Letter to the Editor: (Re: ‘Muslim Canadians must abide by Canada’s laws’ in the Nov. 3 edition of the Barrie Examiner)
Shariah law is a misunderstood concept, by Muslims and non-Muslims and therefore very often stokes fear in people’s minds.
Shariah is an Arabic word, and like many Arabic words, has many meanings and connotations, but centres around the definition of flowing water.
Like flowing water, which remains fresh because of constant movement, Shariah law must also evolve to changing and diverse geo-political landscapes containing diverse ethno-religious populations.
It is for this reason that the Qur’an does not specify any specific form of government other than a beneficent one that is based on absolute justice. Pluralism and religious tolerance are Islamic values.
The Qur’an stresses: ‘There is no coercion in religion’ (2: 257). Legislating Shariah would mean imposing practices on people who do not share the underlying beliefs behind those practices. This is not permitted by Islam and thus by its own definition Shariah cannot be applied onto people who do not want it, or onto a society which does not contain the prerequisites of religious belief.
In fact, Islam promotes secularism and it was the practice of Prophet Muhammad himself to separate religion from politics. According to Islam, governments are required to govern with absolute justice.
How can a government do this when it is imposing one person’s religious beliefs onto another? And even within religions, there are numerous differences of interpretations, so whose interpretation would be applied and can this be called absolute justice?
As Muslims who believe in the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has a clear vision that religion should not be the business of the state.
This letter was chosen as the letter of the day in ‘the Barrie Examiner’, Canada