Given the extremes of our society and the Muslim Ümmah, it seems impossible for the average person to go beyond just the emotional outbursts for or against the imposition of the Shariah.
I am also unclear, when I talk with some people (especially men), about how they feel that their lives would be affected. The majority of them seem - while not physically flogging females in public - to treat women with such denigration, contempt and 'violence' (not just in their own homes but in 'respected' - if not necessarily respectable - institutions and organizations), in a predominantly Muslim society, that one wonders if some women weren't better off being buried alive - a practice to which Islam is said to have put an end.
Soddy Arabia has Shariah. Alcohol, Porn, Music, Illicit Sex … all are available. Without too much worry, I am told by friends there, to the chosen few and the well-connected. The richest among them even actually remain really pure within the country and fly out on non-Shariah holidays. I am sure that, after the initial 'revolution' - although I doubt that it will succeed (which is not to say that lives will not continue to be lost during the battle) - this place will be no different from the country that supports us and the Wahhabis.
Consider: If all this chopping of hands, flogging, the (controversial by Qur'anic injunctions) 'stoning to death' and the less horrifying — but by no means less restrictive and against human rights — laws pertaining to the status of women, were really abhorrent to all Pakistanis (and to many, including minorities, from the world over) would they sell their principles to go work there for a few Riyaal more? And should they, by this argument, not be equally willing to accept the imposition of similar views here, in their own homes, if the Talibans in power raised their wages in exchange for tacit support?
In a bid, for me and those who read my posts, to understand just what Shariah is, what is its source, and from where does it get its sanction, I would like to invite a guest post from some knowledgeable, unemotional person who could inform us with logic and history as to why we must reject or accept it, since 'Constitutionally' we are bound by it, anyway. (Let's face it, this fact does make the whole debate even more confusing to many here and — judging by frequent queries I get — to non-Muslim friends abroad who are wondering what all this is about, specially given the varying slants their own media offers.)
OK. As I understand it (and I am absolutely open to correction):
1. Qur'an is something that Muslims (generally - for I am beginning to see fissures here, too, and not just of 'interpretation') are agreed upon as The Source that all Muslims follow.
2. The Qur'an states that, other than Itself, Muslims follow the Sünnah — The Way
of the Prophet (again, many people mistake the Hadith as being an intrinsic part of the Sünnah ... but I would want to stay, for the sake of this discussion, with the clear-cut distinction of the terms).
3. The Hadith — with all it's shades from Zaeef
, and the even more arbitrary term, Qüdsi
— raises many questions, and not merely of authenticity (when one finds even the Saheehs
containing highly doubtful and debatable passages). I am more concerned with the Qur'an claiming, on the one hand, that it is 'simple to understand' and, on the other, believers
claiming that it is all but impossible to understand without the Hadith. I just wish that Allah's "followers" would at least accept that He knows better.
Remember, the Qur'an was being recited and preached in the marketplace and was being effective in converting audiences that included the illiterate and non-Arabs, so it could hardly be in an exclusive, high-flown, philosophy-ridddled language — a premise that some modern translators are beginning to consider.
As for the Hadith, here are some Qur'anic references to ponder. Forget how pro-Hadith translators have tried to 'cover up' by translating at is 'stories' or 'legends' or whatever … keep the Arabic before you and notice the use of the word, 'Hadith', or it's dervatives in the 'original'. (Surely, there are several words for stories and anecdotes in Arabic, a very rich language, but - just as surely - Allah must have reason to use a particular word is used at a specific instance.)
Such are the Signs of God, which We rehearse to thee in Truth; then in what Hadith will they believe after God and His Signs?
And among men are those who follow, instead, frivolous Hadith, diverting others from the path of Allah without knowledge … These have incurred a shameful retribution.
On at least a couple of other occasions this (or a minor variation) occurs: fabi ayyi hadeethin ba'adahu yu'minoon
(= Which Hadith, beside this, do they believe in?)
4. The Fiq'ah: Mainly refers to legalistic interpretations by FIVE accepted faqeehs
- FOUR among the Sünnis and ONE among the Shiaas.
I have often wondered why DID the Ümmah stop at five? I mean, the "accepted five" were explaining things, to the best of their ability and
with good intent, but according to their
times and personal müshaahidaat
(hence the makroohaat
, for example). So why can't there be a modern 'faqeeh', for our times, based on several further centuries of human experience, rather than mere splinter groups identifying themselves within
the fiqah of one of these five?
What about a "non-taqleedi" approach that allows one to choose whatever one's mind accepts from each of them?
And what of Ijtehaad?
So, the questions is, "Is the Shariah a combination of all of the above? Or a mere concoction by theocratic forces … to be interpreted for political gains and throttling 'opposition' however/whenever?"
Send guest-post to me including tiny url references where appropriate, by email. Others, please add your comments so that the guest-post writer can address your questions, too.
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