Islam does permit and encourage individual differences in most aspects of life. Political factionalism, however, is not permitted. In Islam, all members of a society are expected to contribute to the common good. When concepts of individual liberty or political freedom are translated to mean factional politics, these concepts are not considered to be consistent with Islamic principles. In a truly Islamic society such as Iran, a rational differentiation is not made between secular and religious authority (Entessar, 1988, pp. 91-102).
Although the Qur`an provides guidelines for the processes of criminal justice, these guidelines are not specific to many facets of modern life (Zubaida, 1988, pp. 3-7). Thus, the primary religious authority in Iran interprets the Qur`an and the Shari`ah in the context of contemporary activities that were not dreamt of in the eighth century when the two authorities were developed. The Shi`a school of Islamic law is the one to which Iran (Hiro, 1990, pp. 101-121). The teachings and interpretations of the Shi'a school differ in some significant respects from those of the schools whose interpretations are accepted in other Islamic countries. Generally, the Shi'a interpretations are much harsher and more conservative than are those of the other Islamic schools of law (Piscatori, 1991, p. 54-65). The Islamic fundamentalists of Iran, as is true of Christian fundamentalists in the United S