The Etymology of Sharia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia)

Posted by Shadra_Institute 3:03 AM, under | No comments

In The Spirit of Islamic Law, Professor Bernard G. Weiss states "In archaic Arabic, the term sharì'a means 'path to the water hole.' When we consider the importance of a well-trodden path to a source of water for man and beast in the arid desert environment, we can readily appreciate why this term in Muslim usage should have become a metaphor for a whole way of life ordained by God."[16]

In Understanding Islamic Law: From Classical to Contemporary, Professor Irshad Abdal-Haqq states "Shar'iah, or more properly Al-Shari'ah, literally means the pathway, path to be followed, or clear way to be followed, and has come to mean the path upon which the believer has to tread. In original usage Shar'iah meant the road to the watering place or path leading to the water, i.e., the way to the source of life. The technical application of the term as a reference to the law of Islam is traced directly to the Qur'an, wherein the adherents of Islam, the believers, are admonished by Allah (God) to follow the clear and right way, the path of Shari'ah: Then we put thee on the (right) Way of religion so follow thou that (Way), and follow not the desires of those who know not[Qur'an 45:18]."[17]

According to Abdul Mannan Omar in his Dictionary of the Holy Quran, the word at 45:18 (see Abdal-Haqq above) derives from the "Quranic root" shara'a. Derivations include: Shara'a (as prf. 3rd. p.m. sing.), meaning "He ordained", appearing once in the Qur'an at verse 45:13; Shara'u (prf. 3rd. p.m. plu.) "They decreed (a law)" appearing once at 42:21; Shir'atun (n.) "Spiritual law", used at 5:48; finally, Shariatun (act. 2nd. pic. f. sing.) "System of divine law, Way of belief and practice" is used at 45:18.[18]

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