a reply to: MagnaCarta2015
I'll answer you.
1. "Shariah" is simply Islamic law. All Islamic law must be compliant with the Qur'an, though it can also come from Hadith, Sunna, and different
interpretations & rulings over time. There are many different forms of Shariah law, and you'll see why once you've finished reading the other
2. To understand the basis of Islamic law, I'd suggest you read the Qur'an FIRST
. Believe it or not, many Muslims have never read the Qur'an in
its entirety, just as many Christians have never the Bible in its entirety. Either way, this will help you understand what Islam is supposed to be
about because nothing can override the Qur'an. And if something overrides the Qur'an, it's against Islam.
In my sig, I have a link to an online version of the Qur'an, Pickthall translation. I recommend the Pickthall translation for English speakers because
it flows very well & is easy to understand. Note: The Qur'an is divided into 114 revelations called Surahs, and they vary drastically in length.
Starting with the 2nd Surah, the Qur'an is basically organized from longest revelation to shortest revelation (meaning you can finish reading the last
10 Surahs in a matter of minutes, as they're about a paragraph long each).
3. Sunna & Hadith are supposed to be the teachings & traditions of the Prophet Muhammad & his Companions. There are several collections of Sunna and
Hadith that are nearly universally accepted as "authentic". But there are also various other collections that are only accepted by specific
denominations & schools of thought ("schools of thought" are basically sub-denominations).
Differences in interpretations of Hadith & Sunna are some of the biggest causes of the rifts in Islamic communities. For example, one denomination may
interpret a Hadith one way, then find quotes in the Qur'an that justify that interpretation. But if another denomination or school of thought rejects
that Hadith or interprets that verse in the Qur'an differently, they'll reach a different conclusion.
4. Rulings & interpretations over time. Just like with any other religion, different Islamic sects & denominations can change their interpretations
over time. Sometimes older rulings are used as precedence for newer rulings, though there are always going to be "purists" that reject these rulings
and refer only to the basic scriptures. In many ways, I'm a "purist" like this.
An important thing to note here is that the Qur'an is pretty short compared to the Bible. And there are a lot of things that simply aren't mentioned
in the Qur'an, such as circumcision & the Antichrist/Dajjal/Armilus. My belief is that the things not mentioned in the Qur'an simply don't matter or
aren't true. But other denominations clearly don't believe that. So this is also a point of difference between many Islamic sects, because they use
Hadith & Sunna to "fill in" or "rationalize" other practices that aren't mentioned in the Qur'an. And remember, as long as it doesn't override
the Qur'an, those denominations can accept it as fair game.
As an example: Football. Is it against the Qur'an? If ruled yes, it's forbidden to Muslims. If ruled not, is it against Sunna &/or Hadith? If ruled
yes, it's forbidden to Muslims that accept the Sunna & Hadith used to justify that ruling. If ruled not, is it against other traditions & previous
rulings? If ruled yes, it's forbidden to the Muslims who accept those traditions and rulings. If not, you get the point. The other catch with this
example is "who is qualified to make such a ruling?", which opens up another can of worms because different denominations & schools of thought have
different answers to this, too.
Once you've taken everything I've said into account, you can probably see why there are many different versions of Shariah law. Just as there many
different rulings & interpretations among different Christian, Jewish, and Hindu communities. Either way, I'd recommend you start with the entire
Qur'an and then go from there. And remember, if something overrules the Qur'an, it isn't Islam. We believe the Qur'an is God's literal teachings, so
how can the words of humans override the words of God?
edit on 27-1-2016 by enlightenedservant because: sorry had a few typos