What is Sharia (Shariah) Law?

Sharia (Shariah) law is the Islamic law by which Muslims ought to live their lives. However, there is hardly any consensus on the interpretation and application of this Islamic law throughout the world. The post 9/11 world is redefining Islam, Muslims, and the general practices of the adherents of Islam in the context of Islamic terrorism. Among these practices is the supreme example of the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, and how his immediate followers practiced those principles. By the time the prophet of Islam died, Islam was still in its infancy stages, yet it held much of the known Arabian Peninsula. Never before had all Arabs followed one religion prescribed by one man solely based in Arabian culture and tradition, and now they were united under one God, Allah; to follow one book, the Qur’an; according to the sayings and actions of one man, Muhammad.

The challenge that was left behind by the prophet for the early Arab Muslim leaders was how to deal with diversity. Within its first century, Islam engulfed many nations from one corner of the world to another. Therefore, each ethnic group that was brought into the embrace of Islam adopted some aspects of Arabic traditions and cultural values, while at the same time keeping their own indigenous distinctive values. Now the Islamic traditions, values, and civilization were no longer only Arabian in nature, but like many other civilization also adopted and accommodated the traditions of the host nations. Consequently, there was hardly any consensus as to how to interpret the Qur’an for the unification of Muslims worldwide.


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