BAOBAB for women's human rights and sharia implementation in nigeria : the journey so far
Generally, sharia refers to variable, but identifiable and generally agreed principles of laws and ethics accepted by Muslims as authoritative statements about Allah’s will for human societies. It provides for codes of ethics, social interactions and legal systems. Sharia is often referred to as regulating the full range of human activities including religious rituals, and social manners. However, it is only the jurisprudence and legal rules in civil, commercial, criminal and family law matters, which is the subject of law – in the sense of rules which are enforced and made the subject of sanctions by institutions in society like legislatures, courts, police or prisons. It is these legal rules, enforced in society by formal institutions, that are the concern in this publication. There are several 'schools' of Muslim legal thought or jurisprudence (fiqh). The four main Sunni schools that exist today were formed through the personal allegiance of legal scholars or jurists to the founders from whom each school took its name - Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi and Hanbali. Each school was influenced by its own specific circumstances of origin. For instance, both Hanafis and Malikis are the representatives of the legal tradition of a particular geographical locality - the former in Kufa, present-day Iraq, and the latter in the Arabian city of Medina. The two later schools, following Abu Hanifa and Al-Shafi developed precisely out of a controversy in jurisprudence (i.e. human reasoning about law). Consequently each school has variations according to the cultural, political and socio-economic contexts in which they were developed and the philosophy of reasoning that was accepted.
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