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Sources of Islamic Law

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The law, defined as the body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community and enforced by a political authority, is an important facet of any community. It provides guidelines for those in the community to follow so that they may have the most peaceful and problem- free life. Islam takes this notion of peace and obedience and applies to everyday living for the members of its community. Islam law is of great importance to the Muslim community because it provides specific courses of action for living and also supplies mechanisms for considering how to deal with situations that are not discussed in the law. Islam law covers all aspects of life; it has its own personal, moral, civil, ethical, societal, and criminal law. All these laws come from God through revelations that are sent through His angel, Gabriel to the Prophet, Muhammad. The laws have been transmitted over time to the people of Islam in the two forms: the direct word from Allah, namely the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet, the sunnahs.

The primary source of Islamic law which is the foundation of every Muslim's faith and practice is the Quran. The Quran deals with all subjects that concern humankind, mainly the relationship between God and humankind and how this relationship relates to the guidelines that are required to be followed by all Muslims. Within the Quran are not only instructions of how an individual must conduct his or herself but there are also principles relating to all aspects of social and cultural life of the Muslim community.

The second source of Islamic law which is just as important is the Sunnah. This term represents Muhammad's actually carrying-out of the principles set forth in the Quran. This source can be looked at as "the Quaran in Action." Where the Quran is general, the Sunnah is particular and detailed. The Quran is at times vague, the Sunnah makes its principles clear and unambiguous. The Sunnah explains what is meant by the Quran and provides conceptual ways to incorporate the principles of the Quran.

The next two sources of Islamic law are dependent upon the aforementioned sources, the Quran and the Sunnah. They gain their authority from the Quran and Sunna. First is the idea of consensus. A consensus is an agreement among a group of people about a specific subject, namely, in this context, the agreement of Muslims about the doctrine and belief of Allah and his teachings. When faced with novel or



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