The origins and obligations of sharia law  (hat tip, Margo I )
Jan 19, 2008 Telegraph UK

Sharia is the body of Islamic religious law based on the Koran and the words and actions of the prophet Mohammed and his followers.

In the West sharia has become synonymous with the brutal punishments meted out in Islamic states, but the majority of laws are to do with everyday issues, ranging from personal hygiene to banking.

Hardline Muslim leaders claim that sharia is eternal and can never be changed, while moderates argue that it is not a strict set of laws but should be open to interpretation.

Sunni and Shia Muslims follow different schools of thought in interpreting the sharia laws, but all Muslims are required to live according to sharia wherever they are.

Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran have implemented sharia as the legal system of the country, but in Britain it has no legal standing, despite the introduction of sharia-compliant banking and food.

In sharia courts, or councils, once an imam has reached a decision, he will issue fatwas, or rulings, on issues such as inheritance and divorce.

Divorce law is particularly complicated – a man can end his marriage by uttering the word talaq. He can take his wife back after a three-month break (iddat) but the third time he uses the word the divorce is final.

The prophet Mohammed has said what could be translated as: “The women who seek divorce (khula) without good reason are hypocrites.”

Some parts of sharia law are obligatory, while others are recommended or optional.

Examples of obligatory laws

• Earnings must be lawfully obtained

• Food must be halal

• Personal hygiene must be of a very high standard

• Couples must have a full bath in flowing water after intercourse

• The body must be covered modestly

• Prayers must be said five times a day

• Believers must fast during Ramadan

Strongly recommended laws

• Hands should be washed upon waking up (because one does not know where the hands have been during sleep)

• Believers should wash with water after going to the toilet

• Eating should be done while seated

• The right hand should be used for eating and the left for cleaning oneself

• People should lie down on the right side when going to sleep

• The right shoe should be put on first, followed by the left

• The mouth and nose should be covered when yawning or sneezing

• Food should not be eaten when very hot but left until it has cooled a little



Start the year off right. Easy ways to stay in shape in the new year.

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