Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,
Often times we hear Christians (see: Pamela Geller, David Wood, Sam Shamoun, Christians on FFI, Answering Islam, Answering Muslims), who align themselves with political groups claiming that the, “Shari’a” is immoral, backward, barbaric, archaic and ‘harmful to society’. Yet, if we were to ask them to define what Shari’a is, they wouldn’t seem to know. Some may point you to a Fiqh manual titled, “Reliance of the Traveller“, or quote for you some ahadith (plural of Hadith) or Qur’anic ayah as evidence of, “the creeping Shari’a“. However, they don’t know what the Shari’a actually is. The Shari’a is a body of law, which is both interpersonal and intrapersonal. It is sourced from the Qur’an, the Sunnah (Ahadith, Seerah), Ijma (consensus of scholars based on Qur’an and Sunnah) and Qiyas (analytic deduction). Therefore, as it is, there is no one ‘fiqh’ manual that embodies the Shari’a as a whole for Muslims. Fiqh can be defined as Islamic jurisprudence. What does this mean?
Shari’a is not:
- Based on one man’s opinion.
- Based on one scholar’s opinion.
- Based on one fiqh manual.
- Based on crowd justice (there are courts to try criminals!).
- Based on a few Ahadith.
- Based on a few Qur’anic verses.
- Based on a few men’s opinions.
Shari’a depends on a vast consensus of scholars who hold positions verified and validated through noted certification by institutions of high academic standards (see: Umm al Qura University, the University of Madina, Al Azhar, Dar al Ulum, etc). A single mufti’s (Molvi, Maulana, Shaykh, Sheikh, Ustadh, Sidi, etc) legal ruling (fatwa) is not binding because it is one man’s legal opinion, unless it is verified through Qur’an, Sunnah and Ijma (previously defined above).
This involves the personal beliefs and actions of an individual, this can involve performing Salaah, eating halaal, dressing appropriately, using appropriate language etc). In other words, it’s your personal moral standing that is dependent upon you and the Shari’a intends that you do good actions and not sin.
This involves the dealings and interactions of one person with another person, group of persons, his community and his legal obligations to the state. Usually this involves providing food for one’s family, obeying traffic laws, not stealing from others, not injuring or causing undue harm to anyone, paying taxes etc. In this form of Shari’a, this is what Islamophobes usually refer to as the creeping Shari’a. Nowhere in the Shari’a is one allowed to take justice into their own hands, we often hear of public whippings, beheadings, honour killings etc. However nowhere in the Shari’a are Muslims or non-Muslims for that matter, allowed to take justice into their own hands, in fact we have courts that are governed by Judges (a judge is a Qadhi), where matters are dealt with. One popular misconception is the rulings concerning rape and the punishment of the victim in Islam, I have previously written on this topic here.
The Bible Commands the Following of the Islamic Shari’a:
This might surprise many Christians, but the Bible actually commands its adherents to obey Islamic law. If you’ve read Macbeth or almost any Shakespearean play, you’d have come across the ‘Divine Right of Rulership’, wherein it is believed that rulers are destined by God to rule and therefore to rebel against a monarch would mean rebelling against God. Protestant England and Shakespeare did not invent this belief, it’s actually based on one of Paul’s Epistles:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. – Bible : Romans (13): 1 – 7.
If I could have put that entire passage in bold, I would have. Clearly it is saying that the one in power, the governing authorities are instituted by God. Your God. What does this mean? Well, quite simply, if you are a Christian living in Muslim lands and their are Islamic laws, you must obey them. That’s right, this means living under Shari’a is condoned by Jehova, YHWH, Yeshua, Jesus, or whatever you call him. It doesn’t get much better for Tea Party followers in the United States, as opposing your President is tantamount to opposing God, similarly campaigning against Muslim politicians or liberties allowed by the law for Muslims, means you’re practically incurring God’s wrath upon yourselves.
Some might dismiss this understanding of the aforementioned passage by claiming that I’m a Muslim, therefore I am twisting ‘scripture’, therefore in response to this claim, let’s examine Christian Exegete, Adam Clarke’s commentary on the verses:
This is a very strong saying, and most solemnly introduced; and we must consider the apostle as speaking, not from his own private judgment, or teaching a doctrine of present expediency, but declaring the mind of God on a subject of the utmost importance to the peace of the world; a doctrine which does not exclusively belong to any class of people, order of the community, or official situations, but toevery soul; and, on the principles which the apostle lays down, to every soul in all possible varieties of situation, and on all occasions. And what is this solemn doctrine? It is this: Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. Let every man be obedient to the civil government under which the providence of God has cast his lot.
As God is the origin of power, and the supreme Governor of the universe, he delegates authority to whomsoever he will; and though in many cases the governor himself may not be of God, yet civil government is of him; for without this there could be no society, no security, no private property; all would be confusion and anarchy, and the habitable world would soon be depopulated. In ancient times, God, in an especial manner, on many occasions appointed the individual who was to govern; and he accordingly governed by a Divine right, as in the case of Moses, Joshua, the Hebrew judges, and several of the Israelitish kings. In after times, and to the present day, he does that by a general superintending providence which he did before by especial designation. In all nations of the earth there is what may be called a constitution-a plan by which a particular country or state is governed; and this constitution is less or more calculated to promote the interests of the community.
The civil governor, whether he be elective or hereditary, agrees to govern according to that constitution. Thus we may consider that there is a compact and consent between the governor and the governed, and in such a case, the potentate may be considered as coming to the supreme authority in the direct way of God’s providence; and as civil government is of God, who is the fountain of law, order, and regularity, the civil governor, who administers the laws of a state according to its constitution, is the minister of God. But it has been asked: If the ruler be an immoral or profligate man, does he not prove himself thereby to be unworthy of his high office, and should he not be deposed? I answer, No: if he rule according to the constitution, nothing can justify rebellion against his authority. He may be irregular in his own private life; he may be an immoral man, and disgrace himself by an improper conduct: but if he rule according to the law; if he make no attempt to change the constitution, nor break the compact between him and the people; there is, therefore, no legal ground of opposition to his civil authority, and every act against him is not only rebellion in the worst sense of the word, but is unlawful and absolutely sinful. – Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Romans 13:1-2.
Therefore, in closing, I conclude that those who fear Islamic Shari’a do not have a holistic and educated teaching of what it actually is, that they are playing on emotional fears for their own gain, whether monetary or otherwise (see: Argumentum ad Baculum). Following the Shari’a is no different to following a constitution of any nation where you reside according to Pauline doctrine, whom according to the Christian’s own belief is taught/ inspired by God Himself. Political Christians who are opponents of Shari’a simply do not understand it and are going against Biblical teachings.
wa Allaahu Alam,
and Allaah knows best.