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Sharia comes from an Arabic word meaning “path to the water.” Sharia is often translated as “Islamic law,” which is not wrong, but incomplete. Sharia is divine guidance that is drawn from the Qur’an and Sunnah (teachings and guidance of Prophet Muhammad) for the purpose of helping humanity worship and draw close to God and live with love, kindness, and justice towards His Creation.

Sharia has five main objectives: to protect life, property, lineage, religion, and intellect. The overarching objective is to establish social justice, fairness, mercy, and security in societies.

Sharia rulings or religious commandments are similar to the Ten Commandments. Both claim divine authority, but require human interpretation, are religiously binding, and in that sense are “sacred law.” Only some of them are social and, of these, only a very few intersect with government law.