Filed under: CHARACTERISTICS OF SHARIAH II
The Shari‘ah thus prescribes directives for the regulation of our individual as well as collective lives. These directives affect such varied subjects as religious rituals, personal character, morals, habits, family relationships, social and economic affairs, administration, the rights and duties of citizens, the judicial system, the laws of war and peace and international relations. They tell us what is good and bad; what is beneficial and useful and what is injurious and harmful; what are the virtues which we have to cultivate and encourage and what are the evils which we have to suppress and guard against; what is the sphere of our voluntary, personal and social action and what are its limits; and, finally, what methods we can adopt to establish a dynamic order of society and what methods we should avoid. The Shari‘ah is a complete way of life and an all-embracing social order.
Another remarkable feature of the Shari‘ah is that it is an organic whole. The entire way of life propounded by Islam is animated by the same spirit and hence any arbitrary division of the scheme is bound to affect the spirit as well as the structure of the Islamic order. In this respect, it might be compared to the human body. A leg separated from the body cannot be called one-eighth or one-sixth man, because after its separation from the body the leg cannot perform its function. Nor can it be placed in the body of some other animal with the aim of making it human to the extent of that limb. Likewise, we cannot form a correct judgment about the utility, efficiency and beauty of the hand, the eye or the nose of a human being outside the context of their place and function within the living body.
The same can be said about the scheme of life envisaged by the Shari‘ah. Islam signifies a complete way of life which cannot be split up into separate parts. Consequently, it is neither appropriate to consider the different parts of the Shari‘ah in isolation, nor to take any particular part and bracket it with any other ‘ism’. The Shari‘ah can function smoothly only if one’s whole life is lived in accordance with it.