Sources of Shari'ah
Sources of Shari'ah

The following Banking & Finance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sources of Shari'ah
  • Introduction
  • Nature and scope of Shari’ah
  • Branches and schools of Islam
  • Sources of Shari’ah—primary and secondary
  • The Qur'an
  • The Sunnah
  • Ijma
  • Qiyas


Shari'ah (also Sharia, Shariah or Shari’a) (literally, in Arabic, 'the path towards the watering place') or Islamic law is the legal system of the religion of Islam that sets out a system of duties or code of conduct for individuals to follow so that they may live their life in a fulfilling and beneficial manner.

According to Potter LJ:

'...most of the classical Islamic law on financial transactions is not contained as 'rules' or 'law' in the Qur'an and Sunnah but is based on the often divergent views held by established schools of law formed in a period roughly between 700 and 850 CE'.

Nature and scope of Shari’ah

Although the phrase 'Islamic law' is widely and commonly used, Shari'ah is often the preferred term to demarcate from Western or Christian concepts of ‘law’ and associated assumptions, for example:

  1. the Shari’ah is inherently non-secular and does not distinguish between religious and governmental institutions, authorities and ordinances

  2. the Shari'ah is both a legal system and a moral framework, rather than, for example, a legal system underpinned or influenced by a moral framework

  3. the Shari'ah regulates both public and private spheres, affecting not only individuals’ relationships with their neighbours and the state but also their relationships with Allah (God or the divine), their private or personal affairs and their own conscience

The Shari’ah spans geographical and jurisdictional boundaries. However, even in

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