There is sharia, and then there is sharia. And before going on and on about regression and glaciation, we would do well to know what we’re talking about.
Sharia, first of all, is not an obscene word.
Like “jihad” (which means “a spiritual effort”, and which the Islamists ultimately interpreted as a “holy war”), and “fatwa” (which means “religious advice” and which, due to the Rushdie affair, everyone has come to understand as “condemnation to death”) the very word sharia is at the heart of a merciless war of semantics but, fortunately, continues to signify something eminently respectable for the majority of Muslims. It is a term that appears five times in the Koran and that French translations render as “path”. It is not the name of a code, even less of an exhaustive straightjacket of rules, but that of a body of values subject to the interpretation of Doctors of the religion.
It is a generic term; in other words, it is the task of the legislators to propose an application of sharia that is more or less progressive or more or less strict.
Taking this into consideration, virtually all Muslim countries refer to sharia.
Shariah is the law of the Qur’an and literally means “A path to life giving water.” In fact, the word Yarrah (i.e. the root of the Hebrew word Torah) means precisely the same thing. Therefore, Shariah is actually ingrained in Abrahamic tradition.
Shariah is comprised of five main branches: adab (behavior, morals and manners), ibadah(ritual worship), i’tiqadat (beliefs), mu’amalat (transactions and contracts) and ‘uqubat(punishments). These branches combine to create a society based on justice, pluralism and equity for every member of that society. Furthermore, Shariah forbids that it be imposed on any unwilling person. Islam’s founder, Prophet Muhammad, demonstrated that Shariah may only be applied if people willingly apply it to themselves–never through forced government implementation.
Additionally, the Qur’an does not promote any specific form of government, but requires that the form people choose must be based on adl or “absolute justice.” The Qur’an says, “Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency and manifest evil and transgression. He admonishes you that you may take heed” (16:91). Notice, religious preference is never mentioned. Therefore, in ruling with absolute justice, for example, the righteous Jewish King Solomon ruled as a just monarch based on this fundamental principle of Shariah Law–justice. 2. Do Muslims want Shariah to rule America?
No. Remember, the Qur’an teaches that religion must not be a matter of the state. Shariah is a personal relationship with God. Prophet Muhammad, even as the de facto ruler of Arabia, wrote the Charter of Medina in which Muslims were held to Shariah Law, and Jews to the Law of the Torah. Not a single non-Muslim was held to Shariah because Shariah itself forbids compulsion. The Qur’an clearly says, “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:257). Furthermore, Shariah obliges Muslims to be loyal to their nation of residence. Therefore, American Muslims must adhere to the US Constitution as the supreme law of the land.
3. If Muslims don’t want Shariah to rule America, then so what if it’s banned?
First, Shariah is a personal relationship between a Muslim and God. The First Amendment forbids Congress from passing laws that restrict the free exercise of religion–particularly private exercise. Second, if Shariah was banned, then American Muslims could not marry, inherit, write wills or choose to divorce per Islam’s guidelines. If similar restrictions were imposed for other faith groups, then no Minister could conduct a marriage ceremony, no Catholic Bishop could read the last rites and no Rabbi could perform circumcision on an infant male Jewish child–because these are all Judeo-Christian religious laws. Even within our current legal system, American Jews regularly resolve civil matters through rabbinical courts known as beit din. American Muslims simply want to enjoy their same constitutionally guaranteed right.
4. What does Shariah say about other religions?
Shariah law champions absolute freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. For example, the Qur’an goes as far as to oblige Muslims to fight on behalf of Jews, Christians and people of other faiths and to protect their churches, synagogues and temples from attack. (22:41) Furthermore, Shariah holds that to be a Muslim, a person must testify to the truth of all past prophets, including Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Krishna and Buddha–and must respect their adherents. When Prophet Muhammad peacefully became the ruler of Arabia, his primary condition for non-Muslims (and Muslims) to reside in Arabia was that they allow all people of all faiths–be they Jews, Christians, Muslims or idol worshipers–to worship in peace and without oppression.
5. What about countries that oppress people and claim they follow Shariah?
Such countries have ignored the fundamental tenet of justice inherent in Shariah Law, and have instead used Shariah as an excuse to gain power and sanction religious extremism. To be sure, not a single example of a “Shariah compliant” country exists. In fact, the most “Muslim country” in the world is likely America, because America guarantees freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of thought–all hallmarks of Shariah Law. Those nations that oppress in the name of Shariah are as justified in their claims, as the slave owners who claimed their right to slavery was based on the Bible.
As for the “violent” verses from the Qur’an that are cited by both extremists and critics–honest legal interpretation abhors quoting an excerpt as a means to understand the full law. Unfortunately, both extremists and critics refuse to adhere to this basic principle. In sum, Shariah law guides a Muslim’s personal relationship with God, just as the Old and New Testaments guide Jews and Christians in their personal relationships with God. These paths to life-giving water are nothing to fear.
Most of them, including Gaddafi’s Libya, from 1993 on, make it one of the sources of law.
When they do not, as is the case of Morocco, it is because Islam is already the State religion. And the whole problem amounts to knowing what, then, is included in this term: the stoning of adulteresses, as in Iran? the amputation of thieves’ limbs, as in Saudi Arabia? Or rather a sum of moral precepts one strives to combine with the Napoleonic Code, as is the case in Egypt?
3. In light of this problem, the question of what “path” Libya will chose is to be expected. It goes without saying that we can anticipate a new battle, an ideological one in which the task will be to arbitrate between the minority who interpret sharia as the fanatics do and those who wish to see a compromise between sharia and the democratic ideal. It is obvious that those of us who are among the friends of the new Libya, the allies who contributed to her liberation from one of the most bloodthirsty dictatorships of our times, have a role to play in aiding the country not to fall under the yoke of another kind of tyranny.
But, for pity’s sake, no bad faith.
Let’s not pull the number of a civil version of the proverbial “quagmire”, when, after a week of air strikes, time already seemed to be dragging on, on the Libyans again. And let’s not demand of this Libya, crushed by 42 years of despotism, let us not ask of this country with neither a State nor a judicial tradition, without an actual civil society, to become in the space of three months a society of human rights.
Thirty years after Solidarnosc, Polish democracy is still in the stage of self-searching. Russia is still in its Putin phase.
France went through the Terror, the Restoration, two Empires and several blood baths before it was able to embody the republican ideal of 1789, and after that the ideal of a secular society. And we expect Libya, itself, to pass from a dark night into light?
The battle will be rough.
There will be swerves, steps backward, moments of wandering off course. But I know the men and women who wanted this revolution, in Benghazi or Misrata, well enough to know that they will not allow the rights they have won after such an intense struggle to be confiscated.
Post-Gaddafi Libya has become a major forefront of the great schism that is rippling through the Muslim world, the historic (and, from now on, democratic) confrontation between the two Islams, that of the Enlightenment and that of the shadows, that of the moderates and that of the extremists, the one that reaches out to Europe and that of the clash of civilizations. And I am willing to bet that, upon this stage, the friends of liberty will be victorious.
Yet again, MCA is using its English daily to propagate garbage on the hudud issue to confuse and divide Malaysians.
Its boss, the scandal-tainted MCA president Chua Soi Lek is quoted by his party organ that the DAP must openly state whether it agrees that the implementation of hudud law will affect not only Muslims but also non-Muslims.
He is not only flogging a dead horse issue, he is just plain stupid.
The DAP is not the ruling government. The Barisan Nasional (BN) is the ruling party and that includes MCA.
BN-Umno-MCA has already declared Malaysia an Islamic state. So, why are you, Chua Soi Lek, not directing the questions to Umno instead?
It is because Malaysia is already an Islamic state that the Islamic authorities, like Jais, can raid a church without any valid reason or warrant. Why is MCA so quiet about this?
Ot is it because the action was conducted by Umno-controlled Jais? So, you don’t have the guts to utter a word?
What is hudud compared to Umno’s Islamic state
Why can’t Chua and his gang accept simple logic? Malaysia is already an Islamic state, so what is hudud?
Hudud is just part of Islam and an Islamic state, so please get this into your pea brain.
It is also baffling why Umno, Perkasa and Utusan Malaysia continue to remain mum with Chua’s continuous spewing of insults to the country’s official religion.
I guess I should not be baffled as it is all BN’s political agenda aimed at manipulating the people’s political mindset towards disunity.
BN’s continuous drive to sow the seeds of racial and religious discord is just not 1Malaysia which is just hollow sloganeering.
Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin has clearly stated that the time is not yet right to implement hudud.
What does that mean? It means the long-term agenda of Umno is also to implement hudud. So, Chua, why don’t you ask Umno, currently the ruling elite, to state its stand?
Only criminals, Soi Lek and Umno fear hudud
There is no need for anyone to state a stand as the issue of hudud is already redundant because Malaysia, as declared by BN-Umno-MCA that Malaysia is already an Islamic state.
So, please stop spewing garbage to ruin the unity of Malaysians.
We demand Muslims to respect other faiths. Likewise, we must also respect their faith and their right to practice.
In Umno’s case, it is using Jais to infringe the rights of others. Do you see such things happening in Kelantan?
Chua, why are you so fearful of hudud? Only criminals will fear hudud, an Islamic criminal law. So, it is criminal-prone Muslims who will have the greatest fear of hudud.
Hudud cannot implemented on non-Muslims and this is something that cannot be changed, domestic or globally. It is Umno’s manipulations, with MCA’s support, and disregard for the rights and laws of the country that is the problem. Not the law.