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How did the Sharia Law develop?

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==Key originating differences between Sharia and Western law systems==
In the first place it is known that in the Western world - religion has been largely separated by law almost ever since their early developments. Nevertheless, in the Muslim world the Sharia is not confined to purely religious matters. On the one hand, it aims at equally regulating individuals’ relationship with their neighbours and the state, and on the other - with God and their own conscience. The Islamic law is also concerned as much with ethical standards and ritual practices, as with a wide variety of “secular” legal issues, ranging from inheritance, through marriage, divorce, contracts and criminal punishments. Therefore the Sharia should not be mistaken for merely a general system of law. Instead, it ought to be considered a far more comprehensive code of behavior that embraces both private and public activities.
 
The second major distinction between the Sharia and Western legal systems is the result of the Islamic concept of the very law as an expression of the divine will. To furthermore emphasize this, it is important to note, that unlike often occurrences in the Western history, no conflict between church and state can be found in the Muslim world. As a result the line between the religious and secular obligations is not as well-established in the Muslim world, as it is in the Western countries. With the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, communication between the divine will and the human beings ceased to exist. That in turn henceforth fixed the very terms of the divine revelation and made them entirely immutable.<ref>Reclaiming Tradition: Islamic Law in a Modern World - http://www.iar-gwu.org/node/23</ref> Thus Sharia law became quite a rigid and static system. Furthermore, unlike the secular legal systems that grow out of society and change over time with the altering circumstances that occur in society, Sharia law started being forced and imposed upon society “from above”. Because in Islamic jurisprudence it is not the society that molds and fashions the law but it is the law that precedes and controls society instead.
==Origins and early historical development of Sharia==
In order to better understand the Islamic law, it is important to take a look at its historical development. For the first Muslim community established under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad at Medina in 622, the Quranic revelations laid dawn basic standards of conduct. But the Quran is in no sense a comprehensive legal code. No more than 80 verses deal with strictly legal matters. Their general effect is simply to modify the existing Arabian customary law in certain important particulars.<ref>The Origins of Islamic Law & Development of the Sharia: Family, Criminal Law and procedures - http://www.crf-usa.org/america-responds-to-terrorism/the-origins-of-islamic-law.html</ref>
 
During his lifetime Muhammad as the supreme judge of the community, resolved legal problems as they arose by interpreting and expanding the general provisions of the Quran, and the same ad hoc activity was carried on after his death by the caliphs of Medina. The first caliphs from the Umayyad dynasty, who took control of the empire in 661, conquered territories outside Arabia and as a result elements of Jewish, Greek, Roman, Persian, and Christian church law influenced the further development of the Sharia at the time. The Umayyad caliphs were the first to appoint Islamic judges, qadis, to decide cases involving Muslims. Knowledgeable about the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad, qadis decided cases in all areas of the law.
==The rise of Abbasid dynasty, the Sharia risky separate interpretations and unification==
In 750 the Umayyads were overthrown and replaced by the Abbasid dynasty. During the 500-year rule of the Abbasids, the Sharia reached its full development. Under their absolute rule the Abbasids transferred substantial areas of criminal law from qadis to the government. And although the qadis continued to handle cases involving religious, family, property, and commercial law, the Abbasids encouraged legal scholars to further debate the Sharia vigorously. As a result a group of scholars started claiming that only the divinely inspired Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad should make up the Sharia. Yet, another separate group, however, argued that the Sharia should also include the reasoned opinions of qualified legal scholars. Thus different legal systems began to develop in the different provinces threatening to separate Sharia and Muslim community by risky free interprets.<ref>Sharīʿah: Development of different schools of law - http://www.britannica.com/topic/Shariah#toc68927</ref>
 
Soon after, in a vigorous attempt to reconcile the rival groups, one brilliant legal scholar named Shafii systematized and developed what were called the “roots of the law” at the time. He criticized both what he called “people of reason” and “people of tradition” trying to prove that neither group is absolutely true to Sharia. Shafii argued that in solving a legal question, the qadi or government judges should first consult the Quran. If the answers were not clear there, the judges then should refer to the authentic sayings and decisions of Muhammad. If the answers continued to elude the judges, they subsequently should follow and refer to the consensus of Muslim legal scholars on the matter. Still failing to find a solution, and as a last resort allowance, the judges could form their own answer(s) by analogy from “the precedent nearest in resemblance and most appropriate” to the case in hand. And although taken very contradictory at the beginning, with lots of opposing traditional Sharia interpreters, Shafii’s approach was later widely adopted throughout the Islamic world in the following years.
Thus by around the year 900, the classic Sharia was formed and established. And although a number of different concepts and institutions were developed by Islamic jurists during the following centuries and they shaped different versions of Sharia in different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, all of them recognized the Sharia as the main and only law of behavior for all Muslims. The process was backed up by unified handbooks with examples, assembled by Islamic specialists in the law and prepared for Islamic judges to use in their decision makings. Moreover, the classic Sharia was not a code of laws, but a collective body of religious and legal scholarship that generally ceased to develop for the next 1,000 years.
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