Sharia

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The formative period of fiqh stretches back to the time of the early Muslim communities. In this period, jurists were more concerned with pragmatic issues of authority and teaching than with theory.[62] Progress in theory happened with the coming of the early Muslim jurist Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i (767-820), who laid down the basic principles of Islamic jurisprudence in his book Al-Risala. The book details the four roots of law (Qur'an, Sunnah, ijma, and qiyas) while specifying that the primary Islamic texts (the Qur'an and the hadith) be understood according to objective rules of interpretation derived from careful study of the Arabic language.[63]

A number of important legal concepts and institutions were developed by Islamic jurists during the classical period of Islam, known as the Islamic Golden Age, dated from the 7th to 13th centuries.[64][65][66][67]

The categories of human behavior

Fiqh classifies behavior into the following types or grades: fard (obligatory), mustahabb (recommended), mubah (neutral), makruh (discouraged), and haraam (forbidden). Every human action belongs in one of these five categories.[68]

The recommended, permissible and discouraged categories are drawn largely from accounts of the life of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. To say a behavior is sunnah is to say it is recommended as an example from the life and sayings of Muhammad. These categories form the basis for proper behavior in matters such as courtesy and manners, interpersonal relations, generosity, personal habits and hygiene.[68]

Topics of Islamic law

Sharia law can be organized in different ways.

Sharia can be divided into five main branches:

"Reliance of the Traveller", an English translation of a fourteenth century CE reference on the Shafi'i school of fiqh written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, organizes Sharia law into the following topics:

In some areas, there are substantial differences in the law between different schools of fiqh, countries, cultures and schools of thought.

Purification

In Islam, purification has a spiritual dimension and a physical one. Muslims believe that certain human activities and contact with impure animals and substances cause impurity. Classic Islamic law details how to recognize impurity, and how to remedy it. Muslims use water for purification in most circumstances, although earth can also be used under certain conditions. Before prayer or other religious rituals, Muslims must clean themselves in a prescribed manner. The manner of cleansing, either wudhu or ghusl, depend on the circumstances. Muslims' cleaning of dishes, clothing and homes are all done in accordance with stated laws.[70][71]

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