Sharia islamic law

There is tremendous variety in the interpretation and implementation of Islamic Law in Muslim societies today. Liberal movements within Islam have questioned the relevance and applicability of sharia from a variety of perspectives; Islamic feminism brings multiple points of view to the discussion. Several of the countries with the largest Muslim populations, including Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, have largely secular constitutions and laws, with only a few Islamic provisions in family law. Turkey has a constitution that is officially strongly secular. India and the Philippines are the only countries in the world which have separate Muslim civil laws, framed by Muslim Personal Law board, and wholly based on Sharia and the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines. However, the criminal laws are uniform. Some controversial sharia laws favour Muslim men, including polygamy and rejection of alimony.

Most countries of the Middle East and North Africa maintain a dual system of secular courts and religious courts, in which the religious courts mainly regulate marriage and inheritance. Saudi Arabia and Iran maintain religious courts for all aspects of jurisprudence, and religious police assert social compliance. Laws derived from sharia are also applied in Afghanistan, Libya and Sudan. Some states in northern Nigeria have reintroduced Sharia courts.[9] In practice the new Sharia courts in Nigeria have most often meant the re-introduction of harsh punishments without respecting the much tougher rules of evidence and testimony. The punishments include amputation of one/both hands for theft, stoning for adultery and apostasy.[citation needed]

Many, including the European Court of Human Rights, consider the punishments prescribed by Sharia as being barbaric and cruel. Islamic scholars argue that, if implemented properly, the punishments serve as a deterrent to crime.[10] In international media, practices by countries applying Islamic law have fallen under considerable criticism at times. This is particularly the case when the sentence carried out is seen to greatly tilt away from established standards of international human rights. This is true for the application of the death penalty for the crimes of adultery and homosexuality, amputations for the crime of theft, and flogging for fornication or public intoxication. [1]

Though Islamic law is interpreted differently across times, places and scholars, following the literal and traditional interpretations of fundamentalists, Muslim scholars believe it should legally be binding on all people of the Muslim faith and even on all people who come under their control.[citation needed]

A bill proposed by lawmakers in the Indonesian province of Aceh would impose Sharia law on all non-Muslims, the armed forces and law enforcement officers, a local police official has announced. The news comes two months after the Deutsche Presse-Agentur warned of "Taliban-style Islamic police terrorizing Indonesia's Aceh".[11][12][13]

[edit] Topics of Islamic law



Shari'ah may be divided into five main branches:

·       'ibadah (ritual worship)

·       mu'amalat (transactions and contracts)

·       adaab (morals and manners)

·       i'tiqadat (beliefs)

·       'uqubat (punishments) [2]

·       The acts of worship, or al-ibadat includes:

o      Ritual Purification (wudu)

o      Prayers (salah)

o      Fasts (sawm and Ramadan)

o      Charities (zakat)

o      Pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj)

·       Human interaction, or al-mu'amalat includes:

o      Financial transactions

o      Endowments

o      Laws of inheritance

o      Marriage, divorce, and child care

o      Foods and drinks (including ritual slaughtering and hunting)

o      Penal punishments

o      Warfare and peace

o      Judicial matters (including witnesses and forms of evidence)

See mu`amalat laws according to five major schools of jurisprudence and The Majallah.

[edit] Dietary

Main article: Halal

Islamic law does not present a comprehensive list of pure foods and drinks. However, it sanctions:[14]

·       Prohibition of swine, blood, meat of dead animals and animals slaughtered in the name of someone other than Allah.

·       Prohibition of slaughtering an animal in any other way except in the prescribed manner of tazkiyah (cleansing) by taking Allah’s name which involves cutting the throat of the animal and draining the blood. Causing the animal needless pain, slaughtering with a blunt blade or physically ripping out the esophagus is strictly forbidden. Modern contemporary 'painless' methods of slaughter like the captive bolt stunning are also prohibited.

·       Prohibition of intoxicants

The prohibition of dead meat is not applicable to fish and locusts.[15][16][17] Also hadith literature prohibits beasts having sharp canine teeth, birds having claws and tentacles in their feet,[18] Jallalah (animals whose meat carries a stink in it because they feed on filth),[19] tamed donkeys,[20] and any piece cut from a living animal.[21][14]

[edit] Marriage and divorce

Main articles: Islamic marital jurisprudence and Talaq (Nikah)

There are two types of marriage mentioned in the Qur'an: nikah and nikah mut'ah. The first is more common; it aims to be permanent, but can be terminated by the husband in the talaq process or by the wife seeking divorce. In nikah the couples inherit from each other. A legal contract is signed when entering the marriage. The husband must pay for the wife's expenses. In Sunni jurisprudence, the contract is void if there is a determined divorce date in the nikah, whereas, in Shia jurisprudence, nikah contracts with determined divorce dates are transformed in nikah mut'ah. For the contract to be valid there must be two witnesses under Sunni jurisprudence. There is no witness requirement for Shia contracts.

Nikah mut'ah is considered haraam by Sunni Muslims. It means "marriage for pleasure". Under Shia jurisprudence a nikah mut'ah is the second form of marriage recognized by the Shia. It is a fixed term marriage, which is a marriage with a preset duration, after which the marriage is automatically dissolved. There is controversy about the Islamic legality of this type of marriage, since Sunnis believe it was abrogated by Prophet Muhammad, while Shias believe it was forbidden by Umar and hence that ban may be ignored since Umar had no authority to do so. The Qur'an itself doesn't mention any cancellation of the institution. Nikah mut'ah sometimes has a preset time period to the marriage, traditionally the couple do not inherit from each other, the man usually is not responsible for the economic welfare of the women, and she usually may leave her home at her own discretion. Nikah mut'ah also does not count towards a maximum of wives (four according to the Qur'an). The woman still is given her mahr, and the woman must still observe the iddah, a period of four months at the end of the marriage where she is not permitted to remarry in the case she may have become pregnant before the divorce took place. This maintains the proper lineage of children.

Requirements for Islamic Marriages:

·       The man who is not currently a fornicator can only marry a woman who is not currently a fornicatress or a chaste woman from the people of the Book.

·       The woman can only marry a Muslim man.

·       The woman who is not currently a fornicatress can only marry a man who is not currently a fornicator.

·       The fornicator can only marry a fornicatress -- and vice versa.

·       The guardian may choose a suitable partner for a virgin girl, but the girl is free to contest and has the right to say 'no'.

·       The guardian cannot marry the divorced woman or the widow if she didn't ask to be married.

·       It is obligatory for a man to give bride wealth (gifts) to the woman he marries -- "Do not marry unless you give your wife something that is her right."[22]

·       A woman who wishes to be divorced usually needs the consent of her husband. However, most schools allow her to obtain a divorce without her husband's consent if she can show the judge that her husband is impotent. If the husband consents she does not have to pay back the dower.[citation needed]

·       Men have the right of unilateral divorce. A divorce is effective when the man tells his wife that he is divorcing her. At this point the husband must pay the wife the "delayed" component of the dower.

·       A divorced woman of reproductive age must wait four months and ten days before marrying again to ensure that she is not pregnant. Her ex-husband should support her financially during this period.[citation needed]

·       If a man divorces his wife three times, he can no longer marry her again unless she marries another man and then divorces him.[citation needed]

·       These are guidelines; Islamic law on divorce is different depending on the school of thought.[23]

[edit] Penalties






Main article: Hudud

See also: Rajm, Islam and domestic violence, Zina (sex), and Apostasy in Islam

In accordance with the Qur'an and several hadith, theft is punished by imprisonment or amputation of hands or feet, depending on the number of times it was committed and depending on the item of theft. However, before the punishment is executed two eyewitnesses under oath must say that they saw the person stealing. If these witnesses cannot be produced then the punishment cannot be executed. Witnesses must be either two men, or, if only one man can be found, one man and two women. Several requirements are in place for the amputation of hands, so the actual instances of this are relatively few[citation needed]; they are:

·       The thief must be adult and sane.

·       There must have been criminal intent to take private (not common) property.

·       The theft must not have been the product of hunger, necessity, or duress.

·       The goods stolen must: be over a minimum value, not haraam, and not owned by the thief's family.

·       Goods must have been taken from custody (i.e. not in a public place).

·       There must be reliable witnesses (mentioned above).

·       The punishment is not imposed if the thief repents.

All of these must be met under the scrutiny of judicial authority. [Qur'an 5:38][24]

In accordance with hadith, stoning to death is the penalty for married men and women who commit adultery. In addition, there are several conditions related to the person who commits it that must be met. One of the difficult ones is that the punishment cannot be enforced unless there is a confession of the person, or four male eyewitnesses who each saw the act being committed. All of these must be met under the scrutiny of judicial authority[25] For unmarried men and women, the punishment prescribed in the Qur'an and hadith is 100 lashes.[26]

Similarly, under Sharia a woman who is accused of adultery cannot be punished unless there are four male eyewitnesses to prove she did commit adultery.[citation needed] The "four witness" standard comes from the Qur'an itself, a revelation Muhammad announced in response to accusations of adultery leveled at his wife, Aisha: "Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they produce not witnesses, they verily are liars in the sight of Allah."[Qur'an 24:13]

The word in the Quran used for "beat" is idreb.[4:34] It is a conjugate of the word daraba which primarily means "to beat, strike, to hit".[27] The Arabic word idreb is used in two primary ways. 1) to strike up a poem, and 2) to physically "beat", or "strike" someone.

Some consider "hit" to be a misinterpretation, and believe it should be translated as "admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and separate from them." Certain modern translations of the Qur'an in the English language accept the commoner translation of "beat" but tone down the wording with bracketed additions. Whatever idribu¯hunna is meant to convey in the Qur'an -- and ambiguities are common in Islam's holy book -- the verb is directed, not at a single husband, but to the community as a whole.

The word "idrib" is used 12 times in the Quran. Eight times it is used in the physical action of striking, and three times it is used in the context of speaking or applying a proverb. Clearly then, the most frequent use of the word is in physically striking. Here is a Quranic verse in which "idreb" is used:

“"Strike" off their heads, "strike" off the very tips of their fingers!”[Qur'an 8:12]

Several hadith urge strongly against beating one's wife, such as: "How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then embrace (sleep with) her? (Al-Bukhari, English Translation, vol. 8, Hadith 68, pp. 42-43), "I went to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) and asked him: What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them. (Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 11, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Number 2139)". Others hadiths do indicate that husbands have a right to discipline their wives in a civilized manner to a certain extent:

Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have right over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner. (Narrated in Sahih Muslim, on the authority of Jabir.)


According to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research:

If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife, he should try his best to rectify her attitude by kind words, gentle persuasion and reasoning with her. If this is not helpful, he should sleep apart from her, trying to awaken her agreeable feminine nature so that serenity may be restored, and she may respond to him in a harmonious fashion. If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to smack her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts. In no case should he resort to using a stick or any other instrument that might cause pain and injury.

Punishments are authorized by other passages in the Quran and hadiths for certain crimes (e.g., extramarital sex, adultery), and are employed by some as rationale for extra-legal punitive action while others disagree (quotations provided by Syed Kamran Mirza):

“The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication—flog each of them with hundred stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by God, if ye believe in God and the last day.”[Qur'an 24:2] “Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).”[Qur'an 17:32]

In most interpretations of Sharia, conversion by Muslims to other religions, is strictly forbidden and is termed apostasy. Muslim theology equates apostasy to treason, and in most interpretations of sharia, the penalty for apostasy is death.

In many Muslim countries, the accusation of apostasy is even used against non-conventional interpretations of the Quran. The severe persecution of the famous expert in Arabic literature, Prof. Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, is an example of this. In some countries, Sunni and Shia Muslims often accuse each other of apostasy. The current civil strife in Iraq is explained by many in terms of the extremely harsh religious opposition between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq.

[edit] Customs and behaviour

See also Islamic hygienical jurisprudence

Practitioners of Islam are generally taught to follow some specific customs in their daily lives. Most of these customs can be traced back to Abrahamic traditions in Pre-Islamic Arabian society.[28] Due to Muhammad's sanction or tacit approval of such practices, these customs are considered to be Sunnah (practices of Muhammad as part of the religion) by the Ummah (Muslim nation). It includes customs like:

·       Saying Bismillah (in the name of God) before eating and drinking.[29]

·       Using the right hand for drinking and eating.[30]

·       Saying As-Salamu Alaykum (peace be upon you) when meeting someone and answering with Wa alaykumus-Salam (and peace be upon you).[31]

·       Saying Alhamdulillah (all gratitude is for only God) when sneezing and responding with Yarhamukallah (God have mercy on you).[32]

·       Saying the Adhan (prayer call) in the right ear of a newborn and the Iqama in its left.

·       In the sphere of hygiene, it includes:

o      Clipping the moustache

o      Shaving the pubic hair

o      Removing underarm hair

o      Cutting nails

o      Circumcising the male offspring[33][34]

o      Cleaning the nostrils, the mouth, and the teeth[35] and

o      Cleaning the body after urination and defecation[36]

·       Abstention from sexual relations during the menstrual cycle and the puerperal discharge,[Qur'an 2:222] and ceremonial bath after the menstrual cycle, puerperal discharge, and Janabah (seminal/ovular discharge or sexual intercourse).[Qur'an 4:43][Qur'an 5:6]

·       Burial rituals include funeral prayer[37] of bathed[38] and enshrouded body in coffin cloth[39] and burying it in a grave.[40]

[edit] Rituals

Main articles: Eid, Eid ul-Fitr, and Eid ul-Adha

There are two festivals that are considered Sunnah.[40][41]

·       Eid ul-Fitr

·       Eid ul-Adha

Rituals associated with these festivals are:[40]

·       Sadaqah (charity) before Eid ul-Fitr prayer.[42]

·       The Prayer and the Sermon on Eid day.

·       Takbirs (glorifying God) after every prayer in the days of Tashriq definition--[43]

·       Sacrifice of unflawed, four legged grazing animal of appropriate age after the prayer of Eid ul-Adha in the days of Tashriq.[44]

[edit] Dress codes

Main articles: Hijab and Sartorial hijab

The Qur'an also places a dress code upon its followers. The rule for men has been ordained before the women: “say to the believing men to lower their gaze and preserve their modesty, it will make for greater purity for them and Allah is well aware of all that they do.”[Qur'an 24:30] Allah then says in the Qur'an, “And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their khumūr over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands...”[24:31] All those men in whose presence a woman is not obliged to practise the dress code are known as her mahrams. Men have a more relaxed dress code: the body must be covered from knee to waist. However under (strict interpretation of) Sharia Law, women are required to cover all of their bodies except hands and face. The rationale given for these rules is that men and women are not to be viewed as sexual objects. Men are required to keep their guard up and women to protect themselves. In theory, should either one fail, the other prevents the society from falling into fitna (temptation or discord).

However, whether the veil or headscarf is a real Quranic obligation, there are many different opinions. Fundamentalists as Yusuf Al-Qaradawi claim it is. However, many other sources (as Mohammed Arkoun, Soheib Bencheikh, Abdoldjavad Falaturi, Jamal al Banna claim it isn't. However, the first group appears dominant: "Jamal al Banna has been for a number of years one of the few mainstream Muslim scholars to argue that the Muslim headscarf, or hijab, is not an Islamic obligation." ([4], p. 75).

Turkey, a secular Muslim-majority country, has controversial laws against these dress codes in schools and work places. After the declaration of the Republic in 1923, as part of revolutions brought by Atatürk, a modern dress code was encouraged. It is against the law to wear a hijab while attending public school in Turkey,[45] as well as France, where the recently enacted rule caused huge public controversy.[46]

It is a common concern in the west that Muslim women are oppressed and forced to wear the Hijab or headscarf by their male counterparts. Muslim males contend that the majority of women choose to wear the garment of their own free will.[citation needed] The main principle reason for the hijab is modesty, which is not wishing to receive unnecessary attention from people, such as admiration and flattery, envy, or, most importantly, sexual attraction from those other than her husband. Great care is taken to keep sexual thoughts, feelings and interactions to within the boundaries of the marital relationship.

One of the garments women wear is the hijāb (of which the headscarf is one component). The word hijab is derived from the Arabic word hajaba which means 'to hide from sight or view', 'to conceal'. Hijāb means to cover the head as well as the body.

[edit] Non-Muslims

Under Sharia law non-Muslims may be subjected to Sharia Laws however it codifies the treatment of dhimmis in relation to the Muslim state and in cases of over-lapping jurisdiction. Dhimmis are distinctly second-class citizens in that they cannot serve in public office, cannot testify in court and must follow certain rules meant for living on Muslim land and under Muslim protection (such as paying the jizya). The jizya or tax is enforced on those who broke a treaty or attacked Muslim with no right (as a punishment) or required from those who ask for protection without enrolling in the army. The rules include privilege to practice their own religion, except for public demonstration of non-Muslim religious practices and the right to convert Muslims.

The core component of treatment is the jizya, or tax specifically upon non-Muslims. The jizya originates in the Qur'an which says “Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of the truth among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”[Qur'an 9:29] The "Book" refers to the People of the Book, Jews and Christians, who don't follow their religion righteously, but the jizya was extended to all conquered non-Muslims. The jizya ultimately is less than the Zakah (money given to the poor and needy) and Sadaqah (charity) that Muslims give.[citation needed]

[edit] Contemporary issues