An Essay on Shari'ahWritten by Mohammad Hashim Kamali
This chapter begins with the definition of shari’ah and its distinction with fiqh which is basically a human understanding of shariÑah. The chapter proceeds with an overview of the Qur’an and sunnah, and then independent reasoning (ijtihad) and how they are developed by the various schools of Islamic law (madhahib).
This is followed by an overview of the characteristics feature of shari’ah, and then a section each on the goals and purposes (maqasid) of shari’ah, and its adaptation and reform in the course of 20th century.....Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
The chapter appearing in a five-volume work, Vincent G Cornell, ed. Voice of Islam - Volume one: Voices of Tradition, New York: Praeger,2007, pp 149-182.