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Legal and moral code of Islam, systematized in the early centuries of the Muslim era (8th–9th century AD). It rests on four bases: the Qur'an; the sunna, as recorded in the Hadith; ijma, or agreement among scholars; and qiya, or analogical reasoning. Shari'ah differs fundamentally from Western law in that it purports to be grounded in divine revelation. Among modern Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia and Iran retain Shari'ah as the law of the land, in both civil and criminal proceedings, but the legal codes of most other Muslim countries combine elements of Islamic and Western law where necessary. Most Islamic fundamentalist groups insist that Muslim countries should be governed by Shari'ah.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Shari'ah, visit Britannica.com.
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