In Search of the Shari'ah

Arab Law Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 315-354

40 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2016 Last revised: 12 Dec 2018

Date Written: 2018


The centrality of Sharīʿah as a term and concept, together with its ubiquitous usage, reflects present Muslim understanding of their religion. Existing research indicates this Sharīʿah-based conception represents a later historical development. However, earlier studies have not documented contemporary understanding and use of the term in the primary sources of Islam. This has important implications regarding the imparting of sacredness according to its traditional conceptualization. Based on comprehensive research and close examination of the Hadith literature in particular, this represents the first work to examine whether and to what extent the term Sharīʿah was used by the Prophet and his companions. The present investigation makes the case for fundamentally re-evaluating the role of the Sharīʿah in understanding Islam, and argues that this is necessary in order for a positive impact on contemporary Muslim societies and their relationship with the rest of the world to occur.

Keywords: Sharīʿah, Sharīʿah Law, Sharīʿah values, Sharīʿah Compliance, Islamic Law, Islamic banking

JEL Classification: Z12

Suggested Citation

Farooq, Mohammad Omar and El Ghattis, Nedal, In Search of the Shari'ah (2018). Arab Law Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 315-354, Available at SSRN: or

Nedal El Ghattis

Independent ( email )


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