By Mushtaq Sethi
In General: The Shariah law and punishments were embodied in Quran when it was revealed upon Prophet Mohammad through the angel Gabriel, some 1400 years ago.
Prior to the advent of Islam, the period in history is known as “The Dark Ages.” Times when a girl’s birth was considered a matter of wailing! As if someone had died…They were inhumanly, buried alive at the time of birth by the idol worshipers. Incest was at its peak and women were treated as chattels, changing hands like a slave. There was no respect for their modesty or protection.
Islam brought about the change, gave protection to women, made the men folks respect them and declared the birth of a daughter an equall blessing as that of a son. Infidelity, prostitution and rape which were rampant then were abhorred, prohibited by Islam and considered to be sinful for many reasons; a few which included health , hygiene, danger of spread of STD and question of bad morality etc.
In fact Islam laid the foundation of a civil society. Now in order to control these uncivilized and uncultured ways strict measures as laws and punishments were needed and thus shariah laws suited perfectly well, proving extremely affective to the extent that today Islam is the second largest religion of the world having over 1.5 billion faithful followers.
If it was so repulsive and inhuman do you feel it would have grown in such numbers? Even today in this day and age it is the fastest growing religion in the world, almost every month thousands of people of other faiths or non-believer are converting and accepting Islam…can you tell me why ?. No you wouldn’t be able to because you are from those people who have personally not read the Holy Scripture of the Muslims, the Quran. You are possibly out of those people who are the victim of the media propaganda, made to create a wedge between each faith to sell their own product. It is a undeniable reality that the largest numbers of conversions have taken place amongst the US and other EU countries and that to without the enforcement of the shariah laws and that too from modern and liberated countries.
Islamic democracy is not the carbon copy of whats practiced in the West; here no rules can be framed that go contrary to the Islamic injunctions. Basically its a scholastic debate to determine if a law being framed falls within the Islamic puriew or not. Islamic parliament is primarily a consultative body where majority does not count but the righteous do. A presidential form of government is much closer to Islamic polity but it does not allow dictatorial powers to the person at the top. However, thanks to the so-called champs of the free world that they cannot tolerate political Islam for it challenges their capitalisitc ideology. Islam wants to spend on people and not lock the money in Central of Federal Reserves while the people suffer. Islamic Shariah protects the weak and the oppressed muchto the dislike of people in power. It is precisely for this reason that the mighty and the powerful resent Islam. Shariah in fact empowers the women or the other down trodden people in the society where even the non-Muslims get extra protection of the state.
The suicide bombing: Suicide is Haram (Prohibited and sinful) committed in any manner. Having said that allow me to clarify the misconception that a suicide attack (also known as suicide bombing, homicide bombing, or “kamikaze”) was not invented by the Muslim’s.
Historically, the Bible Book of Judges recounts the story of the Jewish hero Samson and how he killed himself by bringing down the temple of the Philistines in order to kill three thousand Philistines.
In the late 17th century, Qing official Yu Yonghe recorded that injured Dutch soldiers fighting against Koxinga’s forces for control of Taiwan in 1661 would use gunpowder to blow up both themselves and their opponents rather than be taken prisoner. However, the Chinese observer may have well confused such suicidal tactics with the standard Dutch military practice of undermining and blowing up positions recently overrun by the enemy which almost cost Koxinga his life during the siege. During the Belgian Revolution, Dutch Lieutenant Jan van Speijk detonated his own ship in the harbor of Antwerp to prevent being captured by the Belgians. In the 18th century John Paul Jones wrote about Ottoman sailors setting their own ships on fire and ramming the ships of their enemies, although they knew this meant certain death for them.
Modern suicide bombing as a political tool can be traced back to the assassination of Tsar Alexander II of Russia in 1881. Alexander fell victim to a Nihilist plot. While driving on one of the central streets of Saint Petersburg, near the Winter Palace, he was mortally wounded by the explosion of hand-made grenades and died a few hours afterwards. The Tsar was killed by a member of Narodnaya Volya, Ignacy Hryniewiecki, who died while intentionally exploding the bomb during the attack.
Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff intended to assassinate Adolf Hitler by suicide bomb in 1943, but was unable to complete the attack.During the Battle for Berlin the Luftwaffe flew Selbstopfereinsatz against Soviet bridges over the Oder river. These missions were flown by pilots of the Leonidas Squadron under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Heiner Lange. From 17 April until 20 April 1945, using any aircraft that were available, the Luftwaffe claimed that the squadron destroyed 17 bridges, however the military historian Antony Beevor when writing about the incident thinks that this was exaggerated and that only the railway bridge at Küstrin was definitely destroyed. He comments that “thirty-five pilots and aircraft was a high price to pay for such a limited and temporary success”. The missions were called off when the Soviet ground forces reached the vicinity of the squadron’s airbase at Jüterbog.
Following World War II, Viet Minh “death volunteers” fought against the French Colonial Forces by using a long stick-like explosive to destroy French tanks.
Coming back to the topic there are a couple of Islamic country’s which implement Shariah laws as a standalone and that to for good reasons. Otherwise the rest of the Muslim states are governed by the normal Penal Codes with the provision of the Shariah law and court set-up separately for those crimes and complaints, depending on the nature of the violation. Very clearly no court of law has or does pass death sentence in infidelity case (Not sure about Saudi). For instance since most marriages take place under the Shariah law their annulation’s accordingly sought by the partners under the same law or in case of a murderer to be pardoned a system or law known as qiyas or Diyat (Forgiveness by the heirs for reasons and settlements best decided between the grieved and the aggrieved).Mind you to the best of my knowledge no court of law in Pan-Islamic countries has yet handed out that stoning to death punishment during these times.
As regards to the conditions enshrined in the Shariah about proving rape it was made stringent so that women of those dark age period wouldn’t be able to take unjust advantage and use the rape charge as a pretext to blackmail or take revenge from any male, she had a bone to pick with. Keep in mind there were no DNA testing facilities in those days. Today rape cases when lodged are investigated on the same modern scientific procedures and tried and punished according to the modern laws. Not Shariah in nearly all Muslim country except. Saudi Arabia, since it is the holy land with the house of Allah the Khan-e-Kaaba being located there and its sanctity is to be maintained. Thus the strictness of law of Shariah, acts as a successful deterrent. For better and good control of crime and sinful immoral acts.
To conclude, I would add that the sharia law was most appropriate in dark and grave era to bring about a controlled civil law and order and to bring about a change to civilize the illiterate idolaters. Though some of the laws in it may sound inhumane or harsh in this modern day and age like execution carried through means of beheading by sword (Islamic),but let us not forget that the French and European had similar method of carrying out executions too, with the apparatus called the Guillotine. Now they have been replaced by other painless invented tools such as Lethal injection or electric chair etc.
The truth is that is that these laws even to the extent of a comma or full stop cannot undergo any textual amendment by any one, because Quran has to be retained in its truest and original form and content from the time it was revealed upon Prophet Mohammad by angel Gabriel (saw).This in fact is the beauty and solemn attribute of it by virtue of which it is a heavenly scripture and not man made.
I believe the true essence of: ISLAM is that the 5 letter word Islam, encompasses within it the 4 letter word Love: I—Shall— Love—All— Mankind. I give below a quote which is self-explanatory and in a nut shell vindicates Islam and all faiths, as well.
That “Assess a religion on the basis of its teachings. The deeds of its followers are a different matter; whether good or bad, they belong to individuals and not the teachings. Don’t mix up the two.”
The above opinion is my personal assessment based on my own perception as a non-scholar, but a common individual Muslim faithfull.