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View Diary: In Defense of Sharia (33 comments)

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  •  People tend to not fully understand what Sharia is (4+ / 0-)

    As Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, an American and one of the most important Islamic scholars in the West, says (and I'm paraphrasing): Rather than looking at Islamic law as a monolithic system that was set from on high, it must be recognized as divine principles given to us and interpreted as justly as possible by men.

    The principles of Islamic law are not so different than the principles of the natural law that is the basis of Western legal systems.  In both systems, men do their best to interpret the most just way to deal with any given situation.

    The principles mentioned by Shaykh Hamza are, of course, taken from the Koran for Muslims and from the Bible for Christians.  Things such as the ten commandments, for example...but also things like dietary laws, laws regarding marriage and the treatment of women, laws governing sacrifices, fasting, etc.  As you point out, some of these laws seem rather barbaric to our 21st century sensibilities.  When a Westerner speaks of "Sharia" or "Islamic law", 90% of the time it seems they are thinking of things like cutting off the hands of thieves, or stoning people, or so-called "honor killings" (which is against Islam by the way).

    Granted, there are fundamentalist nations that enforce such barbarities.  But the great majority of Muslims believe Islam is a living religion, by which I mean the interpretation of those laws change over time as history progresses.  They don't believe in things such as cutting off the hands of thieves, but rather believe in modern forms of criminal justice for such offenses.

    I guess I'm just trying to say that Westerners tend to over-react to the word "Sharia", simply because it has been used...or I should say extremists who are all of 1% of all Muslims.

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