Tuesday, May 20, 2008



.....................continued from part(5)


The word Syariah literally means 'drinking place', 'the way','water hole',etc (Sattar,1978). It is now a technical term to denote 'the civil and canonical law of Islam'. The author of this law is Allah. The syariah is the tool to administer the functionings of all creations. It deals with all aspects of life of a Muslim both religious and otherwise. Thus in anything that a Muslim does, there is a devine decree guiding it because the syriah ia a complete code of law relating to the rights and duties of a Muslim.
Distiction must be made between syariah and fiqh. Muslim scholars usually define syariah as the body of those institutions which Allah has ordained in full or in essence to guide the individual in his relationshipto Allah, his fellow Muslims, his fellow men, and the rest of the universe. It may be compared in certain respects to some denotations of the western concept of natural law (Al 'Ati, 1977, pg.13).
The term fiqh literally denotes intelligence or knowledge. Technically however, it is the name given to jurisprudence inIslam. It does not designate the principle Islamic laws that are to regulate all aspects of public and private life; rather, it is a subsidiary science of those laws.
Although fiqh is the science of syariah and can often be used synonymously, the two cocepts to the critical Muslim minds are different but actually related things. Muslims speak differently of different mazahib of fiqh, but they do not refer to syariah the same way. To them syariah is one comprehensive system of law that is devine in origin, religious in essence,and moral in scope. It does not exclude fiqh, but it is not identical with it. In contrast, fiqh is a human product, the intellectual systematic endevour to interpret and apply the priciples of syariah.
Much confusion can be avoided if the analytical distinction is borne in mind that the Islamic law encompasses two basic elements: (1) syariah- the divine, which is unequivocally commanded by Allah or His messenger s.a.w. (2) fiqh - the human, which is based upon and aimed at the interpretation and/or application of the syariah (Al 'Ati, po. cit., pg 13-15).
....................to be continued