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What is Sharia?

2009 Vol. 6: Nov/Dec

Sharia is an Arabic word meaning “path” or “way”. Nowadays it is used to mean “Islamic law” the detailed system of religious law developed by Muslim scholars in the first three centuries of Islam. This law expresses the Islamic way of life and – much more than the Qur’an – is the key to understanding Islam. Sharia covers all aspects of life and does not separate between secular and religious spheres. It provides a framework of dos and don’ts, rituals and rules within which a Muslim leads his or her life. Most Muslims hold that sharia protects them from sin like a fence or a roadblock.

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