Sunday, October 19, 2008
Taqlid, Ijtihad and Democracy
I have read a few articles by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, and each one was filled with wisdom. It is so enlightening to read. Thanks to Yogi Sikand to bring this to the fore. The article Taqlid, Ijtihad and Democracy follows my comments.
A few self proclaimed guardians of Islam by virtue of their heading Shari’ah and Fiqh councils have been able to keep the lid on the box and do not show any sort of independence. They do not believe that Shari’ah was man-made interpretations of God’s words and Hadiths. To them Shari’ah is the absolute law from God, and they have successfully dumped this idea on to average Muslims (ones who does not have the time to question, but gulp what is given) who believe in it.
Shari’ah Laws: Private and Public
For the sake of convenience, Sharia Laws can be divided into private and public “The Private Sharia deals with how one performs prayers, observes fasts, makes the pilgrimage to Mecca and participates in Zakat (tithe/ charity). Individuals follow those guidelines and appreciate the existence of such guidelines. We can certainly nit pick on the details, but the essence more or less remains close to it.
Whereas the Public Shari’ah deals with the community affairs; such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, conversion, apostates and other rules. This Shari’ah is applicable when more than one individual is involved in the issue. The intent is always Justice and fairness to members of the society. However, The American civic laws are founded on Justice and most Muslims feel that the American laws work for them and are a great substitute- to serve justice. Hence, they do not feel the need for Shari’ah laws for public governance.
The Neocons need not fear and create imaginary conflict scenarios to cash in from the gullibles ones. We believe that only God’s word is final and no one feels the need to discuss it, as it is the right guidance for humanity. However, all else is open to discussion. It is our God given right to understand as we are individually responsible on the day of reckoning, and to understand we have to discuss and learn. Discussion is the hallmark of freedom and the Prophet (pbuh) had encouraged it. We cannot forget that Prophet (pbuh) had liberated us from the clutches of Clergy aka self appointed Guardians of religion.
The traditional Dawah approach needs re-examining. However, we want to uplift ourselves through learning to be a people who care about others, who focus on harmony among God’s creation; people and matter. Look at all the models of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from lifting Aswad up into the wall to Madinah treaty – what do you find? Mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. Madinah Treaty exemplifies co-existence. Surah Kafirun is the ultimate in respecting other people and civil conduct. http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/2008/07/sura-kafirun-un-believers.html.
Maulana has quoted Qur’aan on the subject of Dawah that makes good sense “The Qur’aan advises us to engage in Dawah and propagation of Islam with wisdom (Hikma) and it adds that the result of this would be that one’s foes would become one’s friends Thus, it declares, ‘And O Prophet, goodness and evil are not equal. Repel evil with what is best. You will see that he with whom you had enmity has become your closest friend’ (Surah Fussilat: 34).” If it breeds conflict, then it cannot be called Dawah.
Enhancing knowledge is not Biddah, it is an instant bomb frequently thrown on average Muslims to shut up. Indeed, enhancing knowledge is a requirement suggested by the Prophet (pbuh).
I stand as a moderate, because of that I work with both conservative and liberal views, but predominantly it is the moderate views that most Muslims subscribe to. I think there has got to be an effort, education and a time line to bring Muslims on par with the common civil code in India and elsewhere dealing with the public Shari’ah.
Taqlid, Ijtihad and Democracy
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
(Translated by Yoginder Sikand)
In the wake of the industrial Revolution in Europe, Western countries established their political and cultural domination over much of the rest of the world, leading to the establishment of European colonial empires. This posed a new and major challenge for Muslims. At that time, numerous Muslim leaders in various countries emerged, inspired with just one mission—to engage in armed jihad—thinking that to be the only solution to the challenge of Western imperialism. But despite two hundred years of armed struggle against the West, Muslims did not gain substantially.
If this problem is examined in the light of the Qur’aan and Hadith it is clear that the solution lay somewhere else—in peaceful Dawah or missionary work. The Prophet was faced with a similar predicament, and the Qur'aans instruction to him in this context was to present the message of God to the people, for this would be the guarantee of his protection (Surah Al-Maidah: 67). The Qur’aan advises us to engage in Dawah and propagation of Islam with wisdom (Hikma), and it adds that the result of this would be that one’s foes would become one’s friends. Thus, it declares, ‘And O Prophet, goodness and evil are not equal. Repel evil with what is best. You will see that he with whom you had enmity has become your closest friend’ (Surah Fussilat: 34).
It would not be wrong to say that the Qur’aan indicates that Dawah is the only solution. Why is it, then, that modern-day Muslims could not understand this? Why did they take to jihad, in the sense of physical warfare or qital, instead of Dawah, especially when it was not difficult to realize that in the given conditions violence would cause even more destruction for Muslims and nothing else? Why is it that modern-day Muslim leaders made such a terrible blunder by adopting the slogan that violent jihad was the only solution?
In my opinion, one of the main reasons for this was that these leaders considered that Ijtihad-e mutlaq or directly deriving rules from the Qur’aan and Hadith to be prohibited for them. In accordance with their deeply-rooted taqlidi mentality, they believed that they had to strictly follow the guidance and rules of the established corpus of Fiqh. Now these books of Fiqh were full of rules and commandments about jihad, in the sense of qital. In contrast, they hardly contained any rules that could provide guidance for the task of Dawah. They had long and detailed chapters on jihad, in the sense of qital, but none at all on Dawah and tabling.
These leaders could have learnt about the need to engage in Dawah in the Qur’aan, but they viewed the Qur’aan simply as a book of laws. For rules for new issues they turned not to the Qur’aan, but, instead, to the established corpus of Fiqh, which, as I said, does not contain any guidance for Dawah work. From this it can be gauged how useful and essential Ijtihad, in the sense of directly deriving rules from the Qur’aan and Hadith, is, and, contrarily, how harmful Taqlid, regarding the established corpus of Fiqh as the sole source of rules, can be.
This same mistake was made by many Indian Muslim leaders who, in the wake of the establishment of British rule, declared India to be dar ul-harb or ‘abode of war’. In 1823 Shah Abdul Aziz issued a fatwa, opining that India had now turned into dar ul-harb. Thereafter, 500 Indian ulema signed a fatwa claiming that it had now become obligatory for the Indian Muslims to engage in jihad, in the sense of qital, against the British. Consequently, many Muslims began being involved in violent anti-British activities, thinking this to be their religious duty. This carried on for over a hundred years but it proved to be completely fruitless. Despite this, it is shocking to see how some Muslims still believe, and some even openly announce, that India is dar ul-harb and that they can solve their problems through jihad.
The reason for this peculiar situation is that the minds of these people are still stuck in the groove of the traditional corpus of Fiqh based on the established maslaks, or schools of thought, whose views on Taqlid and Ijtihad they consider themselves duty bound to follow. And according to this tradition of Fiqh, countries like India are categorized as dar ul-harb. Had these Muslim leaders gone back even before the formation of the schools of Fiqh, directly to the Qur’aan and Sunnah, they would undoubtedly have realized that the status of a country like India is not that of dar ul-harb, but, rather, that of dar ul-Dawah, ‘abode of missionary work’ by inviting others to the faith. But this they did not do because they considered Ijtihad, in the sense of directly approaching the Qur’aan and Sunnah to derive rules, to be prohibited to them. In accordance with their taqlidi approach, they limited themselves wholly to the corpus of established Fiqh for guidance. And, as is known, this corpus of Fiqh speaks in detail about dar ul-harb but not at all about dar ul-Dawah.
Present-Day Fiqh Is Not Enough
The present corpus of fiqh was compiled by the second or third [Islamic] centuries. Many Muslims erroneously believe that this fiqh is complete and that it contains all the teachings of the Quran and Hadith related to human life. This reflects the belief that, following the compilation of this corpus of fiqh, the doors of ijtihad-e mutlaq or ‘absolute ijtihad’ were fully closed, and that now only ijtihad-e muqayyad or ijtihad within the established schools of fiqh or what can be called taqlidi ijtihad, is permissible.
This belief might have been seen as appropriate in the past, but when social conditions began to undergo massive changes with the passing of the traditional age and the advent of modern science, it proved to be extremely harmful for Muslims. Muslims had come to view the corpus of fiqh as a complete legal system, and believed that there was no need to look beyond it for solutions to all their problems. Because of this, modern-day Muslims were unable to access guidance on numerous issues which was present in the Quran and Sunnah but not in the established corpus of fiqh.
Let me cite one instance in this regard. The political revolutions that accompanied the advent of the modern age brought about democracy as a new political system. Our corpus of fiqh had been developed in a prior age, that of monarchy. That is why it had no conception of modern democracy. Consequently, Muslims who thought in terms of the established corpus of fiqh could not appreciate or understand the importance of democracy. That is why some of them branded it as irreligious (la-dini) and even as ‘prohibited’ (haram). Others denounced it as a system of counting heads, where numbers are given the importance that quality deserves.
But, in fact, democracy has the potential of being a blessing for Muslims. In contrast to the old monarchical system, democracy is based on the principle of power-sharing. It offers Muslims the opportunity to gain political importance if they act wisely. But because of the lack of ijtihadi insight Muslims failed to do so. Instead, their taqlidi approach led them to talk about such plans as launching a movement to establish the Caliphate in America and to change the name of California to Caliph-ornia and dreaming up similar laughable schemes. But they failed to see how by participating in democratic governance and getting involved in democratic processes they might be able to make a place for themselves in democratic countries.
The reason for this terrible backwardness of present-day Muslim thought is the refusal to engage in ijtihad, to come out of the boundaries of the established corpus of fiqh and to gain guidance directly from the Quran and Hadith. But for this Muslims would have been able to ponder on the Quran, and this would have taught them that the Quran provides appropriate guidance in this regard.
The Quran says that at the time of the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), Egypt was ruled by a certain king, who, although a polytheist (mushrik), appointed the Prophet Yusuf to a high political position. He was made in-charge of food and agriculture, but he had more powers than this, acting, in a sense, as the deputy of the king, because in the ancient agricultural age the economy of countries was based essentially on agriculture. In other words, the Prophet Yusuf’s position in the political system was that of the highest official.
If modern-day Muslims did not bind themselves to taqlid but, instead, approached the Quran in a spirit of ijtihad and pondered on it carefully, they would have realized that this incident about the Prophet Yusuf is a prophetic example for them to seek to emulate. They should understand that they can use the principle of power-sharing of modern democracy for their benefit, being confident that doing so is in accordance with a prophetic practice.
This is a translation of a portion of a chapter• titled Taqlid Aur Ijtihad in Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s book Din-o-Shariat: Din-e Islam Ka Ek Fikri Muta‘ala [Goodword Books, New Delhi, 2003, pp.224-228].
For more writings in English by Maulana Wahiduddin• Khan, see www.cpsglobal.org. See also www.islampeaceandjustice.blogspot.com
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Shari’ah in America
Foreword: I have been very careful in what is published at the World Muslim Congress website, blog and the discussion forum. A few times, I have regretted releasing the information without a comment on subtleties. In the last five years, Mohammad Irtaza, who compiled the article below has been a great help in our efforts to make the Moderate Muslim voice, the voice of Muslims.
I have included a few references at the bottom for further reading, however, I urge you to read Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq’s “Sharia Value” to get a grasp of the basics.
Comments on the following posting:– If there is a translation of a verse does not sound right, I have developed the habit of referring to a few other translations, first I go to Mohammad Asad, If I am satisfied, I will end the search, for finding the truth is one’s own responsibility, it brings salvation and freedom from anguish and incomplete information.
Comments are my own, I do not claim to be a scholar, nor do I have a degree in Islam. However, I am confident about my knowledge of Islam that I have gained over the years. I feel I am in tune with the essence of Islam; Justice and peace.
For the sake of convenience, Sharia Laws can be divided into private and public – The private Sharia deals with how one performs prayers, observes fasts, performs Hajj, and participates in Zakat (tithe – charity). Individuals follow those guidelines and appreciate the existence of such guidelines.
Whereas the Public Sharia deals with the community affairs; such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, conversion, apostates and other rules that deal when more than one individual is involved in the issue. The intent is always Justice and fairness to members of the society. The American civic laws are founded on Justice and most Muslims feel that the American laws work for them and are a great substitute. Hence, they do not feel the need for another set of laws for public governance. It ain’t going to happen. The Neocons need not fear and create imaginary war scenarios to cash in from the gullibles.
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net. Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com
Contributed by Mohammad Irtaza, Tuscon, AZ
The Quran is an endorsement for the rights and responsibilities of individuals. It is a guide to the authoritative allocation of values and resources for a community. The Quran is a guideline calling upon the individual to use the faculties and the brain before making decisions or taking action.
[16:78] GOD brought you out of your mothers' bellies knowing nothing, and He gave you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brains, that you may be appreciative.
[42:38]They respond to their Lord by observing the contact prayer (salat). Their affairs are decided after due consultation among themselves, and from our provisions to them they give (to charity).
[17:36] You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them....
The Quran is not a step-by-step book with all the answers spelled out. It does not tell us by name what type of government to form. But, it does tell us how to treat one another, and thereby we can derive from it what is appropriate and best for all concerned. It is hoped that after reviewing some of the following Quranic verses, the readers will come to appreciate Islam in a new light, as a guiding principle of reason, tolerance, open-mindedness and fairness, which supports rational thinking, the rights of the individual, and an open democratic process.
1. Equality of human beings -
[49:13] O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of God is the most righteous. God is omniscient, Cognizant.
[3:195] Their Lord responded to them: "I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female - you are equal to one another.…
2. Freedom of expression -
[2:256] There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.
[18:29] Proclaim: "This is the truth from your Lord," then whoever wills let him believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve....
3. Civil laws -
[4:4] You shall give the women their due dowries, equitably. If they willingly forfeit anything, then you may accept it; it is rightfully yours
[2:226] Those who intend to divorce their wives shall wait four months (cooling off); if they change their minds and reconcile, then GOD is Forgiver, Merciful.
[2:227] If they go through with the divorce, then GOD is Hearer, Knower.
[2:180] It is decreed that when death approaches, you shall write a will for the benefit of the parents and relatives, equitably. This is a duty upon the righteous...
5. Criminal laws -
[2:178] O you who believe, equivalence is the law decreed for you when dealing with murder - the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the female for the female. If one is pardoned by the victim's kin, an appreciative response is in order, and an equitable compensation shall be paid. This is an alleviation from your Lord and mercy. Anyone who transgresses beyond this incurs a painful retribution.
[24:2] The adulteress and the adulterer you shall whip each of them a hundred lashes. Do not be swayed by pity from carrying out GOD's law, if you truly believe in GOD and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their penalty...
6. Military justice -
[47:4] If you encounter (in war) those who disbelieve, you may strike the necks. If you take them as captives you may set them free or ransom them, until the war ends. Had GOD willed, He could have granted you victory, without war. But He thus tests you by one another. As for those who get killed in the cause of GOD, He will never put their sacrifice to waste.
Moderator Mike Ghouse’ comment added – The first sentence above was not clear. Here is Mohammad Asad’s translation; the  is explained in the note below by Asad. 47:4 NOW WHEN you meet [in war] those who are bent on denying the truth,  smite their necks until you overcome them fully, and then tighten their bonds; but thereafter [set them free,] either by an act of grace or against ransom, so that the burden of war may be lifted: thus [shall it be]. And [know that] had God so willed, He could indeed punish them [Himself]; but [He wills you to struggle] so as to test you [all] by means of one another. And as for those who are slain in God’s cause, never will He let their deeds go to waste:
 "and on barring [others] from the path of God" - thus connecting with verse 1 and laying down the fundamental condition which alone justifies physical warfare: namely, a defense of the Faith and of freedom (cf. in this connection see note 167 on 2:190). In other words, when "those who are bent on denying the truth" try to deprive the Muslims of their social and political liberty and thus to make it impossible for them to live in accordance with the principles of their faith, a just war (jihad) becomes allowable and, more than that, a duty. The whole of the above verse relates to war actually in progress (cf. note 168 on the first part of 2:191); and there is no doubt that it was revealed after 22:39-40, the earliest Quranic reference to physical warfare.(Quran Ref: 47:4 )
[17:33] You shall not kill any person - for GOD has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits in avenging the murder, he will be helped.
[2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder…
7. Fair business practice -
[2:275] Those who charge usury are in the same position as those controlled by the devil's influence. This is because they claim that usury is the same as commerce. However, God permits commerce, and prohibits usury. Thus, whoever heeds this commandment from his Lord, and refrains usury, he may keep his past earnings, and his judgment rests with God. as for those who persist in usury, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever.
Mike Ghouse: Muslims are divided on this, it is a contentious issue – There is a group that believes “Usury” is not permitted in Islam, whereas some believes, the interest on money itself is not permitted. If we look at the American Laws, it is easy to understand the public protection in this guidance, there is a limit set on what one can charge as an interest beyond that, it is illegal as it ruins the borrower financially effectively hurting the whole economy.
[11:85] "O my people, you shall give full measure and full weight, equitably. Do not cheat the people out of their rights, and do not roam the earth corrupting.
[4:29] O you who believe, do not consume each others' properties illicitly - only mutually acceptable transactions are permitted. You shall not kill yourselves. GOD is Merciful towards you....
8. Distribution of wealth -
[2:215] They ask you about giving: say, "The charity you give shall go to the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien." Any good you do, God is fully aware thereof.
[2:267] O you who believe, you shall give to charity from the good things you earn, and from what we have produced for you from the earth. Do not pick out the bad therein to give away, when you yourselves do not accept it unless your eyes are closed. You should know that God is Rich, Praiseworthy. ...
9. Discussion and consent -
[3:159] It was mercy from GOD that you became compassionate towards them. Had you been harsh and mean-hearted, they would have abandoned you. Therefore, you shall pardon them and ask forgiveness for them, and consult them….
[42:38]They respond to their Lord by observing the contact prayer (salat). Their affairs are decided after due consultation among themselves and from our provisions to them they give (to charity)....
10. Uphold righteousness and forbid evil -
[3:110] You are the best community ever raised among the people: you advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and you believe in God. If the followers of the scripture believed, it would be better for them. Some of them do believe, but the majority of them are wicked.
[4:135] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.
Mike Ghouse – there is no taking the 5th. One has to tell the truth even it goes against himself or herself.
[17:53] Tell My servants to treat each other in the best possible manner, for the devil will always try to drive a wedge among them. Surely, the devil is man’s most ardent enemy.
[49:11] O you who believe, no people shall ridicule other people, for they may be better than they. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than they. Nor shall you mock one another, or make fun of your names. Evil indeed is the reversion to wickedness after attaining faith. Anyone who does not repent after this, these are the transgressors.
[7:26] O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of GOD's signs, that they may take heed.
[7:80-81] "Lot said to his people, "You commit such an abomination; no one in the world has done it before! "You practice sex with the men, instead of the women. Indeed, you are a transgressing people."
Mike Ghouse – Most people are not comfortable in dealing with this issue. This topic is being researched heavily about the intent and the significance of the verse. There is an advocacy group that presents the idea “ that the intent to call gay and lesbian activity evil was, it stops procreation of human race but today, with so many orphans, one can adopt a child and procreation is not an issue.”. In most states including the Islamic and a few here within the United States it is not an acceptable, however, the public has made an allowance for that at this time. It may change as the tolerance threshold increases.
[49:12] O you who believe, you shall avoid any suspicion, for even a little bit of suspicion is sinful. You shall not spy on one another, nor shall you backbite one another; this is as abominable as eating the flesh of your dead brother. You certainly abhor this. You shall observe GOD. GOD is Redeemer, Most Merciful. ...
[31:18,19] You shall not treat the people with arrogance, nor shall you roam the earth proudly. God does not like the arrogant showoffs. Walk humbly and lower your
The Quran does not support the man-made dogma that currently exists in so-called "Islamic" countries all over the world. Rejecting the Quran and upholding man made "Sharia" court, "Fatwa" council, "Islamic" bank, "halal" KFC, "Mecca" Cola and so on, will not shower any blessing upon us.
[10:98] Any community that believes will surely be rewarded for believing. For example, the people of Jonah: when they believed, we relieved the humiliating retribution they had been suffering in this world, and we made them prosperous.
[5:65] If only the people of the scripture believe and lead a righteous life, we will then remit their sins, and admit them into gardens of bliss.
[5:66] If only they would uphold the Torah and the Gospel, and what is sent down to them herein from their Lord, they would be showered with blessings from above them and from beneath their feet. Some of them are righteous, but many of them are evildoers.
Mike Ghouse – evil doing is as human as doing the good. One has to choose the right path, that which brings peace of mind and salvation.
Thank you and may God guide all of us,
--- On Mon, 10/13/08, kaukab siddique <> wrote:
Q & A
Unusual Question from a Veteran Christian Activist and Writer: How Would Shari’ah Affect us in America?
I would like your advice and knowledge regarding Sharia law for the purpose of setting the record straight. As you may have surmised by now - my 'fellow' Americans are - on the whole - I'm ashamed to say -IDIOTS! We were not always like this. Our Zionist controlled educations system ( if one can seriously call it that today) has been Jew controlled now for at least an entire generation. We are a nation of short term memory - instant gratification - materialistic - immature imbeciles.
Mike Ghouse – The above comment in itself is hateful against Jews and I do not subscribe to it nor the World Muslim Congress. It is included merely to make a comment about its anti-semitic nature. I would like the reader to make a note of it and not allow this to kind of rhetoric to grow. If we let evil in our minds, it will not leave you or me, it will envelope every one.
Our recent leaders are a perfect example and proof of what I say. We have become as corrupt as any of the worst countries i have visited in the past 55 years.
I am constantly editorializing in hopes that the TRUTH will ultimately permeate this suffocating cloud of hate - lies - propaganda and rancid Zionist disinformation.
My next 'project' is the truth about Sharia law - and how it may or may not affect us here in America. What I need from you is the type of comprehensive explanation of ALL major aspects of anything the law would affect. The one concerning marriage was EXACTLY the kind of information i need - but on a multiplicity of topics - civil and criminal.
Thank you in advance for your time and knowledge. In my 70 years an varied background experiences - I have watched my country - under Zionist influence - go from greatness and goodness to becoming a garbage dump of Zio-robotic useful idiots - headed for the trash heap of history. I simply want my country back and to see us cast out these Zionist occupiers. We are as occupied by the Jew as Gaza ( I have been there also). The only difference is that the violence has not started here against TRUE Christians ( the horrific hatred and Zionist diatribes coming from Baptist pulpits is NOT REMOTELY 'Christian' teaching).
As sala'amu alaikum
Joe Cortina [Tampa Bay, Florida]
Response by Dr. Kaukab Siddique
Basic Facts about Shari'ia [Islamic Law].
1. Muslims believe that the Qur'an is the Word of Allah, the One God who created the universe and all humans, whatever their race.
2. The Qur'an was revealed in Arabia to Muhammad, peace be on him. His understanding of the purpose and implementation of the Qur'an was compiled by his Companions [sahabah in Arabic] in the form of the Hadith and is the decisive factor in all Islamic rulings.
The Qur'an and the Hadith are the primary sources of Islamic Law [Shari’ah] which encompasses every aspect of human life from marriage and divorce to economics and finance.
3. Islamic scholars in various countries and during various epochs in Muslim history studied the Qur'an and Hadith and gave rulings about how Shari’ah would solve the problems of their nations. This jurisprudence [or fiqh in Arabic] indicates the understanding various scholars had of the relevance of Shari’ah to their times.
Shari’ah is not imposed on non-Muslims unless they want to be included in its ambit. The Qur'an says there is no compulsion in religion.
Mike Ghouse – It should not be imposed on any one including Muslims.
4. Shari’ah is gradualist. All of it is not implemented at once. The social conditions are ameliorated by Islamic reformers before Shari’ah is implemented. The intent of the Shari’ah is often enough to help Muslims to see how they should behave. For instance, most Muslims do not take intoxicants even though Shari’ah is not being implemented where they live [such as in the USA].
5. During war time and where predatory groups try to destroy a Just Islamic system based on the people's consent, deterrent Islamic punishments are implemented by Islamic authorities. We see some of this in Afghanistan where Mullah Umar, leader of the Taliban, carried out Shari’ah punishments to stop bandits from carrying out rape, murder and pillage.
Mike Ghouse – He almost killed Abdul Rahman abusing the same Sharia laws, when Rahman converted to Christianity. Due to international pressure on Karzai, they did not carry it out. Same thing happened in Malaysia, the girl was saved. In the first place, it should not be a crime to convert, one should be free to choose, the Prophet had allowed a man to convert, re-convert and convert out again without any punishment. There is no compulsion in the matters of faith. Read the extensive work on the subject at: www.ApostasyandIslam.com
6. Shari’ah is often the target of Zionist fear mongering against Islam because Shari’ah does not tolerate adultery, fornication and homosexuality. As the Zionists are in support of these activities which are fragmenting American society, they see Shari’ah as a threat to the process they are carrying out on a daily basis through the media which they control.
Mike Ghouse – Again this comment is not acceptable. The evil element is part of any given society; blaming Zionism is baseless, as if Zionism has a literature that promotes promiscuity and adultery. I strongly recommend Dr. Kaukab Siddiqi to avoid this language from his heart. It is not needed. I always get the counter argument about the hate and lies a few Jews propagate about Islam, some do no doubt, but there others who stop it as well. It does not make our propagation right. We have to be right for ourselves not because others are, or are not.
7. Shari’ahh should be accepted in America to help the several million Muslims who live here. The rights of Muslim women, the rights to inheritance as enunciated by the Qur'an, the right to take off from work on days of prayer [such as the Eid festivals] and other rights of Muslims would be safeguarded.
Mike Ghouse – For the sake of convenience, Sharia Laws can be divided into private and public – The private Sharia deals with how one performs prayers, observes fasts, performs Haj, participates in Zakat (tithe – charity) as enunciated by Dr. Siddiqi above. Individuals follow those guidelines and appreciate the existence of such guidelines.
Whereas the Public Sharia deals with the community affairs; such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, conversion, apostates and other rules that deal when more than one individual is involved in the issue. The intent is always Justice and fairness to members of the society. The American civic laws are founded on Justice and most Muslims feel that the American laws are best suited for them and are a great substitute. Hence, they do not feel the need for another set of laws for public governance. It ain’t going to happen. The Neocons need not fear and create imaginary war scenarios to cash in from the gullibles against this dream enemy, they don’t need to cook up.
8. Would Shari’ah harm America's non-Muslims in any way? Not at all. Islam does not permit Muslims to violate the rights of neighbors or to break the laws of America which Muslims accept under oath when acquiring citizenship.
If you have any specific issues in mind, let me know.
Sharia Value by Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq
Why Sharia – comments by Mike article by Noah Feldman