The Arabic word shari`ah refers to the laws and way of life prescribed by Allah (SWT) for his servants. The shari`ah deals with the ideology and faith; behavior and manners; and practical daily matters. "To each among you, we have prescribed a law and a clear way. (Qur 'an 5:48) Shari`ah includes the Qur'an and the sunnah of the Prophet (saas). The Qur'an is the direct word of Allah (SWT), and is the first most important source of guidance and rulings. The Sunnah of the Prophet (saas) is the second source of guidance and rulings.
The Arabic word fiqh means knowledge, understanding and comprehension. It refers to the legal rulings of the Muslim scholars, based on their knowledge of the shari`ah; and as such is the third source of rulings. The science of fiqh started in the second century after Hijrah, when the Islamic state expanded and faced several issues which were not explicitly covered in the Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet (saas). Rulings based on the unanimity of Muslim scholars and direct analogy are binding.