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Islamic Sharia Laws

In the Qur'an, the word fiqh is used to signify deep understanding of matters especially those matters which are related to religion. It is mostly used to mean the understanding of the words of someone else and, for religious matters, the words of Allah and His messenger. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whomever Allah wants good for, He will grant him fiqh (deep understanding) of the religion.”

As Muslims, we believe that the Shari`ah of Islam is the guidance, the rulings, and the way of life that Allah sent to humanity to help them live an honorable life and attain success in this life and the eternal life.  It is the ultimate truth we should all aspire to reach. We strive to learn this guidance and to apply it in our lives. We strive to teach it and promote it, so that good becomes abundant.

But is sharia a threat to America’s legal system? The Constitution prohibits courts or other government agencies from substituting religious law for civil law. The government may not compel adherence to the practices of any faith, including Islam.

 

Sharia law is in stark contrast to the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It does not recognize the freedom of speech, expression or assembly and is in the process of stifling these rights through a resolution in the United Nations introduced since 1999 called the "Anti Defamation to Religions" by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Why Two Women Witnesses?
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
Why Two Women Witnesses?
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

After reading this long verse some people conclude that the Quran believes in the inferiority of women. But if one knows a little bit of science and if one does not pick up selective verses from the Quran and reads the Quran in totality and then one will not err in concluding that women are men’s inferior. In Islam, men are expected to be the breadwinners of the family. It is not necessary for a woman to work for a living; before marriage it is the duty of her father and brother to look after her and after her marriage it is the duty of the husband and son to look after her. She need not work, but if she wants to work then no one should obstruct her....

But many traditionalists in this conservative country believe early marriage protects their daughters from premarital relationships, pointing to active support from senior clerics such as Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Sheikh, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti. “If a girl exceeds 10 or 12 then she is eligible for marriage, and whoever thinks she is too young, then he or she is wrong and has done her an injustice,’’ Sheikh Abdul Aziz told an audience in Riyadh University last year......

The relative said the judge, Sheikh Habib Al-Habib, "stuck by his earlier verdict and insisted that the girl could petition the court for a divorce once she reached puberty." The family member, who requested anonymity, added that the mother will continue to pursue a divorce for her daughter. The case, which has drawn criticism from local and international rights groups, came to light in December when al-Habib declined to annul the marriage on a legal technicality....

 

Cases of child marriage, including brides as young as eight-years-old, have made headlines in local and international media in recent years, drawing heavy criticism against the conservative U.S. ally. In 2010, the Saudi Human Rights Commission, a government-affiliated group, hired a lawyer to help a 12-year-old divorce her 80-year-old husband....

 

Like other state laws related to sex — sodomy, fornication, rape — adultery laws extend back to the Old Testament, onetime capital offenses stemming at least partly from a concern about male property. Peter Nicolas of the University of Washington Law School says the term stemmed from the notion of “adulterating” or polluting the bloodline of a family when a married woman had sex with someone other than her husband and ran the risk of having another man’s child....

 

According to a women's rights activist Tahira Abdullah, almost 77% of honour killing cases end in acquittal of criminals. Laws like Hudood, Qisas and Diyat have widely contributed to the rising number of honour killings in Pakistan. Even if guilt is established and the killer is proven guilty, the laws of Qisas and Diyat facilitate and protect the murderer from punishment. Under the Qisas and Diyat laws of Sharia, offences like honour crimes are compoundable (open to compromise as a private matter between two parties) by providing Qisas (retribution) or Diyat (blood money). The family of the victim (which in most cases is also the family of the killer) can forgive the murderer in the name of God without receiving any compensation or Diyat, or compromise after receiving Diyat.

But no one mentions the criminality and the horror of killing a woman in the name of honour.

Near a small village of Sindh, there is an unmarked grave in the far corner of a large graveyard. No one comes here to offer prayers. A tiny pink rose has sprouted out of this ground. Pink was Sakina's favourite colour. Sakina (not her real name), the 16-year-old, killed on suspicion of having an affair with the local school master, buried in this spot. She is resting, but not in peace. She wants her brother to be punished for taking away a life so young and full of dreams. She is waiting for justice. It will be a long wait . . .

The Islamic approach is marked by openness and comprehensiveness which is rooted in the noble Qur'an. One of the important lessons mentioned in this sacred book can be derived from the story of the hoopoe. Though not a reasoning human being, the hoopoe brought "sure news" to Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him), which gave rise to historic change by the conversion of the Queen of Sheba to Islam....

Marriage and Divorce: Church, Culture and Other influences
Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
Marriage and Divorce: Church, Culture and Other influences
Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

Summer season of weddings in the Northern hemisphere, will soon be followed by the Winter of divorces, and so would begin the clash of the aspects for a few unfortunate couples! These are reflections on observed changes in practices influenced by cultural, educational, economic, and civil-legal pressures on Muslims. Dowry is NOT a Quranic injunction. On the contrary, in Islam the Groom must pay, within his means a ‘Gift’ to the Bride. But now, the Meher of thousands is often promised to be paid in unspecified time later on, sometimes never!...

 

In the Qur'an there is no equivalent of blasphemy. The idea of reviling the sacred is of course condemned but this is markedly different from the way blasphemy is perceived in post-Enlightenment countries. Believers are urged in the sixth chapter of the Qur'an to "not revile those whom they pray to other than Allah so that they do not revile Allah through their ignorance"....

Is Marrying Non-Muslims (read Hindus) Allowed in Islam?
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
Is Marrying Non-Muslims (read Hindus) Allowed in Islam?
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

This clearly means that marriage with a Christian or a Jew is allowed. It also means that marrying Hindus, Buddhists and members of various other faiths is not prohibited either. The Quran says that “In every age have We sent a revelation… to every nation have We sent a Warner”. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said that Allah has sent 1, 24,000 prophets to the face of the Earth. Only 25 of them are mentioned by name in the Quran….

But I discovered that the six hadith compilers — Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi and Al-Nasai — who collectively compiled the lion’s share of the known 12,000 plus hadith, produced their compilations decades after these imams had died. Thus, the only hadith collection these imams could have consulted was al-Muwatta, a relatively small (1,800 hadith) collection of Imam Malik ibn Anas....

A spokesman for the Nigerian vice-presidential office said he had received reports that the women were being subjected to "dehumanising treatment", being deprived of food and forced to sleep on cold floors. Paradoxically, and hypocritically, the women are being subjected to the very dishonour that a male guardian is allegedly required to protect them against....

The Pakistan Penal Code prohibits blasphemy against any recognised religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death. An accusation of blasphemy commonly subjects the accused, police, lawyers, and judges to harassment, threats, and attacks. An accusation is sometimes the prelude to vigilantism and rioting....

Blasphemy in the Digital Age
Irfan Husain
Blasphemy in the Digital Age
Irfan Husain

AS yet another furore breaks out over a movie with an unflattering depiction of the Holy Prophet (PBUH); it is time to reflect on how Muslims should react to offensive material on the Internet. In our digital age where social media sites contain millions of pages of all kinds of material, should we respond to every scurrilous image with violence? The attacks on the American missions in Benghazi and Cairo because of the film Innocence of Muslims is a case in point....

As a first premise, the Qur’anic message admits of diversity in faith and worldviews as long as the diverse communities of the world vie with each other in good deeds – that is they do not indulge in activities that can directly or indirectly bring physical harm to other people. This principle is enshrined in its key verses on the divine criteria of judgment for all humanity regardless of faith (2:62, 2:112, 4:124, 5:69, 64:9, 65:11) and clearly stated in a key declaration (5:48) dating from its conclusive legislative phase....

The Logical Result of the Blasphemy Law
Yasser Latif Hamdani
The Logical Result of the Blasphemy Law
Yasser Latif Hamdani

The mullahs now fear that with enough public opinion having turned against this, a moral outcry from everyday good Muslims of this country will sweep them away. Therefore, they are now rushing in to hijack the debate. The stance that Rimsha is begunah (innocent) overlooks the obvious question of whether a girl of 14 years with mental incapacity can even be held liable for her actions, blasphemous or not….

Changing the Blasphemy Debate
Nadir Hassan
Changing the Blasphemy Debate
Nadir Hassan

Focusing on the way the laws are supposedly misused is being used as a utilitarian tactic to slowly change minds. What this approach ignores is that abuse is inherent to any law that criminalises speech and conduct. As long as we buy into the logic that the majority group deserves to be protected from any offense or criticism, we will continue to see minority groups be repressed for their beliefs....

Pakistan blasphemes Islam
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
Pakistan blasphemes Islam
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

Pakistan’s laws on blasphemy are demonstrably unjust, unislamic and violate the letter and spirit of the Quran and without precedent from the life of the Prophet or as the law was practiced for over the first 1,000 years of Islamic history. The law promotes acts of terror on the minorities, and the practice of the law leaves no room for doubt that these laws seek to legalize acts of terrorism against the minorities. The case of the hapless 11 year old Rimsha Masih underscores the depth to which Pakistan society has descended. Pakistan blasphemes Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (who was sent as a mercy to all nations) by their barbaric laws of blasphemy and the practice which leaves no room for doubt about the intention. It is incumbent on the Muslim citizens of Pakistan to wage jehad on the infidels who defame Islam with acts of terrorism on the minorities and against the State which enact laws that blaspheme Islam and bring disrepute to Islam and its Prophet (PBUH).

Abolish Patently Inhuman Blasphemy laws of Pakistan
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
Abolish Patently Inhuman Blasphemy laws of Pakistan
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

It is high time these vague, ludicrous and blatantly inhuman blasphemy laws of Pakistan are abolished. There is no possibility of reforming them. This is one law that cannot be even debated. Any fruitful discussion on various provisions of blasphemy laws will also be seen as an act of blasphemy. How can you debate the nuances of every word in an article of law with any precision without quoting possible blasphemous statements? The anti-blasphemy law of Pakistan says that if anyone speaks anything against the Prophet, the punishment for it is certain death. All one needs to do is to allege that a person has abused the Prophet and the end result would be sure death, with no chance for the victim of this law to defend himself or herself. The judge cannot give any verdict less than the death penalty. It is no surprise that this law has been criticised on many fronts and by many international organizations. This law has been misused by the people to score personal vendetta, the police and the courts simply cannot investigate the matter. As long as this law remains, there will be death sentences to innocent people, particularly religious and sectarian minorities. This law must be opposed on all fronts.

Curse of Blasphemy Law
Ayesha Siddiqa
Curse of Blasphemy Law
Ayesha Siddiqa

The negotiated blasphemy law prescribed life imprisonment that was later turned into death sentence by some of the more rabid right-wing judges of the Federal Shariat Court. Subsequently, the law has been not only misused, but also deployed strategically to target religious minorities for vested interests rather than religious reasons.

My dissatisfaction is not with the body of these laws, so I will not present a case for the amendment or the abolishment of these sections of the penal code. My problem is with the enforcement of these laws which makes Pakistan appear as a hard-lining, unjust, unfair state, where human rights mean nothing.

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