Shariah and Constitution by Zia H Shah

We the people

Source: Muslim Sunrise 2013_winter volume

By Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Constitution for each country is a fairly precise document, but still requires constant interpretation and reinterpretation.  The Shariah on the other hand is a fairly amorphous concept as it triggers different ideas in different people, depending on their life experiences.

The original text of the USA constitution, with its seven articles, was less than 5000 words, but, there is no one or a few documents that could be referred to as Shariah Law.

The most shining of all the constitutions in the world is constitution of America, with its more than 200 years of successful history and record of constant evaluation in the USA Supreme court.  So, when talking about constitution we should try to examine American Constitution, its history and its benefits.

“As the British Constitution is the most subtle organism which has proceeded from the womb and long gestation of progressive history,” said William Gladstone, who served as British Prime Minister on four different occasions, between 1868 – 1894, “so the American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”

The USA Constitution originally consisted of seven Articles. The first three Articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislature, consisting of the bicameral Congress; the executive, consisting of the President; and the judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. The fourth and sixth Articles frame the doctrine of federalism, describing the relationship between State and State, and between the several States and the federal government. The fifth Article provides the procedure for amending the Constitution. The seventh Article provides the procedure for ratifying the Constitution.

The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified by conventions in eleven States. It went into effect on March 4, 1789.

Since the Constitution was adopted, it has been amended twenty-seven times. The first ten amendments were ratified by three-fourths of the States on December 15, 1791. These first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.[i]

The Holy Quran says that whatever benefits humanity is given permanence in the world.  It states, “He (Allah) sends down water from the sky, so that valleys flow according to their measure, and the flood bears on its surface swelling foam. And from that which they heat in the fire, seeking to make ornaments or utensils, comes out a foam similar to it. Thus does Allah illustrate truth and falsehood. Now, as to the foam, it goes away as rubbish, but as to that which benefits men, it stays on the earth. Thus does Allah set forth parables.” (Al Quran 13:18)

The Constitution of the United States was the first detailed constitution of its kind, and has influenced the constitutions of many other nations and today more than 300 million people are living peacefully with their religious freedoms, in USA, as a result of it.  So, it has certainly benefitted men and has gained permanence in the earth.

Shariah means different things to different people.  To me it means discharging ones obligations to God and the fellow humans, regardless of color, creed, gender and religion, as so often stressed by the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the leaders, referred to as Khalifas, who have followed him.

There are at least three hundred verses in the Holy Quran that inspire mankind towards a compassionate living, a few dozen talking about justice and at least a few from which the Golden rule, “Do onto others like you would like to be done to you,” can be derived.[ii] [iii]

Yet zealot Muslims, who crave about introducing Shariah Law, are talking about enforcement of a few deterrent punishments suggested in the Quran, for example, cutting of hands of thieves and flogging of adulterers.

The Sultan of Brunei announced this month the gradual introduction of harsh Islamic punishments, such as death by stoning for adulterers, severing of limbs for theft and flogging for a wide range of crimes including abortion and consumption of alcohol.

The amendment is the latest step in the wealthy, all-powerful monarch Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s move towards a conservative Islamic state, but will only apply to the Southeast Asian nation’s majority Muslim population.[iv]

Perhaps, the Sultan himself could be the first recipient of the cutting of hands, if he is unable to explain by what right, he has misappropriated or robbed the leadership of the country for himself.

The world’s first movable type printing technology was invented and developed in China by the Han Chinese printer Bi Sheng between the years 1041 and 1048. In the West, the invention of an improved movable type mechanical printing technology in Europe is credited to the German printer Johannes Gutenberg in 1450. The exact date of Gutenberg’s press is debated based on existing screw presses. Gutenberg, a goldsmith by profession, developed a printing system by both adapting existing technologies and making inventions of his own. His newly devised hand mould made possible the rapid creation of metal movable type in large quantities.

For the West it has meant five centuries of increasing awareness among the masses, increasing individual rights and respect for the due process.  The Muslim monarchies in the Ottoman Empire and the Mughal Empire in India and others, refused to benefit from these inventions and prevented mass education, to prevent the struggle of the ‘have nots’ against the ‘haves,’ and defended their monarchies, in so doing.  The result has been fairly visible.  It has meant five centuries of the beating and humiliation of the Muslims, militarily, politically, economically, intellectually and emotionally, at the hands of the non-Muslims.

How would the Muslims respond to his humiliation and malaise in their societies?  The response has been varied.

One successful response was mounted by Ata Turk in Turkey, in the creation of the modern state.

Hijab was banned in Turkey for so many years and now the ban has been lifted and yet morality of Islam has survived, decades later, showing us that life or death of nations and countries, does not depend on one or a few teachings.

But, many fundamentalist Muslims especially their power hungry Mullahs suggest that only solution to the centuries of malaise is introduction of few laws of Shariah.  They seem to believe that cutting of hands and flogging of a few adulterers is some magical wand that will immediately fix the problems of the Muslims.

In this information age, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the life of nations depends on their financial, political and judicial systems.  The three systems seem to be intertwined and closely linked as can be seen in the working of any modern Western country.

How can cutting of a hand or both or a finger or an arm of a thief versus putting him or her in jail, be the panacea to build modern, successful and sustaining societies?

In modern societies there are hundreds of laws in the judicial system to cover different eventualities and exceptions and these have been dissected, examined and modified over centuries of constant intellectual scrutiny.  The Muslim fundamentalists want to throw away all this learning with one stroke and go back to medieval times.

The constitution of USA does not specify any religious beliefs, otherwise the country would be choosing one religion at the expense of others.  As a matter of fact the word God does not appear in the original constitution.  It starts off by stating its objective, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  Then it goes into the seven articles that it comprises of, which are divided into sections.

Ireland, as one example of a non-Muslim country and almost all the Muslim countries have not learnt from the success of USA, for more than two centuries, to talk only about humans and human affairs and not sew the seed of misinterpretation, by getting into religion or even God.  The preamble of the Irish constitution starts, as follows:

In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,

We, the people of Éire,

Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,

Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation.

Now, as many believe Triune God does not exist, the constitution has started on the wrong footing, as far as they are concerned.  For them the constitution is meaningless and when and if they agree to it, it is no more than mere lip service.

The constitution of Pakistan starts off with the line, “Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust.”  As a devout Muslim, I must confess that this line has an emotional appeal for me and most Muslims.  But, this would be our knee jerk reaction.  Deeper analysis suggests that the very first line of constitution is sewing the seed for a convenient hijacking of the state into a theocracy.  This is indeed what happened.  The constitution was passed in 1973 and in the very next year it partly changed into a theocracy, by marginalizing the Ahamdiyya Muslim Community, by declaring them non-Muslims for the purpose of law and constitution.

The modern means of travel and interaction have changed our world into a global village and the more we focus on co-existence among people of different faiths, the more we realize that Separation of Mosque-Church and State has become an absolute necessity for our modern times.

The Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has been stressing this separation in his various keynote addresses, in different countries of the world.

On 28 September 2013, he held an audience with more than twenty Indonesian guests representing various media, educational institutions and think-tanks at the Taha Mosque in Singapore.  It was covered by a Press release by the community titled, True Khilafat compatible with Democracy.

During the 70 minute question and answer session, he explained the true teachings of Islam and clarified various misconceptions concerning Islam.

In answer to a question about whether Khilafat and democracy are compatible, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

Khilafat has no relation to government or politics. When Ahmadiyyat spreads far and wide the Khilafat will play no role in government and will never interfere with matters of State. We have no political ambitions or desires. We believe entirely in a separation of religion and matters of State.[v]

I have collected some of the details about the pressing need of Separation of in articles, Solomonic wisdom needed to establish Separation of Mosque-Church-Synagogue and State and Our Collection about Separation of Mosque-Church and State.[vi] [vii]

The wisdom mentioned in the many of the Islamic teachings, when we try to understand their essence, rather than pushing their literal understanding, is not debarred from constitutions of Muslim or for that matter non-Muslim countries, and should certainly find their way into the laws and constitution, but, only through civic process so that everyone can buy into them, regardless of their religious biases.

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  1. Reblogged this on Progressive Islam. and commented:
    Qoute—The Constitution of the United States was the first detailed constitution of its kind, and has influenced the constitutions of many other nations and today more than 300 million people are living peacefully with their religious freedoms, in USA, as a result of it. So, it has certainly benefitted men and has gained permanence in the earth.

    Comparing to Syariah ( Al Quran)
    From my observation US constitution is the best syariah laws as following:



    The true Shariah state or Islamic state from Holy Quran is where ; (1). Islam is religion of love.(2) the government protect the right of minority, and (3) freedom of religion, speech and expression. (4).Justice for all people regardless his belief, gender and race. (5).State and Church, and Mosque are separated. Government can not take a side of religion, must be neutral.

    First and second Commandment;
    “Love God with all your mind, with all your heart and with all your soul. Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and judging each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by one another.If you say I love God, but you hate others, you are a big liar” or Hypocrite. “Love is the seed of peace, happiness and prosperity but hatred is the seed of Evil, conflict and poverty.”

    Wisdom of Prophet Muhammad ( pbuh)” None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.”

    Allah commanded the existing authority has to protect the right of minority as following;
    Q 4:75. “What has happened to you that you do not fight in the way of Allah, and for the oppressed among men, women and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out from this town whose people are cruel, and make for us a supporter from Your own, and make for us a helper from Your own.”

    This Golden wisdom is found in Christianity and judaism.

    Proverb 31:8. Speak up for people who can not speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless.speak for them and be a righteous judge.protect the right of the poor and needy.

    Psalm 103 ;6.
    God judges favor of the oppressed and gives them their rights.He revealed His plans to Moses and let the people of Israel see His mighty deeds. God is merciful and loving.

    American Government protect the right of religious minorities, Islam, Hindu, Budha, Jews, others and the right Gay-Lesbian, atheist and women.

    In contrast, Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, Iran, Aceh, Brunei and other Islamic states do not protect the right of religious minorities, Atheist and gay -lesbian. And also there is no freedom of religion, speech and expression. They are wrong, they have been astray.
    They kill each other between Extremist Sunni and Extremist Shia ), and thousands innocent people including children have been suffering, displacing and killed as we see in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya,Nigeria,Somalia,Sudan etc.
    I am so sad, pity, heartbreaking and embarrassing too. There must be something wrong with Islamic teaching.
    What is about you?

    Q 42:15. And say ( Muhammad ), “I believe in whatever book Allah has sent down( Taurat, Zabur,Injil and Al Quran). And I have been ordered to do justice among you (Christian, Jews, Quraish, etc ). Allah is our Lord and your Lord. For us are our deeds, and for you, your deeds. There is no argumentation between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is the final return.”.

    Q 4: 135.You who believe! be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, Allah is aware of what you do.

    Q 7:181. Among those We have created there is a community who guide by the Truth and act justly according to it.

    Q 10;47.Every nation has a Messenger and when their Messenger comes everything is decided between them justly. They are not wronged.

    Q 16;(90) Allah enjoins to do justice and to adopt good behavior and to give relatives (their due rights), and forbids shameful acts, evil deeds and oppressive attitude. He exhorts you, so that you may be mindful.

    Q 5:8..O you who believe, be steadfast for (obeying the commands of) Allah, (and) witnesses for justice. Malice against a people should not prompt you to avoid doing justice. Do justice. That is nearer to Taqwa. Fear Allah. Surely, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.

    Q 60;8.It is hoped that Allah will bring about love between you and those of them with whom you have enmity. 2 Allah is Powerful, and Allah is Most-forgiving, Very-Merciful. Allah does not forbid you as regards those who did not fight you on account of faith, and did not expel you from your homes, that you do good to them, and deal justly with them. Surely Allah loves those who maintain justice. .

    American Government treat all people regardless his belief, race, collar of skin, gender equally and fairly.

    In contrast, Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, Iran, Aceh, and other Islamic States treat people differently.They are wrong, they have been astray.

    Freedom of religion and expression.
    Deuteronomy 30; 1,15.Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, or between a blessing and a curse, between live and death. .You were born with the freedom of choice.

    This Golden wisdom is found also in Islam or Holy Al Quran.

    Q 90:10.And showed him the two ways? One is God’s way, and second is Evil’s way. People free to choose his religion.

    Q 2:256.There is no compulsion in Faith. The correct way has become distinct from the erroneous. Now, whoever rejects the Taghut (the Rebel, the Satan) and believes in Allah has a firm grasp on the strongest ring that never breaks. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

    Freedom of Speech.
    Q 25:63. The (faithful) slaves of the Beneficent are they who walk upon the earth modestly, and when the foolish ones address them answer: Peace;

    America’s constitution guarantee all citizen has the right of religion, speech and expression
    In contrast, there is no freedom of religion, speech and expression in Saudi Arabia, Gulf states, Iran and other Islamic States. They are wrong, they have been astray.

    Continue below:

    Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and Muhammad (pbuh) spread Islam with love, compassion, not with force and compulsory.

    From Bible.
    Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, or between a blessing and a curse, between life and death. (Deuteronomy 30; 1,15)
    He who is unjust, let him unjust still.
    He who is filthy, let him be filthy still
    He who is righteous, let him be righteous still.
    He who is holy,let him be holy still.(Rev;22:11).

    These wisdom of Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is found in Islam or holy Al quran;

    From Al Quran.
    Q 2:256.There is no compulsion in Faith. The correct way has become distinct from the erroneous. Now, whoever rejects the Taghut (the Rebel, the Satan) and believes in Allah has a firm grasp on the strongest ring that never breaks. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

    Q 18;29.And say, “The truth is from your Lord. Now, whoever so wills may believe and whoever so wills may deny.”

    Q 10;99.And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together. So, will you (O Muhammad SAW) then compel mankind, until they become believers.
    QS 88;21-25. So, (O Prophet,) keep on preaching; you are only a preacher. (21) You are not a taskmaster set up over them, (22) But whoever turns away and disbelieves, (23) Allah will punish him with the greatest torment. (24) Surely towards Us they have to return, (25) Then it is Our job to call them to account.
    Q 13;40-. And if We show you (O prophet) some of what We have promised to them, or We take you back to Us (before that), in both cases you have only to convey the message, and We have to reckon.

    He who want to be atheist, let him atheist
    He who want to be gay-lesbian. let him gay-lesbian
    He who want to convert to other religion, let him does.
    He who want to astray, let him does.
    People has a right of freedom of religion, non religion, speech and expression.

    America guarantee all citizen the right of religion, race and gender.
    In contrast, there is no tolerance with different religion, gender and race in Saudi, Iran, and other Islamic countries. They are wrong, they have been astray.

    Read furher:

    All love ❤️

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