Muslims and Sacred Texts and Laws

20 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2019

Date Written: January 15, 2019


Like secular law, Islamic law also deals with matters of social, political, and economic interaction. This includes marriage, divorce, inheritance, criminal offenses, contracts, commercial transactions, constitutional law, and international law; basically, paralleling the secular law in terms of content. But, unlike the secular law, Islamic law also deals with matters of the individuals’ relationships with God, such as praying, fasting, giving alms, pilgrimage, and other issues between the individual and God. Matters related to terms what we today refer to as ethics, etiquette, spirituality are also parts of Shari’a. Although Shari’a, to an extent, is enforced by the state and judges, it is fundamentally enforced by the notion of sanctions in the hereafter which marks a difference with the Western secular law. Another critical distinction is that the Islamic law was not framed by the state but rather it developed at the hands of religious scholars and jurists (ulama) without any central authority that unifies the legal doctrine. This study looks at some of the differences in Muslim interpretations of Shari’a and the reasons of emergence of these differences. We will look at how Muslim laws have always accommodated a wide degree of pluralism from the beginning and how numerous factors are playing a role in diversity. We will particularly lean on the Muslim reactions to modernity and how Muslims have different perspectives with regard to living in the West, under Western non-Muslim polities. During our analysis we will touch upon Muslim responses to crucial factors in today’s world that define their worldview such as democracy – Islam compatability, Shari’a and State relationship and Muslims relationship with the non-Muslims and Western countries. We will first address the most basic concepts of Shari’a and Islam with a view to see on which basis Islamic law was been established and briefly explain the sources of Islamic law.

Keywords: Islamic Law, Shariah, Ijtihad, Fiqh, Qur’an

JEL Classification: Z10, Z12, Z18

Suggested Citation

Yilmaz, Ihsan, Muslims and Sacred Texts and Laws (January 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Ihsan Yilmaz (Contact Author)

Deakin University ( email )

75 Pigdons Road
Victoria, Victoria 3216


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