercy on others. Show mercy to those on earth, and the One above the heaven will show mercy to you.” Since Mercy is the Shariah’s primary goal, it is clear that this cannot be achieved if the believers who implement it are not imbued with this essential quality. Importantly, the purpose of Shariah, to bring out mercy to mankind, is the natural manifestation of those values. When there is coalesce of an individual’s faith and spiritual values his psyche and ethical compass will be balanced and his desire for immoral or criminal acts get eliminated or reduced. Without such values, essential in removing such ailments which afflict people in difficult physical situations, man becomes nothing more than a political animal and law becomes an end, in-and-of itself. While other man-made laws only provides and attracts penalty, if breached and does not offer Mercy at the first hand.
- Necessities – These are those on which our worldly and religious life depends. Their neglect leads to unbearable hardship in this life, or punishment in the next. There are five necessities: preservation of religion, life, intellect, lineage, and wealth. These ensure individual and social welfare in this life and the hereafter.
The Shariah gives solution in two ways: 1.By ensuring their establishment 2. By preserving the same.
Religion: To ensure the ultimate peace for man Allah the Most High made belief i.e. Kalima that Allah is One and no one is worthy of worship except Allah and Prophet Muhammad is servant and messenger of Allah. And Worship is enjoined so that Man may remember his Creator and His blessings and fear from committing the wrong.
Life: To ensure the preservation of human life, Allah Most high legislated for marriage, healthy eating and living, and forbade the taking of life and laid down punishments for doing so.
Intellect: Allah’s first revelation was “IQRA” meaning ‘knowledge’ thus to seek Knowledge is our ‘farz’(responsibility), and forbade that which corrupts or weakens man, such as alcohol and drugs. So preservation of the same is important as a sound intellect is the basis of the moral responsibility that humans are given.
Lineage: Marriage was legislated for the preservation of lineage, and sex outside marriage was forbidden. Punitive laws were put in placed in order to ensure the preservation of lineage and the continuation of human life.
Wealth: Allah legislated for “ZAKAT” which is charity to the poor and destitute thereby every muslim has a duty to give a certain share of his wealth. He placed laws to regulate the commerce and transactions between people, in order to ensure fair dealing, economic justice, and to prevent oppression and dispute.
Ease and Comforts: .The Almighty Allah is ‘Al-Raheem’ i.e. merciful so He says
وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ
“He has not placed any hardship for you in religion,”
مَا يُرِيدُ اللّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَـكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهَّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“Allah does not seek to place a burden on you, but that He purifies you and perfect His grace upon you, that you may give thanks.”
Therefore, everything that ensures the human happiness, complying with the spirit of Divine Guidance, is permitted in the Shariah.
This is made very clear in the Qur’ān wherein the mention of punishment is followed by the mention of repentance and forgiveness.
…كَتَبْنَا عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَلَقَدْ جَاء تْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا بِالبَيِّنَاتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنْهُم بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فِي الأَرْضِ لَمُسْرِفُونَ
“…We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than murder or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he had saved all of mankind.”
The Qur’ān recommends the death penalty as a punishment for waging war,. However, even for this most grievous crime it allows a way out
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ تَابُواْ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَقْدِرُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ فَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“…except for those who repent before they fall into your power. In that case, know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”
The Qur’an neither promotes nor prescribes any specific form of government, but requires that the governing rule which people choose must be based on adl or “absolute justice.” The Qur’an says, “Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency and manifest evil and transgression. He admonishes you that you may take heed” 
- Shariah disfavors compulsion
The Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:257). Furthermore, Shariah obliges Muslims to be loyal to their nation of residence.
So the Islamic Law is much more than just uttering ‘inshallah’ and ‘mashallah’ but knowing what it is all about.
The above points are the very fundamentals from where the Shariah begins. Thereafter there are – Women’s right, Inheritance, Will, Gifts, Succession, Religious Endowments, etc. which are not left untouched by the Islamic Law. One of the controversial points in the Jurisprudence is: Law vs. Morality. The Worldly Laws runs down the morality. We can say that these laws derecognize Morality. Little do we find in the legal paperback, laws prescribing morality? Well, Shariah is amazing on this. Every path of Shariah that we tread on, morality is inherently dealt with in plus the laws are prescriptive as well as of abstinence offers an exemplary path leading to peace in every situation of our lives.
Diverse are the laws, diverse are the concepts, but the source is one i.e. Almighty Allah. Therefore the perfect Creator’s law has to be the perfect!
 Qur’an 21:107
 Qur’an 22:78
 Qur’an 5:6
 Qur’an 5:32
 Qur’an 5:34
 Qur’an 16:91