Read the following two arguments about the shari’a in Islam and decide which one is a good example and which one is a poor example. Give reasons to justify your decision, particularly in relation to use of quotations, references to scholars and the style of reasoning.

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‘There is no single way to view the shari’a in Islam.’
Evaluate this view.

Develop the basic argument below by using any relevant quotes/references to scholars that are listed. You may also have your own. It should not be assumed that all are relevant or required. Then compare with other people in the class and discuss any differences assessing the justification given for those differences. Don’t forget to also consider the different styles of evaluation examined above and in the AO2 task based on topic of different views about shari’a.

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‘The shari’a law is simply a guide developed by human beings.’ Evaluate this view with reference to Islam.

The issue for debate here is that the shari’a is a result of human compilation. This can be argued as true to some extent as even the Qur’an was compiled by Muhammad’s scribes. However, on the other hand the Qur’an is, according to Muslims of divine origin.

After the death of Muhammad the community gathered together ideas and wrote them down making the tradition (hadith). However, this was done very carefully and tested so that it was accurate so it could be genuine.

In addition, the law schools were developed to make sure that everything is in place. Nonetheless, some of the law schools differ from each other.

Finally, the doors to ijtihad were closed and the final revelation and agreement of the shari’a had been established and protected by Allah. However, some argue that there is still room for further interpretation and application of the shari’a.

With the death of Muhammad, divine revelation ceased; however, the Muslim vocation to follow God’s law did not. (John Esposito)

Much of this basic moral attitude reflected in the terminology of ‘forbidden’ and ‘permitted’ corresponds to that found in Near Eastern religion in general and in the Bible especially. Such parallels are sometimes seen to go further. A comparison is sometimes drawn between the biblical ‘ten commandments’ and sura 17 verses 22–39. (Andrew Rippin)

To some Muslims, its importance is as a guide to family matters. To others, it is a political system of laws to run a society. There is no single shari’a system that all Muslims agree upon. Nevertheless, there is broad agreement that rules and laws in Islam should be based upon several sources. (Idris Morar)

They included pious fabrications by those who believed that their practices were in conformity with Islam and forgeries by factions involved in political and theological disputes. (John Esposito)

Classical Islamic jurisprudence defined the community in a more restricted sense as the community of legal scholars or religious authorities who act on behalf of and guide the entire Muslim community. (John Esposito)