Books and Documents

Islamic Sharia Laws

"As in the past we [Muslims] have saved Europe from the dark ages, we now plan to do the same. Now we have the right solution for all crises and this is the observance of the divine law, namely Sharia. We call to implement Sharia in Belgium." "Sharia is the perfect system for humanity. In 1300 years of the Islamic state we knew only order, welfare and the protection of all human rights. We know that Spain, France and Switzerland knew their best times under Sharia. In these 1300 years, 120 women were raped, which is equal to 120 women a day in Europe. There were barely 60 robberies recorded in 1300 years." "As a result, we invite the royal family, parliament, all the aristocracy and every Belgian resident to submit to the light of Islam. Save yourself and your children of the painful punishment of the hereafter and grant yourself eternal life in paradise." -- Soeren Kern

So he's going to swing – perhaps. On Saturday a Pakistani judge sentenced Mumtaz Qadri, the police bodyguard who assassinated the Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, to death by hanging. The young policeman smiled and thanked God. "My dream has come true," he reportedly said. Devotion to the prophet Muhammad is central to the faith of the Barelvi Sunnis, who make up the majority of Pakistani Muslims. Even a whiff of insult to the prophet can whip up feverish anger. The core problem, in fact, is that the blasphemy furore exposes the fragility of the Pakistani state – ideological, legal and security-wise. The mixing of religion and politics has long troubled Pakistan, but over the past 30 years that dangerous cocktail has been spiked by the army's policy of nurturing extremists – hence men like Qadri who believe they have a right to kill in the name of God. -- Declan Walsh

In fact it is a lot emptier than usual tonight but not because of the holiday. Shortly before Ramadan, witnesses say, municipal police brutally grabbed tables and chairs off the street while customers were still eating and drinking at them. The controversy is only the latest in Turkey’s perennial conflict between its Islamic faith and its secular government. Akyol says the restaurant owners accuse the city of forcing Islamic morality on the public. “I dont see that much of a Sharia-minded conspiracy,” Akyol says. “I think it’s more pragmatic.” “Turkey traditionally has not created any great Islamic theologians,” Jenkins says. “I think, the real change in terms of Islamic theology will come from Arab world or from Southern Asia.” The Muslim yuppy might well serve God by fasting during the day at Ramadan and then enjoy a jazz performance at night. “So now that person is a person you can convince easier when you make the case for Islamic liberalism,” Akyol says. “I think, this trend will continue as Turkey continues its economic success and its integration with the world in general.” – PRI’s The World

Growing Trend of Suicides: How and Why Islam Totally Prohibits Suicides
Maulana Nadeemul Wajidi, Tr. New Age Islam Edit De

Anything that a Muslim religious scholar or even a journalist writes in the Urdu Press, must reek of Islam-supremacism and contempt for other religions based on both lack of knowledge and understanding of our own as well as that of other religions. Our so-called Ulema come from kafir-manufacturing factories where they are not taught any respect for other points of view within or without Islam. Well, they are simply not trained into any system of thought other than the limited one of their own. Question of respect for others simply does not arise. Knowledge comes first.

Why does New Age Islam then continue to post articles by Ulema and journalists from Urdu Press and even take the effort and expense of getting these articles translated in English and other languages? Some readers have rightly wondered. One, exposing Islam-supremacism and contempt for other Ahl-e-Kitab who are part of the Muslim ummah, as per Meesaq-e-Madina, Prophet Mohammad’s constitution in Medina, is an essential part of our job by itself. Islam-supremacist tendencies are so well-ingrained in the psyche of virtually every Aalim and Talib and Urdu journalist (with a few exceptions) that no matter which passage from wherever and on whichever subject you pick up you can smell it strongly. Two, since they are dealing with issues of Islamic ideology – in this case Islam being totally against suicides of all sorts – and it is important for us to apprise ourselves of these fine points of our theology, we can read this literature discounting the ingrained supremacist teachings that go with them. – Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam


In December 2009, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary, ordered the Pakistani government to create a ‘third gender’ category on all national identity cards and to make the police directly accountable for any discrimination against transgendered individuals. Such individuals are also given a legal right to inheritance of property that was previously divided based on gender under the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance. For a highly conservative Islamic society where transgendered individuals have at best been pitied and marginalised,.... For example, embracing and kissing each other on the cheeks that is common among Arab males, or holding hands that is common among South Asian males, are practices that do not have any sexual underpinnings. -- Saleem H Ali


Sharia will become a dominant theme in the 2012 Presidential Elections; the one who speaks the loudest earns the tea party support. I am not sure if we the Americans would gulp down their rhetoric or would have the time to question the veracity of the comments made by the candidates.

Muslims together can work and build a safer and secure America for every one of the 301 Million Americans. This is your conference in your town, organized and managed by you. I hope all of us can call ISNA, CAIR, ICNA and other national organizations to take this project up.

We can do this for under $ 5000.00 per city. I have done over 40 events including the ones over 600 attendees within that budget. We should not expect the national organizations to put this event out, we have to do it on our own with their supervision to standardize the event. You’ll have to raise the funds locally- 100 Muslims $50/each or other combinations will do it. The question we have to ask is, are we willing to do it or find it comfortable to talk about our love of Islam without doing a thing. -- Mike Ghouse

Islam: Adoption myths
Hina Hafeezullah Ishaq

.... they found out that despite the hype being created in the media and social circles, they could not adopt the baby legally. Why? Simply because there are no adoption laws in Pakistan. Islam does not recognise adoption. In fact, it is specifically forbidden by virtue of the Quran: “Nor has He made your adopted sons your (real) sons; that is simply a saying of your mouths. But Allah speaks the truth and guides you to the (right way). Call them by their fathers’ names, that is more just in the sight of Allah. But if you do not know their fathers, they are your brothers in faith and your ward...” (33:4-5). -- Hina Hafeezullah Ishaq

Saved by the Sharia
Dr Mahjabeen Islam

It is hip to hate sharia or Islamic law in the US. Many a Republican is jumping on the bandwagon and Representative Don Wells (R Cabool) even likens it to polio. That a CIA spy who killed two Pakistanis was freed because of it is quite ironic. In late January, Raymond Davis was driving in a populated area of Lahore when he killed two Pakistanis, photographed their bodies and radioed for help wherein an American consular vehicle rushed to the scene, crushing a bystander to death in the process. Davis’ car was loaded with arms and his cell phones showed contact with terrorist groups. – Dr Mahjabeen Islam

Hena collapsed after 70 lashes and was taken to the hospital. She died a week later, by some accounts because of internal bleeding and a general loss of blood. The doctors recorded her death as a suicide. (Women and girls who are raped are typically expected to commit suicide, to spare everyone the embarrassment of an honor crime.) I’ve covered enough of these kinds of stories to know that it’s difficult to know exactly what happened unless you’re on the scene talking to everyone who was there; maybe the imam has a different version of events. But all accounts that I’ve seen such that this was a brutal attack on a helpless girl in the name of sharia and justice. Fortunately, Bangladesh has a robust civil society, which has reacted with outrage to the case. A court ordered the body exhumed after word leaked out, and an examination revealed severe injuries. Lawsuits are now underway against the doctors who had called her death a suicide, and several people have been rounded up — including the alleged rapist. -- NICHOLAS KRISTOF

Leading Deobandi and Barelvi clerics have urged President Zardari not to pardon Aasia Bibi, saying that such a decision will lead to "untoward repercussions". The clerics include Qari Hanif Jallundari from the Deobandi sect, and Sahibzada Karim, who hails from the Barelvi sect (Express Tribune). Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minister for Minorities, has said that the Government of Pakistan will not repeal the Blasphemy Law as it may fuel militancy. However, Mr. Bhatti has said that the government may amend the law to prevent its abuse (Dawn). Aasia Bibi has submitted a mercy petition under Article 45 to President Zardari through Salmaan Taseer, the Governor of Punjab, who met her in Sheikhupura district jail. In her mercy petition, Aasia Bibi has said that the "judge had awarded her punishment by ignoring the law and the facts under "pressure of some religious extremists"." Salmaan Taseer has said that Aasia Bibi was wrongly accused of the crime and dragged in the streets and gang raped. -- Huma Imtiaz

When the Prophet (PBUH) could forgive a person of unquestionable antagonism towards Islam, why can the ulema of Pakistan not let off a poor village woman who is not a known enemy of our religion and whose guilt has not been established beyond doubt?

The brutal assassination of Salmaan Taseer, the outspoken governor of Punjab, is an ominous indication that Pakistan is plunging headlong into a state of ataxia. And one wonders if it will ever come out of it. Salmaan was killed, as confessed by his murderous bodyguard, for being a staunch opponent of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan and seeking presidential pardon for Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman who was recently awarded the death penalty under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for allegedly abusing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

It is a fact that the use of derogatory language against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), or for that matter any prophet, is considered a great sin in Islam. But it is also no ordinary crime to sentence somebody to death without evidence. So far, the charges against Aasia Bibi have not been incontrovertibly proved. Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, is on record as saying that the case against her is concocted as the complainant and major witnesses were not present at the site of the incident. But, then, the courts in Pakistan work under tremendous right-wing pressure. It may be recalled that in 1997, the Lahore High Court Judge Arif Iqbal Bhatti, who had acquitted two Christians accused of blasphemy in 1995, was shot dead-- A Faizur Rahman

To let these hordes be the judge, jury and the executioner would be the exact opposite of what Salmaan Taseer stood for. They have succeeded in killing Salmaan Taseer but must not be allowed to lynch him posthumously. They were jubilant. They were celebrating. They had come to admire, congratulate and fete the killer. And they want him set free. Not because they think he is innocent of any guilt but because they believe he did actually kill the ‘guilty’. Guilty of what and tried by whom, one may ask. The response comes from their leaders rooting from the pulpit: “guilty of supporting the blasphemer and impugning the divine law — the infidel!” I certainly felt queasy at the pronouncements of these clerics but it was really appalling to notice that it was the lawyers — the professionals educated and trained to apply the law — who were leading this frenzy of joy at killing someone. But worse than the rank and file of lawyers has been their leadership. After remaining in the limelight for almost four years, the top leadership of lawyers has disappeared into thin air when the situation demanded their presence and opinion the most. Some have declined to be quoted on or off the record and others have made wishy-washy statements about how those who support the anti-blasphemy law should have proceeded against Salmaan Taseer under the law (rather than assassinating him). I could not help but recall La Nausée. Jean Paul Sartre had accurately written: “The Nausea is not inside me…I am the one who is within it.” -- Dr. Mohammad Taqi


It is a travesty of justice that a verse dealing with war, sedition and rebellion is invoked to punish what may not even qualify as theocratic or religious dissent. In fact, Article 295 is not just a travesty of justice, it is an iftira (slander) against the Almighty and Prophet (PBUH) as it attributes to them what they never mandated…

While the Lahore High Court (LHC) is restraining the president from pardoning Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case and a federal minister has vowed to not allow any change in the blasphemy laws, why do I quote Ghalib’s praise for the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)? For starters, Ghalib remains one of the foremost secularists that the Indian subcontinent has ever produced and this na’at (hymn) — perhaps amongst the finest written in any language — goes to show that it is perfectly alright for the secularists to occasionally talk about matters of faith, including their own faith. In fact, it is imperative to do so when a fog of confusion is deliberately created around faith by bigots of all shades.

Moreover, the Holy Quran and Sunnah, ostensibly, form the premise of Article 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and, without revisiting what they actually say about blasphemy, the only challenge that might be successful against this law would be to have its procedural aspects modified. The Quran and Sunnah indeed are the two material sources of the shariah law, but were eventually supplemented by a corpus of interpretation largely agreed upon by a majority of Muslim scholars (ijma) and deductive analogy (qiyas) to form the basis of Islamic jurisprudence. -- Dr Mohammad Taqi

Blasphemy laws in the South Asian Subcontinent are nothing new. While there was no concept of blasphemy in Hinduism, such laws in practice during the Moghul Era were repealed by the British colonial to allow Christian missionaries to proselytize. However, in 1860 the commission chaired by Lord Macaulay made the law again part of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as Section 295, which gave protection to places of worship, scriptures and personages of all religions of India. Sections 295-A and 295-B were inserted in 1927. These prescribed punishment for outraging the religious feelings of any class or religious group with deliberate and malicious intentions. On independence in 1947, this became part of Pakistan’s Penal Code (PPC). While blasphemy laws exist in many countries in the world, Pakistan perhaps has the strictest blasphemy laws even among Muslim-majority states.

Seeking to secure support among the middle class, and mainly among religious radicals, Gen Ziaul Haq accelerated the Islamisation process. Several new sections relating to religious offences were added to the PPC, almost all made by presidential decree. Inserted in 1980, Section 298-A made the use of derogatory remarks in respect of persons revered in Islam an offence punishable with up to three years’ imprisonment. This law was amended further in 1982, as 295-B, by presidential ordinance. The amendment extended it to defilement of the Holy Quran. “Whoever willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran, or of an extract there from, or uses it in any derogatory manner for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.” --Ikram Sehgal


Ibn Hazm was from Spain and used to give great importance to freedom of thought and independence of thinking in his juristic thinking. In this he was influenced by his teacher Abul Khayar. He was also of the opinion that one can be called ‘Alim as long as one engages in seeking knowledge. But one who thinks he knows enough is, in fact, jahil (ignorant). And seeking knowledge is seeking truth which is possible only through intellectual process. Our Ulama and jurists, as we know, have long since stopped thinking. -- Asghar Ali Engineer

The BMMA’s nikah namah differs from Muslim marriage contracts widely used across India in other ways. Many of the popularly-used nikah namahs do not require the groom to specify his existing marital status, including mention of whether or not he is already married to someone else. Numerous cases have been reported of Muslim men entering into a second marriage without informing their new wives of their already being married, thus deceiving them into a polygamous marriage against their will and without their prior knowledge. The BMMA’s nikah namah effectively guards against this possibility by demanding that the groom (as well as the bride) clearly specify their marital status just prior to the marriage: single, widower/widow, married or divorced. -- Yoginder Sikand, NewAgeIslam.com

... to emphasise the sanctity of marriage and the enormity of breaking it for frivolous reasons, the Quran warns that once the parties choose to separate after the expiry of the iddat, they cannot entertain hopes of marrying again unless the wife takes another husband and the second husband divorces her [2:230]. It is understood here that a divorce may result only if the new husband has serious differences with his wife, and in the rare event of such differences cropping up, he is required to follow the procedure of divorce as discussed earlier. The extreme unlikelihood of this happening serves as a severe deterrent against arbitrary divorce.

Unfortunately, this Quranic injunction has been circumvented by sectarian seminaries to overcome the impracticality of triple talaq law of the medievalist Hanafi school. To help the victims of this law a pliable person is set up to marry the triple-divorced wife, consummate the marriage overnight and divorce her the next day so that the original husband can remarry her in accordance with 2:230. This outrageousness which an innocent woman is subjected to is known as halaala.

The abhorrent practice continues only because Muslim women are reluctant to show dissent and have allowed themselves to be indoctrinated into prioritising comparatively smaller problems such as the ban on the burqa. If the present-day shariah is to be reformed and brought into conformity with the original teachings of the Quran and the Prophet, Muslims must come out and intellectually challenge patriarchal interpretations of Islam. -- A. Faizur Rahman

Recently, there was a Deoband fatwa in reply to a query from a man who had jokingly typed the word talaq thrice during an internet chat session with his wife and in this case also Darul Ifta had said that the divorce had taken place.

Whether a man is drunk or the wife has not heard it, it is all the immaterial and the Ulama not just pronounce talaq, they in fact seem almost eager to pronounce talaq on every question relating to marital dispute between husband and wife.

Is it a joke? Sorry it's too serious to be a joke. It affects lives, hurts clans and it also serious dents the image of Muslims. When there is no dearth of Ulema, who claim that 'putting out the word talaq in one sitting' is raj'i talaq which is not permanent and woman can return to her husband, the Ulama remain admant. -- Adnan Alavi 

Muslims across the country have reacted with horror to the latest display of insanity by the Deobandi Mullahs. They have invalidated the marriage of a Qatari Muslim who unintentionally typed the word talaq three times while chatting and joking with his wife on the internet. Why do Mullahs violate the sanctity of marriage so frivolously? What is in it for them? Well, many an ignorant Muslim, who is told by fatwa-mongers he has lost his wife in jest or anger, considering the Mullah honest and venerable, will ask him to dot the halala. Now what is halala, some may ask. Halal is legitimate, say halal earning by honest means. But making halal or doing halal is generally used in the sense of killing animals in a legitimate, Islamic way, thus making them halal for Muslims as food. In halala, a woman and her family's honour are virtually killed to make her legitimate, in an Islamically acceptable manner, for remarriage with her husband who never wanted to divorce her in the first place. But how? Find out below in one of the several letters sent to the editor of the Hindu as a protest against the practice and an editorial in The Hindu. -- New Age Islam Edit Desk

They should know that, according to the Islamic shariah, no organisation or individual has the right to give or transfer the ownership to somebody of even a part of a property that is a waqf endowment, especially a mosque. According to the rules of Muslim jurisprudence, as soon as a piece of land is made into a waqf for the purpose of prayer and worship, its ownership is transferred from human beings to God, and it then becomes a mosque in perpetuity. Even if the structure of the mosque falls down, and even if all its walls disappear, even then no organisation or individual has the right to transfer its ownership or control to someone else or to shift the mosque or to change its use and function, not even into a madrasa for religious studies. Obviously, from this it follows that to convert a mosque for a purpose totally contradictory to that of a mosque, for instance for promoting idolatry and polytheism, is a grave crime, a heinous sin. -- Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani (Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

Who's Afraid of Shariah?
Sumbul Ali-Karamali

Shari'a is a set of religious principles and is not the law of the land anywhere in the world. The 50-some Muslim-majority countries are all constitutional states and nearly all of them have civil codes (many of these based on the French system). Being Muslim does not require a governmental imposition of something called "shari'a law," any more than being a Christian requires the implementation of "Biblical law" (though there are, of course, a tiny minority of both Christians and Muslims who do advocate such things, including Sarah Palin).

As for Islam being a political system, there is nothing in the Qur'an about an "Islamic state," and the Prophet himself never tried to implement an "Islamic state," despite hysterical accusations to the contrary. Those under his leadership practiced a variety of religions. -- Sumbul Ali-Karamali

The task in hand for modern Muslims is to separate the spiritual, moral and ethical message of Islam from penal laws reflecting the sensibilities of tribal society of the seventh century.

The well-known English journalist Robert Fisk has presented a detailed investigative report, ‘The crimewave that shames the world’ in The Independent, September 7, 2010, about so-called honour killings. Not surprisingly, the highest incidence of such crimes is in the Muslim world, though even some non-Muslim Middle Eastern minorities and Hindus in India practise it. What I found particularly shocking was that after murdering a daughter or sister, a Muslim culprit can walk away scot-free because the Islamic law of qisas (retaliation) allows heirs to pardon the criminal. Thus, other family members can pardon the offender. All such relics of barbarism have to be done away with. Already in the 19th century, Maulvi Chiragh Ali wrote that the Quran is not a book of law. Justice Munir has also advanced similar arguments. Privately, most of the educated Muslims I talk to agree with me that hudood laws, blasphemy laws and many other such laws are anachronisms that have no place in the 21st century. More such voices need to be heard in the public space. -- Ishtiaq Ahmed

Rights of Neighbours in Islam
Khwaja Mohammed Zubair

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has said that the rights of the neighbour were so overwhelmingly emphasised to him by Angel Jibraeel that he feared that neighbours might be made partakers of one’s inheritance. In another Hadith, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said that a man whose neighbour is not safe from his misdeeds, is not a believer in Islam. -- Khwaja Mohammed Zubair


The question is: why can’t women judges deal with marriage and divorce cases? Is there any such injunction in the Quran or the Sunnah? No, not at all. In fact Imam Malik and the famous historian and Quranic commentator, Tabari, have held that women can become qazis; Imam Abu Hanifa was of the opinion that women can be appointed as qazis in certain circumstances; no one held that it would be under certain conditions only. -- Asghar Ali Engineer

The Dar ul-Uloom Deoband, India’s largest madrasa, is back in the news again—this time for a fatwa it has just issued that lays down that Muslim girls above the age of 13 should not ride cycles on the grounds that it would be difficult for them to do so while wearing their veils. Besides, so claims the fatwa, cycling has an adverse effect on girls’ physiques…..

But now this latest fatwa has rejuvenated my desire to hop on to a cycle again. It has also enthused me to share with the manufacturers of this fatwa news about the 6000-odd cyclists who took part in the cyclathon held in Mumbai in February this year to promote cycling as an environmentally-friendly alternative mode of transportation that can help bring down levels of air and noise pollution, especially in crowded urban areas. -- Nigar Ataulla

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