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What is the Sharia Law?
There was a time when Afghanistan was a modern State Faith Was a Private Matter. The burqa was optional; women and men could travel together. Right next door, Iran was not far behind; it was a power with the Western World. Women could step out without a wheel, even meet men at public places, but the Iran and Afghanistan of today are a lot different. Today, hijab is mandatory western clothing is frowned upon, and clerics dictate societal Norms, the religious police.
Are patrols the streets, civil rights are all but non-existent. What happened in these countries? They came under Sharia law. The concept of Sharia. It’s back in the news. After the Taliban took over Kabul, they plan to rule Afghanistan under Sharia law. Under the Taliban’s version of the Sharia law. What does that mean? What will change in Afghanistan? What place does the Sharia have in this day and age? How many people in the world follow it? Why is it so controversial? Why does the world fear?
It will take Afghanistan further back in time. A lot of Scholars and experts put this report together. We’ll try to answer. Answer all these questions, starting with the first question. What is the Sharia? To many, the word conjures horrors of hands being cut off of adulterers, being beaten, and women being oppressed. No religious law has ever had worse press as the Sharia has in recent times. Why is that so? Thanks to the misrepresentation, manipulation, and misuse of Sharia.
who developed sharia law?
Islamic regimes, politicians, clerics, radicals, terrorists. They’ve all use the Sharia to rule in the name of God. So, coming back to the question. What is the Sharia? Well, there is no clear definition different people understand and apply the Sharia in different ways. But if we put the broad Concepts together, this is what a definition would sound like the Sharia is Islam’s Legal and spiritual system, both Divine and philosophical.
Divine because it is said to be God’s will for humankind, philosophical because it is based on the human understanding of that Divine will. In Arabic, the Sharia translates to the clear Well-trodden path to the water. The human interpretation of Sharia is called the Fig, which means “Understanding“. These terms are used interchangeably, but they’re not the same Sharia is considered Divine permanent infallible, but its understanding is human.
It’s a set of rules put together by Muslim Scholars over the centuries. These rules have been drafted and applied to suit those in power. Where do the rules come from? Three Sources, the Quran, Islam’s holy book, the Sunnah, which is the Deeds of Prophet Muhammad, and the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad. There’s a range of other sources to work out how God wants Muslims to live, but there is no single law book. No, definite statute.
No said judicial proceeding to determine what the Sharia is. It’s a vast collection of different, often conflicting interpretations, these interpretations gave birth to five schools of thought, five legal schools of Sharia, and you must know this. There are different kinds of Sherria, and you would say Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi, Hanafi; these four belong to Sunni Islam, the fifth is a Shia version of Sharia. It’s called Ja’fri all. All five of them are named after. Theologists and jurists were the men who interpreted Islamic texts. The Han Valley school is the smallest and strictest of them all. Its primary source is the Quran.
which countries apply sharia law?
It is practiced in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It also has significant followers in these countries. The Maliki School of Sharia relies primarily on Independent understanding of the Quran, and it is predominantly found in African nations. The whole of West Africa, along with Chad, Sudan, and Kuwait, the Shafi’s School of Sharia relies on consensus over the understanding of the Quran, and this is where it’s followed East Africa and Southeast Asia and countries like Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lower Egypt, the Maldives, Indonesia, and small communities in Malaysia. Then we have the Hanafi School, the earliest, the most flexible version of the Sharia.
It relies on both and consensus and independent reasoning. The Hanafi school has the most significant number of followers, approximately one-third of Muslims worldwide. They live in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.
And then we have the Joffrey school of thought, followed only by Shia Muslims. It is enshrined in the constitution of Iran. It also has a lot of followers in Iraq and small pockets of followers the world over. So we have five different versions of the Sharia. How are they Different? Not in the fundamentals of Faith. But in their practice, there are differences in how they pray, how they resolve legal matters, how they settle marital disputes, how they deliver punishment for certain crimes?
And this is understandable because no religion is uniform, but the problem begins when religion is mixed with governance. Many Muslims who embrace the Sharia thought of it as a substitute for the law of the land. And that’s where the problem lies. The Sharia was just supposed to be a way of living. It was not meant to be associated with political power when European colonialism began to spread the crown in the church came together.
The church was used to further the interest of the rulers. The same thing happened in Muslim kingdoms, and while European nations later separated the church from the state, many Islamic countries did not.
Do they choose Sharia as the basis of their legal justice system?
When Europeans left, leaders of the newly-formed Muslim-majority countries, France, Britain, and other European powers colonized much of West, Asia Africa, and Asia. Should they govern based on previous Islamic values, or should they embrace laws inherited from Colonial rule? Do they choose Sharia as the basis of their legal justice system? And this gave birth to all kinds of theocracies. Hardline and moderate countries like Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Yemen, Pakistan all had the Sharia even countries, which were not colonized by the West adopted.
The Sharia in 1932. Saudi Arabia was formed as a Theocratic monarchy. 1979 Iran witnessed the Islamic revolution until then, Iran was a secular monarchy. After the process, the clerics to power the country became the Islamic Republic. Then in 1996, the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. They made it a terror regime based on the Sharia. What makes this law acceptable in some countries and horrific in others? It’s understanding and implementation some countries enforce the most discriminatory and patriarchal aspects of the Sharia.
They selectively pick certain verses from the Quran and legalize Draconian practices, like polygamy, a triple Talaq, genital mutation. They also enforced rules that had little or no basis in Islam. Research shows that most of these punishments were not sanctioned in the Quran. The Prophet did not practice them. Yet today, they’ve been made the highlights of
Sharia, they’re being used to dictate the daily lives of Muslims the world over. A lot of the followers do not understand this.
Sharia Law for women
They stubbornly uphold ignorant and unjust practices. The biggest victims of this are Muslim Women. Does God judge differently based on gender? For many clerics, it does, even though women worked and fought alongside the Prophet. They won’t tell you this; in some countries, women cannot step out without an Abaya, but men can dress the way they want. Women cannot stand for president, but men can govern for a lifetime.
Women cannot choose to have an abortion. Still, men are out to have four wives, women cannot travel without a male guardian, women cannot drive, Women cannot retain custody of their children after divorce, and they receive half of what is awarded to their brothers In inheritance. The list of restrictions on women in the name of God is appalling, and the Sharia has misused does not end there. It is cited to justify.
Is Sharia law a pillar of faith?
They called The Conquest mindset to wage wars in the name of Islam, especially by Terror outfits who portray themselves as more faithful than other Muslims. They use religious scholars in their ranks to make finely crafted arguments. To use religion as it protects to perpetrate violence. They exploit people who have little understanding of Islam. They recruit them as foot soldiers to Fight their politically motivated Wars. Some join them In the name of Faith, some in the name of their land, some for a good paycheck, And some because they’re just murderess.
But this is not the Sharia. Let me tell you something else. Many damages have been done in the name of religion by people from all faiths by people from all cultures. That’s true for the Sharia too. Yet, it remains a way of life for 1.8 billion followers of Islam in more than 57 countries. Does that make it acceptable? Who decides? And in which form?
Here’s what I think. All things, including religion, must evolve with time if some practices are outdated. They must end. Religious law may not have a place in modern nation-states governed by a constitution. If the Sharia is interpretation and practice, clashes with today’s way of life in social structures, then perhaps it’s time for revision and reflection rather than resentment.