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Umma and Sharia Their Relation and Fundamental Importance in Isla...

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Umma and Sharia Their Relation and Fundamental Importance in Islamic Society.

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  • May 13, 2008
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The umma and sharia play an integral role in Islamic society. Umma, which is defined as an Islamic community or the totality of all Muslims, actually means “people”. In the Quran there is reference which indicates a nation of people that are part of a divine plan.1 In the early days it was the umma of Muhammad that developed Islam, which was segregated to only true believers. Non-believers, like the Meccans, were excluded just like some Muslims today exclude many non-believers or infidels from their Islamic community or umma. Sharia, which literally means “the road to the watering hole”, is the clear path or right way that Muslims are to follow. It is God’s guidance for humanity and a source of law and moral guidance which is the basis for both Muslim law and ethnics. It was inspired by the Quran and Sunna as well as Muslim scholars over the first few centuries of Islam. Although Shaira is law it actually extends to all aspects of religion, politics, social, domestic and private life of Muslims.2 Overall, Islam consists of a community of believers, the umma. They are traditionally protected by a khalifa or imama. God is sovereign, and the sharia, Islamic religious law, is the legal authority. Sharia is also the entire body of divinely revealed law and the path to Allah, which dictates the Muslim believer’s entire life from birth to death, and ensures his or her happiness in this world and the hereafter. Its authority and validity have never been significantly challenged, either by Sunni Islam or by the majority of sects.3 Rulers or caliphs are only temporal, but they have the right and duty to implement the sharia and to defend the faith against heresy. As a consequence of the importance of Islamic law, Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) has a significant and central position in Islamic religion. This jurisprudence, the traditional Islamic doctrine, is based upon four fundamental principles in its classical theory. The first source is the Quran. It consists of...