Evolution of Islamic Legal System
By Dr. H. Koya
This is a brief overview of what I believe began in the right way with right intent. However, the process of evolution was cut short due in main for the fall of Islamic Khilafat.
The credit in fact goes to Hazrat Umar (ra) the second Caliph of Islam who was first in many things:
1. He appointed first paid judges.
2. Recused himself as a presiding judge reasoning that it will be unfair if he (or State) was party to an action. He was great legal thinker.
3. He appointed first lady enforcement officer to moderate pricing and regulations in the marketplace.
4. He insisted, harshly, on accuracy and corroboration (specially with regards to collections of Hadith), practice that permeated other transactions and documentation.
2.0 Quran on evidentiary process
Not being a work manual, the Holy Quran sets the tone for many disciplines such as law, physics, administration, communication, creative non-fictional writing (a modern crave for making money) and many more.
2.1 Sworn testimony.
Unheard of prior to Islam, Quran stipulated administration of sworn evidence by believing men and believing women which is to be corroborated by believing men and believing women.
Anything short of it, does not hold water and as such an action cannot be proceeded as a safeguard for miscarriage of justice or hearsay evidence.There was hardly any book in the contemporary world that talked about sworn testimony. This was to become the threshold of justice system in the Western world centuries later.
It would be futile to think that the West had its own reservoir of legal knowledge and justice system to build on which today has become model of administration of justice.
Quran was the only written document they had to rely on to craft their own legal system, which fortunately has seen a great stride over the past few century.
The Western Legal system receives sworn testimony, gives a defendant right to question witnesses and call his own witness in defense. Challenge a lower court decision at higher court all the way to Supreme Court.
3.0 Islamic Legal System
Regrettably, what started on a brilliant note as an Islamic proceeding, did not continue to acquire the same status the West has been able to do.
Not that it was not cable of or was not designed to manifest to a full legal system as we have today in the West. Tragically, it was the Muslims themselves who ruined the fundamental platform as provided by Hazrat Umar (ra) and robbed the Muslim world from making the ultimate progress.
4.0 The Shariah Law
What has come to be regarded as Shariah Law is a laughing matter. Shariah means law. It often means how the Muslim Law is viewed by the Muslim clergy in the absence of a legal system for Muslims.
5.0 The Holy Quran source of law
The primary source of law is the Holy Quran which spells out the fundamental principle.
5.1 Judge with justice
Simple as it may sound, but it requires critical thinking and fair judgment to reach a judicial decision. The crux of the rule of evidence. It compels a judicial officer to judge with a clear mind and conscientiousness without regard to color, creed, gander, or origin.
The one single overriding principle all Muslims must adhere to when passing judgment in trivial matters as well as major court decisions.
6.0 Earlier Justice Systems
The Bible and Holy Quran give us a glimpse of the dictatorial regime of the Pharaohs who ultimately fell before the law of God. There was no law or legal system.
6.2 Pilot’s court in case of Jesus
He was about to hand over a verdict in favor of the Jews who sought to kill him. There was no legal system of giving or receiving sown evidence. It was through a dream of his wife Pilot was dissuaded to “wash his hands off” the case and hand Jesus over to the crowd instead of handing a judgment to condemn him.
The Holy Quran brought the answer to establish a legal system.
Rooted in the basics of the Holy Quran – a gift from Allah – the subject was never meant to be so complicated for the Quran itself is meant for the most unlearned and those with endowed with higher faculty.
This is a simple article to give a basic explanation for all to read and build upon.
With deepest lamentation that there does not appear to be a chance in the immediate future that a truly just, fair and comprehensive Islamic Legal System will come into effect.
Categories: The Muslim Times