11 December, 2018 | 2 Rabi al-Thani, 1440 H

"Silence saves you from regret"

- Imam Ali (as)

Learning
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Core Curriculum

Section 1 - God, Religion and Islam: An Introduction
  • Topic 1.1 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 1.2 - God, Allah and Religion

  • Topic 1.3 - Introduction to Islam

  • Topic 1.4 - What is “Religion” and What’s the Point of it Anyways?

  • Topic 1.5 - A Brief Introduction to the Prophet Muhammad (s), the Prophet of Islam

Section 2 - Foundations of Islam - Theology
  • Topic 2.1 - Entering Islam: The Shahada

  • Topic 2.2 - The Usūl al-Dīn: The Fundamental Beliefs of Islam

  • Topic 2.3 - Tawhīd: The Unity and Oneness of God in Islam

  • Topic 2.4 - Adala: Divine Justice in Islam

  • Topic 2.5 - Nubuwwa: The Purpose of Prophethood in Islam

  • Topic 2.6 - Imāmah or divinely guided leadership in Islam after the Prophet Muhammad.

  • Topic 2.7 - Maʿād: The Day of Judgment in Islam

  • Topic 2.8 - The Sharīʿa: Purpose and Practice

  • Topic 2.9 - The Islamic Concept of the Nafs: Battling the Human Ego

  • Topic 2.10 - Satan, Jinns and Angels: Their Influence in the World

  • Topic 2.11 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

Section 3 - Foundations of Islam - Obligatory Acts
  • Topic 3.1 - Accepting Islam: Putting Faith into Action

  • Topic 3.2 - Jihād in Islamic Law and Spirituality

  • Topic 3.3 - Salāt: Obligatory Ritual Prayers in Islam

  • Topic 3.4 - Ritual Purity in Islamic Law: Understanding Tahāra and Najāsa

  • Topic 3.5 - The Five Categories of Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.6 - Tawalla and Tabarra, its Basics and Purpose

  • Topic 3.7 - The Purpose of Zakat and Khums in Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.8 - The Hajj Pilgrimage

  • Topic 3.9 - The Furūʿ al-Dīn: The Fundamental Practices of Islam

  • Topic 3.10 - Fasting in Islam, its Purpose, Dos and Don’ts

  • Topic 3.11 - Other Obligatory and Forbidden Acts in Islam

  • Topic 3.12 - Niyya: Religious Intention as the Foundation of Islamic Practice

  • Topic 3.13 - Commanding the Good and Forbidding Evil in Islam

Section 4 - Prophethood in Islam
  • Topic 4.1 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Childhood (PART I of III)

  • Topic 4.2 - Bio: The Prophet Muhammad as a Prophet of God (PART II of III)

  • Topic 4.3 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Character (PART III of III)

  • Topic 4.4 - The Prophet Muhammad (s) as Messenger and Teacher

  • Topic 4.5 - The Prophet and his Relationships

  • Topic 4.6 - The Prophet’s Sunnah and Hadith

  • Topic 4.7 - Ghadīr and Arafah: The Two Last Sermons of the Prophet

  • Topic 4.8 - Jesus and Mary in Islam

Section 5 - The Qur'an and Hadith
  • Topic 5.1 - Islam and Other Religions

  • Topic 5.2 - What is the Qur’an? A Short Introduction to Islam’s Holy Book

  • Topic 5.3 - The Structure of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.4 - The Quran and Islamic law

  • Topic 5.5 - The Qur’an, Allah and Humankind

  • Topic 5.6 - Hadith and Sunnah, difference and variations

  • Topic 5.7 - The Reliability of Hadiths

  • Topic 5.8 - A Reflection on Verses of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.9 - Hadith al-Thaqalayn

  • Topic 5.10 - Imam Ali (as) and Nahj al-Balagha.

  • Topic 5.11 - Taqlid and Tawḍih Al Masail Genre of Literature

Section 6 - Measuring Good and Bad in Islam
  • Topic 6.1 - The Effects of Our Actions in this World

  • Topic 6.2 - The Gray Areas of Islamic Law and Morality

  • Topic 6.3 - Heaven and Hell in Islam

  • Topic 6.4 - Life and Death in Islam

  • Topic 6.5 - Guidance According to Islam

  • Topic 6.6 - Fate and the Consequences of our Choices in Islam

  • Topic 6.7 - The Effect of Culture and Environment in Shaping our Religious Choices

  • Topic 6.8 - Major Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.9 - Why Allah Allows People to Sin

  • Topic 6.10 - Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.11 - The Three Kinds of Rights in Islam

  • Topic 6.12 - Sinning Against Others and their Delayed Punishment

  • Topic 6.13 - Kufr in Islam

  • Topic 6.14 - Trivializing the Harām

  • Topic 6.15 - Benefits of Islamic Law in this World

  • Topic 6.16 - Good and Bad Deeds: The Spiritual Consequences of our Choices

Section 7 - The Legacy of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as)
  • Topic 7.1 - Islam and Knowledge: the Importance of Islamic Education

  • Topic 7.2 - The Ahl al-Kisa

  • Topic 7.3 - Imamah in the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.4 - Fatima al-Zahrah (as)

  • Topic 7.5 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam al-Hasan until Imam Muhammad al-Baqir)

  • Topic 7.6 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam Jafar al-Sadiq until Imam Hasan al-Askari)

  • Topic 7.7 - A Brief Look at the Life and Importance of Imam al-Mahdi (aj)

  • Topic 7.8 - Salawat and Atonement in Islam

  • Topic 7.9 - The Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet According to the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.10 - Clerical Hierarchies in Muslim Communities

  • Topic 7.11 - Mosques in Islam

  • Topic 7.12 - The Philosophy of Karbala and Majalis

  • Topic 7.13 - A Brief Biography of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)

  • Topic 7.14 - The Battle of Karbala: A Brief History

Section 8 - Islamic Relationships, Sects and Conflicts
  • Topic 8.1 - Misconceptions about Shi’ism

  • Topic 8.2 - Major Sects of Islam

  • Topic 8.3 - Islam and Religious Conflicts

  • Topic 8.4 - Islam and Rights

  • Topic 8.5 - Sunnism and Shi’ism, beginnings and historical developments.

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Special Topics

Section 9 - Independent Topics
  • Topic 9.1 - Muslim Converts – Welcome to Islam!

  • Topic 9.2 - Basic Dos and Don’ts of Being a Muslim

  • Topic 9.3 - Halal Food and Zabiha

  • Topic 9.4 - Family, Parents and Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.5 - Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.6 - Islam and Sex

  • Topic 9.7 - Modesty in Islam

  • Topic 9.8 - Women’s Menstruation in Islam

  • Topic 9.9 - Music, Alcohol, Drugs and Pork in Islam

  • Topic 9.10 - Islam and Science

  • Topic 9.11 - A Reading List of Islamic Knowledge

  • Topic 9.13 - Ritual Prayers and Supplications in Islam

  • Topic 9.14 - Death & Burial Rituals in Islam

  • Topic 9.15 - The Battle of Armageddon: An Islamic View

  • Topic 9.16 - The Muslim Calendar

  • Topic 9.17 - Muslims and non-Muslims in the Shariah

  • Topic 9.18 - A Timeline of Major Events in Islamic History

  • Topic 9.19 - Introducing the Qur’an: Why it is the way it is

  • Topic 9.20 - The School of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq

  • Topic 9.21 - Major Fields in Islamic Studies

  • Topic 9.22 - The Caliphate in Sunni and Shia Islam

  • Topic 9.24 - Islam, Racism and Anti-Semitism

Section 10 - Islam, Religion, and Modern Controversies
  • Topic 10.1 - Modern Fallacies about God: where Theists and Atheists Agree

  • Topic 10.2 - Tawhīd: The Muslim God according to the Prophet Muhammad and the Ahl al-Bayt (as)

  • Topic 10.3 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Being (Wujūd)

  • Topic 10.4 - God’s Existence: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

  • Topic 10.5 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Design

  • Topic 10.6 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 10.7 - Why did God Create Us? The Purpose of our Creation

  • Topic 10.8 - Why Humans Need Religion according to Islam

  • Topic 10.9 - Jahl and Spiritual Ignorance in Islam

  • Topic 10.11 - Do Non-Muslims Go to Hell?

The Sharīʿa: Purpose and Practice

Abstract

Sharīʿa literally means “way” or “road” as in a way of life towards God. The purpose of the Sharīʿa is to discipline and test mankind in its obedience to God. Only through obedience to Allah can we reach salvation and closeness to Him.

INTRODUCTION 

 

Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters. 

 

Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel! So far we’ve been dealing with the usūl al-dīn or fundamental beliefs of Islam. We have discussed the central role they play in the salvation of humankind.  

 

Islam is not just about theory nor is it just about beliefs. Throughout our discussions so far, especially in the introduction of this section where shahāda was discussed, we learnt that Islam is about testifying to a fact concerning the reality of the world, namely that there is one God who is the Creator and Sustainer of all of humankind and that the Prophet Muhammad (s) is His Messenger.  

 

He is our role model and guide in helping us attain salvation in God. The shahāda, as we saw, has various entailments, the most important of which are the usūl al-dīn.  

 

Yet the usūl al-dīn also has its own important implications and entailments in the real world. In other words, Islam is not just about having particular beliefs in your mind. Islam also has a set of responsibilities that are meant to discipline the human heart and help humans find salvation on the Day of Judgment.  

 

These set of responsibilities that the usūl al-dīn entail coalesce under an institution called the Sharīʿa. In this lesson, we will overview the meaning of the Sharīʿa, its purpose and the scope of its practice.  

 

BODY OF TEXT 

 

And obey Allah and obey the Messenger and be on your guard [against evil]. And if you turn away - then know that upon Our Messenger is only responsible for conveying the message. (Chapter 5, verse 92 of the Holy Qur’an) 

 

The term Sharīʿa literally means “way” as in the way to God. Sharīʿa is generally associated with Islamic law, but this is only partially correct. The Sharīʿa is a general term denoting God’s general will upon humankind of which “law” is a part of.  

 

From the time of Adam (as) to the Prophet Muhammad (s), Allah has revealed to humankind the “how to” of successfully living in this world and attaining salvation in the next.  

 

These instructions are comprehensive, and the supreme manifestation of this message is the Qur’an, the authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and their explanations by the 12 Imāms. 

 

Islam means submission or surrender. It is the surrendering of one’s will to that of Allah. The Sharīʿa shows us how God wants us to surrender to Him. 

 

The Sharīʿa is there principally to show how a Muslim should live his or her life by surrendering to Allah’s will. If followed correctly, the Sharīʿa upholds human and civil rights and greatly encourages compassion, peace and tolerance of human beings. 

 

Unfortunately, the wrong interpretation of the Sharīʿa or Islamic law has created a number of unIslamic practices which fundamentalist Muslims have adopted worldwide.  

 

Sadly enough, these practices often result in the loss of human rights, respect, dignity and life which are fundamental parts of Islam and Islamic law in general.  

 

It is important that a person chooses an educated and compassionate scholar as a source of Islamic teachings. Please send us an email and we can help connect you with proper scholars. 

 

The God of Islam not only establishes laws for our betterment, such as prayer, or abstinence from evil deeds, such as murder, but He also establishes them in order to test us on whether or not we are ready to set aside our own will and selfish desires and surrender to Him instead.  

 

The Sharīʿa as such is a way of life. It is a beautiful and joyful surrender to God. 

 

When we speak of the Sharīʿa as a way of life, we speak of it in terms of its universality. It is applicable to all individuals and can be lived anywhere in the world. Even if one lives in a non-Muslim country, one can still live the holy life of surrender.  

 

One does not need to be in a Muslim majority country to pray, feed the poor, fast, show kindness and gratitude to one’s parents, or abstain from evil deeds such as murder, theft, lying, fornication and so on and so forth.  

 

For example, the Qur’an says the following: 

 

[The true servants of Allah are] they [who] fulfill their vows, and stand in fear of a Day which is bound to spread far and wide, and they give food in spite of their need intense want for it unto the needy, the orphan and the captive [saying in their hearts] “we feed you for the sake of Allah alone: we desire neither reward nor gratitude from you”  

 

"They (the true believers) give food, out of love for Allah, to the poor, the orphan and the slave, saying: We feed you only for Allah's pleasure - we desire from you neither reward nor thanks." (Chapter 76, verses 7-9 of the Holy Qur’an) 

 

These responsibilities can be fulfilled anywhere in the world.  One does not need to be in a Muslim majority country to feed the poor or fulfill a vow!  

 

One important question that is often asked is if the Sharia can be implemented in non-Muslim countries. By this they mean the implementation of specific laws at the governmental level.  

 

According to mainstream understandings of Islamic law, there is no necessity to establish the Sharia in this way in non-Muslim countries. One can go on living a full life of surrender without having to enforce the Sharia's codes on others. 

 

If anything, mainstream Islamic law makes it obligatory upon Muslims to follow and obey the laws of non-Muslim countries when they are living in them as long as the laws do not contradict the explicit foundations of Islamic practice.  

 

For example, if a Muslim were asked not to pray anymore, he or she would be under no obligation to obey such a command. However, a Muslim would, according to the mainstream understandings of Islamic law, have to obey civil laws, such as stopping at red lights, obeying copyright laws, etc.  

 

In conclusion, the Sharīʿa is a way of life to God. Ideally speaking, it is a life of joyful and blissful servitude to God and a process of inner purification through which one attains salvation. It is universal and can be lived in almost every circumstance.  

 

The commands of the Sharia are meant to instill obedience to God. Without commands, how can there be obedience? 

 

Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh

Sharīʿa

life or way of obedience and discipline towards God

Dunyā

the ephemeral aspect of the world

ʿĀlam

the physical world, world of creation

God as the Final Judge

In Islam, God is the ultimate judge of all of mankind’s deeds. 

Q1

What is the literal meaning of the Sharīʿa?

It means “way,” as in the way to God and salvation in Him

Q2

Can we enforce Sharīʿa in non-Muslim countries?

No 

Q3

What is the purpose of the Sharīʿa?

To help guide us to spiritual discipline and serve God 

Q4

How is the Sharīʿa universal?

You don’t need to be in a Muslim majority country to pray or fast or feed the power or abstain from sin. This can be done anywhere. 

Q5

According to the Sharīʿa, am I allowed to disobey civil laws?

As long as they don’t contradict the foundations of Islam, you are not allowed to disobey them. 

Sharīʿa
Sharīʿa law
Shariah law
Islamic law
Prophet Muhammad
Islam
God’s will
good and evil
Muslim God
self-discipline
salvation
way
way of life
surrender to God
surrender to God’s commandments

Islamic Laws by Sayyed as-Seestani 

Philosophy of the Islamic laws by Naser Makarem Shirazi  

The Five Schools of Islamic law by Muhammad Jawad Maghniyyah