The present work attempts to familiarize the readers with the shari'ah, the Islamic legal system. Chapters One and Two define the need for the shari'ah and explain how a Muslim can live by following the shari'ah. Chapter Three is on taqlid: a process in which the lay Shi'ahs follow the legal opinions of a living mujtahid (the expert of shari'ah). Chapter Four deals with trend of rational­izing every shari' ah law. Finally, Chapter Five, brings the reader closer to the system which a mujtahid uses in reaching to his opinions.

The first chapter is presented here for the first time. Chapter Two is a revised version of what I had written as an introduction to my book “The Ritual & Spiritual Purity (1989)”. Chapters Three to Five are revised editions of booklets printed in the early- and mid-eighties in "The Laws of Shari'ah" series in Vancouver, BC. This series was very well received by the readers in various parts of the world. Imam Mahdi Association of Bombay has translated three booklets (which now form the last three chapters of this book) in Urdu and is using them as text for its study circle programs.

I pray to Allah (S.W.T.) to make this work even more useful than the previous editions.

Rabi'u 'l-Awwal 1413
September 1992

S.M. Rizvi
Toronto, Canada