The first question a non-Muslim asks on hearing the word
“sharī‘ah” (pronounced sha ree ‘ah,) is: what is the
sharī’ah? This is a perfectly natural question. The
correct answer, however, is not known even to ninety-nine percent, or
more, of the Muslims. Those who attempt to answer cause more confusion
than clarity. We will first note the typical answer very briefly for
identification, without reproducing the various answers, as pursuing
those answers is not the purpose here.