Shari'a is derived from the Qur'an and Sunna (prophetic tradition) by qualified scholars who use an interpretative process that includes qiyas (reasoning by analogy), Ijma(consensus) as well as relying on precedent. Islamic law is called "fiqh" in Arabic, which means "deep understanding." Islamic law is an interpretation of Shari'a and, like Halakha (Jewish law), is an ongoing effort and process.
Shari'a addresses both civil and criminal issues and its principles regulate both personal and moral aspects of life. For the most part, Shari'a is overwhelmingly concerned with personal religious observances such as prayer and fasting.
Because much of Shari'a is interpretative, it has a degree of flexibility which allows it to function in different societies and cultures. Thus, Islam has historically functioned in diverse areas in the world, generally with a demonstrated record of tolerance and pluralism towards different cultures and religions.
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