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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sharia Reforms

Mike Ghouse

The laws that govern the life of a Muslim from birth to death and every moment in between are claimed to be inspired by the Qur'aan. Please note that the laws were incorporated nearly two centuries after the death of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and not from the inception. A few actually think Sharia is God's law. It ain’t.

Much of the guidance from Qur'aan has been crystallized into Sharia laws; most of them are complementary to the civil laws as practiced in the USA, Canada and other democracies. Some of the laws transgress the sense of justice.

The issue is with laws that deal with Marriage, divorce, apostasy, adultery, stealing and Aggression. These laws that are in question, if applied to the letter will contravene the concept of Justice in Islam. There are recent examples of applying those laws in some of the countries that claim to be Islamic and were totally un-just. A few names as examples are: Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan, Ahmadiyya in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Raped Muslim woman in Nigeria, Nazanin Fatehi in Iran and to top it off, the Saudi clerics who have issued the fatwa that Shia's are not Muslims. This is outrageous. Every one wants to get ahead of Allah to judge people prior to the Day of Judgment?

In the United States we have sent wrong people to the gallows, and we do have bribery, adultery, crime and injustice by the politicians, clergy and the common people. Our men beat over 3000 women a year to death in a rage, and we have child abuse and rape every day in our country. However, we take the precaution, and make near certain before we execute that the person is not innocent. There is defense to argue the case without any fear. Justice prevails most of the times. As a few Evangelists (men) desire to have their way in the governance of our nation, so are the few Sharia (men) who dream for such a possibility in their countries, which they have a right to, and they can apply it to themselves and not other human beings. As Qur’aan says, there should be no compulsion.

The Muslims living in America, Canada and other democracies have lived without the Sharia Law, as the laws of the land are adequate to run the society with justice. Besides, Most Muslims living in America or Canada have understood that it is not the divine law.

Dr. Inayat Lalani shares this experience “I asked a question to all those present: "Is it possible for one to get justice in American courts?" The answer was unanimously 'yes, it was possible'. I then asked if it was possible for justice to be miscarried in a Sharia court and the answer again was a unanimous 'yes'. I then proposed that that settles the argument”.

The World Muslim Congress and the Foundation for Pluralism held a workshop led by Hasan Mahmud Director of Sharia Laws of Muslim Canadian Congress on Sharia Law. The workshop in Dallas on January 7th was attended by about 60 people representing every faith. The attendees brought their own copy of Qur’aan to cross reference the Sharia Laws’ that conflict with Qur’aan.
As Hasan Mahmud said so eloquently, “I have questions and I have verses in Qur'aan that go against Sharia Law". Several comments have been received; pretty much the drive is for cleaning up most of the Sharia laws. “Our community has languished too long in archaic laws, "blindly following their forefathers" as the Qur’aan states regarding the unbelievers of the Prophet's time. God Almighty repeatedly asks mankind to think, reason, understand” Dr. Iffat Khan. “Just as Christianity underwent a major house cleaning in the mid l800’s with the emergence of New Thought Christianity, Islam is likewise undergoing a major house cleaning, challenging the continued existence of laws that are unjust and pernicious”. Mary Lou Ghyst.

At the World Muslim Congress, we believe in presenting all sides of the issue, as we believe Islam is a range of values for humans to be guided. Insha Allah, we will be holding one more conference in the coming months, those who honestly believe that Sharia Laws are divine and must be followed are invited to join and share their facts and be a part of the presentation. Only God's word is final, all else is debatable.

If there were to be a change, it has to begin some where, thanks God, it has begun now. We are a small part of that change that is going on around the Globe. We hope to reach out and ask people to evaluate the legitimacy of some of the laws that are not just - and are in contradiction with its own source. We have to be a catalyst for the change. Change cannot be regulated or imposed; it has to become a part of the acceptor to sustain.

Just this last month, Pakistan was looking to scrap some of the Hudood (limits) laws that were introduced some 30 years ago with the pressure from the fundamentalists. Last year in India, the women formed their own Muslim law board challenging the domain of men for 14 centuries. It has diluted the arrogance of men. Women Led prayers happened last year in the United States and Canada for the first time in history since the times of Prophet.

Nazanin Fatehi in Iran is on re-trial for killing the attacker, she was sentenced to death.

The Saudi Clerics have issued a Fatwa in January this year declaring that the Shia denomination of Islam are not Muslims, this is yet to be refuted by the Scholars in their own country.
Muslim did not dare, just like Christians, Hindus or Jews questioning their traditions, to question the validity of Hadith (oral tradition like Talmud in Jewish tradition) was an apostasy and one could have been killed a decade ago. Thanks to the internet, knowledge is within the grasp of common man and they are questioning everything without fear of persecution. In the democratic societies it is happening in workshops, seminars etc. Thanks God, we have just begun the process.

In the next issue, we will pitch the actual Sharia Laws against the Verses of Qur’aan presented in the workshop by Hasan Mahmud.

Mike Ghouse is a Muslim thinker, speaker and a writer. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith issues. He has appeared on the local affiliates of CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and FOX . He founded the World Muslim Congress on the belief that if we can learn to accept and respect the God-given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, conflicts will fade and solutions emerge. His email is MikeGhouse@gmail.com. © Copyright 2007 by Mike Ghouse

You can post your comments at:
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/01/sharia-its-origins-legitimacy-and.html

Jeff,

If there were to be a change, it has to begin some where, thanks God, it has begun now. We are a small part of that change that is going on around the Globe. We hope to reach out and ask people to evaluate the legitimacy of some of the laws that are not just - and are in contradiction with its own source. We have to be a catalyst for the change. Change cannot be regulated or imposed, it has to become a part of the acceptor to sustain.

Just this last month, Pakistan was looking to scrap some of the Hudood (limits) laws that were introduced some 30 years ago due to the pressure from the fundamentalists.

Last year in India, the women formed their own law board challenging the domain of men for 14 centuries. It has diluted the arrogance of men.

Women Led prayers happened last year for the first time in history since the time of Prophet (twice during his time).
Muslim did not dare, just like Christians or Jews questioning their traditions, to question the validity of Hadith (oral tradition like Talmud in Jewish tradition). Now they are doing it without fear of persecution. Of course it is happening in the democratic societies openly and the theocratic societies through Internet.

Reform has taken root, it has to be nurtured now

Mike Ghouse
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
www.FoundationforPluralism.com

Sola Scriptura?
Posted by Jeff Weiss at: http://religion.beloblog.com/archives/2007/01/sola_scriptura.html

I attended an interesting event last night in Addison. Hosted by Mike Ghouse, who runs the ambitiously named Foundation for Pluralism and even more ambitiously named World Muslim Congress. About 50 people heard a head-on challenge to the authenticity of Muslim Sharia law given by Hasan Mahmoud, a Canadian Muslim human rights activist. Imagine a Jewish speaker dissing the Talmud or a Christian rejecting all Christian theology after, say, the Council of Nicea.

More after the jump.

Mahmoud’s claim is that the elaborate system of Muslim jurisprudence sometimes contradicts the instructions of the Quran. Divorce laws, punishment for apostasy, punishments for adultery – he contrasted verses from the Quran with translations from longstanding Muslim legal authorities.

His claim is that Islam got hijacked – my word, not his – not long after the death of Muhammad. With the dawn of Muslim kingdoms, the rulers took a hand in shaping Islamic law for their own purposes, Mahmoud said.
And yet, he had to admit that there exists more than 1,000 of tradition and widespread general acceptance, if not support, for the laws as they are now understood. And that it’s not possible to go back and tweeze out the “true” laws from those he says were a response to royal pressure. Other than to go back to the not-so-plain text of the Quran itself.

Go back to the book? Sounds like a Reformation, to me. Does it have any popular support among the billion-plus Muslims in the world? Not so that you’d notice.

But as all such activists point out, all movements started small. And as most activists will not point out: Most stay small.

Stay tuned.

In a message dated 1/8/2007 4:52:33 P.M. Central Standard Time, JWeiss@dallasnews.com writes:
thanks! I blogged a bit about the meeting. IF you go todallasnews.com/religion, there's a link to the blog on that page. I dunnowhat more I might do. At the very least, I'll keep it in mind for futurestories.


http://religion.beloblog.com/archives/2007/01/sola_scriptura.html

Dear Friends,

The Sharia laws i.e., the laws that govern the life of a Muslim from birth to death and every moment in between are claimed to be inspired by the Qur'aan and over the centuries, mind you not from the beginning, they have become attached to Islam. A few actually think Sharia is God's law. It is not.

Some of the guidance from Qur'aan has been crystallized into Sharia laws, most of them are complementary to the civil laws as it is in the USA, Canada and elsewhere in democracies. Some are not.

The issue is with a few laws that deal with Marriage, divorce, apostasy, adultery, stealing and challenging the law itself. These laws that are in question, if applied to the letter; they contravene the concept of Justice in Islam. There are recent examples of applying those laws in some of the countries that claim to be Islamic and were un-just. A few names that pop in my mind are: Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan, Ahmadiyyas in Pakistan, Fatwa by Saudi clerics to call Shia's non-Muslims and now Nazanin Fatehi in Iran.

In the United States we have sent wrong people to the gallows, and we do have bribery, adultery, crime and injustice by the politicians, clergy and the common people. Our men beat over 3000 women a year to death in the rage, and we have child abuse and rape every day. However, we take the precaution, and make near certain before we execute any one to be as right as possible. There is defense to at least argue the case without fear. Justice prevails most of the times. As a few Evangelists (men) desire to have their way in the governance of our nation, the few Sharia (men) may dream for such a possibility.

The Muslims living in America , Canada and other democracies have lived without the Sharia Law, as the laws of the land are adequate to run the society with justice. Besides, Most Muslims living in America or Canada have understood that it is not the divine law.

Following was a part of the talk by Hasan Mahmoud at the Sharia Talk event on Sunday, January 7th , 2007 in Dallas . Most people brought their copy of the Qur'aan to reference the Sharia laws that contradict with Qur'aan. They actually read the translations, there were at least 20 copies of Qur'aan out there among some 60 people who attended the event.

At the World Muslim Congress, we believe in presenting all sides of the issue, as we believe Islam is a range of values for humans to be guided. Insha Allah, we will be holding one more conference in the coming months, those who honestly believe that Sharia Laws are divine and must be followed are invited to join and share their facts and be a part of the presentation. Only God's word is final, all else is debatable.

As Hasan Mahmoud so eloquently said, I have questions and "I have verses in Qur'aan that go against Sharia Law" and if you believe otherwise, let's talk. It is time we base our conversations on facts and not hearsay. I urge Muslims to discourage any gossip based on ill-information.

Every Muslim in Dallas had the chance to sit down and see it for themselves, the message was sent repeatedly. Talking behind the back is not the right thing to do, and I would urge Muslims to simply discourage it.

Mike Ghouse
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com

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