Islamic Law

Islamic law is derived only from the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammadp. Like the Qur’an, the Sunnah is inspired by revelation from God. Islamic law covers all aspects of life. It deals with how to worship God and how to deal with others. God commands the believers to do certain things and bans them from doing others. God alone, The All Knowing, The Just, has the right to make some things lawful and other things sinful and forbidden. An Islamic society can legislate any laws for the improvement of life (e.g., traffic laws) as long as they are not in contradiction to Islamic law. God, The Guide and The Director, encourages some things without commanding them and discourages some behaviors without prohibiting them outright. All of these injunctions, taken together, form the law of Islam. When we add the fact that there are issues that Islamic law considers simply permissible, this makes five basic rulings for every human action:

1. Obligatory 2. Encouraged 3. Permitted 4. Discouraged 5. Forbidden

Islamic law is of divine origin. The reason we obey these laws is because God commands us to do so. We are encouraged to understand the wisdom behind the law, yet we are expected to obey even when we do not fully understand the reasons why. Understanding is an added gift. For example, eating pork is forbidden because God said so. We refrain from eating it for that reason, and not because we also happen to know scientifically that it contains unique diseases and is the least healthy meat. Even if scientists were able to genetically breed pigs to be a disease-free and most nutritious food, it would still be forbidden to eat pork. (However, someone may eat pork to save his or her life if there are no other options left, and there would be no sin in doing so.)

The sources of Islamic law are the Qur’an and Sunnah. God considers it polytheism to allow a religious leader to change God’s command by making lawful what God has made forbidden, or by making forbidden what God has made lawful. In this world, God alone determines what is good and what is sinful. In the Hereafter, God alone has the power and wisdom to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil.