SECONDARY SOURCES OF SHARIA LAW
The primary sources of Sharia Law, also known as Islamic Law, are the Quran and Sunnah. Sharia basically shows us the path to God. It allows us to understand our place in this world and to act accordingly. Both of these sources, the Quran and Sunnah, basically defines the Sharia and how a Muslim should lead his life. However, primary sources of Sharia Law cannot be changed or amended. If a ruling on a certain matter is mentioned in the Quran or Sunnah then it cannot be altered.
However, in today’s world, everyday there are new challenges to deal with. World is changing rapidly and Muslims are facing issues that they didn’t have to encounter before. Islam makes a provision to deal with new matters in an Islamic way. Muslims scholars can either make use of Ijma or Qiyas while deciding a particular case that is new to Sharia.
Ijma (Consensus of Scholars)
If a matter is not mentioned in the Quran or Sunnah, Ijma can be held for the same matter. Ijma is basically consensus of learned Islamic scholars on a particular subject matter. The provision for holding an Ijma has been allowed in Islam. However, this has to be ensured that any decision made should not be against any ruling mentioned in the Quran or Sunnah. The basic purpose of Ijma (or Ijtihad) is to create unity and not chaos amongst Muslims. Once a ruling has been made through Ijma, it becomes a necessary part of Sharia Law and is to be followed by Muslims.
Another way of resolving new or previously not encountered legal matters is through drawing analogies or comparisons. For example, alcohol is forbidden according to Sharia, as mentioned in the Quran; hence, any substance that may cause the same state of mind or physical state, is deemed forbidden in Islam. Such an example can be usage of illegal drugs. Qiyas can be quite handy for jurists. They can resolve new matters with help of Qiyas by making appropriate comparisons.
In today’s world, the importance of these secondary sources of Sharia Law is increasing day by day. It becomes quite useful in countries where Islam is not the main religion or Muslims are in a minority. They have to encounter daily life situations where the need for Ijma and Qiyas becomes apparent. It also allows Muslims to continue following their faith and follow Sharia.