Shari`a ["The way"]: The body and content of Islamic law.
Fiqh: The study, or science, of Islamic jurisprudence.
Sources of Law (in order of importance).
1. The Qur'an. Not primarily a legal work (contrast to Jewish Torah, etc.), but contains rules on several topics, including:
Matters of faith: Prohibition of idolatry.
Ritual laws: Dietary regulations (pork, wine).
Ethical rules: Gambling, fraud, perjury, slander, etc.
Family Law: Divorce, remarriage, inheritance, status of women, etc.
Civil and Criminal laws.
2. The Sunna [custom, practice] of the prophet:
Recorded in Hadith [reports]: Huge literature on many topics, not all of it reliable. Attempts to collect the reliable traditions in authoritative collections by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, etc. (9th century).
Main criterion of authenticity: Accuracy of "chain of tradition," Isnad.
3. Ijma`: Consensus of Muslim community (Umma):
"Truly my umma will never agree together on an error."
Originally applied to the community as a whole, later limited to the specialists (`Ulama).
4. Qiyas: Analogy.
Ijtihad: Independent decision making.
No longer in force among Sunnis. Still practiced by Shi`ites.
(Attempts to reopen "gates of Ijtihad" to modernize thr religion).
Schools ("madhahib") of Sunni jurisprudence:
Four main schools of interpretation, usually determined by country.
All are considered legitimate by the others.
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