In fact, Shari`ah is still misunderstood by many people, Muslims and non-Muslims. Some people may perceive it as just a code or criminal laws prescribing punishments for certain crimes. Others may regard it as merely a collection of do's and don'ts. Though it does contain both, its sweep is much broader and deeper, encompassing the totality of man's life.
Shari`ah literally means, among others, a 'clear path'. It is therefore the path that man, in Islam, must walk as he or she toils and strives to reach his or her Creator. It is the yearning deep within to seek the Lord and the Master that the Shari`ah translates into steps, concrete and specific, on the pathways of life. The Shari`ah is the fulfillment of the total man –inner and outer, individual and corporate- as he or she seeks to live by the will of his or her one and only God.
In this folder, we have gathered some distinguished writings of the prominent Muslim scholar Khuram Murad on Shari`ah. He amazingly defines and explores Shari`ah and other relevant concepts such as Islamic law, and punishments.
The act of total submission to God in accordance with the Shari`ah given by Him in no way diminishes human dignity, freedom, and responsibility. The act of submission is the highest act of human volition and freedom, for it implies freedom to disobey God.
One image of the Shari`ah which has been assiduously cultivated is that of a collection of laws enforceable only through political authority. This is not the case; all its laws are religious, but religion is not all law.
Penalties in Islam are more of a functional nature, to regulate and deter. God has laid down a body of mutual rights and obligations that are the true embodiment of justice. He has also laid down certain boundaries and limits to be observed and maintained for this very purpose.
So long as man is alive, he will continue to face difficult choices and dilemmas, old and new. This is a natural corollary of a worldview where man has to battle incessantly for good against evil. But, in the Shari`ah, he has the means to find the best way to ease and facilitate his task.
As the manifestation of God’s infinite mercy, knowledge, and wisdom, the Shari`ah cannot be amended to conform to changing human values and standards. Rather, it is the absolute norm to which all human values and conduct must conform, it is the frame to which they must be referred, it is the scale on which they must be weighed.