Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fixing Sharia Laws

I am pleased to recommend reading Genesis of Sharia Law, as a preface to Fixing Sharia Laws at

Published here on this site and at OpEd news as well:  Continued: 

Rather than the outright rejection of Sharia, which serves as a system of justice to the given populations in Muslim majority nations, we need to fix the laws; without it a large swatch of population becomes rudderless. Our own constitution has been amended several times, and that is what is needed to be done with Sharia.

However, the moderate majorities in all groups see the value in fixing the cancerous cells, rather than rejecting the whole system.  Unless we fix things, injustice in the name of justice will continue.

The golden rule is central to all religions that say, "Treat others as you want to be treated."   There is not a religion on the earth that teaches one to treat the other any less.   Most people get their religion right, and some don't.

The conservative men tend to be insecure when dealing with women; no matter what faith they belong to, they behave the same. Their perceived safety hinges on keeping some one or the other under their thumb; usually women. 

Sharia was a human effort to dispense justice to fellow beings in accordance with Quran and the Prophet's examples; however, men are fallible beings and have failed to deliver justice. They have got it all wrong when it comes to women, apostates, blasphemers and the victims of rape. Sharia as practiced in a few of the Muslim nations does not reflect God's wisdom or the practice of the prophet. It needs to be fixed badly.

Our conservative lot gets offended when Sharia is criticized as they (mistakenly) believe that Sharia is God's law, delivered like Quran, and it is not. Criticizing Sharia is the right thing to do, after all how are we going to fix it?    

Muslims need to feel secure that God is not going anywhere, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is not going anywhere nor Qur'an will disappear; they are eternal. God tells the prophet not to worry if people don't listen to his message, because he is the one who gives guidance. God also says he will protect his system (religion), shouldn't we trust in God? The conservatives, be it Christian, Muslim, Jews, Hindus or others, don't really trust in God, and aggressively preempt him.

Just as Americans cannot fathom any other form of law other than the one we know, the Muslims in Muslim majority nations cannot imagine any other law either. Our laws are not perfect, and neither is theirs. We have amended ours many a time, and need to include marriage-equality amendment and more. The Muslims have not made amendments to Sharia in a long time.  It is time to fix it and keep the laws to serve justice to the Muslim populations.

A majority of Muslim nations are not familiar with any other laws; they will resist pushing new codes on them, just as we would. Remember the Obama-care battle? We need to understand them and encourage amendments.  There is nothing wrong with the intent of Sharia; it's the corruption that needs fixing, when done, and Sharia would be as good as any other law aligning fully with the human-rights declaration.

Let's deal with a few Sharia-related issues concerning  rape victims, apostasy, blasphemy, and treatment of rape victims.

Sharia Unveiled
(image by Sharia Unveiled)

The Council of Islamic Ideologies (CII) in Pakistan declared that DNA evidence in case of rape is supplementary, and they still require the four male witnesses to prosecute the rapists. Science (knowledge) means nothing to conservatives whether they are Christians or Muslims.   
Asma Jahangir, the human rights activist of Pakistan, responded, "The council members were refusing to reach out for the truth in rape cases and had given such urgency and prominence to their recommendation as if acceptance of DNA testing was a great threat to Islam."

Moazam Syed wrote in the World Muslim Congress forum, "So a rape victim needs to produce four pious Muslims, who must have watched the full act of rape?" A few conservative Muslims may not like this statement, but  that pales to the misery of the rape victim, who endures the anguish for her entire life.  

That ain't justice, and that ain't Islam. The conservatives are not only defensive, but carry an attitude; any suggestion of reason or application of logic threatens them, and they scream that their religion is threatened. I have heard these sentences from Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all other right-wingers in different circumstances.

A documentary (Pakistan) is in the making where a 13-year-old girl returning from the school was gang raped, and the damned judge was embarrassed that she dared to bring the case to his court, and the men laughed and questioned, why was she not at home? Shamefully, this is also a part of the men's attitude in America - she asked for it. 

I am glad they had the sense at least to debate, in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Iran; the woman would have been brutally stoned to death -- again, that is not Islam and purely the men culture of those nations.

Honor killing is not a thing to be slapped on to Muslims.  In Punjab, Haryana, and other parts of the subcontinent, the Hindus and Sikhs also kill their victim girls to protect the honor of their family. I am sure if we Google it, we may find surprises elsewhere.

The first word in Islam is "Iqra" -- meaning read, recite, and understand. That was the first word uttered to Prophet Muhammad by angel Gabriel. Iqra opens the door to everything in life. On another occasion, the prophet said, if you have to learn something new, don't hesitate to go anywhere, including far- off lands like China.

The prophet did not say, "Your minds are being plucked out, you don't need it any more to think, everything is given to you in Quran and my examples, just follow it." Indeed the Prophet said, in his last sermon, that he was leaving this book to his followers to read, understand, and follow it.   
Doesn't learning imply reading, observing, understanding, and adopting the new information to the existing conditions for a better life and a better society?

Not all Muslims, but a few of the self-appointed guardians of religion, do not listen to God or the prophet. They have the arrogance to reject Iqra or go to China for learning. They have shut themselves out from learning and push others to do the same. Should we let them? Are they responsible for our actions?


These men eagerly approved and adopted the text-message divorces and even e-mail divorces because they cared about men and not the women who were thrown under the bus at the whim of the idiot men. This is not justice and this is not Islam.

Some of the conservative men don't believe in equality of women, and simply don't listen to the prophet. Yet from that very same mouth, they say, "Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a mercy to mankind" -- Do they fully understand what it means?  Fourteen hundred years ago, the Prophet declared that women are free to own property, own their business, initiate marriage and divorce, and could disobey their husbands if they were coerced into doing things against their will.  That is Islam.

A majority of Muslims believe in it; a few don't but get the media attention. Do we talk about good husbands? We always focus on the bad ones who are violent whether they are American, Chinese, and Arab, Indian, Hispanic, or Russian men.

1200 years later, the western societies accorded that status to women,  including the passage of women's-suffrage act here in America just a hundred years ago, while a few conservative Muslim societies have gone back to the times before the prophet.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not punish apostates, that is those who chose to abandon Islam, and yet Pastor Naderkhani in Iran is being harassed; Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan and Lena Joy in Malaysia were relieved with the international pressures.

Paster NaderKhani of Iran
(image by Beloved country)

Prophet was clear, there is no compulsion in religion, and you cannot force any one to believe who does not want to believe. His own uncle chose not to believe in Islam; did the Prophet punish him?  This is a divine intentional example from God for people to learn, that there is no compulsion in faith; let anyone believe what he or she is comfortable with.  There is confusion among the average Muslims, and it behooves for Muslims to put this thing behind and move on.  It is time to follow the prophet and universally declare that there is no punishment for apostasy. 


Prophet Muhammad did not punish anyone for blasphemy.  Instead he did the right thing; prayed for them. The self-appointed guardians of Sharia laws can tell great many stories of the prophet, yet they do the opposite. 

The blasphemy laws go against the God-given freedom and it aids the crooks to abuse it. In Pakistan a damned crook framed a girl for desecrating Quran.  A whole Christian town was destroyed before they discovered the truth; at least that is the saving grace

Salman Rushdie
(image by Salman Rushdie)

Muslims believe that we are answerable to God on the Day of Judgment. The more of us speak up, the greater the chance of delivering justice to fellow beings; if we don't, then evil persists. The least a Muslim can do is to speak up.

Sharia was a human effort in delivering justice to fellow beings in accordance with Quran and the Prophet's examples; however, humans are fallible beings and are not delivering justice to women, apostates, blasphemers and rapists, and the raped.  Sharia as practiced in a few of the Muslim nations does not reflect God's wisdom nor does it correspond with prophet's practice. It needs to be fixed badly before we sink with our sins of injustice to women.  More about Sharia at  

To be a Muslim is to be a peacemaker, one who mitigates conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence of humanity. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation, life and matter. 

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes all his work through many links.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Shariah and Constitution: A Personal Journey

American Muslims have placed their trust in the American justice system and will continue to oppose Sharia laws as they are currently applied in a few Muslim majority nations across the globe. The right wingers are duping Americans to believe that Muslims want that kind of Sharia law here in America, they are wrong, no Muslim organization in America has asked for it, none.  I will be one of the first ones, if not the first one, to stand up against Sharia for public, however, I support Sharia for personal use of people to square off their conflicts. We are Americans and the law of the land is our law. There is no substitute for it. 

 Sharia in its simplest form is a how-to-serve-justice manual based on the Qur'an and the Hadith (Prophet Muhammad's sayings and life examples). Indeed, it is a human effort to understand the concept of justice enshrined in Qur'an for the day-to-day living. Sharia like all other human laws, including the laws of the United States has its own shortcomings when it comes to just applications of the law. However, the world has evolved* but Sharia is frozen in times.

Here is the genesis of Sharia Law.

Shariah and Constitution: A Personal Journey

Posted by

We the people

Source: Muslim Sunrise, Winter 2013 volume
By Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

After my training of six years to be a physician, as a lung and critical care specialist, I needed to serve in a small village in an under privileged area, to become a naturalized resident in USA.  Five years later, when I became eligible for USA citizenship, it was no small achievement, in my view, however, insignificant it may appear in retrospect now.

There is no denying that a lot of effort, planning and dreaming had gone into it.

About a million people become citizens of USA every year.  The day I and my wife became USA citizens, in 2000, we took an oath:

    I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

Now, as good Muslims, are we supposed to forget it, ignore it, trivialize it or honor it as a binding promise and contract?

May be we should ignore it, as USA is not a Muslim majority country and at times we do not agree with the foreign policy of USA?  But, did we think about it, when we so anxiously took the oath of allegiance and celebrated it as a life time achievement?  Of course not!

I look at the peace and justice the country is providing me and my family.  My three sons were born in USA, before I and my wife became citizens and so they became citizens before us, a privilege that would have been denied to us in many of the so called Muslim countries.

Being in USA, gives me the freedom to express myself, in writing, in blogs and in Twitter, even if I am critical of Christianity or USA’s foreign policy.

The same cannot be said for the country of my birth, where as an Ahmadi, if I say Salam, the Muslim greeting to anyone in public, I could be put in jail for three years, according to a draconian law in Pakistan, notorious Ordinance XX of 1984.[i]

So, do I want “Shariah” or the Constitution of USA?
The answer is ridiculously obvious.

I have to honor my oath of allegiance.  It is not only my moral duty, but also a religious one.  The Holy Quran reminds me in several places to honor my promises and pledges and I quote three here:
It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or the West, but truly righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and spends his money for love of Him, on the kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask for charity, and for ransoming the captives; and who observes Prayer and pays the Zakat; and those who fulfill their promise when they have made one.  (Al Quran 2:178)
Relate the story of Ishmael as mentioned in the Book. He was indeed strict in keeping his promise. And he was a Messenger, a Prophet.  (Al Quran 19:55)
Surely, success does come to the believers, Who are humble in their Prayers, And who shun all that which is vain, … And who are watchful of their trusts and their covenants.  (Al Quran 23:2-9)
So, keeping my promises is my Shariah, my religion.  Additionally, there is a well known Hadith, ‘Love of your country (patriotism) is a part of your faith.’

I joined Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, when I was in my medical school, in King Edward Medical College, in 1984.  Many of my close relatives are still Sunni Muslims and when some of the zealot Sunni Muslims aspire for Shariah law in one or the other Muslim country, I know, where they are coming from.
The zealot Muslims suggest that the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, was the political leader in Madinah and therefore they want to pursue Shariah Law in their respective countries.
But, they conveniently forget that he ruled according to the Covenant of Madinah, rather than Shariah, among the different groups in Madinah.

They also conveniently forget that he did not prescribe a political system and each of the four righteous Khulafa, after him, came to office, through some what different procedures.

They also forget that unlike the Holy Quran, God did not choose to preserve the “Muslim political system” and it soon degenerated into kingship.

They also conveniently forget that the Holy Quran does not prescribe a political system or a theocracy, but, it does high light principles of religious freedom, justice, and consultation with those who are ruled.  These and additional core principles should go into the development of any political system, which fulfills the need of the time.

The Holy Quran tells us:
There should be no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong; so whosoever refuses to be led by those who transgress, and believes in Allah, has surely grasped a strong handle which knows no breaking. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.  (Al Quran 2:257)
Indeed, Allah commands you to make over the trusts to those entitled to them, and that, when you judge between men, you judge with justice. And surely excellent is that with which Allah admonishes you! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.  (Al Quran 4:59)
O ye who believe! be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is aware of what you do.  (Al Quran 5:9)
And those who hearken to their Lord, and observe Prayer, and whose affairs are decided by mutual consultation, and who spend out of what We have provided for them.  (Al Quran 42:39)
The zealots conveniently forget that the Prophet himself said to acquire knowledge, even if one has to go to China.
So, we have no choice, but to benefit from the human experiences, in the sphere of political science, both in the Muslim and the non-Muslim world.
Just like science has progressed in the last 1400 years, so has the understanding of political, judicial and financial systems.  As the Muslims cannot afford to throw away science and technology, all the other human learning of the last 1400 years cannot be thrown away in a zeal to pursue “Islam.”
The Holy Quran is certainly the literal word of God and the Holy Prophet is certainly the last Law bringing Prophet.
But, we have to understand and interpret their teachings in the present day context and not in the context of seventh century Arabia.

We now live in a Global village with its varied considerations.

In this day and age the Quranic perspective and the judgment of the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad is that Separation of Mosque-Church and State, is the only recipe for peace and security.[ii] [iii] This is wisdom and Islam, rest is being penny wise and pound foolish or living in fool’s paradise.

I do not like the foreign policy of USA, when it, at times, kills innocent people in drone attacks and labels it as collateral damage.  Lately, France, Germany and Spain are unhappy with USA as it was spying on phone communications in Europe.  In other words my country, USA is no angel.

But, when I look at the foreign policy of other countries, I find that there is no utopia and the world is not black and white.  When I look at Saudi Arabia, I find the rule by one royal family completely defies the egalitarian principles of Islam.  I look at their foreign policy and I am dismayed by their recent role in Syria.  I do not approve of discriminatory practices of West Pakistan against East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

I do not approve that USA does not allow polygamy, while same sex marriage is allowed.  There are countless single mothers and millions of fatherless children, with numerous psychological setbacks for these children, as a result of broken homes.  They could certainly benefit from a father figure in their homes.
Islam is a religion of middle course.  I do not have to take extreme positions of being “for,” America or “against,” America.  I can have a more nuanced position, a middle course.  I can be patriotic, serve my fellow citizens in my profession and otherwise and where I think my country has gone on a wrong track, to work through the civic process to gradually rectify the wrong.  Slavery was not abolished in USA, for several decades after the Declaration of Independence, despite the statement, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”
Nevertheless, we have seen gradual perfection of our un
ion to borrow words from President Barack Obama and now race relations have tremendously improved in USA.
I recently happened to read the preamble of constitution of Ireland; it starts off with the following lines:
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, We, the people of √Čire,
Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ,
Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation.
Now, if Trinity is strange, as all the Jews, Muslims, Unitarian Christians, Jehovah Witness and agnostics and atheists think, then the country has certainly started on the wrong foot.
The Constitution of USA does not commit any such folly of condoning an irrational dogma of Trinity.  It may not be perfect, but, I think it is the best among the constitutions in vogue in the world and it has 225 years of successfully history behind it.

So, I have a framed copy of the Constitution hanging in my medical office and that is the only wall hanging in my office, for the last twelve years. Let me also share another content of my office.  I always have a copy of the Holy Quran on one of my desks, in my office, with English translation by Sir Zafrulla Khan.
Utopia is not possible.  We cannot have a perfect world or a perfect country.  But, I find USA to be the best country to live in.  So, I continue to be patriotic and love my country and will continue to honor my oath of allegiance.

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