Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people. A general distinction can be made between (a) civil law jurisdictions, in which a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, and (b) common law systems, where judge-made precedent is accepted as binding law. Historically, religious laws played a significant role even in settling of secular matters, and is still used in some religious communities. Islamic Sharia law is the world's most widely used religious law, and is used as the primary legal system in some countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. The adjudication of the law is generally divided into two main areas. Criminal law deals with conduct that is considered harmful to social order and in which the guilty party may be imprisoned or fined. Civil law (not to be confused with civil law jurisdictions above) deals with the resolution of lawsuits (disputes) between individuals or organizations. Law provides a source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology. Law also raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness, and justice. The law in Africa is a diverse mix of common law, customary law, civil law and religious law systems. Africa is the second largest continent and has 56 countries contained in it. Modern Africa has been shaped primarily through different countries' inheritance of laws which existed in Europe through the nineteenth century. For instance, the primary sources of South Africa law were Roman-Dutch and English Common law, imports of Dutch settlements and British colonialism. Thus it is sometimes termed Anglo-Dutch law. Various lawmaking bodies have existed within South Africa over time. Yet in fact, some of the oldest legal systems began first in Africa. For instance, Ancient Egyptian law used a civil code, based on the concept of Ma'at. Tradition, rhetorical speech, social equality and impartiality were key principles. Judges kept records, which was used as precedent, although the systems developed slowly. A polycentric legal system, called Xeer developed exclusively in the Horn of Africa more than a millennium ago and is still widely used by the Somali people. Under this system, elders serve as judges and help mediate cases using precedents. Xeer is a good example of how customary law can work in lieu of civil law, and is a good approximation of what is thought of as natural law. Several scholars have noted that even though Xeer may be centuries old, it has the potential to serve as the legal system of a modern, well functioning economy.   The Xeer also shows how influential a system of laws can be with regard to the development of a culture. According to one report, the Somali nation did not begin with the common use of the Somali language by the Somali clans, but rather with the collective observance of Xeer.