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The term sharia, refers to a code of conduct that is intended to regulate all human actions by categorising each as obligatory (fard), recommended ( mustahabb), permitted (halal), disliked (makruh), or forbidden (haram). Sharia codes are mainly interpretations of the Qur'an, the sayings and conduct of the prophet Muhammad, and the rulings of respected Islamic scholars. Interpretation of those sources is provided separately in each community by the Grand Mufti of that community. There is no forum in which differences of interpretation can be resolved and no central authority to which they can be referred. As a result there are activities that are halal in some Muslim communities. An example is music, the enjoyment of which is forbidden by Mufti al-Kawthar[1], but permitted by Mufti Gomaa [2].

Many Muslim countries have dual systems in which the government is secular but Muslims can choose to bring familial and financial disputes to sharia courts. The exact jurisdiction of these courts varies from country to country, but usually includes marriage, divorce, inheritance, and guardianship.