Sharia Law

Islam Session Eleven
Item #3, bullet #6 of Outline: Sharia Law

Areas under Islamic control; entire countries, region of countries or sections of a city all are subject to the “law of Islam” – Sharia law. It is the infallible law of God, based on the Koran and the Sunnah. Sharia law was initially developed under the first two caliphs (Islamic leadership successors to Muhammad) who ruled from 632 AD to 644 AD and codified in the 8th and 9th centuries during the Abbasids Dynasty (750 AD to 1258 AD).

In her book, “Cruel land Usual Punishment”, Nonie Darwish provides this description of Sharia law: “Sharia is the body of Islamic law. It deals with all aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business law, contract law, marriage, divorce, child rearing and custody, sexuality, sin, crime, and social issues. It makes no distinction between public and private life, treating all aspects of human relations as governable by Allah’s law. The Sharia laws are based on the Koran and hadiths as well as centuries of debate, interpretation, and
precedent. There are literally thousands of Sharia Laws.” (#1, P. 4)

One usually thinks of a body of laws as the “law of the land”, i.e., United States law is the law of the United States, French law is the law of France and German law is the law of Germany. Not so with Sharia law; Islam considers Sharia law to be the law by which all of humanity should be ruled.

Sayyid Qutb, a 20th century Muslim theorist, described the application of Sharia law as follows: “Islam seeks the subjugation of the entire earth under Islamic law. When Islamic law becomes universally triumphant, peace will reign; therefore Islam is a religion of peace.” (#2, P. 23)

According to the Koran:

  • “It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith (Islam) to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters may dislike it.” (Sura 9:31) and,
  • “Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme.” (Sura 8:39)

Since wherever Islam is in control Sharia law is imposed, these Koranic commands to impose Islam world-wide also
command that Sharia law be imposed world-wide.

Sharia law includes three major categories of crimes:

  1. Hudad crimes are crimes such as murder, apostasy, theft, adultery, or drinking alcohol. Punishments for such crimes include stoning, beheading, amputation of limbs, and flogging.
  2. Qesas crimes are revenge crimes in which the victim has the right to seek retribution ad retaliation. For example, the family of a murder victim can ask for blood money from the murderer instead of a public execution.
  3. Tazir crimes are the least serious and can carry punishments such as fines, public or private censure, family and clan pressure and support, seizure of property, confinement in the home or place of detention, and flogging. (Above paragraph from reference #1, PP. 4-5)

Some specifics of Sharia law:

  • Rape: According to the Hadith of Bukhari, “rape can be proven only by the testimony of four male (Muslim) eyewitnesses to the act itself.” (Bukhari 9:97) and (#15, P. 52)

Nonie Darwish (who lived under Sharia law for the first 30 years of her life) confirms the above and more: “For example, to prove rape either the rapist would have to confess or there must be four male witnesses to the rape (and how likely would that be?). No other evidence is allowed. That makes it very difficult for any woman to prove rape. Thus when she loses her virginity as a result of rape, she may become a victim of honor killing or be flogged by the Islamic court for having premarital sex.” (#1, P. 66)

One can see that convicting a Muslim male of rape is virtually impossible.

  • Divorce: Under Sharia law, the divorce process is overwhelmingly in favor of the husband. A Muslim man can divorce his wife simply by repeating; “I divorce you”, three times. He does not need to give a reason or justification for the divorce. If there are children from the marriage, Nonie Darwish explains; “In cases of divorce, custody goes to the mother, provided she prays and does not marry a stranger. But after the age of seven or nine – there is some variation in interpretation on the age – boys and girls belong to the father.” (#1, P. 43)

Punishments: Following are examples of punishments under Sharia law for certain crimes:

  • Theft: According to the Koran; “As for the man or woman who is guilty of theft, cut off their hands to punish them for their crimes. That is the punishment enjoined by god. God is mighty and wise.” (Sura 5:38) and (#15, P. 68)

Bedeviled is the thief who has lost his right hand, forcing him to eat with his left – itself a crime under Sharia!

  • Apostasy: The punishment for apostasy (renouncing Islam) according to the Koran is death. (Sura 4:90-91) Even as benign an act as not following one’s father’s order to wait for a man to propose marriage can be considered apostasy and the offender should be killed. (#1, P. 27) A non-Muslim who converts, or attempts to convert, a Muslim can also be condemned to death for “apostasy.” (#15, P. 62)

Other examples of Sharia law will be noted as future topics are discussed.

Next session we will begin with the “Five Pillars of Islam.”