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

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

Shariah rulings or religious commandments are similar to the Ten Commandments. Both claim divine authority, but require human interpretation. It is within the human interpretation that there arises differences of opinion amongst scholars and students of knowledge.

Some of the rulings relate to social matters, others relate to financial dealings; and of these, a few intersect with governance.