What is Sharīʿa?

Sharī‘a is the Muslim’s moral code or guide based on the principles of the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is the Islamic epistemology or methodology to find God’s moral guide to ethical living. The outcome of the process is called fiqh—which literally means understanding.

Through the process and the outcome, Sharī‘a guides a Muslim to lead an ethical and moral life. This search for God’s moral guidance is a process of constant evolution. Not only is the diversity of the outcomes in this process celebrated, but it actually enjoys authoritativeness despite differences.

For millions of devout Muslims around the world and in the United States, Sharī‘a governs everything from the way we eat to how we treat animals and protect the environment. It guides on:

  • Our obligation to share wealth with the less fortunate
  • How to do business
  • How to marry
  • How to divorce
  • How to distributed our estate after death
  • And so much more.

Basically, the Sharī‘a guides us to be good Americans by being righteous humans, good neighbors, compassionate mothers, providing fathers, loyal spouses, protective parents, elderly caregivers, honest and fair participants in commercial transactions, and lifelong charitable donors.

Sharī‘a is not static. Flexible at its core, it is alive and thrives on a demanding, dynamic diversity to keep searching for the truth—God’s plan for ethical and moral existence here … and in the hereafter.

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