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10 Characteristics of Shariah

10 Characteristics of Shariah

Islamic Shariah is Allah’s guidance to humanity. It distinguishes itself and its value system from other systems by a set of unique characteristics. In the next paragraphs, we will touch upon those characteristics.

From Allah

The first and the most important attribute of Islamic Shariah is that it is from Allah. Although obvious, this attribute is often forgotten. Shariah was not made by people, nor was it an accumulation of peoples’ experience. Its guidance, rulings, and teachings are from Allah, the Almighty, the Creator, the Most Merciful, the Ultimately Just.

This attribute makes it a real guidance, guidance from the One who created and the One who knows His creation, the One who knows what is beneficial to them, and what is harmful. Allah’s names and attributes manifest themselves in His Shariah. Shariah is full of wisdom, mercy, and justice. Ibn Al-Qayyim says,

Shariah is founded and based on wisdom and the benefit of people in this life and in the eternal life. Shariah is altogether justice, mercy, benefits, and wisdom. Any rule that departs from justice to oppression, from mercy to cruelty, from benefit to harm, and from wisdom to futility, is not from Shariah, even if it is included in Shariah by interpretation.

It is really the light that illuminates our lives, {Allah guides to his light whomever He wills…} (An-Nur 24:35) and it is a soul to our hearts. Allah says about His book, {No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: It is sent down by One full of wisdom, worthy of all praise.} (Fussilat 41:42)

Comprehensive, encompassing, and complete

Shariah is a comprehensive guidance that takes into consideration all aspects of the human life. It gives us guidance from the day we are born till the day we die – it even relates to us before we are born and after we die.

It shows its guidance wherever we are: at home, in the mosque, and at work. It rules our relationship with Allah, our Creator, within ourselves, with each other, our families, our communities, and the whole society. It teaches us how to deal with people, and even animals and objects. It applies to our physical needs, as well as our intellect and souls. It encompasses our sayings, feelings, and actions.

It is a comprehensive way of life. If you read the Quran and the tradition of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) you will be able to clearly see this attribute. Allah says,

{and We have sent down to you the Book explaining all things, a guide, a mercy, and glad tidings to Muslims.} (An-Nahl 16:89)

What is miraculous is that, despite its universality and its comprehensiveness, you will find it consistent and free of any contradiction. As Allah says about His book, {Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.} (An-Nisaa’ 4:82) It is really, as the linguistic meaning implies, a way of life, the whole life.

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About Dr. Wael Hamza

Wael Hamza is a Muslim writer, thinker and an active figure in MAS (Muslim American Society ), U.S.A.

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