Archive for March 2010

What is Shari’a?

March 1, 2010

(Islamic law) is a religious legal system created by Islamic scholars to guide Muslims how to live.  Shari’a literallymeans “path” or “way” in Arabic.  It was compiled by Islamic scholars, based of the Qur’an and also the hadith – the traditions recording Muhammad’s words and deeds.

Shari’a covers all aspects of a Muslin’s personal as well as devotional life, from guidance on how frequently to pray to instructions of what to eat and wear.  It also covers the political, economic, legal and military aspects of an Islamic state.  There is no distinction made between secular and religious spheres.  For a Muslim shari’a provides both guidelines to prevent him from sinning and also an identity marker to separate them from non-Muslims.

At the time shari’a was created Muslims held political power, and so it lacks any guidelies for Muslims living as a minority.  It has many discriminatory rules relating to non-Muslims, who are treated as a conquered and subjugated people.  This has been part of the problem surrounding the question “to what extent should Muslims, living in a non-Muslim country, be allowed to live by shari’a?”   It is important for Christians in the West to realize the ultimate implications if shari’a is gradually introduced in their countries.  They will become second-class citizens.  They will no longer be able to share their faith with Muslims, and Muslims will not be able to become Christians.

Shari’a also includes many harsh punishments for certain crimes, including amputation for theft and stoning for adultery.  The punishment for adult males who comvert from Islam to another faith (apostasy) is death; even if they are allowed to live, they will lose their family, inheritance and everything they own.