Definition of sharia in English:


(also shariah, shariat)


mass noun
  • Islamic canonical law based on the teachings of the Koran and the traditions of the Prophet (Hadith and Sunna), prescribing both religious and secular duties and sometimes retributive penalties for lawbreaking. It has generally been supplemented by legislation adapted to the conditions of the day, though the manner in which it should be applied in modern states is a subject of dispute between Muslim traditionalists and reformists.

    • ‘He wants Islamic law or shariah to be the law of the land, but does not want the Shiite clerics to be government officials.’
    • ‘Aceh is the only Indonesian province under sharia or strict Muslim law.’
    • ‘The people who have implementation of shariah or Islamic canon law as their project know very well that power goes in such a system to the interpreters of the law.’
    • ‘Islam is the state religion in Malaysia, and sharia is the law prescribed for the Muslim majority.’
    • ‘A third of those surveyed said they would rather live under sharia because they so disapproved of British culture.’


From Arabic šarī‘a; the variant shariat from Urdu and Persian.