Islam is one of the monotheistic religions that originated in the Arabian Peninsula during the 7th century CE. Its principles are derived from the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, the last prophet or messenger of Allah. The literal meaning of the word “Islam” is “submission” or “surrender”, which means a Muslim is the one who submits his will unto Allah.

There are five pillars of Islam that all Muslims generally follow. Firstly, Shahada (the faith) which means that the Allah is one and Prophet Muhammad is his messenger. Secondly, Sarah (the prayer) that generally most Muslims perform five-time in a day. Thirdly, Zakat means giving charity to the poor. Fourthly, Sawm (the fasting) during the month of Ramadan. Fifthly, the Hajj means making a pilgrimage to the pious city of Mecca once in a lifetime. However, the fifth pillar is not mandatory for all Muslims, it is ‘farz’ or compulsory for those who are capable of spending the cost of pilgrimage.

Basically, Islam is derived from the Quran the holy book of Muslims as well as the Sunnah and the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Importantly, Sharia is Islam’s legal framework. The Sharia or Shariat i.e. popularly known as Muslim law can be explained as the provisions in the Quran as well as the teachings and practices of Prophet Mohammad.

It is pertinent to mention here that Islamic jurists time to time issue guidance and rulings. These guidances and rulings are considered as legal rulings are called ‘fatwa’.

Further, there are five different schools of Islamic or Muslim law. Where there are four Sunni schools namely Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi’i & Hanafiand and one Shia school known as Jaafari. Although, these schools interpret the same Quran and the Hadith, noticeable differences of opinion are seen in their interpretations.

In the Indian context, where Article 14 of the Indian Constitution grants “equal protection of law” to all its citizens, Muslims in India are governed by the Muslim Personal Law when it comes to personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, custody of children etc.

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