Today’s most controversial and arguably, harsh and authoritarian oppression of people is “The Sharia Law”. It’s back in the news since the Taliban took over Kabul. Now Taliban is thinking of governing Afghanistan on the ideology of Sharia Law.
There was a time in Afghanistan where the people were modern at par with the western world. When faith was a private matter, burkas were optional to women; men and women could travel together, women could wear western outfits, hijab was an option, they could step out without any ally or man just like a normal state.
But what changed at such a fast pace that the hijab became mandatory, western clothing has frowned upon, and clerics started dictating societal norms, the law started listening to the religious police, and civil rights become non-existential. And the answer is they came under Sharia law.
Many nations have accepted sharia law. Then why world fears that Sharia will take Afghanistan further back in time. Why do Afghan people fear this, and it’s so horrible they want to leave their nation?
First, what is Sharia Law?
Sharia is a religious forming part of the Islamic tradition.
This law derives from the precepts of Islam. The primary source is –
- Quran – the Holy Book of Islam.
- Sunnah – Deeds of Prophet Mohammad.
- Hadith – sayings of Prophet Mohmmad.
It is a vast collection of different, often conflicting interpretations of how God wants Muslims to live their lives. But there is no sole source of law book or no definite statute, or no set of judicial proceedings to determine in actuality what is Sharia.
FIQH is the Human Understanding of Sharia.
Sharia and FIQH are used interchangeably over time; it is crucial to understand that they have different meanings.
Sharia is considered Divine and Infallible.
FIQH is changeable and arguable.
These interpretations of Sharia gave birth to five schools of thought HANBALI, MALIKI, SHAFI, HANAFI, and JA’FRI.
JA’FRI is the Shia version of the Sharia, while another four belong to Sunni Islam. They are named after the Theologists and Jurists, or the men who interpreted Islamic text.
HANABALI is the smallest and strictest of them; its primary source is the Holy Book Quran, basically in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In comparison, the MALIKI school of Sharia relies on an independent understanding of the Quran. It is found in the western part of Africa.
The SHAFI’I School of Sharia relies on consensus over the understanding of the Quran. East Africa and Southeast Asia mainly follow it. Lastly, the HANAFI school is the earliest among other and the most flexible version for the Sharia. It relies both on consensus and independent reasoning.
HANAFI has the most significant number of followers worldwide; around 1/3rd of Muslims follow it. Most of the population lives in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
And then we have the JA’FRI school of thought only followed by Shia Muslims. It places at a receptacle place in the constitution of Iran. It also has many followers in Iraq and a small community of people following it worldwide.
As no religion is perfect and similarly, we have five different schools of Sharia. They are identical in the fundamentals of the faith. Still, they are divided by how they practice Islam, pray, resolve issues, marital disputes, and legal matters, and how they deliver their punishment.
How did these nations end up choosing Sharia as the law for governance?
Yes, no religion is perfect. Every religion has differences; they are ununiform.
The real problem begins when there is a mixture of religion with Governance. Many Muslim Majority nations thought of Sharia as the substitute for the law of the land, where the problem lies in Sharia.
Many Politicians, Religious Leaders, and Terrorists chose Sharia as the only way of living. And by tampering with the saying of the Prophet and Sharia, they kept their propaganda going as it is the way of living and not a way of Governance. And today, it is associated with political power.
When European nations started colonizing nations and when the church came in their way of Governance. For their benefit, they removed or separated the church from the crown and faith to further continue their interest. The same thing happened in Muslim Kingdoms.
When the European nations left these nations, the newly formed Muslim majority nations faced a dilemma should they govern based on previous Islamic values or embrace the laws inherited from colonial rule.
Mostly these Muslim-majority nations accepted Sharia as the basis of the legal justice system. It gave birth to all kinds of theocracies hardline and moderate counties like Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and many more.
Even a few nations that were not colonized by the west adopted Sharia, like Saudi Arabia in 1932 adopted Sharia, in 1978 Iran witnessed an Islamic revolution until then Iran was secular monarch after the course took place. The country then became the Islamic Republic.
In 1996, the Taliban seized Afghanistan, and they ruled the nation on the grounds of Sharia, and the horrific black days are still in the mind of Afghan nationals. Especially the women.
What makes Sharia acceptable in some countries and horrific in others?
It is the way countries enforce the law. Mainly, discriminatory and patriarchal aspects of the Sharia are selectively picked using certain verses from eh Quran and legalized for the practices.
The practices like Polygamy, Triple Talaq, Genital Mutation and others are forced on people with little or no basis in Islam. The Prophet did not even practice many of the laws enforced among the Sharia-based countries.
Who suffers the most? ‘Womens’
- In some countries, women can step out from home without an abaya or a veil. But Men can wear whatever they want.
- She cannot stand for President. In contrast, men can rule for their entire life.
- She is not allowed for abortion. At the same time, men can have four wives.
- She cannot drive.
- She cannot retain custody of their children after divorce.
- She gets half of what men’s brothers get awarded in inheritance.
All this in the name of God.
In the name of God
They have started wars, humanitarian crises, especially terror groups, have portrayed themselves as the only keeper of the faith. Religious scholars have crafted arguments to exploit people.
People who no or less understand Islam are recruited as foot soldiers to fight politically motivated wars. They are used as suicide bombers, terrorists, and others.
Some do it in the name of faith, some do it in the name of their motherland, some do it for their living, and some are just murderous.
But it is not Sharia that is the cause of the problem. Around 1.8 billion followers of Islam worldwide, accounting for 57 countries, accept Sharia as the way of their life.
All there is a need for people is to learn some beliefs that cannot be acceptable in the 21st century. Such a law should be removed out from the practices or subjected to revision. It should be done not to match western beliefs or being superior. But to justify the minority of the society and bring peace, justice, and happiness among self.
Also, when we search Sharia law on Google Search Engine, we get Men’s beating women. Men with Guns. Women in Burka, women and people protesting against and just chaos. Is this the image only image we know about Sharia?