Sharia is important subject matter. One must understand Sharia to understand Islam. It is a fatal mistake to get wrapped up in the parsing of words about Sharia. The danger is in missing the basic truths of what Islamic civilization requires.
How to understand Islam…
There is nothing equivalent to Sharia in western culture. To understand Sharia one needs to first grasp that Islam is simple to understand. All devout Muslims believe the Quran contains the precise words of Allah, the creator of the universe. As such it is perfect, universal, complete and eternal.
Sira + Hadith = Sunna
There are 91 verses of the Quran saying Muhammad is the perfect example for all humanity. He is to be imitated down to the smallest detail. What Muhammad said and did is called the Sunna. The Sunna is found in two texts.
The first text is the Sira which is the biography of Muhammad. The second is the Hadith which are collections of stories of his traditions. A hadith is usually a short passage. It is about an action, a story or a conversation either about or by Muhammad.
The Hadith gives us the Sunna which are the pronouncements of Muhammad. They are the actual words or deeds that one should follow. Not all sects of Muslims accept all hadiths. All Islam is based on the “trilogy”. The trilogy is the “bible” equivalent of Islam. The Quran, Sira and Hadith combine to form the Islamic trilogy.
Islam is not only a religion. The largest part of the trilogy by volume is not about how to be a good Muslim. How to deal with non-believers is the subject of the majority Islamic trilogy text. Islam is an entire way of life. It is a separate and complete civilization. It has its own political system.