Shariah — What it is, What it isn’t, How it’s formed, and How Islamic law has been applied throughout history. Actual case studies from Islamic legal texts will be used to illustrate the dynamic nature of Islamic law and to dispel myths surrounding its purported draconian nature.
The popular images of Islamic law today are either about the terror of infidel beheadings or about exoticism of polygamy. These images immediately depict this Islamic legal tradition as a constellation of barbaric customs that are incommensurable with modern notions of justice, equality, law and human rights. But what is Islamic law truly about? How was it reconfigured over the course of modern history? And why is it so controversial today? This talk will steer the conservation towards understanding Islamic law in its own terms.
Sharia is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Qur’an and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God’s immutable Divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim traditionalists and reformists.
The traditional theory of Islamic jurisprudence recognizes four sources of sharia: the Quran, Sunnah (authentic Hadith), qiyas (analogical reasoning), and ijma (juridical consensus). Different legal schools—of which the most prominent are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali and Jafari—developed methodologies for deriving sharia rulings from scriptural sources using a process known as ijtihad.
Traditional jurisprudence distinguishes two principal branches of law, ʿibādāt (rituals) and muʿāmalāt (social relations), which together comprise a wide range of topics. Its rulings assign actions to one of five categories: mandatory, recommended, neutral, abhorred, and prohibited. Thus, some areas of sharia overlap with the Western notion of law while others correspond more broadly to living life in accordance with God’s will.
This series of talks were delivered at the Muslim Community Center – East Bay (MCC East Bay) in Pleasanton, California in December 2012.
During the reign of Omar, peace and prosperity reigned supreme through the lands. Some have questioned that prosperity and how it was attained. Is it accurate to say Islam was spread by the sword? Is jizyah a penalty for being non-Muslim? How are non-Muslims supposed to be treated under Islamic law? This session will delve into these issues as well as some other rulings and sayings of Omar that we will analyze.
Muslims are diverse and come from many parts of the world where culture varies. How do we reconcile these cultural differences with our religion of Islam. What is accepted and what isn’t? How do we determine this? As Islam spreads to new areas of the world where the cultury differs, how do they assimilate into an Islamic lifestyle?
Join the halaqa and take part in this discussion about the basic objectives of Islamic law. In the mountains of Northern New Mexico at the world famous Abiquiu Madressah, Hamza Yusuf elaborates on the six elements that shari’ah seeks to preserve in society. Part of the widely popular Deen Intensive program, this session is an opportunity to see a unique side of Imam Hamza within the context of an informal and interactive study group. After a comprehensive look at how shari’ah preserves the deen, this session covers five other areas: the preservation of life, lineage, wealth, intellect and honor. Other topics discussed: religion vs. ritual, the power of superstition, morality, the permissibility of adoption, changing one’s name upon converting to Islam, punishment for theft and adultery, public/private education, and extremism. (Duration: 1 hour, 47 min)
How should Muslims deal with practices reprehended by the shariah? If enjoining good and forbidding evil is a central Islamic shariah concept and a duty on Muslims in general, what are our limits in implementing it and the etiquettes we need to observe?
Objectives of the Islamic shariah involve approaching Islam based on guidelines set forth by Allah’s guidance. Understanding these objectives allows us to handle contemporary daily life challenges, bringing truth to the Arabic proverb: “ومكان زمان لكل صالح اإلسالم“ [Islam is fit for all times and places]
When the Shariah is mentioned, many immediately focus on the laws and punishments. However, the Shariah is a complete way of life. Often times, the ethical standards that the Shariah places on Muslims to conduct our everyday Muamalaat (various interactions with people) are overlooked. In this lecture, Dr. Johnathan AC Brown will discuss our responsibility as Muslims in maintaining a high ethical standard towards society.
What does it mean to follow the Shariah in the West? Is the Shariah in the West different from the Shariah in the East? Is the Shariah in a Muslim country different than the Shariah in a country where Muslims are the minorities? In this lecture, Dr. Johnathan AC Brown will clarify these points and elaborate on the role of the Shariah in a Democratic government.
The concept of an ideal, universal “Islamic State” has been in existence for a long time. Religious reformers in countries as diverse as Egypt, India and Indonesia have advocated for the establishment of Islamic states during the twentieth century. The acquisition of territory in Iraq and Syria by ISIL, (also known as ISIS or Daesh), in 2015 has brought the issue increasingly to our collective thoughts and to media headlines. This group’s claims are often presented by diverse media outlets and others, including academics, as an established fact in Islam. Such presentations give a monopolistic legitimacy to groups such as ISIL (or ISIS) and lock out traditional religious views and historical realities from the public square.
Dr. Jonathan Brown and Dr. Mohammad Shafi will present their clear analysis of why there is no claim for a universal Islamic State in the Qur’an or the normative practice and tradition of the Prophet. Historically, the Caliphate after the Prophet fell apart soon after Umar, claims of legitimacy by the Umayyads were constantly challenged and the presumed unity was shattered very early. The lived history of the Muslim peoples over the centuries shows that the idea is not practical or feasible.
A key tenet of belief in Islamic civilization was that God’s law, the Shariah, was the most just and perfect system of law for mankind. The primacy of the Shariah in the minds of many Muslims today remains strong, and an enduring tension in Muslim communities is negotiating the legitimacy of legal systems outside of the Shariah. This presentation will explore how classical Muslim scholars understood the relationship of the Shariah to justice, and how they reconciled their belief in the rule of law with the urgings of equity.
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi presents an important and enlightening talk based on his new book, “Refuting ISIS.” The book details how ISIS bases its ideology on a superficial and literalist approach to the sacred texts of Islam; and concludes that ISIS does not represent Islam, that its declaration of a caliphate is invalid, and that opposing ISIS is an obligation upon Muslims.
In this khutbah, Nouman Ali Khan explains certain ayat in the Quran of which some feel the need to apologize for. He explains that we do not need to apologize it but we need to understand it and learn it for ourselves first and foremost.
Ever wondered if your deal was safe or even valid according to Islamic law? What does Islam say about halal & haram earnings, buying & selling, mortgages, banking, loans, interest, Riba, insurances, hoarding, cheating, fraud, and gambling? All this and much more will be answered in this important lecture delivered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari at the University of Oslo (Norway) on 19th of November, 2010
The Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, is reported to have said, “If there were a prophet after me it would be Umar.” In this lecture, the President of the Islamic Society of North America, Imam Mohammed Magid, will examine the life and times of Umar bin al-Khattab, with special emphasis of his brilliant legal thinking, the mercy those rulings involve and the relevance for today’s Muslims, especially those of us here in the West.
Join the halaqa and take part in this discussion about the Islamic perspective of women and the many related issues. In the mountains of Northern New Mexico at the world famous Abiquiu Madressah, Hamza Yusuf answers many of the common questions about Muslim women such as the degree of men over women, the hijab, rights and roles, the concept of deficiency in women, and the hadith about women in Hell. Part of the widely popular Deen Intensive program, this session is an opportunity to see a unique side of Imam Hamza within the context of an informal and interactive study group. Other topics discussed: the breakdown of the family in the West, the man’s weakness for the woman, men and women shaking hands, cultural norms vs. shari’ah, a woman’s right to her own living space, participating in politics, following laws that contradict the shari’ah, paying taxes, and the idea of putting your parents in retirement homes. (Duration: 2 hours, 1 min)
In his second lecture to non-Muslim middle school and high school teachers, Murad moves on to the more outward manifestations of the Islamic tradition. He explains the sunnah as being the “backbone” of a Muslim’s daily life and provides a brief and simple explanation of it’s vital role in Islam. He then focuses the remainder of his time on the Islamic law, its various sources, and its history. And in closing, the speaker looks at a few case studies of the practice of ijtihad in the Muslim world. (Recorded at the Dar al Islam Teachers’ Institute seminar). Other topics discussed: dua (supplication), Salman Rushdie, medhabs (schools of thought), tabacco and smoking, AIDS, abortion, contraception, and artificial insemination.
In this session, the shari’ah is discussed within the context of the two dominant attributes of Allah: His grace and His mercy. Are love, compassion and mercy foundational aspects of the shari’ah? At the Islamic Circle of North America annual convention in Atlanta, Mokhtar Maghraoui reminds the audience that Allah has made rahmah mandatory upon Himself. How then is this rahmah manifested in the Islamic law? And how is the concept of rahmah reconciled with the laws of punishment for murder, theft and adultery? At a time when extremism and intolerance are perceived to be the normative Muslim view, and when many Muslims themselves are ignorant of the true Islamic teachings, a serious and objective look is needed at the concept of rahmah in Islam. Discover exactly how Allah intends ease and facilitation, not complication and difficulty with His system of law and how Islam is, indeed, a mercy to all the worlds. (Duration: 1 hour, 2 min)