The Qur'an and Law
The first and most basic source of all Islamic teaching is the Qur'an. Muslims believe the Qur'an to be the unchanging, revealed word of God. The Qur'an provides the Muslim with both guidance and inspiration: “Say: ‘The holy spirit [angel Gabriel] has brought the revelation from your Lord in truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a guide and glad tidings’” (Qur'an 16:102).
Muslims do not have a binding religious authority, a Muslim equivalent of the Pope. Muslims read the primary Islamic sources, refer to the opinions of legal scholars, and then determine their individual course of action based on the evidence at hand, the advice of the scholars, and their own conscience.
The Qur'an serves as a primary source of guidance to Muslims around the world. Although many of its verses are general and spiritual in nature, it also contains specific legislation about the rights and duties of human beings. Laws regarding marriage and divorce, punishment of criminal behavior, diet, inheritance, business transactions, and personal etiquette are outlined in detail.
When the Qur'an does not directly address certain issues or does not discuss them in detail, Muslims turn to secondary sources of guidance.