Islamic Law is divine in origin and is based on divine revelation. Being divine in origin, Islamic Law is distinct from human law which is the outcome of customary rules and which can never, with perfect success, produce uniformity of conduct within the field of action to which they apply as do the divine laws with their specified norms of good and bad, virtue and vice.
Divine Laws are the standards of right conduct and provide guidance, not only in establishing a well-ordered society, but also in distinguishing between “good” and “evil”. As a well knit system of obligation they safeguard the rights of all, and as the product of divine wisdom which alone knows what is absolute good, they ensure the welfare of the entire humanity. The peculiarity of Divine Law is that it is eternal and immutable and yet contains principles broad enough to meet the growing needs of society.
In contradistinction to this, human laws are based on human reason which is liable to err. Further, they are made according to the needs of society and to sub-serve its interest, hence they change with the change in society. They depend for their existence on the vagaries of public opinion or upon the whims and fancies of a ruling monarch and, as such, cannot represent that unity of divine law which results in the uniformity of society.
Divine Law is a declaration on all matters and provides for every possible eventuality and this is the claim advanced by the Quran itself: “And We have revealed to you a Book as an exposition of all things.” (16: 90)
According to the classical theory, Islamic Law is the revealed will of God, a divinely ordained system preceding and not preceded by the Muslim state, controlling and not controlled by Muslim society. The Divine Law precedes both society and state, the state exists for the very purpose of enforcing the law. The object of law is to provide the right path or that standard of character which takes pleasure in service to humanity. The law is but a body of rights and duties, eternal and just, designed for all times and for all mankind.
In Islamic concept God is the Sovereign and the Source of law and to Him is due the obedience of man. Since He is not only Omnipotent but also Omniscient, human actions are judged according to motives or ‘Niyah’. This being the important feature of Islamic law, the believer is required to observe it with sincerity and good faith. Islamic science of Jurisprudence is called ‘Fiqh’.
‘Fiqh’ literally means understanding or knowledge. ‘Fiqh’ is the knowledge of what is for a man’s self, and what is against a man’s self. In other words ‘Fiqh’ is the knowledge of things which are permissible for a man to do and of things that are forbidden to him, including both acts of commission and omission. In this sense it is a science which points out the extent and limits of man’s liberty; in other words, it is the science of rights and obligations.
Islamic law has the character of a religious obligation to be fulfilled by the believer. The law of God remains the law of God even though there be no one to enforce it. The believers even if they reside outside the territory of Islam, are bound by the law, for the law was revealed to bind the believers as individuals wherever they may be. The law takes into consideration primarily the interests of the community; the personal interests of the individual are protected only in so far as they conform to the common interest of Islam.
I end my Friday Sermon on this subject here for today, and I pray to Allah, to give me the Tawfiq to continue the same subject next Friday, Insha-Allah.
-Friday Sermon of 28 November 2014 ~(05 Safar 1436 Hijri) delivered by the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius.