Sources of Islamic Law

Sources of Islamic Law

The sources of Islamic law, also known as Sharia law, are derived from various primary and secondary sources that guide Muslims in matters of faith, worship, and daily life. These sources provide the foundation for Islamic legal principles and form the basis for understanding and interpreting Islamic law. The primary sources of Islamic law are the Qur'an and the Hadith, while the secondary sources include consensus (ijma) and analogical reasoning (qiyas).

The Qur'an: The Qur'an is considered the most important and foundational source of Islamic law. It is believed by Muslims to be the direct revelation from Allah (God) to the Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. The Qur'an covers a wide range of topics, including theology, morality, social issues, and legal principles. While not a legal code in itself, it provides overarching principles and values that serve as a guide for Muslims in their personal and communal lives.

The Hadith: The Hadith refers to the sayings, actions, and approvals of the Prophet Muhammad. These reports were collected by scholars who meticulously preserved the teachings and practices of the Prophet. Hadiths provide detailed guidance on various aspects of life, including legal matters, ethical conduct, and rituals. Scholars have scrutinised the authenticity and reliability of the Hadith reports, categorising them based on their level of authenticity.

Consensus (Ijma): Consensus, or ijma, refers to the agreement of Muslim scholars on a particular legal issue. It is considered a secondary source of Islamic law and is based on the principle that the collective agreement of scholars from the early generations of Islam carries legal authority. Ijma serves as a means to determine the consensus opinion on matters not explicitly addressed in the Qur'an or the Hadith.

Analogical reasoning (Qiyas): Qiyas is the process of legal reasoning by analogy. It allows scholars to derive legal rulings for new situations by drawing parallels to similar cases addressed in the primary sources. Qiyas involves identifying the underlying legal principles of a particular issue and applying them to a contemporary situation. This reasoning tool enables the adaptation of Islamic law to new and evolving circumstances while staying consistent with the fundamental principles established in the primary sources.

Other sources: Additional sources, such as scholarly interpretation (ijtihad), public interest (maslaha), custom (urf), and juristic preference (istihsan), are considered supplementary sources of Islamic law. These sources offer flexibility and adaptability to address new legal challenges and social contexts while adhering to the core principles of Islamic jurisprudence.

In conclusion, the primary sources of Islamic law are the Qur'an and the Hadith, which provide the foundational principles and teachings of Islam. Consensus and analogical reasoning serve as secondary sources, allowing for the development and interpretation of Islamic law in various contexts. These sources collectively shape the rich and diverse field of Islamic jurisprudence, providing guidance for Muslims in matters of faith, worship, and conduct.
Back to blog
UOL Case Bank

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.