Shariah Law: The Five Things Every Non-Muslim (and Muslim) Should Know

Source: Huffington Post

By Qasim Rashid

1. What does Shariah mean?

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.

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2 replies

  1. Muslims in the West are not asking for Sharia to be the law of the land. The Law of the land is the only law applicable and executable in affairs of the individuals.

    All they are seeking is to let Sharia be available as an alternative to resolve their spousal and contractual disputes between two individuals. That is their prerogative. Indeed, every human, no matter who it is, goes first to their family members and friends for seeking solutions to their problem some will go to their clergy (all religions) and some will appoint a mediator.

    When Muslims go to their clergy, he or she will look up similar situations in the past and guide the couple or business partners to find a solution, since the immigrant Muslims are familiar with the Sharia laws, they may accept it, and if they do, that is good for them.

    The problem is that of trust – when the parties agree to the terms per their Imam/clergy, and don’t abide by it, there is no way the aggrieved party can seek damages for the violations. This is what Muslims are asking, to make that binding.

    Indeed, it would be binding if they go to the judge and say, we have agreed to these terms and conditions per our religious conviction, and seek the judge to sign the order and the court order becomes executable. The judge looks to it as mediator resolved decision and signs it and it will become executable. The right wing Americans are downright stupid and making a bid deal about this, as if Sharia will become the law of the land.

    What Muslims have is Personal Sharia, that is a private relationship between the individual and God. How they pray, worship, fast, pay zakat, how they bury their individuals, marry per the requirement as a religious rite. All of that is a private matter and does not need any regulation or execution.
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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