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See: Project Rebuttal: What the West needs to know about Islam

Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

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List of all Issues | Summary 1 | Summary 2 | Summary 3‎ — completed, 28th June 2013


November 13th, 2012

Issue 78

Issue 78 [@1:19:45]: Robert Spencer – “Muslims who come to the United States and come to Western Europe, with an idea that Shariah is the law of Allah, they look upon our freedom of religion and they look upon the fact that non-Muslims are empowered in the United States and in Western Europe, making laws, making laws not on the basis of the law of Allah, but on the basis of consensus and free elections. They look upon all that as a manifestation of Jahaliyya, or unbelief, the pre-Islamic period of ignorance as the times in any nation’s history before it became Muslim is referred to. So that you have Pakistan and Iran and so on, they refer to the period of their history before they became Muslim as the period of Jahaliyya. They also consider the United States and Western Europe to be in periods of Jahaliyya today. Then many Muslims coming into the United States and Western Europe will work to establish Islamic states here on the basis of the idea that the secular state and the state based on elections has no legitimacy. You do not have elections about the law of Allah, you simply obey what God says.

Rebuttal 78: There is a simple answer to this rant of Spencer and that is plain NO, and what part of NO does he not understand? When was it even possible in history for a minority of no more than 0.8% of the population [of Muslims in USA] to be able to assert its interests and point of view on the rest of the 99.2%, unless and maybe the said minority controls the banks, stock market, media, the universities, the senate and the congress? Muslims in West do not control any of these assets. If he is still not convinced then he has to look no farther than August 30th, 2011 report of Pew Research entitled – “Muslim Americans: No Signs of Growth in Alienation or Support for Extremism.”

Spencer et al. have a special knack to not only distort and misquote verses of Quran and the Hadith, but he even goes further. He even distorts the meaning of a single word Jahaliyya. He equates it with “unbelief”, which is absurd, wrong and malicious as he tries to mould it to mean non-Islamic and with that he implies the West. This is a curse from his mouth to the West, not from Muslims. By any standards, West of today is not Jahaliyya. Jahaliyya means ignorance and refers to the state of lawlessness and barbarism rampant in the time period before Islam in Arabia, when male gender was exploitative of the females who essentially had no rights; lighter skin were enslavers of dark skin; non-Arabs were looked down upon as inferior; a few rich ruled and exploited the majority of poor; there was no check on the mighty; internacine warfare was pervasive; occupation and enslavement of enemies was common; there were no rules of war, every atrocity was fair game; usury, gambling, alcoholism, prostitution and debauchery were endemic etc.

Spencer is fabricating his assertion. He is preaching Xenophobia even against four-in-ten American born Muslim citizens, while the total population of all the Muslims in United States is less than 1%. Such an insinuation against its citizens would be a crime in any “modern” democracy as it is not “free speech” but “defamation.” He is equating Islam with non-Caucasian races. That is the fundamental malice of a lie that he is trying to imprint in the minds of the “Western” audience. Irony is that if he asks a Muslim immigrant in the West about his/her experience of Shariah in their country of origin, he might draw a blank as Shariah is hardly in place in any of the Muslim countries, which is a foremost failing. He might find fragmented distortions in the name of Shariah, but not Shariah of Quran. A failing, which for the lack of a better word is in itself Jahaliyya – ignorance. Shariah in its letter and spirit is far advanced and equitable in legal terms than the best of the Laws and Constitutions in the West. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations is the closest that any man made effort can approach Shariah, whereas Shariah is much more than that. Shariah provides a framework that encourages good and prevents evil in the society both for the individual and collectively for the masses, in all their spheres of living – personal, gender, age, marriage, family, education, workplace, trade, business, finance, transactions, inheritance, crime, justice, punishment, health, war, peace, freedoms, human rights, animal rights, faith, environment, international relations etc. etc.

Fact of the matter is that the roots of “good” in the Western society and its laws originate directly from the influence of Shariah, and this is not an empty assertion. To enjoin good and forbid evil in all its shades and contexts is the core purpose of Shariah. In secular terms if nothing else, Shariah not only confronts crime but also prevents it as well, while it encourages good citizenship:

3:104. And from among you there should be a community who invite to good and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. And these are they who are successful.

3:110. You are the best nation raised up for mankind: you enjoin good and forbid evil and you believe in Allah.

9:71-72. And the believers, men and women, are friends of one another. They enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer and give the due charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Surely Allah is Mighty, Wise. Allah has promised to the believers, men and women, Gardens, in which rivers flow, to abide in them, and goodly dwellings in Gardens of perpetual abode. And greatest of all is Allah’s goodly pleasure. That is the mighty achievement.

31:17-18. [Prophet Luqman addressing his son –] My son, keep up prayer and enjoin good and forbid evil, and bear patiently whatever befalls you. Surely this is a matter of great resolution. And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exultingly. Surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster. And pursue the right course in your going about and lower your voice. Surely the most hateful of voices is braying of donkeys.

24:55. Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will surely make them rulers in the earth as He made those before them rulers…

Until recently there was no concept of human rights in the West. Discrimination based upon skin color was the law of the land. Exploitation of the weak, be it of the individuals amongst their midst or the countries in farthest corners of the world was the right of the mighty in the West. Reverend Martin Luther King had to invoke marches just so that people of color could drink from the same fountains as the whites in the West, while they are still struggling even now for equal opportunities. Women too had to march and ask for their voting and property rights. Countries had to fight for their independence to rid the white rule. Middle East struggled for decades against their tyrant rulers that were and are still abetted by the West. Palestinians are a prime example of occupied and displaced people by no other than the West. What would Spencer term such a recent history, but Jahaliyya? It is this fundamental lack of equity, individually and collectively that dissipates under Shariah. If one looks at the state of affairs in the recent world history through the lens of Shariah with its high moral standards in Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet, one can quite confidently attribute – Jahaliyya to the East and Jahaliyya to West, though some more than the others.

In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson composed a draft of the Declaration of Independence that was adopted on July 4th the same year. When he wrote – We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, it was for sure agreed upon only for the White males to the exclusion of white women, African slaves, Native Americans and Chinese laborers. A great declaratory statement when separated from corresponding actions through the prism of history sounds so hollow. Such exclusive declarations only suit the fancies of their writers who belong to the group that it benefits. Same values were held by the white prime ministers of South Africa of yesteryears and now by the prime ministers of Israel. Just to remind Spencer in his own words, these assertions by former slave masters in the West and current apartheid upholders in the Middle East are “making laws not on the basis of the law of Allah, but on the basis of consensus and free elections.”

What Spencer is ignorant of is that what Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Declaration of Independence above is factually nothing but reflection of Shariah, with the difference that it applies to all genders, races, ages, social and economic classes, then, now and in the future. Surprised! (see Issues 65, 71)

Shariah is not a term or a practice to please a deity, but is the fabric into which is woven the equity and harmony in the society, where the ruler, the powerful and the wealthy are held to equal if not much higher accountability, yet individual responsibility is fully expected from each citizen, because a Muslim by the very definition of the word is ‘submitter’ to not only the Laws of the land, but to all the moral, spiritual and scientific laws, the source of all of which is God Himself.

West has tried every conceivable ism – Paganism, Hellenism, Catholicism, Monarchism, Colonialism, Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Capitalism and now Atheism. One after another, each one of them has failed the mankind. One common trait of most of these isms is their servitude of the masses that they tried to serve. Before it was bondage of person, now it is bondage of debt under Capitalism. One has to ask as to why it is okay to speak of Caucasian as a race in the West, but it is a derogatory term to mention Negro as people. Is it the fault of the latter for their skin color or the moral repentance of the West for its institutions of slavery and apartheid? It is against the backdrop of such exploitation and inequality of the masses that we see “Occupy Wall Street” movements globally. One aspect that sets apart Shariah from all these isms is the freedom from servitude that it guarantees, because if God made man free, so must His laws as well.

This documentary which was made in 2006 was one of the orchestrated preludes in the anti-Sharia fear mongering. This concerted wave of phobia ultimately resulted in passage of anti-foreign law (read anti-Sharia) constitutional amendment in Oklahoma in 2010. It was struck down this past January [2012], with a federal court ruling that lawmakers failed to “identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve.” This legalized anti-Sharia attempt is dealt with for its detail and context in the following article which can be read from the link. Only the excerpt of its summation is reproduced below:

The True Story of Sharia in American Courts by Abed Awad, June 13, 2012, The Nation

The US constitutional system is built on managing the tensions in our pluralistic society between strong religious and secular principles. Whether through reasonable religious accommodation in the workplace or treating religion as a form of freedom of expression, our legal system is well equipped to balance conflicts between church and state.

Of course, the anti-Sharia crusade is not about the careful consideration of constitutional principles; it is about discrimination and bigotry. Take the Oklahoma anti-Sharia statute, which was written in a way that makes it clearly unconstitutional. In a New York Times profile of attorney David Yerushalmi—“The Man Behind the Anti-Shariah Movement”—Yerushalmi openly admitted that his anti-Sharia campaign had an ulterior motive that went beyond the statutes themselves. “If this thing passed in every state without any friction, it would have not served its purpose,” he said. “The purpose was heuristic—to get people asking this question, ‘What is Shariah?’” This question was meant to render Muslims suspect and their faith threatening to the rest of us.

In addition to trying to pass anti-Sharia laws across the country, Yerushalmi and his allies are busy clogging the federal courts with frivolous lawsuits. In one, filed on behalf of former US Marine Kevin Murray, Yerushalmi alleged that the Treasury’s bailout of AIG violated the establishment clause of the Constitution because of the corporation’s sale of Sharia-compliant financial products. The lawsuit argued that Sharia “forms the basis for the global jihadist war against the West and the United States” and “sends a message to [Mr. Murray], who is a non-adherent to Islam, that he is an outsider.” On June 1, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected the lawsuit.

As November approaches, the anti-Sharia movement is likely to play a role in attempting to defeat President Obama. While a 2010 Pew national survey found that nearly one out of five Americans believed that Obama is a Muslim, among Republicans the number was around 31 percent.

The far-right rhetoric of the GOP, with its Islamophobic fictions highlighted during the primary debates, lives on in Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team. Walid Phares, one of Romney’s key terrorism policy advisers and a Fox News regular, has been touting the “mortal threat” posed by Islam. Commenting on the danger of Sharia last year, he said, “The most concerning to me is not the actual Sharia document. What is concerning to me are the networks that are using it.” Through front groups, NGOs and lobbying, he explained, these networks are not only spreading Sharia but seeking to exert political influence at home and abroad. “This influence that the Islamists have in the United States is an issue,” he said, “and it should be an issue raised in the debate, including in this very hot presidential contest this year.” In other words, fabricate a “mortal threat,” then stoke the flames of ignorance and hate in order to win elections—that’s the real truth behind the anti-Sharia movement.

One wonders as to how the documentary can speak for a homogenous West, while the laws that govern their societies are so varied and opposite. For example, it is crime to possess Marijuana in the United States, while it is legal to smoke it in Holland. Same goes for the prostitution. It is acceptable to hoard anonymous wealth in Switzerland, but not so in other European and North American countries. These simple examples prove that there is no uniformity of moral thinking, ethics and justice in the manmade laws of Spencer’s West. This paradox of laws in the West and the influence of Islam on its legal systems, while explaining Sharia, are discussed by Dr. Doi in a two part paper, of which the first part is reproduced below:

Shariah and the Common Law – I by Dr. Abdul Rahman I. Doi [The Light, p. 16-20, 22-25, September 24, 1983 – pdf download]

I have carefully tried to avoid the use of word “comparison” while discussing the definitions and role of the Shariah and the Common Law since there is absolutely no comparison between the two. One is man-made while the other is revealed by Allah, our Creator. In a world still reeling from a bloody war, the thought that Shariah, a system of law, which came into existence through living Revelation, could reorder the universe seems just short of miraculous simply because it has never been fully tried except in the glorious period of the Righteous Caliphs and then in the times of Umar bin Abdul Aziz of the Umayyad dynasty who is rightly given the status of a Righteous Caliph. However, the recent interest in the Muslim world to try Shariah once again may turn out to be a blessing, and that Shariah may prove to be a peace-maker in individual, collective, national and international lives of men.

Shariah literally is the path leading to the right path, path towards Allah, the Creator, path to justice to fellowmen and to Allah. Real justice in Islam lies in going ‘right’ (maruf) and avoiding ‘wrong’ (munkar) as laid down by Allah through Divine Revelations and through the conduct of the Prophet, the most ideal man (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Shariah thus becomes the ultimate criterion of justice and mercy given to the Prophet of mercy: “We have not sent you but as a Mercy for all the worlds”{1}. The Shariah thus aims at creating a most humane and just society once its basic concepts, objectives and framework are understood.

The Common Law, English and American, the continental law like French, Greek, German or even Russian law are all products of human imaginations according to the need of their societies, reforming them through trials and errors as time passed. It goes without saying, though I will say it anyway, that even the most lofty and respectable theories of human motivation from psychiatrists, biologists, legal theorists and philosophers of all kinds must always be treated by serious scholars as suspect. The basis of all their thoughts, discussions, arguments, contributions and innovations is nothing but imagination, pure and simple. They work out in their imagination “what would happen and why,” which may coincidentally come true but not always. The theories they may put forward to reform a man may debase him, disgrace him or make him feel free that he may overdo what he did before. Hence, those who base all their writings on human imaginations and experience accept unquestionably someone else’s formulation of how and why people behave, thus dramatising someone else’s theory, that of Aristotle, Plato, John Austin, Hans Kelsen, Roscoe Pound, Salmond, Savigny Ehirich, Karl Marx, Lauterpacht, Dicey, Ghering, Oppenheim and hordes of others.

At times, it is argued that Muslim jurists also use their reasoning and hence make their imaginations very very active at Ijtihad through the employment of Qiyas, analogical deductions, and taking into consideration Masalih al-Mursalah or public good. It should be understood at the outset that the judges (Quddat) differ merely in the interpretation of law and not in the revealed body of law. The differences of opinion are discussed by the ‘Ulama, the learned, and an Ijma, consensus is then struck. “Christianity” on the other hand; says Huston Smith, “is such a complex phenomenon that it is difficult to say anything significant about it that will carry the assent of all Christians” {2?}. The same is true of other religious and religious scholars.

Ijtihad must not be misconstrued as merely a matter of imagination, personal belief and conscience, it is a process based on the ultimate authority derived from some rule either from a Quranic injunction or some Sunnah of the Prophet, which may have some bearing on the case in question. Since Revelation is not opposed to reason, reason is employed to explain the rule derived from the injunction. Allah has Himself praised those who possess intelligence and reason. This is the reason why Imam Muhammad Idris al-Shafii has used the word Ijtihad synonymously with the word Aql, meaning intellect or reason {3?}.

Real Difference

Shariah, in reality, is the body of rules of conduct revealed by Allah to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) the Last of the Apostles of Allah. It is through the practice of this body of Law that people are directed to, lead their life successfully in this world as well as achieve Allah’s pleasure and be successful in the Hereafter. The Shariah is not given by any ruler or king. It always remains valid whether or not it is recognised by any state. It is comprehensive and encompasses all aspects of law, personal, constitutional, criminal, mercantile and international law. The sources of the Shariah are the Quran and the Sunnah and not the traditions and customs of the land.

As against this background, we shall quote some definitions of common law experts who are respected in the realm of law and are quoted constantly by lawyers throughout the world:

Salmond says: “Law may be defined as the body of principles recognised and applied by state in the administration of justice.”

John Austin says: “Law is the rule of action which is made by a ruler for his subjects.”

Savigny says “Law is the collective conscience of the society. Their main emphasis is on customs and traditions.”

The above definitions of law are grossly inconsistent and misleading. With these definitions at the back of one’s mind, law becomes merely “a part of the political system of nation” {4?}. These definitions suit more a legal system of a tribal society or a definite nation. Shariah on the contrary has a global application, applicable to all Muslim societies and non-Muslims living with them, irrespective of time and place.

I won’t address the paradox of searching the religious law in all religious systems that raises doubt about ‘law’ itself. Suffice it to say that I think the question interesting to those obviously, who research on various legal systems in different religions, I should add that I am thinking primarily of ‘great religions’ of the world although much of what say is relevant to all religions and religious movements. After the decline of Hamurabi’s law and Roman law, the Mosaic Law and then Biblical law based on Jewish and Christian scriptures occupied very prominent position in the world. But soon, these laws appeared too harsh. They kept on changing as they were fused with Roman law which ultimately overshadowed the religious law. Roman law was manmade law in which imaginations and experience played an important role. The other national and International legal systems which developed later and whose definition we have examined before are based on Roman law and are devoid of religious teachings, either of Judaism or Christianity except for a low semblances here and there.

Dawn of Islam

At the dawn of Islam, the world scene changed with the teachings of the Prophet. It is essential here to draw a picture of the condition of the surrounding nations in relation to the city of Makkah and the city state of Madinah established by the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, after the Hijrah, in 622 C.E. This Muslim State had its own legal system, the Shariah, with complete provisions for law and order. The Muslims and non-Muslims were, treated so justly that on many occasions Muslims were punished if they were found guilty in the litigations brought against them by the non-Muslims.

Marmaduke Pickthall, an English Muslim, depicts the condition of the surrounding states who professed Christianity, Judaism or Zoroastrianism in the following words:

“The surrounding nations, the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Mesopotamians and the Persians were ninety per cent slaves. And they had always been in that condition. The coming of Christianity to some countries had not improved their status. It was the religion of the rulers and imposed upon the rank and file. Their bodies were still enslaved by the nobles, and their minds still enslaved by the priests. Only the ideal of Christianity, so much of it as leaked through to them, had made the common people dream of freedom in another life. There was luxury among the nobles, and plenty of that kind of culture which is symptomatic not of progress but of corruption and decay. The condition of the multitude was pitiable. The tidings of our Prophet’s embassies to all the neighbouring rulers, inviting them to give up superstitions, abolish priesthood and agree to serve Allah only, and the evil treatment given to his envoys, must have made some noise in all those countries; still more the warlike preparations which were being made for the destruction of the new religion. The multitudes were no doubt warned that Islam was something devilish and that Muslims would destroy them. And then the Muslims swept into the land as conquerors, and by their conduct won the hearts of all those peoples”{5}.

“In the whole history of the world till then, the conquered had been absolutely at the mercy of the conqueror, no matter how complete his submission might be, no matter though he might be of the same religion as the conqueror. That is still the theory of war outside Islam. But it is not the Islamic theory. According to the Muslim Laws of War, those of the conquered people who embraced Islam became the equals of the conquerors in all respects. And those who chose to keep their old religion had to pay a tribute for the cost of their defence, but after that enjoyed full liberty of conscience and were secured and protected in their occupations”{6}.

As time passed, the Jews, Christians and the Zoroastrians abandoned their religious laws, and framed secular legal systems in which the teachings of Islam played an important role. While looking at the manmade law it comes to one’s mind that an essential factor for any legal system to be accepted and effective globally is its unanimous and uniform standard of right and wrong without which verification will become impossible. Once such standard exists then it becomes easier to draw knowledge from that standard. The Shariah has this standard which is unanimously accepted in the entire Muslim world and which provides the criteria of truth and falsehood. This standard is the Quran and the Sunnah which are to be accepted by every Muslim jurist if at all he is a Muslim. When one looks at the definitions of Common Law given by Western scholars like the one propounded by John Austin, it categorically says: “Law is that rule or action which is made by ruler for his subjects.” This pronouncement may hold true in respect of statutory law only but certainly would not cover the personal law and other aspects of law.

The Shariah, on the contrary, is a comprehensive legal system which takes care of all aspects of law, in spite of various schools of Islamic jurisprudence practised in it. The four Sunni Schools of law, the Hanafi, the Maliki, the Shafii and the Hanbali schools as well as the Shia schools are all alike and none of them will transform what is unlawful (Haram) into lawful (Halal) or what is not obligatory into obligatory. The marginal differences would only be found in supererogatory matters. The Shariah not only aims at goodwill and beneficence towards all men but also encourages to develop a worldwide outlook. There is not one standard and one law for the Muslims and another for the outsiders. In the kingdom of Allah there are no favourites. “The sacred law is one for all, and non-Muslims, who conform to it, are more fortunate than professed Muslims who neglect or disobey its precepts. In Islam all men are judged by conduct both in this world and the next”{7}. The other problem which is obvious in the manmade law is the hairsplitting division in the theories of law like Positivism and Idealism. The former concentrates on “what law is” while the latter insists on “what law ought to be.” While studying the words of the champions of the positivism like Austin, Kelsen, Jhering, Jellinek and others one gets the impression that the law is divorced from justice and has been rendered merely an apparatus of compulsion to which no political or ethical value is attached. Another limitation of positivism theorists is its acute characterization of criminal law only while ignoring private litigation and prosecution. This has built an artificial tension within the circle of positivists. The Shariah, on the contrary, is free from this intellectual jargon because it sticks to its standard, the revelation from Allah.

Islam’s Contribution

While reading the preface of Salmond’s Law of Torts, one comes to realise how inhuman and unjust a law was prevalent in Europe in the 18th century of Christian Era. If an accident occurred by a horse drawn cart, the horse, the driver, the cart and the passenger sitting in it were all to be punished. The later introduction of the famous Magna Carta about which English jurists take so much pride was gift of King John to the Barons since he had witnessed a lot of dissatisfaction among them. It was prepared in 1215. While it spoke of the benefits of the Barons, it even failed to mention the common man in the street. The real achievement was to come in the 17th century of the Christian Era when the Declaration of the Rights of Man was introduced during the French Revolution speaking of man’s right to Equality before the law, Right to hold property and Right of Freedom. These rights were not new to the Shariah, Islamic legal system {8}. The Quran, the Sunnah and the Holy Prophet’s famous Farewell Pilgrimage Address (Khutbah Hajjat al-Wida) have spoken of these rights in a very great detail, and which were fully put into practice in the Islamic state of Madinah before 632 C.E., the date of death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It is not merely a conjecture nor a bright idea to please the Muslim world of today, but it is a fact of history that Muslims had come up to France, Gibralter (Jabal al-Tariq), and had established their long drawn rule in Spain (Andlus) and later in Malta ruled by the Aghlabides. Long before the French Revolution, Granada (Gharnata) and Cordova (Qaratbah) had become famous as great seats of Islamic learning. The writings of the Maimonide schools established by the Jewish scholar Musa bin Maimun, who was tutored by Muslim scholars, bears a stamp of Islamic thought and culture. Likewise, Islamic Philosophy, Law and Science made a great impact on Europe through great Spanish Muslim scholars’ writings {9}. Guillaume, a Jewish scholar, often attacking Islam, has still to say the following about the contribution of Islamic scholarship on European thought:

“Scholars from the, West visited Spain to learn Philosophy, Mathematics, Astronomy and Medicine. The oldest European Universities owe an enormous debt to those scholars who returned from Spain bringing with them the knowledge they had gained at the Arab Universities of that country” {10}.

A lot has been written about Islamic contribution to the development of the social philosophy of 18th century Europe. Here we are specifically concerned about the contribution of Shariah to the development of the modern European legal system. Going through the Muwatta of Imam Malik bin Anas, the founder of the Maliki school of Islamic Jurisprudence and then comparing it with the modern French Law, one comes across striking similarities in most of its provisions. It should be remembered that Imam Malik’s Muwatta is not only a book of Jurisprudence but it is one of the most authentic collections of the Ahadith of the Noble Prophet. Whatever the legal issues are discussed by Imam Malik in Muwatta are based on the Ahadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Thus, the influence on the French Law is not only that of Muwatta of Imam Malik but that of the Hadith, the second most important source of Shariah. How did this influence of Muwatta come on the French Law? There are two sources, one, the predecessors of the modern French jurists learnt jurisprudence in Spain where, during the Muslim rule, the Maliki system of Islamic jurisprudence and law was practised and the Muwatta of Imam Malik was read with the highest esteem by the jurists, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Two, Napoleon Bonaparte, during his conquest of Egypt especially read Muwatta of Imam Malik among other Islamic literature {11}. The code Napoleon which came to be compiled later bears a great deal of resemblance with the Shariah Law.

When one engages in tracing and clearly delineating the role that religion has played during successive epochs of the cultural life of the European people, it becomes quite evident that Reformation was initiated as a revolt against the universal authority of the anachronistic Catholic Church. It was launched purposely to purify the church of all evil practices. Later on, it assumed the form of rebellion against everything which claimed to put any restrictions on man’s activities. Man was encouraged to apply the critical power of reason without theological predications and restraint to all his thoughts, beliefs and institutions, and to reject everything which came into conflict with his materialistic view of life and universe. The real contribution in bringing about positive attitude towards life rather than living under the burden of corrupt monasticism was brought about through the teachings and preachings of Martin Luther {12}. Martin Luther rebelled against the evils of the Catholic Church as a result of his deep study of Islam and Muslims living in neighbouring countries. It is a well-known fact, that Martin Luther read constantly Islamic History and was a good scholar of Arabic language” {13}.

As John William Draper has rightly observed, “the Muslims overran the dominions of Science (all branches of scientific studies) as quickly as they overran the realms of their neighbours” {14}.

The focus of Muslim scholars’ scientific studies was only one: “The ardent desire to gain a deeper understanding of the world as created by Allah; an acceptance of the physical universe as not inferior to the spiritual but covalid with it”{15}. Thus, in Islam, Religion, Philosophy, Law and Science did not go their separate way; in fact, Islam provided one of the main incentives for these studies. Justice was hence not to be meted out to individuals and societies alone, but it was to be done to reform one’s very thought pattern also. Apart from the application of all branches of law with equity and justice in the Muslim state it was essential that justice was to be done in respect of Muslims’ dealings with non-Muslims, non-Muslim states, non-Muslim neighbours and so on and so forth. Following this line of thought, a number of books were written by Muslim scholars. The masterpiece on this subject was Imam Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Shaibani’s famous work Siyar al-Kabir which was further embellished by its first commentary named Sharh al Siyar al-Kabir written by Al-Sarakhshi {16}.

When compared, the work of these great Muslim jurists with the works of Grotius on International Law, written in the 17th century, and claimed to be the first book on this subject, and the famous Oppenheim’s International Law, one discovers that the works of Imam Shaibani and its commentary by Sarakhshi are far more comprehensive although the latter were written as early as in the 11th century of the Christian Era. On the subject of the conflict of Laws {I7}, Ibn Qayyum’s work Ahkam ahl al-Dhimmah has no parallel till today. One can quote many other works on Islamic law written by great Muslim scholars which have influenced the Western legal systems but it is beyond the scope or this paper.

1. The Qur’an, 21:107.
2. Smith, Huston, The Religions of Man, p. 301.
3. Al-Shafii, Muhammad Idris, Risalah Translated by Majid Khadduri, Baltimore 1961.
4. Wright (Lord), Interpretation of Modern Legal Philosophies, p. 794.
5. Pickthall, Marmaduke, Cultural Sides of Islam, Lahore 1976 p. 25.
6. Pickthall, Marmaduke, Cultural Sides of Islam, Lahore 1976 p. 26.
7. Ibid., p. 23.
8. For a detailed study on these rights under Shariah, see Doi, A. R. I., Non-Muslims under Shariah, Maryland 1979.
9. For further details, see Averroes et Averroism.
10. Guillaume, A., Islam, p. 85.
11. Ch. Abdullah, Al-Muqaranat al-Tashri’yyah 4 vols. Cairo (undated).
12. Ch. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethics and the spirit of Capitalism, Translated from German by Talcott Parsons.
13. Gilani, Riazul Hassan, The Reconstruction of Legal Thought in Islam, Lahore 1977, p. 5.
14. Draper, J. W., The latellectual Development of Europe, London 1875, vol. 1, p. 335.
15. London, Room, Islam and the Arabs, London 1958, pp. 165-166.
16. Al-Sarakhshi, Abubakr Muhammad, Shark Siyar al-Kabir, 4 vols.
17. For further details cf. Doi, A.R Non-Muslims under Shariah, Maryland 1979.

Shariah and the Common Law – II by Dr. Abdul Rahman I. Doi [The Light, p. 11-14, October 8, 1983 – pdf download]

In Religion of Islam, p.263-587, Muhammad Ali elaborates on the Laws and Regulation of Islam, under major headings of Prayer, Zakat or Charity, Saum or Fasting, Hajj or Pilgrimage, Jihad, Marriage, Acquisition and Disposal of Property, Inheritance, Debts, Food, Drinks, Hygiene, Penal Laws, The State, Ethics.

References:

{curly braces, enclose the footnote reference. Use of “?” is a best guess location of footnote that is missing in the original referenced material}

The Future of the Global Muslim Population – Pew Research
Muslim Americans: No Signs of Growth in Alienation or Support for Extremism – Pew Research
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – The United Nations
Declaration of Independence – United States
Occupy Wall Street – Wikipedia
The True Story of Sharia in American Courts by Abed Awad, The Nation
Shariah and the Common Law – I by Dr. Abdul Rahman I. Doi, The Light, September 24, 1983 – pdf download]
Shariah and the Common Law – II by Dr. Abdul Rahman I. Doi, The Light, October 8, 1983 – pdf download]
Religion of Islam by Muhammad Ali
Holy Quran – Muhammad Ali, edited by Zahid Aziz

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