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THE SHARA OR ISLAMIC CODE OF CONDUCT Medieval Muslim society in word and deed aspired to discern and obey the will of God In every thought word and action man was accountable to God on the Day of Judgment Hence Muslim social ideals were humanist ideals-the balanced and harmonious development of the human faculties or the creation of a man-conceived utopia on earth for example A New World for Muslims could only mean one in which they had discovered Gods Will and were obeying it more fully than before Society was thought of moreover as a situation that human beings were forced to accept rather than a series of relationships that might be transformed into willing partnerships for mutual companionship and welfare The Muslims individual relationship to God however was not stressed at the expense of social order Belief in God and His Prophet implied acceptance of the Shara revealed through the Qurn and the Sunna of Muhammad This Shara governed both doctrine and practice It defined not merely right belief about Gods Unity His Power and His Knowledge but also those external acts of devotion-personal eg prayer or pilgrimage or social eg almsgiving avoidance of usury maintenance of certain discriminations against the unbeliever-compliance with which attested ones membership in Gods community before the eyes of the world The Shara set the perfect standard for earthly society it was the practical embodiment of the unity of the distinctive ideology of Islam As has been explained above the Qurn and the Sunna of the prophet were after his death the two chief sources of guidance to the believer hence of the Shara To later generations the knowledge of the Shara is authoritatively communicated through the systems of jurisprudence worked out by the orthodox schools of law Jurisprudence is the science of deducing the mandates of the Shara from its bases in the Qurn and Sunna and in addition to the laws regulating ritual and religious observance
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