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The sacred Islamic law is referred to as Sharia. The Muslim community believes that, Sharia is the word of God though they differ about its contents amongst themselves. The different groups of Muslims have different views about the same. For this reason there are different schools of thoughts about the content of Sharia. Muslims in the different countries interpret Sharia differently. Some of the factor that contributes to different views is the unique cultures. The contents of sharia were obtained from a revelation that was considered to be divine.
The contents of Sharia were derived from the Quran while its other contents are sayings of Mohamed who is considered as a powerful prophet of the Sunnah. Figh interprets Sharia by adding some secondary sources which are not directly related to the primary source. The secondary sources often entail the conclusion of the Islamic scholars on the sharia (Abdullahi 56).
Sharia in the Islamic religion means the life’s source; this definition was derived from the Quran. Allah admonishes his Islamic followers to follow the rightful path which is the Shariah path. Sharia is the Islamic law that is used to pronounce judgment against any Muslim who violates there laws. This law is used to regulate individual’s morals as well as their conduct. The Muslim community is judged basing on the different application in use. During the nineteenth century, refinement and interpretation of the Islamic law was solely done by the existing Islamic scholars. Varied interpretation of the sharia law was as a result of growth from traditional to modern Islamic world. Traditionally many Muslims regarded themselves as either belonging to Shia or Sunni Islamic sect. Basing on the two Islamic sectors, different schools of thoughts were formulated. One of the common factors of the available schools is that they have some commonalities in there characteristics though their details differ greatly (Ali Taquavi 93).
The traditional Muslims who follow the perspectives of Sunni general add the sayings of there prophet Mohamed and of other Islamic jurists into there law. In the application of this law giyas are used to replace the gaps left in the sharia. It is made possible through varied forms of reasoning which make use of analogy. Other additional materials that are included in the Sunni include issues that are related to the interests of other Muslims. These additional materials are generally referred to as secondary information. These are the basic principles which are used in the other major schools of thoughts.
Salafi Law. The Salafi law or perspective gets its sayings and actions from the three early generations. They get there guidance from the previous generation. In the Salafis, the early Muslims are used as the main source of the figh. This movement has gained much attraction from a wide area of Muslim community as a result of the diverse cultures. The school of figh originated from the Salafi movement. The Muslims who consider themselves as Salafi are those who follow the teachings and sayings of Abd-al-Wahhab Mohammed who was scholar of Islamic studies (Ali Taquavi 89).
The muslims who follow the Shia law use the basics of figh though they do not believe in the analogies of giyas. To them rejection of the analogies of giya is the easy way of making there innovations because to them the contibutions of giya lack the essential values which are needed. The Shia law uses logic to a wide extends as the other schools of thoughts. The Shia uses logic as a way of finding out the compatibility of the derived works within the Sunni and the Quran. Therefore cross checking of the works in use and the laws that have been implanted is made possible by employing logic. The Sharia law that is used by the Muslims of our present day also has some of the information that was obtained from the local Muslim customs and cultures. Modernity has led to many interpretations of the Muslim law. Some of the boundaries that have been overlooked by the modern law include the ancient schools of thoughts, the sects that were in existence as well as the Islamic traditions and customs. For this reason the changes that have been made the Sharia law has different effects on different individuals basing on the application of the given law. The impact of the sharia law is very enormous and as a result it has been incorporated into the states sphere (Lockman 109).
Shia Islam is comprosises the majority of Muslims. Followers of Shia are referred to as Shiites. The Shiites are the disciples of Ali other than that the other teachings of this sect are based on the holy Quran as well as those of the final Islamic prophet. The existing difference of this school of thought from the rest is the belief by the Shiites that Mohammed and the rest of his family had some spiritual and political connections which gave them some authority over the other Muslim community. The Shiites further belief, that prophet Ali was a cousin and in law to prophet Mohamed. The Shiites also beliefs that Ali was the rightful successor of Mohammed and for these reasons the Shiites do not recognize the three first caliphs to be legitimate. The Shias account to about a tenth of all the Muslim fraternity.
In the recent past Shia was divided into many branches but currently there are only three shia branches. The largest branch is called Twelvers or Ithna. This sect comprises many Iranian and Iraqi populations. The Shia religion comprises of many groups of people from diverse cultures. Shias religious interpretation as well as political authority is distinct and independent therefore it has its own place in the present Islamic world. Shia sect emerged at the time of Prophet Mohammed and its establishment occurred after Hijra. The Shiites belief that succession of Mohammed by Ali was by divine intervention since its God who made him succeed his former prophet. That is the reason why they clam that before Mohammed passing on he appointed Ali as his successor (Abdullahi 55).
The only difference between shia and Zaydis was on political leaderships views. Though there has been room for redefining the doctrines of this sect. the early traditional Sunnis belief that for anyone to be considered as a political leader he had to be from Mohammed’s lineage or tribe. They further restricted the already set rules when they proposed that the one to be a political leader had to be a male directly related to Mohammed. These leaders were to be the descendants of Fatimah and Ali. The main issue that led to the split of the shia sect was about the imams. Shia divided into many branches on the basis of imams. For example each group was supporting a different imam. The largest category of the shia faith are the Twelvers. These groups comprise about 85% of all the Shias. The other remaining two groups are the Ismailii and the Zaidi. One of the main distinguishing factors in both the three is the different imam lineage. The shias belief in the lineage of the twelve imams and this faith is largely held in Iran. These twelvers are the political and spiritual successors of Prophet Mohammed. These are people who are considered to be infallible because they can rule their people with justice and spiritual guidance which is needed (South 87).
After the death of the Islamic prophet Mohammed many school of thoughts came into existence in relation to the Islamic faith and traditions. Despite these changes the major Islamic book the Quran is against the division of the Islamic faith or religion. This is because the Muslims are supposed to be united in there worship of Allah. Muslims who do not worship Allah are guilt of sin therefore they deserve to be punished. The Islamic holy book expects all its followers to obey their prophets and Allah. In spite of the many Islamic sects that have been created the Quran clearly forbids dividing the Muslim religion or faith. Sunni Muslims happen to be the largest Islamic population. Sunnah generally means actions and the teachings of the early Islamic prophets therefore the followers of the Sunni are the followers of Mohammed and other prophets like Allah (Lane and Redissi 184).
The main difference between the Shia and the Shunna is that Prophet Mohammed never appointed his successor. Therefore all its followers believe that Mohammed’s successor was not his cousin Ali but his father in law who was his close friend. Sunnis followers’ believed that the first Islamic caliph was rightfully guided. After a fewer generations the position of Caliphs became hereditary as opposed to democracy. The fall of the Ottoman Empire in the year 1923 changed the whole caliph setting since there has never emerged another caliph leadership as the early one. Madhhab is an Islamic school of thought of the Sunni faith. Most of the schools of thoughts in this branch were discarded leaving only four schools of thoughts. The differences in the remaining school of thoughts majorly include practical variations. For this reason all the four schools of thoughts are considered same by the Muslim fraternity that beliefs in them (South 85).
For this reason the Sunnis do not usually identify themselves basing on a given law. Examples of these schools of thoughts include; Hanafi which is a school that is wide open to ideas that are considered to be modern. This school of thought is strongly held by the Sunni Muslims of the Middle East. For example Pakistan and Iraq and many other countries considered to be western. Shafii school of thought is strongly held by Muslim scholars. This thought has taken its roots to the whole Islamic world though it’s strongly practiced by Egyptian Muslims. Statistics reveals that about 28% of all Muslims in the world follow the Shafii school of thought. The Maliki School of Islamic thought is mainly practiced by Muslims from West and North Africa. It’s ranked third amongst the Sunnis four schools of thoughts and its followers are approximately 15% of all Islamic believers. The forth school of thought is Hanbali. This school of thought is ranked as the most old fashioned and it mainly based on Hadith. This is the only school that does not allow the incorporation of philosophical argument in matters meant to be religious. The school is mainly used by the Muslims from Arabian Peninsula (Lane and Redissi 182).