Sharia: Is It Possible To Transcend The Rules In Today’s Secular Society?

1111 words - 4 pages

Sharia, better known as “Islamic Law,” is a detailed system of religious laws developed by Muslim scholars in the first three centuries of Islam and still enforced among fundamentalists today. In order to understand how Sharia plays a role in the Muslim community today one must understand that when the term “Islam” is used, it doesn’t stop at describing a religion, but a way of life. This is a significant point because Islam does not only describes the personal belief of an individual, but with comes an identity; being a Muslim, adherent of Islam, implies a prototypical behavior and indicates personal and communal expectations in the both the physical and spiritual Islamic communities; similar to being a citizen of a government. This way of life and adherence applies to all Muslims throughout the world. However, an often debated topic, what authority does Sharia have in the international communities of our modern world where governments with no religious allegiance? Such governments like our own?
In Islamic states such as Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others, the primary basis for government is the Islamic religious law - Sharia. Sharia based on the interpretations of the Qur’an means that it is the direct reflection of God’s rules and purpose for his people. Those who are part of the Islamic community are required to embrace and maintain God’s law. As Bernard Lewis asserts, “In the experience of the first Muslims, as preserved and recorded for later generations, religious truth political power were indissolubly associated: the first sanctified the send, the second sustained the first. The Ayatollah Khomeini remarked that ‘Islam is politics or it is nothing.’” (Lewis pg. 6) Furthermore, “most would agree that God is concerned with politics, and this belief is confirmed and sustained by the sharia. It is in this role that sharia which deals extensively with the acquisition and exercise of power, the nature legitimacy and authority, the duties of ruler and subject, in a word, with what we in the West would call constitutional law and political philosophy.” (Lewis pg. 6) Here, in the United States, we have what is defined as a secular government - one that does not have a religious or spiritual basis. The first amendment of the United States Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” (US Const., amend. I) Also Article VI of the Constitution specifies that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public Trust under the United States.” These two policies establish a clear separation of church and state, which is in contrast greatly different than the government found in the Islamic nations. (U.S. Const. art. VI, cl. 3.)
Essentially, to the United States government, Sharia law, like any law that’s not established nor in accordance with our Constitution, is a foreign law. Foreign laws are used in U.S. courts...

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