Islamic Law (Sharī'ah & Qu´ran) Origins

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Middle Eastern Civilization: Islamic Law

By Michael Johnathan McDonald
Copyright © 2004

When one takes a religious person and places him in the command of authority, position of power or rule of law over the land, he must make his decisions based upon a prophet who had received Gods revelations. When that prophet delivers his set of beliefs, values, and practices, claiming it as the law of the land, to his chosen target base and bases his or her own interpretation on revelations, from a divine being, or God, then ultimately the prophet is mixing his or her own infallibility of that message onto society.

Law in the Islamic world has not progressed toward a separation of church and state. Therefore, religious leaders have a large sway in the politics of the Arab-Islamic world. So much so that the emotionalism that faith of any particular religion brings will cloud pragmatically decisions needed to run any a civilization. In the beginnings laws were created by families, then tribes, to protect their own people. Later laws protected the community of many families who decided to live together. Laws were important so that the community could protect their own power. Over time various tribes within a certain area warred too often bringing a necessity to either unify or keep on warring forever. Religions played a central role in taking out the human aspect of who would be the ultimate leader of those groups and placing it onto an unforeseen identity in which ideals ran those unified groups. The same can be said of most of the religious institutions that begun in history. Usually one or two people began a religion and later others set up laws to govern and protect that new religion, i.e. protect their tribal power. As people began to populate and settle down a new invention emerged pushing the groups into comminutes and ultimately settling down to create civilizations. Religion played a large part in unifying large groups of tribes, and or communities in these new civilizations. Yet, not everyone believed in religion as an idea. This eventually led to civic laws that covered the behavior of all people in society. This eventually begot a need by the proponents of theocracy to institutionalize religion and combine there two separate ideals. Institutionalized religions have always been set against a group of laws constituting its base for expansive as well as comprehensive control of a group of peoples. This did not play well with civic law. There were, in fact, too many people that did not have faith in the unforeseen. Faith was the backbone of religion, yet law's backbone was not faith. The two should not be entwined. Many people resented being forced to believe in a deity not in the physical.  There are always a percentage of people who would never have faith in a religion. Yet they had to comply with the laws of the civics.  There are many questions that came up in society that have nothing to do with faith of that religion. This is evident in all cases in history in civilizations. Problems must be solved by a practical system. Usually religion is not a practical system. Usually religion is practiced with zeal or conscientious devotion, whereas law is practiced with patience and pragmatic solutions for the good of the civilization.

Civilizations are combinations of institutions and ideas by which a large number of people conduct their complex-collective way of life over an extended period of time. In order for a civilization to run smoothly it needs basic common sense laws.  As religion progressed some advanced in separating the zeal or conscientious devotion and common sense while others chose to keep the two entwined. The progressive religions allowed for inclusion of diversity of groups to join its folds as the other regressive religions kept to themselves remaining exclusive to who could join its folds by law. They felt threatened they would lose their power.  As populations of the earth grew and people began to fill up the lands there came needs for diverse religions to join international laws to govern basic needs to run civilizations. This is evident in the world community in which we all live now.

For the Islamic movement that came out of the Middle Ages the new religion of the world stage chose to keep its law in the hands of the word of God. At the same time in the west, the Catholic Church was beginning to exert itself as the law on the main continent of Europe. It would be about 500 more years before the real separation of Church and State movements began in England to make baby steps to separate themselves in society in the west that we enjoy today. When Muhammad unified the Arabs under his new religion, he brought forth the only laws he knew of at the time. Those of Arab decent, being theocratic heritage, and the many Jewish tribes living in Medina at the time who also lived a theocratic lifestyle, were his examples of civics. For Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, Law and Religion were inseparable. The ideas of separation of church and state had not come into play yet in history until well after the Islamic law code was codified.

Before Muhammad died he had planned on dictating an addition of the Qu'ran. & Much of it was recorded before hand at the various friends during Muhammad�s conquests, mainly his secretary who was a fifteen year old boy, named Zaid ibn Thabit, who wrote it all down (120,000 words in all) equivalent to a book of three hundred pages on bones and stones that lay around the living quarters of Muhammad and his wives and many concubines� (Fergosi 61). Muhammad had said prior to his death that he [...] "would issue an addition to the Qu´ran to prevent his disciples from lapsing into error" What errors are these? This statement has long troubled some Muslims" (Fergosi 61).

"An Unscrupulous scribes inserted their own verses into the suras. A sura is any of the 114 chapters or sections of the Qu´ran. One of the most famous Qu´ran falsifiers was named Abdullad ibn Saad, who later became an admiral and commanded the Muslim expedition to Cyprus in 649, when a young man wrote his own verse in the revelations that Muhammad was dictating to him, perhaps to enliven the unwise enough to tell his friends in Medina the story of his misdeeds as if it were a great joke. This story of indiscretion was repeated to an enraged Muhammad and the Prophet, who was not man enough to forgive an offence lightly, particularly if it made him look ridiculous, tried to have the man murdered" (Fergosi 62).

The young man ran as fast as he could to Mecca to escape the assassination. It would be Othman [Uthman], Muhammad's son in law, who would manage to win him a pardon.

The final version of the Qu'ran came in four different versions. Still more variations would be delivered down the pike until three of the versions are destroyed on purpose the self controlled version kept by Uthman ( third rightly guided caliph)  who established the first published version of the Qu´ran (Koran). He decides that the other three versions were not to his liking. This is the one we have today. Some scholars believe the Qu'ran was like a news paper gathering of what Muhammad had said. Like journalists recording the Prophet�s daily thoughts and meetings he held. Not all Muslims are convinced about the eternal, uncreated and nonchangable nature of the Qu'ran.

At first the Qu'ran was the main book of a source for guidance of the Islamites, but after new problems arose for Islam and nothing in the Qu'ran could be cited to guide them, the leaders of the movement decided to look toward the collected traditions of the reports and sayings of the Prophet outside of the Qu'ran. In addition, new converts wanted to know more about Muhammad, the man himself, and the collected body of traditions was a subsidiary authority to the Qu'ran. For the first century and a half after Muhammad has passed on the Qu'ran was alone in its legal authority. The Hadith  (a�hadith) had to be verified for the many stories that were gathered and to put together to form the  Hadith.  The Hadith is the record of sayings of the Prophet Muhammad's precepts (deeds), actions, and life, which constitute his Sunna. This was also together with the tradition of its chain of transmission. There was one main goal in authenticating the traditions. This was called the “chain of authority”.  Who heard what from whom? This eventually split the Arabs into different camps. The Sunni�s and Shiites, already split by political disputes, then various other off-shoots, all disputed what the chain of authority was.

�At the time of Muhammad’s death (632) there were no less than 600,000 stories of the Muhammad. �Al-Bukhari, the most famous of the researchers a little more than two hundred years after Muhammad had gone throughout some 593,000 of them. We can only imagine what was in them. The surviving 7,275 anecdotes were gathered in a book which he called “The Correct Book” [Hadith] (Fergosi 64). Although, the system to ascertain the authenticity of what is called the traditions was highly disputed even unto today. �One gentleman called Ibn Abi al-Awja, who was put to death in Iraq in 772, confessed before his execution that he had made up no fewer than four thousands traditions� of Muhammad for print (Fergosi 64).

Early in Islam groups accused scholars and leaders on the validity of the Qu´ran. These groups fought for the establishment of secularism in Islamic conquered territories. There were many problems with tolerance of others and this created many problems in administrating conquered lands.  Conquered peoples revolted over the strictness of the codes of exclusiveness of privilege found the Qu´ran. The subjects were treated like slaves and taxed heavily by their masters. This placed a burden on the Umyyads, the rulying dynasty at the time.  Many changes in society were needed as subjects, and some arabs began to revolt in disfavor of the new standards of the Qu´ranic law.  Umar II (Ruled 717-720) an Umayyad Caliph realized that the domination of one ethnic caste over the other peoples was anachronistic. The animosity between the Arabs and the non-Arabs would have to be dissolved. He brought in the term Muslimization. This meant that inorder to the conqured people  to become unified and work as a whole for the good of the civilization, they would have to convert to Islam. The inclusion of divere groups was slowly allowed, yet they would not become full citizens even after converting to Islam. Much of this plaed out in the interpretations of the Qu´ran and the leaders who followed it to the point. Frankly the Qu´ran did not  deem people who were not Islamic to be  honest and thus some played the view that sinse they were not Islamic by birth then the could not be trusted by the administration of being practitioners of Islam. This ment they were allowed many privleges except from a special subject tax and full citizenship. Full citizenship brought speacil priledges only for Islamites. Under extreme political pressure ( That  is religious as well) Umar had to enforce the Sharia. He had to clamp down on apostates.  While Umar's reign was very short, he was considered one of the finest caliphs in Islamic History, second only to the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs. Although, many muslims now being educated by influence of the conqured terrirtories saw that exclusiveness of the religion in the Qu´ran brought heavy societal trobles.

As early as 757, less than a century after Muhammad's death, the Muthazilites arose, a group of theologians,  who denied that the Qu'ran was eternal and asserted that when its contents went against reason and common sense, it should be read symbolically only. They helped create and an atmosphere of the separation of Church and state withing the capital of the Abbasids. This thesis was tolerated for less than a hundred years;  but in 847 Al-Mutawakkil Ala Allah Jafar bin al-Mu'tasim, an Abbasid Caliph who was unlike his brother and father who tolorated divercity changed the toloration standards, either under pressure by religious factions, such as the shiites, or general sentament between the citizens who thought that their power was daminishing in the face of divercity.  In addition, Al-Mutawakkil was not known for having a thirst for knowledge. He declared the Muthazilites belief heretical and that the eternal existence of the Qu'ran was the law of the land. The Muthazilites  lost and so did Islam. The Abbasid Empire slowly eroded as the somewhat separation of Church and State was abolished completely and foreigners were persecuted. For the early Islamic period the Abbasid capital of Baghdad progressed to the closest point of what is known as a free society. As for the problem that ultimately brought it down, was religious fundamentalism. To day we see this as political fundamentalism that some religious organizations try to enforce political views on the state. The Law won out, but it was not the law that won but Religion mixed with law. Still as many saw the problems with theocracy, and the difficulties that the Qu´ran has little to do with law during this period Islamites turned to the collected traditions that later became one in authority to the Qu´ran.

As the traditionalists were collecting traditions and attempting to clarify who said what to whom. A man, who some called a genius, came out and called out all disputing parties that when people spoke of the Book of Wisdom (referred to the Qu'ran) one who also include the collected traditions of Muhammad as a code of Law ( The Correct Book). Al-Shāfi‘i made his voice clear to the Islamites, even though others had been stating this for some time. Thus was born Islamic Law. Yet, the leaders had more sway than the intellectuals of the day; for they had recognized some of the books that compiled the body of tradition, which had grown tremendously and enormously, as fabricated. This was a statement to how important the traditional sayings had become. Some were so obviously fictitious that they were pulled out. Others, cleverer to the undedicated could clearly pass. It is not know how much is really credited to be Muhammads words known that much of his recordings were on bones lying about because their was no paper to write down his daily sayings. However, the Hadith  (a‘hadith) is a major source for Islamic law and its importance is paramount in understanding Islam in general.

"Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i (d. 819) was concerned about the variety of doctrine and sought to limit the sources of law and establish a common methodology for all schools of Islamic law.3 His efforts resulted in the systemization of usul al-fiqh, the following four sources of Islamic law: the Quran; the sunna or tradition of the Prophet; qiyas or analogies; ijma or unanimous agreement. Throughout history these sources were used in descending order by Muslim jurists in determining the legality of an issue. If the legality was not based on an explicit command in the Quran, then the jurists turned to look for explicit commands in the hadith, and so on"( The Muslims Women League).

Unlike the Hadith, The Qu'ran contains little perspective legislation but contains many principles and schemata for morality. The Hadith provides the day to day sayings of the prophet almost written as newspaper accounts in which much law is interpreted through his daily decision makings (The Hadith is the record of sayings of the Prophet Muhammad's precepts (deeds), actions, and life, which constitute his Sunna). This helps the Theocratic movement to guide their law system. Authenticating the sources for Muhammad's words became an extremely important institution. An elaborate system of chain of commands on who told what to who reads like a maze.  In the Islamic religion, the Sahaba are the companions of the Prophet Muhammed. A Sahaba knew or saw the Prophet, believed in his teachings, and died a Muslim. Some major Sahaba include:

Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, al-Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam, Talha, `Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf, Abu -Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, and Sa`id ibn Zayd ibn `Amr, Muawiyah, Khalid ibn Walid, Ibn Umar, and many many others.

Each of the Sahabbis had a unique school of jurisprudence, but these schools were gradually consolidated or discarded so that there are currently four recognized schools: Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi'i, Hanbali. For example, Hanbali is one of the four schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is considered to be the most restrictive of the four schools. The school was started by the students of Imam Hanbal. Hanbali is predominant among Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula, although students of Islam throughout the world study and may choose to observe its conclusions about Islamic practice. Hanbali is followed by less than 5% of the world's Muslim population. A Maddhab ( مذهبmaḏhab) is an Islamic term that refers to a school of thought or religious jurisprudence (fiqh). Islamic jurisprudence, Fiqh ( Arabic: فقه[fiqh]) is Islamic jurisprudence.) in Arabic, is made up of the rulings of Islamic scholars to direct the lives of the Muslim faithful. There are five major pl. مذاهب maḏāhib (5 major schools on Islamic Law, thought).

The next level of law is the Ahlul Bayt. These are the progeny of the Prophet Muhammed through his daughter Fatima's marriage with his cousin Ali resulting in their children Hasan and Hussein� (Brill).  Khabar ( news, information) is sometimes used of tradition from the Prophet, sometimes from Companions or Successors. Athar, pl. āthār (trace, vestige), usually refers to tradition from Companions or Successors, but is sometimes used from the Prophet. Sunna (Custom) refers to a normative custom of the Prophet of the early community.

The corpus of laws constituting the 'sharī'ah is usually divided into twelve departments: rituals and liturgy, personal status, contracts, torts, criminal law, constitutional law, taxation and public finance, administration law, land law, law of trade and commerce, international law and ethics and personal conduct (Fârûqî). However, Muhammad did not codify the law. He was too busy unifying the Arabs. This means that some Islamic countries, such as Egypt, today rely 100% on the Qu´ran while the stricter countries, like Iran and Saudi Arabia include the a�hadith which has more examples of jurisprudence as their law. This brings up the questions of a law that most believe is the pivotal law of Islam. This law involves what is called the Kufr. & Kufr is a key concept in Islam and many scholars believe it to be the pivotal point because the Islamic system based on theocracy. The Word denoted in Arabic means "disbelief." However, it derives from the basic roots ��k-f-r�, whose basic sense is "to cover," "to conceal" or by its extension "to ignore," "to reject" and or "to disbelieve."  (Esposito 439). �The people of the book are called Kuffār (infidels)  in the Qu´ran" (Esposito 441). To confuse things more another word was used in the Qu´ran to call people of the Book.   That word was �ahl-i kitab �("The People of the Book": Jews and Christians). This is a main sticking point for apologists of the Qu´ran, and for the critiques citing the various examples of non-tolerance to people of the Book, especially exemplified in the daily reports that are the a�hadith. Many critiques have asked �Moreover what could have been the reason leading Abu Bakr to execute the apostates? How can the legality of the execution of the apostates be demonstrated rationally?( Mawdudi).

 "While discussing the issue of apostasy in Islam, probably no verse is more frequently cited to decide the issue, especially by Muslims in the West who advocate freedom of religion, than Qur'an 2:256: �There is no compulsion in religion� (Mawdudi).

During the time of Abu Bakr a woman named Umm Qarfa became a kafir after accepting Islam. Abu Bakr requested that she repent but she did not. Abu Bakr had her put to death. (Mawdudi).

The prophet Muhammad failed to clarify the Apostacy law of Islam. The issue of apostasy in Islam is a very complex and sensitive issue.  He either failed to establish clearly the law of Apostasy or he calculated his words for a variety of interpretations so that other Muslims after him could use it as a weapon for good or for evil. Sura 4:137, clearly shows that God will not forgive the apostates, but no mention of a earthly punishment is made. On the other hand,  twoSura�s clearly states an earthly punishment is due for leaving Islam once one has converted. �During Muhammad's lifetime, and the lifetimes of the next 4 "Rightly Guided Caliphs", a number of Muslims left the faith of Islam.  The punishment for leaving Islam was death.  Those that had left the faith were either killed outright, or were given a few days to turn back to Islam.  If they persisted in leaving Islam they were put to death.  Today this laws is observed by some, [not by others] and this death sentence is in effect whether or not the apostasy occurred in an Islamic state or not� (Silas) Two Sura�s   009.074  and   009.074 address this issue in the Qu´ran:

"They swear by Allah that they said nothing (evil), but indeed they uttered blasphemy, and they did it after accepting Islam; and they meditated a plot which they were unable to carry out: this revenge of theirs was (their) only return for the bounty with which Allah and His Messenger had enriched them! If they repent, it will be best for them; but if they turn back (to their evil ways), Allah will punish them with a grievous penalty in this life and in the Hereafter: They shall have none on earth to protect or help them." (Sura  009.074USCa).

The phrase "a grievous penalty in this life" has caused many troubles in the interpretation. The Ulema (Muslim scholars trained in Islam and Islamic law), could clearly define a punishment applicable to their own wishes, as long as the interpretation read "a grievous penalty in this life." Another interpretation also says about Apostasy that "Allah will chastise them with a painful chastisement in this world" (Sura  009.074 USC). The phrase "a painful chastisement in this world" also has caused much troubles in the interpretation because the prstianity focuses on God’s punishment after death. Five hundred years earlier the Book of John would speak about this dilemma that may have been an ancient law that Jesus knew would return some day: "In fact a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God"... John 16:2 ( Bible). Killing people who did not follow ones religion or chose to leave was never sanctioned by Christianity. Although, the Qu´ran does not specifically announce that murder should be the crime, the crime to a apostate is clearly punishable in context of the laws. Many different Christian sects fought over the severity and methods of punishments over apostasy, yet all have in common the theme of punishment after death. In Sura 9:73,74 Allah urges Muhammad to "make war" on the people who have left Islam. This clearly denotes the here and now.  It also reiterates that "Allah will punish them in this world, and in the world to come".

            "Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them.  Hell shall be their home:  an evil fire.  They swear by God that they said nothing.  Yet they uttered the word of unbelief and renounced Islam after embracing it.  They sought to do what they could not attain.  Yet they had no reason to be spiteful except perhaps because God and His apostle had enriched them through His bounty.  If they repent, it will indeed be better for them, but if they give no heed, God will sternly punish them, both in this world and in the world to come.  They shall have none on this earth to protect or help them."   [trns. Dawood] (Silas).

Some could clearly argue that being excommunicated in Europe in the middle ages would bring punishment for doing so on this earth, yet this was a law made up by the Catholic Church and was not part of the New Testament. In other words it was not part of the  progressed religion that many in the west has adopted. Sura 47:23-28 brings us to the same wording of the law.  It reads: "If you renounced the faith, you would surely do evil in the land, and violate the ties of blood.  Such are those on whom God has laid His curse, leaving them deaf and sightless.... Those who return to unbelief after God's guidance has been revealed to them are seduced by Satan and inspired by him. [...] (Silas). Taken in this manner and not of sound judgment, these Sura�s can be used by an Islamic militant persons who might believe their law permits murder of anyone who leaves Islam.

To further complicate things in this Muslim law one looks to the second most influential book of Islam often called the collection of a‘hadith.  "Sahih Bukhari is a collection of sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), also known as the sunnah. The reports of the Prophet's sayings and deeds are called ahadith. Bukhari lived a couple of centuries after the Prophet's death and worked extremely hard to collect his a‘hadith. Each report in his collection was checked for compatibility with the Qur'an, and the veracity of the chain of reporters had to be painstakingly established. Bukhari's collection is recognized by the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world to be one of the most authentic collections of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). Bukhari (full name Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin al-Mughira al-Ja'fai) was born in 194 A.H. and died in 256 A.H. His collection of a�hadith is considered second to none. He spent sixteen years compiling it, and ended up with 2,602 a�hadith (9,082 with repetition). His criteria for acceptance into the collection were amongst the most stringent of all the scholars of a�hadith. It is important to realize, however, that Bukhari's collection is not complete: there are other scholars who worked as Bukhari did and collected other authentic reports" (Khan a).

Many Laws in the Hadith from the Bukhari volumes makes the case that leaving Islam means you are subject to die:  Bukhari, volume 9, #17, volume 9, #37, volume 9, #57, volume 9, #58, volume 9, #64, volume 9, #271, and Chapter 26, from the Book of Mutual Consultation, page 339, following Hadith # 461. The Book of John would speak about this dilemma that may have been an ancient law that Jesus knew would return some day: "In fact a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God"... John 16:2 (Bible). However, the fact that this interpretation problem could be argued in defense that murder of an Apostate of Islam was never a mandate, we look to Ali, the fourth leader of Islam, or the fourth �Rightly Divine Caliph� to give us an example of how to interpret the law. �Once a person enters into the fold of Islam, the rules change (Rizvi)."

Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to 'Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn 'Abbas who said, "If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah's Apostle forbade it, saying, 'Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment (fire).' I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"  � (Khan USC :Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57 USC Narrated 'Ikrima:). �Now even the question of apostasy, irtid‘d  [equal to treason] or deserting of one's faith, for a Muslim, becomes a shar'�/ [sic] religious issue-even in this issue he is governed by the laws of Islam. And Islam clearly says: No! You cannot become an apostate" (Rizvi).

Examples from Islamic quotes contained in the Hadith show that ill will is proclaimed on people of the Book. �Allah's Apostle said, "When the Jews greet anyone of you they say: 'Sam'Alaika (death be upon you); so you should say; 'Wa 'Alaika (and upon you)'"( Khan USC : a�hadith. Volume 9, Book 84, Number 62: Narrated Ibn 'Umar). To make matters worse, a quote from Abu Bakr[a] in the Hadith Hadith No.7, Vol. 8 states the prophet�s sayings of the greatest sins of Islam is to be in the presence of someone who is not Islamic.

The Prophet. said, "The biggest of the great sins are: To join others in worship with Allah, to be undutiful to one's parents, and to give a false witness." He repeated it thrice, or said, "....a false statement," and kept on repeating that warning till we wished he would stop saying it. (Khan USC : a�hadith. Volume 9, Book 84, Number 54: Narrated Abu Bakra: This is also in Sahih Bukhari, Book 84: Number 53 and 55 quoting the prophet�s mention that the greatest sin is to engage in worship with others who are not Islamic.

When the Verse: 'It is those who believe and confuse not their belief with wrong (i.e., worshipping others besides Allah): (6.82) was revealed, it became very hard on the companions of the Prophet and they said, "Who among us has not confused his belief with wrong (oppression)?" On that, Allah's Apostle said, "This is not meant (by the Verse). Don't you listen to Luqman's statement: 'Verily! Joining others in worship with Allah is a great wrong indeed.' (Qu´ran 31.13) (Khan USC :a�hadith. Volume 9, Book 84, Number 53: Narrated 'Abdullah).

There are numerous cases in which apostasy is discussed in the a‘hadith, with similar circumstances where the reverser away from Islam once he has accepted can be murdered  by law, the critics like to point out entomologically that this is not the case.

& Even the terms used by the shari'a for apostates give the idea of treason to this whole phenomenon. "Murtad" means apostate. Murtad can be of two types: fitri and milli. (1) Murtad Fitri means a person born of a Muslim parent and then he rejects Islam. Fitri means nature or natural. The term "murtad fitri" implies that the person has apostated from his nature, the nature of believing in God. (2) "Murtad Milli" means a person who converted to Islam and then later on he rejects Islam. Milli is from millat which means a community. The term "murtad milli" implies that the person has apostated from his community "(Rizvi).

Being that a person has chosen by free will to move away from worshipping god, this law does not seem to hold a balanced outlook in regards of running a society. Not all people believe in a God. The concept is purely based on ones faith or non-faith. This makes allowing these passages to carry weight detrimental to civic laws in general. Yusufali, one of the more used interpenetrations of the Quran translates this Suru to be Muhammad proclaiming that anyone worshiping anything other than himself or the Islamic god is of the greatest of sins: �Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: "O my son! join not in worship (others) with Allah: for false worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing" (Khalid , Hussein, Al-Hussein and Ahmad Hussein Sakr USC). Yet this is a harmful comparison to Jesus�s reiteration of the first commandment being the most important. Yet with what has been seen as the consequences of forgoing your relationship with religion in Islam can have grave health hazards, so to speak, for you.

The Yusufali translation puts this law into perspective with its clarification in the Qu´ran. "They swear by Allah that they said nothing (evil), but indeed they uttered blasphemy, and they did it after accepting Islam; and they meditated a plot which they were unable to carry out: this revenge of theirs was (their) only return for the bounty with which Allah and His Messenger had enriched them! If they repent, it will be best for them; but if they turn back (to their evil ways), Allah will punish them with a grievous penalty in this life and in the Hereafter: They shall have none on earth to protect or help them." (Qu´ran Sura  009.074 Kahn USCa). Another interpretation also says in this world "Allah will chastise them with a painful chastisement in this world" (Qu´ran Sura  009.074 Khan USC). The only question left is what is the “painful chastisement in this world?”

In 1981 the General Assembly of the United Nations accepted a declaration eliminating any form of intolerance and discrimination on the basis of religion or faith. It is thus not easy to understand how such a declaration may be compatible with the Islamic Declaration of Human Rights." The Islamic law of apostasy is a symptom of a strong and pervasive traditional Muslim attitude, religious and political, toward non-Muslims and the non-Islamic world. Despite the legal pronouncement of Islam upon Salman Rushdie the West has hardly recognized the law of apostasy in Islam. It is imperative that Westerners, especially with the intensifying orthodox Islamic revival throughout the world and the continued growth of Muslim presence in the West, become more familiar with this law also"( Pyrce-Jones).

To further complicate areas of modern laws of common sense. We look to Jihadi roots in reference to laws on apostasy. The "[...] majority of Shi'a mujtahideen do not believe in initiating a jih‘d without the clear permission of a ma'sūm Imam." (Rizvi). Jih‘d must have been initiated by an oppressing force or factors which " [...] prevent the Divine message from reaching to the masses" (Rizvi).  According to the new imperialism this would account for a legitimate reason under the new interpretations of Islam. In the interpretation the reasoning is as follows: Jihãd cannot be used for imposing Islam on others; it is just for putting an end to the aggression on Muslims or for helping the oppressed non-Muslims" (Rizvi).  Although,  the Qu´ran states a general meaning that can be taken in other ways by radicals; in other words, Muhammad clearly left the interpretation open for a liberal interpretation so that either good or evil could interpreted by the concerned. "O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you [...]" (Qu´ran 9:123 Khan USC).  The law, in question could be interpreted as the haves and have-nots and who has what the other wants is right. In history clearly there are abundant cases in which the Islamites went out warring against innocent peoples and there are clearly abundant cases that they were picked upon first, and it was not their fault. The Umayyad, Abbasids and Ottomans and other lesser Arabian dynasties used aggression on other people throughout their existence, under the guise of Islam sometimes called Jihad (striving). Although, the term Jihad means striving, it has been adopted by both Muslims and non-Muslims, alike, to indicate �holy-war�. The Qu´ranic law of this reasoning equates their right to abuse others at their own reasoning that they are being suppressed. Also, the fuzzy, non clarity gives the right for an opportunist interpreter to say that the Qu´ran means offensive posture, in regards to imperial conquests.  Usually, in history their own rulers have suppressed them. Thus in much of the western civilization, the banding together of the common people rose to over though their corrupt leaders. The Arabs have been mostly exempt of this practice in their history. Many have tried, but the law is too strong.  The extremist among Islam have decided that corruption is always linked to other religions. Why? Because their law tell them so.  This blindness has stopped them from turning on their own leaders in times of crisis.

"Fight in the cause of Allah against those who fight against you, but do not transgress limits. Lo! Allah loves not aggressors. ... And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against transgressors." (Qu‘ran 2:190,193 Fergosi ).

Islamic Law got off to shaky start. As some community leaders in Mecca and Medina were trying to codify new laws, when the Islamic authority was dividing at the same time resulting in many of them took off conquering regions that they never knew of before. This meant that before an establishment of law was provided another problem arose. What to do when hosting a foreign people to your new territory � they had laws � now you the new owner do not even have your own laws set up and you want to rule over many with no idea. The Muslims quickly adapted for the most part.

Still part of the codification was in place under a man named 'sharī'ah as Judge, who Umar I appointed. In one particular case, Ali had lost his war shield and recognized it in the trust of a Jew. 'Sharī'ah commanded that Ali produce a witness and bring this discrepancy to the new court. Ali produced his witnesses to prove his claim. Ali brought forth his own son. 'Sharī'ah realizing this could be a conflict showed no preferential treatment to the great leader. "According to 'Sharī'ah the testimony of son in favor of his father was not admissible, hence he ordered Ali to present another witness. When Ali was unable to do so, 'sharī'ah dismissed the claim" (RiyadulJannah).  Even though Ali at the time was the Caliph, in which he could have order a 1000 shields for free for himself, the legend tells of the high degree of justice in the early Islamic era.

This was the first Principle of the 'sharī'ah. � Rendering justice to those who seek it is both Islamic duty and inevitable�(Fārūqī 225). The second principle states that the court of law all men are equal. This leads to the third law in that the [�] �burden of proof falls on the complainant; that of any swearing on the defendant�( Fārūqī 225).

When the burden of proof falls on the defendant, the accused would like a speedy trial. Yet when the accused is convicted he often is given many appeals that tie up the speeds of resolve. For example, problems in speeds of trials were common in the 1980s in Egyptian courts. So much so that public outcry made the media react by covering the issue. The �radd al-qudi � was a motion that one wishes to delay the course of the judge to be rescued in a case. It was only used sometimes, but there was no limit to how many times one could ask for it. � Procedural reforms receives much attention, with proposals focusing on limiting rights of appeals, restricting �radd al-qudi� motions, and constructing a mechanism to prevent frivolous or inappropriate cases from reaching courts lawsuits�(Brown 193). For example, a false claim that a key piece of evidence, such as a document, was forged would result in a delay for a year until an expert was found and judged qualified enough to examine the document and make his judgment. Since no such false claims resulted in penalties, an unscrupulous litigant can charge forgery seeking only a delay� (Brown 192). Other instances of exclusivness in Ilsmaic rule are keeping the race pure. This law is clearly outdated in the west. In Judaism the children take after the mother�s religion, yet in Islam the Children take after the father�s religion. This means that �[�] Islamic women cannot marry a non-Muslim man, since her children will be non-Muslim; however, Muslim men can marry either a Jewish or Christian Women because their children will be Muslim� (Selma). Although this is religious practice that could be optional, it is not because the a�hadith and their Qu´ran is law of the land for Muslims. When the new imperialism was taking place and later the west found oil in the middle east a push to modernize the courts of Islam drew much attention from the western powers.

National Mohammedan Association in 1856 and Mohammedan Literary Society in 1863. An effort to train a new generation of Muslim for political responsibility in western-type education. �Aligarth (University) was meant to be the Eton of India� (Lapidus 625). English and Muslim language was taught, and laws. Sayyid Ahmad Khan favored modernization of Islam religion to make it comply with technology advances. The Universities focus was to adopt Muslim to British rule, because the Muslim didn�t have a system in place to deal with issues that the age of enlightenment had brought out.

Generally, alongside the revival and re-politisation of Islam, a tendency of introducing shari'ah law has been recorded in recent decades. This mainly concerns countries such as Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh. For most Muslims, shari'ah is an indispensable part of their faith in connection with the revelations of the Qur'an and other fundamental Islamic sources of law. A contradiction is felt between the understanding of the UN declarations and the regulations of shari'ah, particularly concerning issues such as religious freedom, gender equality and cruel and inhuman forms of punishment. In religiously mixed countries such as Nigeria these tensions divides the nation (Germany).

For the Jewish people, the Minor Prophets set up moral and ethical procedures that western civilization slowly adopted. Other Jewish Patriarchs focused on establishing established civil laws.  Moses, for example, set up social and political laws for the early Jews. However, the Jews had set up their own exclusionary laws that are practiced by strict Jewry. Jesus turned on the Mosesianic laws, the exclusiveness of the Jewish laws and abolished them introducing a new convenient (Set of Laws) that aptly expanded a wider range of acceptance for different types of people.

The 20th century and now the early 21st century has come to a new plateau of the question of religious intolerance. The question is that a large body of people hold fast to a law that both encompasses their ethical, moral and civic duties in which they run their system of civilization. Truly the records of history have shown that this doesn�t work. The two do not intertwine easily and thus we are faced with dilemma that threatens mankind as a whole. How do we all get along in an ever growing smaller world?   Jesus preached some separation of Church and State. He fully understood that the two could not cohabitate in civic society. He stressed prayer in private, and respecting tax collectors of the state. In other words �Give what is do unto Caesar and give what is do unto god,� (Bible)  Jesus said.   It took a long time before the western civilization could understand these principles which allowed persons living under ones faith, Christianity (or others), and still respecting, and abiding the affairs and laws of the state. This was truly a breakthrough for diversity and racial tolerance.  Diversity and freedom of choice does not coincide with the laws of Islam. Hopefully Islam will progress to the freedoms of a permanent separation of church and state, and tolerance and promote the more beautiful side of Islam in the future. Many do not want understand the laws of Islam because frankly they are scared. In the west, most of the governments have adopted relative forms of freedom of religion, which is of course, in private establishments. So they question remains, because many scholars have asked it before: "Under a truly Muslim (Islam) rule should non-Muslims receive the same right to propagate their religions as Muslims ought to receive to propagate their religion?"( Mawdudi). Many in the west, and some believe it or not Muslims, agree that the answer should be yes. Yet, the more predominant question is: When?

Work Cited

Anabtawi, M. F.  Arab Unity in terms of Law. LL.B. University of Alexandria

            LL.D.Univercity of Groingen. Marinus nijoff, The Hague, Netherlands. 1963.

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