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Critical Reflection Paper II

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This paper is meant to discuss the central Muslim beliefs (“Iman”) and basic principles related to the Shariah. The paper will provide an overview of the six faith affirmations, explaining the basic elements of belief related to each of the six areas. This paper also discusses the primary and secondary sources of Shariah in order to determine their scope and applicability in the light of current circumstances.

Six Faith Affirmations

So, Iman is the state in which the heart accepts the Truth and exists according to it. Iman consists of the six faith affirmations. These are the following:

  • Allah, the one and only God. Allah means the one true God. He has no gender or plural association. Believers think that Allah is unique, unrivaled God, with no son or partner, and that nobody has the right to be respected but Him alone.
  • His angels. Muslims think that angels exist and they were made by Allah. The angels are made of light, unable of revolt against God’s will, for their goal is to carry it out. That is why, according to Iman, people are superior to the angels, for men can freely opt to serve God and to have faith in prophets, while the angels can not fail to obey Allah and to sing God’s praises at all times.
  • His revealed books. Believers have faith in all revelations and scriptures of God as they were exposed in the original form. The messengers were sent to human beings of all ages. All texts sought to invite people back to the faith and worship of Allah and, therefore, to recognize the Primordial pledge. Basically, the message of the prophets was the same, asserting the oneness of Allah.
  • His messengers. Believers have faith in all the prophets and messengers of Allah without discrimination. All these people were mortals, individuals, honored with passing the Divine exposures to humanity. The Quran names of twenty-five prophets and messengers, but according to a custom 124,000 messengers were sent. They include Moses, Abraham, Ishmael, Noah, Isaac, Joseph, Muhammad, and Jesus.
  • The Day of Judgment. A Muslim has faith in the Judgment Day. This means that the world all people know will someday come to the finale, and people will mount to stand for the last and just judgment. On the day, the humankind will be revived and expect reckoning. Each action will be accounted for and preserved in the correct record by God’s angels, and on the Day the results of the deeds will be brought to the light. The human beings with nice records will be rewarded and welcomed to Allah’s Heaven. And individuals with awful records will be reasonably punished and thrown to Hell.
  • Destiny; its good and evil. Believers have faith in al-Qadar that is destiny, thinking Allah has awareness of everything that has happened and will occur. Destiny is a name for Heavenly Knowledge. Allah’s Knowledge realizes everything beyond and within space and time. It is not to say people don’t have free will. For all people have the strength of option and eventually God knows the course of the actions every person will follow. Man is provided with a free spirit, according to which he proceeds in living. He will be held accountable on the Judgment Day for his choices. It is a set way of God that He makes way of doing well simpler for a human being if the person chooses the path. Likewise, if a man selects the road of evil, God makes following the path simpler for him.

To understand Iman better, it is useful to discuss some of the six affirmations in greater detail. God’s angels: Muslims think angels exist and they were made by Allah. The angels are made of light, unable of revolt against His will, for their goal is to carry it out. That is why according people are potentially superior to the angels, for human beings can freely opt to serve Allah and to have faith in the prophets, while the angels can not fail to obey Allah and to sing His praises. By the same indication, a human being may be lower than the angels and than the animals, should they reject to worship Him and thank Him for the life and the approvals demonstrated upon him in the world. Believers are told of 8 angels in particular: Mikael - brings His prosperity and reward to people; Gabriel, the Angel of Revelation; Israfil, accountable for blowing the Final Trump telling of the imminent Day of Judgement; Malek, the Angel supervising Hell; Azreal, the powerful Angel of Death, who takes person’s soul when his lifetime ends; and Radwan, who is accountable for Paradise. The two angels people encounter right after passing away are Nakir and Munkar, who question the recently dead concerning the livings and beliefs. “We have faith in God and that which is sent to us, and in what was sent to Abraham, Jacob, Ishmael, Isaac, and the Tribes; what was provided to Jesus and Moses and what was provided to Prophets by the Lord. We make no difference between them, and to God we have totally submitted ourselves” (Quran The Cow 2:136).

God’s revealed books: people have faith in revelations and scriptures of Allah as they were exposed in the original form. The prophets were sent to human beings of all ages. All texts sought to invite human beings back to the faith, and worship of God, and to recognize the Primordial pledge. Fundamentally, the message of the messengers was the same, asserting the oneness of Allah. The Quran is the final text of guidance exposed to people and sent down for the humanity. For believers, God’s Book is far more than merely a source of religion and social rules. Actually, these topics engage less than one tenth part of the divine Quranic text. And it is more than a statement of people’s origin and fate, the exposition of truths of human being’s spiritual essence and of judgment. The Quran reveals God’s will for God’s creation, but it is also an exposure of Himself. It is timeless, a dimension of God’s attribute of speech: it is Logos that is the interface among the Absolute and the dependent realms. Unlike all scriptures, which were sent before, it is heavenly defended against dishonesty and is, therefore, the single authentic book of Allah that has remained unaffected since there was exposure to the Prophet through Gabriel. It was exposed over 23 years. It includes 114 chapters and more than 6000 verses.

A Muslim also has faith in the Judgment Day. Someday the world people know will come to the finale, and all people will climb to stand for the last and just judgment. The humanity will be resurrected and expect reckoning. Every deed will be accounted for and preserved in the correct record by the angels, and on that Day the results of the deeds will be brought to the light. The human beings with nice records will be kindly rewarded and welcomed to Heaven. And individuals with awful records will be reasonably punished and thrown to Hell (Esposito, 1999).

The genuine essence of Hell and Heaven are known only to God, but they are depicted by Allah in individual’s familiar words in the Quran. If the good actions are seen not to get entire approval and credit in living, they will obtain the recompense and be broadly approved on the Judgment Day. If some human beings, who commit sins, ignore Allah and take part in some immoral activities, supreme justice will be done to them on the Judgment Day. The time of this Day is only known to God. “No single soul passes away without the consent of Allah, and at a time appointed. He who wishes the prize of this globe We shall provide this to him; and he who wishes the prize of the Hereafter We shall provide this to him. We will definitely prize the thankful” (Quran The Family of 'Imran 3:145).

Partially from intolerance, but partially also from the real difficulty that a culture has in grasping the sincere motivations of the other, the West has usually depicted the Muslim as shrinking before an oppressor Lord and submitting as beast submits to the inexplicable fate. Actually, nothing might be further from the fact. The believer fears God since he is a realist; he acknowledged there are things to be afraid of, and all things have but one God. He submits since he thinks there exists a divine model of things that is beautiful and intelligent, and he desires to discover his place in this model and conform to it. He does not merely leave himself to the heavenly Will; he looks for it keenly and, when he discovers it, enjoys it. That is why people simply wish to have faith in God, the prophets, angels, the Judgment day, and the books, which are the words of God. They play a huge role in conducting people’s affair. To know about angels, prophets, and God could be very helpful to people in the same way as awareness of working of natural causes and other human being’s conduct is useful. And I believe that these precise regulations and affirmations help people live their lives fairly.

Primary and Secondary Sources of Shariah

Shariah, though acknowledged narrowly by some people as Islamic regulations, is in fact a complete and inclusive code of conduct, describing the moral, spiritual, social, ethical, and legal dimensions of a Muslim’s private and public living. Shariah means “the way to the water”. As a way of regulating the social order, Shariah endeavors to defend the rights of people and, by doing this, enjoins upon them some responsibilities geared towards safeguarding the rights (Murata and Chittick, 1998). The total body of the Shariah code has been taken from four agreed upon the resources of Fiqh or Jurisprudence that may be classified as primary and secondary sources. The main sources of Shariah comprise the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, the recognized work of the Holy Prophet. The sphere of deviation, which must be noted among the Sunni and Shia schools, comprises the refusal by the former of Ijma, or consensus, and Qiyas, or analogical deduction, as secondary sources. Sunni schools, nevertheless, constantly base the ijtihad on these sources.

Whilst no Muslim argues the authenticity of the Qur’an, there is little doubt the Qur’anic text may lend itself to interpretations, which can replicate cultural prejudices, societal norms, and attitudes. Dissimilarities in the denotative and connotative usages of language also open a door to some interpretations. It is hard to understand the Qur’an’s real spirit unless one knows the historical conditions surrounding a certain command. The linguistic details of Qur’anic Arabic should also be methodically realized before regulations are formulated or points of view recognized.

The Sunnah of sacred prophet includes established practice, initially observed by the companions, and then reported with the help of the hadith. The Hadith texts is a source, which enables people to discover something about the prophet’s words and actions, and his unspoken approval or disapproval concerning some accessible social practices. Yet Hadith as a resource of Sunnah should also be subjected to the methodical examination for the content. Though the most authoritative collections of hadith are accepted by many Muslims as works including only genuine Hadith, it is necessary to ask whether they would stand the examination of current inspection. Imam Bukhari and Muslim were influenced by medieval standards with the respect to determining the acceptability of some hadith. They would nowadays be rejected as false, since the standards utilized in determining the acceptability and genuineness would be dissimilar and probably more severe.

Whilst Sunnah is a well-known practice of the messenger, witnessed by his companions, “ahadith” were reports of terms or actions that may have originated from messenger. The two can not be utilized synonymously, as is usually the case. Yet one more dissimilarity must also be kept in mind. And not all of the prophet’s Sunnah bore religious meaning and can not be utilized as a way to obtain regulations and legislation for the Muslim nations. Sunni Jurisprudence schools acknowledge the consensus of scientists on the certain matters as a secondary resource of Shariah. Proponents of “Ijma” suggest that Muslims, who opt to neglect the consensus of these scientists, qualify as apostates as they oppose the majority.

This opinion should be subjected to the examination for the following grounds. First of all, the hadith attributed to messenger as lending soundness to this opinion asserting “my country will not agree upon a mistake” is not wholly authentic. Secondly, a ruling rendered on a certain circumstance in a certain sphere may not unavoidably address the very similar matter sufficiently in another time. Agreed upon the decisions for the medieval eras may not be appropriate in the 21st century. This is not to reduce the attempts of the Fuqaha, but to simply recognize the requirement for a continuous flow of novel interpretations, chiefly when there seems to be a disagreement between the affirmed aims of Shariah and the different applications.

“Qiyas” is described as contrasting and judging. The comparisons are established on the rulings already taken from the Qur’an, Ijma, and Sunnah. A process of deduction is utilized to arrive at the analogical decision established on contrasting it with the pattern. According to Usul al-fiqh, this analogical deduction needs to be concentrated on a realizing of grounds and causes for certain rulings. Nevertheless, sometimes grounds and intents become too vague behind the blanket of centuries of Taqlid. It is vital that they will be open to revisitation and new regulations derived with the aim of conveying justice to everybody. Qiyas is defective as a means to deduce regulations also since no two circumstances may be the same.

Shariah governs all aspects of human beings’ lives. For instance, Shariah governs the matrimony. Islamic wedding is an agreement between males and females. According to Shariah a man promises to take care of his spouse in exchange for female’s respect. Ladies may demand some rights by putting them in the contract, but a man is a head of a family, and conventionally, a female may not act against husband’s desires. Customary approaches still have noteworthy influence on current regulations: in Yemen, for instance, a woman can not work if a husband particularly rejects it. And in Syria, a woman may work without her husband’s approval, if she rejects any financial support from her husband. A Muslim female can not be married to a non-Muslim male; however, a Muslim male may be wedded to a non-Muslim female.

Shariah also influences modern criminal law. Lots of Islamic countries have some criminal regulations, which reflect customary Islamic practice, banning Muslims, for instance, from selling or drinking alcohol. The enforcement of the regulations is usually spotted, and non-Muslims are commonly excused. The majority of Islamic countries no longer utilize the established punishments for violations of some Quranic criminal laws. These punishments comprise amputation, flogging, and stoning.

Shariah is also applied to finance and banking laws. Islamic finance and banking is a quickly growing sphere, which seeks to correspond current business practices and established religious norms. Classical Shariah forbids riba, the charging of interest. It condemns extreme profits and requires believers to invest only in ventures, which are consistent with Islamic ideas; for instance, investing in a casino or brewery is forbidden.

Shariah is today a familiar word to Muslims and non-Muslims. It may usually be heard in news concerning politics, feminism, crime, terrorism, and civilization. All parts of a Muslim’s living are successfully governed by Shariah. Shariah regulations come from a blend of sources counting the Qur'an, the Hadith, and fatwas (the rulings of scholars). Many individuals, counting Muslims, often misinterpret Shariah. It is usually associated with amputation, passing away by stoning, and other medieval punishments. Due to this fact, it is sometimes thought of as very evil. Some human beings in the West treat Shariah as ancient and unjust social ideas, which are imposed upon individuals, who exist in Shariah-controlled nations.

Many Muslims, nevertheless, hold another view. In the Islamic custom, Shariah is seen as something that fosters humankind. They see the Shariah not in the light of something ancient but as something delightfully exposed. In the social order, where social troubles are widespread, Shariah frees humankind to realize its personal potential.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, the West has often depicted the Muslim as shrinking before a strict Lord and submitting as beast submits to the inexplicable fate. This approach is far from the truth. People merely wish to have faith in God, the prophets, angels, the Judgment Day, and the books, which are the words of God. They play a huge role in conducting individuals’ affair. To know about angels, prophets, and God could be very supportive to people in the same way as awareness of working of natural causes and other human being’s conduct is useful. Many believers preserve faith in Allah because they know that their religion actually fosters humankind. And they treat the Shariah not in the light of something old but as something delightfully exposed. In the social order where social troubles are widespread, Shariah frees humankind to acknowledge the personal potential.

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