Shari’ah ≠ Islamic Law: Misunderstanding the Role of Islam in Libya

Source/Credit: Religion Dispatches

By Haroon Moghul

After Libya’s interim leader Abdul-Jalil’s Sunday speech, many have raised concerns about the place of Shari’ah law in Libya. Of course, you could take Juan Cole’s angle on this, and ask why we weren’t as concerned about the Islamic nature of the “new” Iraq and Afghanistan. Omar Ashour speculates on the reason for the mention of Shari’ah, positing that firm references to the role of Islam might have something to do with appeasing the Islamist elements of Libya’s popular revolution.

To begin, a brief primer. Shari’ah is not quite Islamic law. It is, rather, “the path to the water,” the sum total of God’s revelation to humanity, through the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad. What we call Islamic law, and what is often meant by Shari’ah, are interpretations of Shari’ah, attempts by humans to ascertain what God’s intent in a certain verse was, or what the Prophet Muhammad meant when he said something.

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One Comment on “Shari’ah ≠ Islamic Law: Misunderstanding the Role of Islam in Libya”

  1. Rafiq A. Tschannen
    October 28, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    ‘polygamy again’ … What difference does it make whether polygamy is permitted or not in real life? I would say that the only difference is honesty, because, of course, polygamy is practiced everywhere, whether permitted or not. In the West they just call it ‘additional partners’ or just some ‘infidelities”. No

    Is it not better to be honest? (and equal).

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