What Muslim’s think about Sharia law – Pew study

What Muslim’s think about Sharia law – Pew study

Sharia Law and Western Societies – The impact of mass Muslim migration

When it comes Sharia law and how mass Muslim migration will impact our lives as non-Muslims is something I consider a lot. On many occasions, I refer to the work by Douglas Murray (The Strange Death of Europe) because it is such an important work for modern Europe and the world and should be read by all who have an interest in our society and what we will be leaving our children.

Murray quotes Pew research on many occasions because it is such an important resource about how our world thinks and behaves.  One important piece of research is The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society.  This research from Pew looks at how Muslims think about Sharia law and should inform us on how Sharia will impact our lives – the more Muslims we import as migrants the more influence Sharia will have on our daily lives and the lives of our children.

The report that Dr. Warner refers to is Muslim Beliefs and Practices: A Global Demographic Assessment and he summaries its findings (a condensed version of the report can be found here) in this video.

A question that is always on my mind is how this importation of migrants, on such a massive scale, is going to impact the lives of my children once demographics kicks in?  More and more pressure will come to bear to implement Sharia law in our countries.  What will life be like for my children in twenty years?  Having lived in a number of Muslim majority countries that practice Sharia I fear for the future of my children and Europeans, in general, should fear the loss of our way of life and the freedoms that we have.





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Religion of Peace



Sharia’s Incompatibility with Western Values, Explained Everything you need to know.

Sharia’s Incompatibility with Western Values, Explained Everything you need to know.

BY Immanuel Al-Manteeqi · @Al_Manteeqi

The late Samuel Huntington, a professor of Political Science at Colombia University, acknowledging his indebtedness to Lewis, later popularized the idea in his famous book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Making of the New World Order.[2] The clash thesis has had sophisticated defenders; it cannot simply be dismissed as a byproduct of Islamophobic bigotry perpetuated by ignorance—at least not without argument.

In what follows, I will argue that there is indeed a clash between Islamic and Western civilization, between plausibly Islamic principles (and not just ‘radical’ Islamic principles) and Western principles.[3]

Evaluating whether or not mainstream Islam, as represented by the earliest Islamic source texts, is incompatible with Western values, almost invariably elicits passionate responses—especially if the evaluator(s) conclude(s) that the two value systems are indeed incompatible. Words like “Islamophobic” and “xenophobe,” “bigot,” and “racist” are subsequently thrown around; emotions fly high. However, this topic, of vital importance for national security, requires a dispassionate analysis of the evidence. As the well-known conservative pundit Ben Shapiro is fond of saying: facts don’t care about your feelings.

We must set aside our passions and look at the historical evidence as objectively as we can– of course, all the while bearing in mind that no historical researcher can attain complete objectivity.

The ancient books of antiquity say what they say. No modern scholar, no matter what his/her agenda or desires, can go back in time and change what is contained in the early Islamic sources. As the saying goes, the past is history. So let us look at the past, specifically the medieval past, to discern whether Sharia really is incompatible with the liberal democratic principles of the West.

What is Sharia?

Because of the flurry of recent Islamist terror attacks, the term “sharia” is frequently bandied about in the media today. It is therefore necessary to get clear on what is meant by the term. Contrary to what Islamic law professor Quraishi-Landes has stated, the Arabic word “sharia” (شريعة) does mean Islamic law; it comes from the triliteral root, sh-r-a (شرع), which means “to legislate.” This can be readily gleaned from a quick consultation of the most renowned Modern and Classical Arabic-English dictionaries and lexicons.[4]

Sharia has incontrovertibly been understood to mean Islamic law by Muslim ulema (religious scholars) for centuries. So what exactly is sharia or Islamic law?

Well, although definitions vary and we cannot hope for precision here, it is basically the Muslim jurisprudents’ reasoned and regimented codification of what is found in the Qur’an and the Sunna (the way of Muhammad). The sources for the latter include ahadeeth (purported sayings of Muhammed), the earliest tafaseer (Qur’anic exegetical works), and siyar (biographies of Muhammad). The sharia more or less represents what Muslim fuqaha (jurisprudents) have achieved a consensus on vis-a-vis the mandates that are found in the Qur’an and the Sunna.[5] In other words, sharia or Islamic law is merely the regimentation of the voluminous material that is found in the Qur’an and the relatively early ahadeeth, tafaseer, and siyar.

Second, sharia is different from many laws in so far as it legislates a comprehensive way of life. It is not to be compared with something like Catholic canon law, a comparison Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, makes. Catholic canon is not meant to govern all the occurrences of daily life; it is largely relegated to what we Westerners would normally think of as the religious sphere.

Sharia, on the other hand, is meant to encompass all aspects of life, that is, the religious as well as the secular spheres. Umdat as-Salik, or The Reliance of the Traveller, an authoritative manual of Shafi’i jurisprudence written in the 14th century by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, is unequivocal here,[6] pointing out that “the source of legal rulings for all acts of those who are morally responsible is Allah [emphasis added].”[7]

Sharia is supposed to be an architectonic system comprising all ways of life. That this is so is evident from a cursory perusal of the canonical ahadeeth, which cover everything from usury, to how you are supposed to greet someone, to what you should say before copulation, to which foot one is supposed to enter the restroom with first. As Sharia: The Threat to America concludes, “the sharia system is totalitarian. It imposes itself on all aspects of civil society and human life, both public and private.[8]” The late Abu A’la Maududi, an influential 20th century Pakistani and Islamist thinker, concurs, stating that sharia’s rulings encompass

family relationships, social and economic affairs, administration, rights and duties of citizens, judicial system, laws of war and peace and international relations. In short, it embraces all the various departments of human life … The Sharia is a complete scheme of life and an all-embracing social order where nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking.[9]

Third, Sharia is not infinitely malleable. Of course, there  is a wide variety of different regimentations of what is found in the early Islamic source texts,  hence different interpretations of what constitutes authentic sharia. However, the plausibility of interpretations are naturally bound by the contents of the early Islamic sources, which function as the basis of sharia. So contrary to what some apologists of Islam say, sharia is not so fluid and multifaceted that it defies categorization.

Fourth, what is represented in the early Islamic source texts is Islam as it is traditionally understood. Henceforth, by “Islam” I mean those sets of doctrines that are expressed in the early Islamic sources mentioned earlier. Furthermore, when one is talking about what Islam teaches, one is a-fortiori talking about what Sharia teaches (since the latter is rooted in the former).

There are many doctrines and teachings in Sharia that are incompatible with the cherished values of Western egalitarian society. Constructing anything near a comprehensive list of incompatibilities would be outside the scope of this article. However, the following are some notable incompatibilities.

Under the Sharia system, there is no separation between mosque and state

When ordinary westerners think of religious houses of worship, they generally think of places ringing with sermons filled with religious piety—they do not think of centers where political positions are strongly voiced. But mosques have historically been places where political issues are discussed. Under Sharia, the political sphere is totally subsumed under the religious sphere. There is nothing that is allowed to exist outside the hegemony of God’s law, the Sharia.

Muhammad was both a prophet and a statesman. His successors, the caliphs, though not inheriting from him the charism of prophethood, were nevertheless supposed to be the guardians of Islam. Only caliphs, for example, were granted with the power to declare offensive jihad.[11] As Bernard Lewis notes, there was not even a word to separate the secular from the religious in classical Arabic.

In Christianity, you have a solid basis for the separation of Church and state in the life of Jesus of Nazareth—Jesus was not, contrary to scholars as early as Heinrich Reimarus (1729 – 1814), a political or revolutionary figure. Politics was not the forte of the historical Jesus. Indeed, he is famous for calling upon people to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.”[12] No such solid basis exists for separating the secular sphere from the religious in Islam.

As was mentioned above, Muhammad, who the Qur’an describes as a good example for mankind (Q 33:21), and who later Islamic tradition praises as al-insaan al-kamal (the perfect man), was a political statesman as well as a military leader.

The fact of the matter is that Sharia is simply incompatible with a law like the clause of the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Under Sharia, the state should pass laws respecting an establishment of religion to the chagrin of others—viz., the Islamic religion.

There is no freedom of religion under Sharia

Under Sharia, if one is a dhimmi or a member of the ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book, i.e., Christians and Jews),[13] then one is allowed to retain one’s religion, provided that one accepts subjugation by Muslims and pays the jizya (a poll tax) “by their hand in humiliation” (Q 9:29).

So, in effect, although Islam technically allows dhimma to retain their religion, it puts great pressure on them to convert to Islam. Indeed, a significant amount of Christians and Jews at the time of the early Arab-Islamic conquests converted to Islam in order to avoid paying the poll tax, avoid discriminatory treatment, and enjoy the luxuries that came along with being Muslim.

So the freedom of dhimma to practice their religion without repercussions is indeed limited, as it has been under Islam historically. The persecution of dhimma under Islamic rule has been well documented by Bat Ye’or’s many books on the issue.[14]

Whereas Christians and Jews have some freedom to exercise their religion, albeit in a limited manner, non-Muslim non-dhimma do not have such freedom of religion in Islam. They are to be fought until they recite the shahada (the testimony in the uniqueness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad).

Their options are limited: either death by the sword or conversion to Islam. It is important to note that even the freedom of religion of Muslims is limited. Muslims are not allowed to leave Islam. Indeed, apostasy is considered a capital offense in Islam. There is a hadith (saying attributed to Muhammad) in Sahih al-Bukhari, the most trusted collection of Sunni ahadeeth, where Muhammad explicitly states that whoever changes his [Islamic] religion should be killed.

In fact, all the five main schools of Islamic thought, the Sunni Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi’i, and Maliki schools of jurisprudence, and the Shi’i Ja’fari school of Sharia jurisprudence, teach that apostates should be killed—the only debate is whether imprisonment or flogging would suffice for female apostates.[15] Ahmad at-Tayyeb, the current Grand Imam of al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni learning, affirms that the view that an apostate should be killed for merely abandoning Islam is the opinion of the vast majority of medieval Islamic scholars.[16] Samir Khalil Samir, a native Arabic speaker with two doctorates, and a former adviser to Pope Benedict XVI on Islam and the Middle East, concisely summarizes the above:

The individual is considered fully endowed with rights and duties insofar as he belongs to the Islamic religious community. For this reason, those who abandon the community by converting to another religion or becoming atheists are considered traitors and therefore lose their rights [emphasis added].[17]

Under Sharia, women are not equal to men

Many disparaging remarks are said of women in the earliest Islamic source texts. For example, according to Q 4:34, husbands are allowed to beat their wives if they “fear disobedience.” According to Q 2:282, the testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man’s. According to Q 4:11 and Q 4:176, a woman inherits only half as much as a male relative does. According to Q 65:4, sexual relations with females who have not yet had their menstrual cycle (i.e., prepubescent girls) are permissible.[18]

According to a hadith from Sahih Al-Bukhari, the most authoritative Sunni collection, Muhammad states that the majority of the dwellers of hellfire are women, that women curse frequently and are ungrateful to their husbands, and, famously, that women are “deficient in intelligence and religion.”

Under Sharia, men can divorce women simply by stating “you are divorced” three times in the presence of two adult mentally sound males, without even having to justify his  decision (and he will retain custody of any children). By contrast, no such power is given to the woman.

Former adviser to Pope Benedict XVI Samir Khalil Samir comments here that “the most absurd thing is that if the husband later repents of his decision [of divorce] and wants to “recover” his wife [for the third time], she must first marry another man who in his turn will repudiate her (Q 2:229-30).”[19] Indeed, according to Q 4:24, having female sex slaves, “those whom your right hand possess” (ما ملكت ايمانكم), is permissible. When one reads the relatively early Islamic sources, one discovers that Muhammad himself had sex with a captured woman, Safiyyah bint Huyyay, whose brother and father Muhammad had killed, the same night that he killed her husband at Khaybar (a Jewish-settled oasis about ninety-five miles north of Medina).[20]

At-Tabari, one of our best sources for early Islam, relates on the authority of al-Waqidi (another very important source for early Islam) that there was someone standing guard over Muhammad when he was having sexual intercourse with Safiyyah for fear that Saffiyah may attack Muhammad, citing the fact that she had just been married, and that Muhammad had killed her father, her brother, and her husband.

Taking female captives in warfare is something that is sanctioned in the earliest Islamic sources; it is not just an innovation of ISIS. Indeed, Dr. Su’ad Salah, former dean of the Women’s College of Islamic and Arabic Studies at al-Azhar University, very explicitly and nonchalantly states that taking female sex slaves (milk al-yameen) is Islamically permissible in a war against Muslim enemies. She gives an example involving Israelis, stating that were Israel to fall, it would be permissible to take Israeli women as sex slaves in order to humiliate them.[21]

Under Sharia, Muslims are superior to non-Muslims

In Islam, Jews and Christians are treated as second-class citizens, but polytheists and other non-Muslims are to be fought until they submit to Islam. All four schools of Sunni thought teach that the bloodwit (diya) of a Muslim is worth more than the bloodwit of a non-Muslim (one-third or one-half times the worth).

There is also an enormous amount of animus directed against Jews and Christians in the Islamic source texts, lending credence to the idea of the fundamental inequality between Muslims and dhimma in Islam. Q 9:29, for example, orders Muslims to fight Christians and Jews until they pay the jizya (poll tax) “by their hand in humiliation.” The immediately subsequent verse (Q 9:30) makes it clear that this is because of their beliefs, and the verse ends with a call for God to destroy them (qatalahum Allah).

According to the Qur’an, Muslims “are the best of peoples (Q 3:110),” whereas Christians and Jews “are the worst of creatures (Q 98:6).” The former verse goes on to state that most of the “People of the Book,” which includes Christians, Jews, and Sabians, are “sowers of corruption” (فاسقون).[22] The ahadeeth command Muslims to not initiate greeting with Christians and Jews, and to force them to the narrow side when they meet them on the road.

The Qur’an states that Muslims are not to take Jews and Christians as awliya (friends or guardians) because “they [the Jews and Christians] are awliya of one another” (Q 5:51). It also states that whoever does so has nothing to do with Allah (Q 3:28), unless they do so out of taqiyya (lying for the furtherance of Islam).

Furthermore, whereas Muslim men are allowed to marry Christians and Jews, Muslim women are not allowed to marry Jews and Christians, ostensibly because Muslims are not allowed to take Jews and Christians as awliya, and Islam must always be in the ascendancy.[23] Sahih Muslim, the second-most trusted collection of the alleged sayings of Muhammad, contains multiple ahadeeth where Muhammad states that Jews and Christians are to be scapegoats for the sins of Muslims.

In one such hadith, Muhammad states, “when it will be the Day of Resurrection Allah would deliver to every Muslim a Jew or a Christian and say: That is your rescue from Hell-Fire.” In another hadith in the same collection, Muhammd gives more details, stating that “there would come people amongst the Muslims on the Day of Resurrection with sins as heavy as a mountain, and Allah would forgive them and He would place in their stead the Jews and the Christians. In an anti-Christian hadith found in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Muhammad says that at the end of days when Jesus returns to rule on Earth, he will “break the cross.”[24] In anti-Jewish hadith from Sahih Muslim, the second most trusted collection of ahadeeth, Muhammad allegedly states that the end of the world will not come about until the Muslims will kill the Jews:

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger [Muhammad] as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews, and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and the stone or  tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.

In Sahih Muslim, Muhammad allegedly states that he will expel Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and leave none but Muslims there. Indeed, Umar ibn al-Khattab (c. 583 – 644 A.D.), the second “rightly guided caliph,” decreed that Jews and Christians be removed from all but the southern and eastern fringes of Arabia, in fulfillment of such an injunction by Muhammad at his deathbed.[25] It is no wonder then that there are no native Christians or Jews in the Nejd and Hijaz regions today.

All of the above demonstrates that Islam does not value Jews and Christians as much as it values Muslims. Samir Khalil Samir nicely summarizes points (2)-(4):

Al-Sharia is founded on a threefold inequality: the inequality between man and woman, the inequality between Muslim and non-Muslim, and the inequality between freeman and slave…. As regards the inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims, Islam considers the former superior to the latter from the ontological and juridical point of view, even with regard to those that it defines as dhimmi (protected people), a term that refers to Jews and Christians. Tolerance granted to Jews and Christians does not imply equality with Muslims. Polytheists and atheists, on the other hand, enjoy no protection.[26]

Under Sharia, insulting the religion is a punishable offense

According to our earliest sources, the founder of Islam, Muhammad, did not take too kindly to insults hurled at him (insults to Muhammad are implicitly insults to Islam, and Sharia views them as such).

According to Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasool Allah, our earliest biographical source on Muhammad’s life,[27] Muhammad killed people for insulting him or for insulting Islam. For example, Ibn Ishaq relates that Muhammad ordered ‘Abdullah b. Sa’d to be killed for the reason that “he used to write down [Qur’anic] revelation but then apostasized and returned to Mecca.[28]

Ibn Ishaq further relates that in entering Mecca Muhammad had ordered two singing-girls, one Fartana and her friend, killed because they used to sing satirical songs about him (one of them was eventually granted immunity by Muhammad, the other, however, was not so lucky).[29] Ibn Ishaq also tells us that Muhammad killed a freed slave named Sara of the tribe of Banu Abdul Mu’tallib because she “insulted him in Mecca.”[30]

So serious is blasphemy against Islam taken by Muslim ulema (religious scholars) that Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328 A.D.), the teacher of Ibn Kathir (one of the most prominent Islamic exegetes), and a darling of Islamists the world over, wrote a whole book entitled “The Unsheathed Sword Against Whoever Insults the Messenger (الصارم المسلول على شاتم الرسول).”[31]

Recently, some 100,000 Pakistanis came out en masse to honor the executed criminal who murdered the governor of the Punjab province in 2011; the governor was targeted because he defended a Christian woman who had allegedly violated Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The son of the victim, Aatish Taseer, wrote a melancholic reflection in the New York Times on the widespread Pakistani support for the killer. This widespread backward mentality does not just take root in any society—it is made possible by what is found in the early Islamic source texts and the Islamic books of jurisprudence.

Under Sharia, Jihad against the infidel is mandated

The Qur’an is very clear in Q 2:216 that combat is an obligation on Muslims (cf. the words kutiba ‘alaykum al-qital wa huwa kurhun lakum—i.e,. “fighting was ordained for you though you may hate it”); medieval jurisprudents just disagreed as to whether this was a communal or an individual obligation (fardh kifaya or fardh ‘ayn/fardh wajib).[32] Perpetual war against non-Muslim nations is plausibly something that is commanded by Islam, as it finds support in the early Islamic source texts. One of the notorious “sword verses,” Q 9:5, seems to command blanket warfare against polytheists:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the polytheists wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and give zakat [alms], then leave them to their way: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

The last part of the verse seems to imply that only if the polytheists become Muslim, and pray and give zakat (Muslim charity tax), should the Muslims leave them to their separate way. Indeed, many medieval Islamic scholars took this verse to be legitimating offensive warfare against “infidels,” and as abrogating peaceful verses that were revealed earlier (e.g., Q 2:256, which famously states that there is no compulsion in religion). Furthermore, in a sahih hadith, Muhammad seems to condone a blanket war on non-Muslims until they submit to Islam—and only then will their lives and property be spared:

I have been ordered to fight the people till [حتى] they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.’ And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah.[33]

Another sahih hadith lays out a three-step process for combating infidels:

When you meet your enemies who are infidels, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. Then invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of the Muhajireen and inform them that, if they do so, they shall have all the privileges and obligations of the Muhajireen. If they refuse to migrate, tell them that they will have the status of Bedouin Muslims and will be subjected to the Commands of Allah like other Muslims, but they will not get any share from the spoils of war or Fai’ except when they actually fight with the Muslims (against the disbelievers). If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.

Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani (d. 805), one of the very first Muslims to write on Jihad, affirms this three-step process:

Fight in the name of Allah and in the “path of Allah.” Combat those who disbelieve in Allah. Do not cheat or commit treachery, nor should you mutilate anyone or kill children. Whenever you meet your polytheist enemies, invite them [first] to adopt Islam. If they do so, accept it, and let them alone. . . .If they refuse, then call upon them to pay the jizya [poll tax imposed on dhimma]; if they do, accept it and leave them alone. . . .If the army [of Islam] attacks Dar al-Harb [the House of War] and it is a territory that has received an invitation to accept Islam, it is commendable if the army renews the invitation, but if it fails to do so it is not wrong. The army may launch the attack by night or by day and it is permissible to burn [the enemy] fortifications with fire or to inundate them with water.[34]

So it seems that the early sources of Islam do provide substantial support for aggressive jihad.

Indeed, from our earliest sources, we can infer that Muhammad himself participated in or deputized more than sixty battles, some of which were certainly offensive in nature.[35] According to the early sources (Muslim and non-Muslim), when Muhammad was in Medina, he initiated raids against Meccan caravans in order to obtain booty—booty that he ostensibly deemed requisite to sustain the muhajireen (emigrants) who had emigrated from Mecca to Medina (formerly Yathrib).[36] Moreover, the earliest sources tell us that towards the end of his life, he had his sight on aggressively expanding his realm, even sending military expeditions to Tabuk, a Byzantine frontier fortress.[37]

Jihad is certainly not something that was invented by modern radical Muslim groups like Al-Qa’ida or ISIS; it is rooted in the seventh century, the century that saw the beginnings of Islam. The simple fact of the matter is that the early Arab-Islamic conquests shortly after Muhammad’s death were unjustified acts of aggression against the rival Byzantine and Sassanian empires. But Muslims the world over have virtually unanimously viewed these conquests with a sense of pride.

Medieval Islamic scholars generally divided the world into dar al-Islam (the house of Islam), where Muslims rule by sharia, and dar al-harb (the house of war), where non-Muslims rule. The idea is to continue the conquests begun in the seventh century until all religion is for Allah (Q 8:39). In keeping with their forebears, they seek to fight against the dar al-Harb until it no longer exists and all the world’s population is subsumed under dar al-Islam.

It is therefore clear that contemporary jihadi groups, though they may sometimes twist certain texts for their own nefarious purposes, are acting within the interpretive parameters set forth in the earliest Islamic sources. It is no coincidence that, as Samuel Huntington remarked, “Islam has bloody borders.” The basis for aggressive jihad in the early Islamic source texts is so strong that the Islamicist David Cook minces no words here:

No Muslim—to the best of my knowledge—working from the classical materials on the subject of jihad and using the traditional Muslim definitions of jihad, has ever succeeded in seriously refuting the claim to be legitimate heirs to the legacy of jihad.[38]

From the above six points, it should be relatively clear that Sharia—i.e., the religion as expressed by the earliest Islamic sources—is not compatible with Western Civilization.

There is a clash of civilizations between the Western and Islamic world. The proper response must be a holistic and tempered one—a response that neither sacrifices our national security at the altar of political correctness, nor infringes on either the constitutional or natural rights of our fellow Muslims.

The proper Western response should involve: calling a spade a spade, i.e., Islamists as Islamists; a relentless military campaign against these Islamists; a robust, intellectual criticism of Islam and Sharia; the uncompromising defense of the freedom to criticize Islam, Sharia and Muhammad; significantly cutting down the influx of unvettable Muslim refugees into Europe and the United States; and, finally, designating organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, Ahrar as-Sham, and Jaysh al-Islam, as terrorist organizations.[39]

As Daniel Pipes sanguinely implies in his most recent video entitled, “Jihad Awakens Europe,” if the non-Muslim populations in Europe and America say no to Sharia, and yes to the values that have undergirded Western civilization for centuries, then no it will be. If the West seriously acquires the will to defeat radical Islam, then it will most assuredly do so. When there is a will, there is a way. But is there a will?


[1] ‘CAIR’, short for ‘The Council of American and Islamic Relations,” has been named as an indicted co-conspirator in what has come to be known as “The Holy Land Foundation Trial,” the largest terrorist-financing trial in American history.

[2] Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Making of the New World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011).

[3] While there is a distinction between the teachings of radical Islam/Islamism and Islam simplicter, the gap between the two is not as great as is commonly believed.  As we shall see, many doctrines taught by traditional mainstream Islam are incompatible with Western values.

[4] Hans Wehr, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, ed. J. Milton Cowan (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrasowitz, 1979), 541; Edward W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon, ed. Stanley Lane Poole (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1984), 1534. See Quraishi-Landes’ article in the Washington Post and my response to it here.

[5] Pace Harvard Law Professor and Islamic law researcher Noah Feldman’s definition, Fiqh or Jurisprudence, seems to be the study of sharia—and not sharia as practiced by certain people.

[6] There are five major schools of thought in Islam, four major Sunni schools, and one major Shi’i school. The Shafi’i school is founded by its namesake, imam As-Shafi’i.

[7] Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Umdat As-Salik (The Reliance of the Traveler), trans., ed. Nuh Ha Mim Keller (Maryland: Amani Publications,1997), Book A (Sacred Knowledge), sec. 1.1.

[8] William G. Boykin, Harry E. Soyster, et. al., Shariah, The Threat to America: An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, Report of Team B II (Washington D.C. : The Center for Security Policy, 2010), 5.

[9] Abu A’la Maududi, Islamic Law, trans., ed. Khurshid Ahmad, (Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd), 51.

[10] Western scholars have a history of skepticism vis-à-vis the extra-Qurʼānic traditional Islamic sources, as they are relatively late. None of these sources pre-date circa 750 A.D.; they are at least about 120 years removed from the traditional date of Muhammad’s death (632 A.D.). Many ahadeeth, whether classified as sahih (correct) or otherwise, were probably never uttered by Muhammad. Western scholars of Islam generally agree that the earliest that some of the alleged sayings of Muhammad may be traced back to is the late 7th century.  For a critical examination of the hadith literature, see Igńac Goldziher’s pioneering Muslim Studies, trans. S.M. Stern and C.R. Barber (Chicago: Aldine Atherton, 1971); also see Joseph Schacht’s seminal work, the Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence (Oxford; Clarendon: Oxford University Press, 1950). The early Islamic sources are filled with embellishments. Some leading scholars of early Islam, albeit a minority, like Gabriel Sa’id Reynolds, hold that the traditional categorization of Qur’anic chapters into “Meccan” and “Medinan” is little more than conjecture, since the categorization itself relies on the (often) mutually contradictory stories found in later Islamic sources. Reynolds contends that the early analysts of the Qur’an made up stories to explain various verses, especially the enigmatic ones, and for the critical historian to use their stories to attempt to establish a chronology of the Qur’an would be to get things backwards. See, e.g., Gabriel Reynolds, “Le problème de la chronologie du Coran,” Arabica 58 (2011).

[11] David Cook, Understanding Jihad (Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2005), 6.

[12] From a critical-historical perspective, these words were very likely uttered by Jesus of Nazareth. Indeed, even the Jesus Seminar, a group of very liberal scholars, highlight this verse in red in their translation of the Gospels—meaning that they “would include this item unequivocally in the database for determining who Jesus was.” See Robert Funk, Roy Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar, The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus (New York: Harper One, 1993) 36, 236.

[13] The terms “dhimma” (plural of dhimmi) and “People of the Book,” refer to the same people.

[14] See, for example, Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam, trans. David M., Paul F, and David L. (London; Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1985).

[15] Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (New York: The Modern Library, 2003), 41.

[16] “برنامج “الإمام الطيب” ـــ الحلقة 11,” YouTube video, at 4:50, posted by “Al-Azhar Al-Shareef,” June 16th, 2016.

[17] Samir Khalil Samir, 111 Questions on Islam: Samir Khalil Samir, S.J. on Islam and the West: A Series of Interviews Conducted by Giorgio Paolucci and Camille Eid, ed. Wafik Nasry, trans. Wafik Nasry and Camille Eid (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008), 96.

[18] Sahih ahadeeth also state that Muhammad married A’isha, the daughter of “the first rightly guided caliph” Abu Bakr, when she was just six years old, and consummated the marriage with her when she was just nine years old. See, e.g., Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 58, Hadith 236.

[19] Samir Khalil Samir, 111 Questions on Islam, 111-12. Also see Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Umdat As-Salik (The Reliance of the Traveler), Book N (Divorce), sec. 7.7.

[20]Sahih Al-Bukhari,  Vol. 1, Book 8, Hadith 367; Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 59, Hadith 522; At-Tabari, The History al-Tabari: Biographies of the Prophet’s Companions and Their Successors, vol. 9, trans. Ismail K. Poonawala (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990), 134-35. At-Tabari, The History al-Tabari, vol. 39, trans. Ella Landau-Tasseron (Albany: SUNY Press, 1998), 185. We say “relatively early” because absolutely speaking the extra-Qur’anic sources of Islam are quite late. For example, the oldest biography of Muhammad, Sirat Rasool Allah by Ibn Ishaq, was written at least around 120 years after Muhammad’s death, and only comes down to us in rescinded versions (e.g., in the versions of at-Tabari and Ibn Hisham). Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad gives us further details about how Suffiyah’s husband, Kinana ibn ar-Rabi ibn Abi al-Huqayq, was killed. Ibn Ishaq relates that Muhammad tortured Kinana by kindling fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was near dead, prior to ordering Muhammad ibn Maslama to behead him. Ibn Ishaq relates that Muhammad did this because Kinana would not disclose to Muhammad where the treasure of the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir was hidden. See ʻAbd al-Malik Ibn Hishām, Muḥammad Ibn Isḥāq, and Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Isḥāq’s Sīrat Rasūl Allāh (Karachi; New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 515.

[21] “برنامج فقه المرأة – د.سعاد صالح -المقصود بملك اليمين – Fiqh Al-maraa,” YouTube video, 3:37, posted by “AlHayah TV Network,” Sept. 12, 2014.

[22] Although Q 98:6 technically only condemns the “infidels” from the People of the Book (الذين كفروا من اهل الكتاب), it is clear that that traditional Jews and Christians who deny the prophethood of Muhammad are being condemned here.

[23] Furthermore, contrary to Muslim apologists, it is not even clear if the Arabic word awliya (اولياء) should be translated as “guardians” and not “friends.” Many medieval Muslim exegetes took awliya to be or to include friends.

[24] Mainstream Islamic tradition interprets Q 4:157 to imply that Jesus was not crucified. So, Islamists abhor crosses, and from the earliest times of Islam up to the present, they call Christians “worshipers of the cross (عباد الصليب).”

[25] Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam, xxix.

[26] Samir Khalil Samir, 111 Questions on Islam, 91.

[27] Arthur Jeffery, “THE QUEST OF THE HISTORICAL MOHAMMED*,” The Muslim World 16, no. 4 (October 1, 1926): 328.

[28] ʻAbd al-Malik Ibn Hishām, Muḥammad Ibn Isḥāq, and Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Isḥāq’s Sīrat Rasūl Allāh (Karachi; New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 550-1. ‘Abdullah b. Sa’d’s death could also be attributed to the fact that he apostatized—it seems that both his insults of Islam (having chosen to stop writing the Qur’an, he ostensibly thought the Qur’an was a product of human handiwork) and his apostasy played a role in his death.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid., 551.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Reuven Firestone, Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam (New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 60.

[33] Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 8, Hadith 387.

[34] Mohammed ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani. The Islamic Law of Nations: Shaybani’s Siyar (Kitab al-siyar al-kabir),  Trans. Majid Khadduri. (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1966). As cited in William G. Boykin, Harry E. Soyster, et. al., Shariah, The Threat to America, 82.

[35] David Cook, Understanding Jihad, 6; Samir Khalil Samir, Violence et non-violence dans le Coran et l’Islam (Beiruit: CEDRAC), 42.

[36] Ibid., 18.

[37] At-Tabari, The Commentary of At-Tabari: Jami’ al-Bayan ‘an Ta’wil ay al-Qur’an, vol. 14, 2nd ed., eds., Mahmood Shakr and Ahmad Shakr (Cairo: Maktabat Ibn Taymiyyah), 200.

[38] David Cook, Understanding Jihad, (Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2005), 164.

[39] None of these three groups has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States. It seems that the Obama administration is reluctant to declare rebel groups in Syria like Ahrar as-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam as terrorist organizations because the administration has (at least) previously armed such groups, and so the declaration would, in effect, implicate the Obama administration in the groups’ terrorism activities.

Accept Shari’a in the West?

Accept Shari’a in the West?

by Daniel Pipes

updated Mar 5, 2015

Will Muslim populations in the West succeed in ending the tradition of one law for all, replacing it with the concept of “legal pluralism”? Here and there, official and unofficially, Islamic law, the Shari’a, is making advances. In Italy, for example, hudud punishments have included the cutting of limbs by vigilantes acting on behalf of unofficial qadis. Polygamous marriages are making headway in many countries.Muslim-only enclaves, no-go zones, and Shari’a jurisdiction (see below) are all appearing; they could eventually lead to Muslim autonomous zones, with profound implications for European life and culture.

Survey research has found considerable interest among British Muslims to the Shari’a into Britain. Here are the results of four different surveys in the period 2004-07:

  • Back Shari’a courts to settle civil cases among Muslims, so long as penalties do not break the law: 61 percent.
  • Support there being areas of Britain which are pre-dominantly Muslim and in which Shari’a Law is introduced: 40 percent.
  • Prefer to live under Shari’a law: 30 percent.
  • “If I could choose, I would prefer to live in Britain under Shari’a law rather than British law”: 28 percent.

This is one of the most profound issues to face Western societies, for applying Shari’a is the ultimate Islamist goal and the surest way to transform the West into Dar al-Islam. I will address the topic here on an occasional basis, in reverse chronological order.

The first American Shar’i court? An “Islamic Tribunal” has opened its doors in Dallas, Texas, with four “judges”: Imam Yusuf Z. Kavakci, Imam Moujahed Bakhach, Imam Zia ul Haque Sheikh, and Dr. Taher El-badawi. Its homepage states:

Similar religious tribunals have existed for decades in the American Jewish and American Christian faith communities to resolve disputes, most especially within families. These religious tribunals are optional arbitration vehicles that only conduct their work when requested to do so by both parties involved in a dispute, do not attempt to impose any belief system upon any individual and work in compliance with State of Texas and US law under the United States Constitution.

The homepage of the Dallas Islamic Tribune’s website.

(March 5, 2015)

Shari’a Police in German town: Soeren Kern reviews the emergence of a Salafi pseudo-police force in Wuppertal, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state with the largest Muslim population in Germany, and how the authorities are talking tough but not doing anything. (September 8, 2014)

Attempt to cut off a hand in Philadelphia: Merv Mitchell, 37, said to be the amir of Masjid Ar-Razaqq Ul-Karim, a mosque in west Philadelphia, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, and related offenses for assaulting a mosque member. The Philadelphia Inquirer tells the story:

Merv Mitchell (aka Mabul Shoatz), accused of vigilante Islamic justice.

The attack happened after a prayer service Monday morning[, July 14]. Mitchell, also known as Mabul Shoatz, accused the 46-year-old mosque member of [stealing money from prayer jars]. The accused immediately denied it, but to no avail. Mitchell and the mosque’s imam carried the accused down a flight of stairs to the backyard of the mosque, a converted house, where Mitchell also lives, [Lt. John] Walker said.They put the victim’s wrist on a log, and Mitchell “swung at his wrist, cut through his skin, and cut his tendons, but didn’t make it all the way” because the blade was dull, Walker said. The victim was treated at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital and will require reconstructive surgery. … Police found the machete during the search. Walker said police would obtain an arrest warrant for the imam, a 35-year-old man whose name was not released.

A little internet research suggests the imam’s name is Muta Ali.

Comment: The city of burqa robberies now can boast a do-it-yourself example of huddud justice. In other words, why even bother with a Shar’i court when you can carry out vigilante Islamic justice? (July 19, 2014)

British wills: The Law Society, a British organization that represents itself as “here to help, protect and promote solicitors across England and Wales,” issued instructions today on “Sharia succession rules,” in other words, how to write a Shar’i compliant will. It contains such charming passages as this:

Certain principles of Sharia are different to English succession laws. For example, it is not possible to inherit under Sharia rules via a deceased relative. No distinction is made between children of different marriages, but illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs. The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised.

(March 13, 2014)

Mar. 23, 2014 update: The Law Society’s document has provoked considerable controversy, reports the Independent:

Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills. … Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society told the newspaper that the document, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, would promote “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system.

But some lawyers have described the recommendations as “astonishing” and campaigners have warned that the move marks a step towards a “parallel legal system” for Britain’s Muslim communities. Baroness Cox, a cross-bench peer leading a Parliamentary campaign to protect women from discrimination authorised on the basis of religion, including from unofficial Sharia courts in Britain, told the Sunday Telegraph it was a “deeply disturbing” development. …

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, told the Sunday Telegraph: “This guidance marks a further stage in the British legal establishment’s undermining of democratically determined human rights-compliant law in favour of religious law from another era and another culture. British equality law is more comprehensive in scope and remedies than any elsewhere in the world. Instead of protecting it, The Law Society seems determined to sacrifice the progress made in the last 500 years.”

Nov. 24, 2014 update: The Law Society has reversed itself and withdrawn the guidelines for “Sharia compliant” wills in response to complaints that doing so encourages discrimination against women and non-Muslims. Andrew Caplen, the society’s president apologized: “Our practice note was intended to support members to better serve their clients as far as is allowed by the law of England and Wales. We reviewed the note in the light of criticism. We have withdrawn the note and we are sorry.”

Nation of Islam wants own courts: Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam demanded in the course of his keynote speech at the Saviours’ Day convention that African-Americans should have their own court system, implying it would be an Islamic system. “Our people can’t take much more. We have to have our own courts. You failed us.” He advised looking for guidance to the Koran and Bible to set up the new courts.

Louis Farrakhan at the Nation of Islam’s annual gathering.

(February 24, 2014)

The misogyny of British Shar’i courts exposed: Soeren Kern provides a useful summary of a BBC documentary, “Secrets of Britain’s Sharia Courts,” filmed clandestinely at several of the UK’s 85 Shar’i courts, exposing the discrimination against women at these informal courts. Shown on BBC Panorama on April 8,

The undercover investigation proves what has long been suspected: namely, that Sharia courts, which operate in mosques and houses across Britain, routinely issue rulings on domestic and marital issues according to Islamic Sharia law that are at odds with British law. Although Sharia rulings are not legally binding, those subject to the rulings often feel obliged to obey them as a matter of religious belief, or because of pressure from family and community members to do so. The documentary contends that the Sharia courts … are putting women at risk of violence from abusive husbands by pressuring them to stay in abusive marriages.

Kern then provides outrageous examples of decisions taken by the Islamic Sharia Council in Leyton and the Sharia Council of Dewsbury.

He also notes that Baroness Cox presented the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill in October 2012 in the House of Lords that would (1) limit the activities of Shar’i courts, (2) require them to uphold laws concerning women’s rights and (3) make it a criminal offense (punishable by five years in prison) falsely to claim or imply that Shar’i courts have legal standing. (April 23, 2013)

Overview of Shar’i courts in Germany: Maximilian Popp writes for Der Spiegel about the dispensation of Islamic justice in Germany, starting with an important anecdote:

The men ambushed Fuat S. on the street, then locked him in a basement and tortured him. Fuat was later admitted to the hospital in Berlin’s Neukölln district with gaping wounds, contusions and broken bones. Police took his statement concerning the attack the same night. Fuat S., a gambler and a recipient of “Hartz IV”—Germany’s social welfare benefits for the long-term unemployed—gave a detailed statement. He’d conned an acquaintance, Mustafa O., out of €150,000 ($217,000) and the man was taking his revenge, Fuat said, together with his three brothers. They hit his hands, arms and knees with a hammer and threatened to shoot him.

The public prosecutor’s office in Berlin initiated proceedings against Mustafa O., a Palestinian man who had come to their attention repeatedly for violent acts. Police had investigated him in a number of cases, and now prosecutors saw an opportunity to convict a dangerous repeat offender. But when the case began, Fuat S., the principle witness, unexpectedly withdrew his testimony. It was not Mustafa who had tortured him, he said, but an Albanian man he didn’t know. Mustafa, he said, wasn’t even in the basement at the time. This was clearly a lie, as police analysis of telephone data showed, but the judge was forced to acquit the defendant due to lack of evidence.

The decision, in fact, was reached by a different judge. According to police, the victim’s and the perpetrator’s families had met at a restaurant in the presence of an Islamic “justice of the peace,” an arbitrator who mediates conflicts between Muslims. The two families had reached a compromise: Fuat would drop the charges, and in exchange be relieved of part of his debt. According to Bernhard Mix, the public prosecutor in charge of the case, Fuat’s false testimony was part of a deal between the families. “It’s difficult to establish the truth using legal means, when the perpetrator and the victim reach an agreement,” he says.

This and other information comes from a new book on the topic:

Joachim Wagner, an author and television journalist of many years, has taken a closer look at the phenomenon in his book Richter ohne Gesetz (“Judges without Laws”). Reconstructing Mustafa O.’s case, he reaches the conclusion that “the Islamic parallel justice system is becoming a threat to the constitutional legal system.”

Wagner stresses the informality of the system:

These justices of the peace don’t wear robes. Their courtrooms are mosques or teahouses. They draw their authority not from the law, but from their standing within the community. Most of them are senior members of their families, or imams, and some even fly in from Turkey or Lebanon to resolve disputes. Muslims seek them out when families argue, when daughters take up with nonbelievers or when clans clash. They often trust these arbitrators more than they trust the state.

State staff worry about the implications:

The late juvenile court judge Kirsten Heisig drew attention to this problem a year ago: “The law is slipping out of our hands. It’s moving to the streets, or into a parallel system where an imam or another representative of the Koran determines what must be done.”

In Wagner’s book, judges and prosecutors tell of threats toward public officials and systematic interference with witnesses. “We know we’re being given a performance, but the courts are powerless,” says Stephan Kuperion, a juvenile court judge in Berlin. Federal public prosecutor Jörn Hauschild warns, “It would be a terrible development if serious criminal offences in these circles could no longer be resolved. The legal system would be reduced to collecting victims.”

We learn about one of these arbiters:

Hassan Allouche sits behind the wheel of his station wagon, steering the vehicle through Berlin’s rush hour traffic with one hand, talking on his cell phone. Two Arabs have called on him for help in a rent dispute. He lights a cigarette and says, “People are afraid of the authorities. They trust me.” Allouche came to Germany from Lebanon 37 years ago. He acts as a religious arbitrator, just as his great-grandfather did before him. People greet him on the streets of Berlin, shaking his hand or bowing. “He’s kept us from a great deal of harm,” one Turkish businessman says.

Allouche’s brother was shot while trying to resolve a conflict, and since then he always wears a bulletproof vest when doing his work. He says he mediates 200 cases a year, often offers his own services and doesn’t ask any payment, although he accepts gifts. “I do this for Germany and for Allah,” he says.

The arbiters

operate in a gray area between conflict resolution and obstruction of justice. Allouche, for example, claims to work closely with authorities, but investigators suspect him of preventing witnesses from giving statements to the police. So far they’ve never been able to prove an obstruction of justice.

Although “Investigators do cooperate with Islamic arbitrators in a few exceptional cases,” the problem remains:

If these arbitrators would limit themselves to containing conflicts, there would be no reason to object, says legal and Islamic studies expert Mathias Rohe in the Bavarian city of Erlangen. German law, after all, allows for arbitration. What Rohe finds unacceptable is the exertion of influence over criminal proceedings. “Criminal prosecution is a privilege of the state,” he says.

Looking ahead, the problem is likely to continue:

Legal steps alone can’t prevent a parallel Islamic justice system, not with so many immigrants from Muslim countries who insist on following values retained for centuries—such as the primacy of men and the unconditional struggle for one’s own honor and that of the family. One problem is that they pass on these clichés to their children, so even third-generation members of immigrant families mistrust the German legal system.

“We need to promote our constitutional legal state starting in school,” says Rohe, the Islamic studies expert. If German integration were in better shape, he believes, Islamic arbitrators would have been out of work long ago.

(September 1, 2011)

Overview of Shar’i courts in the U.K.: Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports for the Sunday Telegraph on the workings of a Shar’i court in Birmingham, England:

The council meets once a month at the Birmingham Central Mosque. Many of the cases relate to divorce and involve the husbands and wives entering the room separately to make their appeals. …

While a husband is not required to go through official channels to gain a divorce – being able to achieve this merely by uttering the word “talaq” – Islamic law requires that the wife must persuade the judges to grant her a dissolution. …

While these courts may be the cornerstone of many of Britain’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, there are growing concerns that they are creating a parallel legal system – and one that is developing completely unchecked.

He then reports on efforts at push back:

In an attempt to counter the proliferation of these courts, a Bill has been tabled in the House of Lords by Baroness Cox calling for Sharia courts to be outlawed where they conflict with the British legal system. … “My Bill seeks to stop parallel legal, or quasi-legal, systems taking root in our nation,” she says. “There is widespread concern that some tribunals applying Sharia are going well beyond their legal remit, and some rulings are being misrepresented as having the force of UK law. Cases of criminal law and family law are matters reserved for the English courts alone. I hope the Bill gets through, as I believe it is vital for securing the rights of women in this country. … Muslim women who have a poor grasp of English or are unaware of their legal rights are likely to believe whatever their Sharia court tells them.” …

“Sharia courts are utterly opposed to equal rights and they discriminate against women,” says Jim Fitzpatrick, the Labour MP for Poplar and Canning Town, an area with a population now dominated by Bangladeshi Muslims. Fitzpatrick recently chaired a debate in the House of Commons on Sharia. “I’m concerned that they are creating a cultural stranglehold over their communities and leading to the Islamification of our society,” he says.

Court advocates have great ambitions:

campaigners hope to see all Sharia courts outlawed from this country. Although the courts currently have no jurisdiction in Britain, the Islamic Sharia Council makes clear that its ultimate goal is to have their laws recognised. It says on its website: “Though the Council is not yet legally recognised by the authorities in the UK, the fact that it is already established, and is gradually gaining ground among the Muslim community… are all preparatory steps towards the final goal of gaining the confidence of the host community in the soundness of the Islamic legal system.”

Certain decisions made under Sharia are already enforceable in British courts through the 1996 Arbitration Act, which allows any form of agreement as long as both parties concur on the terms at the outset. This legal standing does not apply to the informal Sharia councils – but does apply to the Muslim arbitration tribunals that rule on commercial and civil disputes, a fact that is raising fears that they could begin to supplant the British court system. Set up in 2007 by Sheikh Faiz Siddiqi, a qualified commercial barrister, there are now seven Muslim arbitration tribunals across the country.

They have, surprisingly, found a non-Muslim clientele:

They are becoming popular with non-Muslims, too – who, Siddiqi claims, have made up around 15 per cent of their cases so far this year, compared to five per cent in 2009. “People see that they’re efficient, cheap and informal and we get to a decision in a much more stress-free manner.” In 2009, a non-Muslim took his Muslim business partner to a tribunal, arguing that they had an oral agreement over the profits in their car company. He was awarded £48,000 after the tribunal ruled that the Muslim partner had acted in a way that suggested a deal had been struck.

Earlier this year, another non-Muslim also found success by taking a dispute to the tribunal. He had been thrown out of his flat by his Muslim landlord after being accused of breaching the terms of his lease. The tribunal ruled that he had been treated unfairly and should be allowed to return to his property.

Sheikh Siddiqi says non-Muslims are using the tribunal system because they appreciate the weight that rulings under Sharia law carry in the Islamic world. “People are finding that the negative images evoked in the past about Sharia law being draconian are not accurate,” he says. “Instead they’re seeing that our tribunals are a cheaper and quicker method of resolving disagreement, and they’re coming away with rulings that are fair.”

(August 11, 2011)

Plea in Australia: Somali Community of Victoria president Abdurahman Osman is calling for Shar’i courts on the model of Koori courts as an alternative for Aboriginal offenders. (December 2, 2011)

Inquiry into British Shar’i law courts closed down: Score one for the Islamists in the United Kingdom. Steve Doughty and Neil Sears write in the Daily Mail that the Ministry of Justice closed down a probe into the shadowy courts when those courts refused to cooperate, leading to exectations that their influence will continue to grow.

The failure of the Government’s investigation was disclosed to MPs by Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly. He told Tory backbencher Kris Hopkins that before last year’s general election his department acted to “commission an exploratory study of Sharia councils in England with respect to family law.” Mr Djanogly said: “This identified a number of challenges to undertaking robust research in this area. The study was therefore limited and adds little to the evidence base. The findings cannot be regarded as a representative assessment of the operation of Sharia councils. Following expert peer review of the draft report, the Ministry of Justice decided not to publish the findings.”

A further statement to the Mail made it clear the “challenges” researchers experienced boiled down to the Sharia courts failing to co-operate. The Ministry of Justice said: “The report was essentially an exploratory study which identified a number of challenges to undertaking more robust research. The challenges to undertaking more robust research were that the councils are generally run on a volunteer basis, were short staffed and very busy, so there were practical difficulties in speaking with respondents. There was also reluctance to discuss the private work of the councils and respondents were wary of the stereotypical ways in which their organisations were represented in the media.”

(July 29, 2011)

Shari’a in a district of London: An anonymous “Daily Mail Reporter” offers examples of “Talibanesque thugs” (the term is Ghaffar Hussain’s of the Quilliam Foundation) enforcing Islamic law in Tower Hamlets:

  • “Stickers have been plastered on public walls stating: ‘Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment’.”
  • “Posters for H&M which feature women in bikinis and a racy poster for a Bollywood film have been defaced.”
  • “An Asian woman who works in a pharmacy in east London was told to dress more modestly and wear a veil or the shop would be boycotted. When she went to the media to talk about the abuse she suffered, a man later entered the pharmacy and told her: ‘If you keep doing these things, we are going to kill you’. The 31-year-old, who is not a practising Muslim, said she has since been told to take holiday by the pharmacy owners and now fears she may lose her job. She said: ‘Why should I wear a hijab or burqa? I haven’t done anything wrong’.”
  • “Before Christmas posters appeared in the borough claiming the religious festival was ‘evil’. The campaign’s organiser was 27-year-old Abu Rumaysah, who once called for sharia law in Britain at a press conference held by hate preacher leader Anjem Choudary, the leader of banned militant group Islam4UK. Mr Rumaysah said: ‘Christmas is a lie and as Muslims it is our duty to attack it. But our main attack is on the fruits of Christmas, things like alcohol abuse and promiscuity that increase during Christmas and all the other evils these lead to such as abortion, domestic violence and crime. We hope that out campaign will make people realise that Islam is the only way to avoid this and convert’.”

(April 18, 2011)

Mohamadu Nawas.

Melbourne law firm adds adviser on Shari’a: Logie-Smith Lanyon, self described as a “mid-sized full service commercial law firm” has hired Mohamadu Nawas, a member of the Australian National Council of Imams as a consultant on Islamic law. According to an article by Barney Zwartz in the Age, Nawas “will work particularly on commercial contracts and disputes between Muslims, plus separation agreements, divorces, wills and pre-nuptial agreements.” It will not involve criminal law. He insists his advice will be fully compatible with Australian law. “In other countries, sharia courts deal with these issues, but here we don’t have this, so we are trying to promote sharia-compliance in advance.” Nawas studied Islamic law in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. (May 10, 2010)

Louisiana says no to Shari’a: Without much notice, the Louisiana legislature took a landmark step vis-à-vis Shari’a. Rep. Ernest Wooton, a Republican, introduced legislation that, according to James Gill of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “provides that no foreign law shall be applied here if it violates a right guaranteed by the American Constitution. … The Louisiana Supreme Court has so far insisted that cases in America are settled according to American law, but the committee figured it was wise to commit future jurists to that sound principle. At least the bill does no harm.” (April 28, 2010)

Anjem Choudary claims to have officiated at more than 1,800 off-the-books marriages.

Choudary officiated at 1,800 secret Shar’i weddings: Anjem Choudary claims to have married more than 1,800 couples in Britain in less than a decade, Abdul Taher of theSunday Mail reveals. Choudary, 42 and self-styled judge of the UK Sharia Court, instructs them not to register their weddings, insisting that registering marriages would recognize British law and so is forbidden in Islam: “once you’ve gone down that road of registering the marriage … you are automatically really saying, ‘Look, we are accepting the system that goes with it’.” (January 9, 2010)

Shar’i court in Finland: A report in the Helsingin Sanomat, “Islamilaista oikeutta Helsingissä” (Islamic Justice in Helsinki) reports the advance of Shar’i courts in another European country. Excerpts, as translated by Kenneth Sikorski at Tundra Tabloid:

Friday afternoon Imam Abdirazak Sugulle Mohamed sighs in the rear room of the Helsinki Islamic Center. There are so many things to take care of. Sugulle tends the largest Muslim society in Finland. It includes nearly 1,600 members, most of whom are Somalis. …

Helsinki Islamic Center manages a permanent arbitration panel, which includes Sugulle, a second imam and three other older community members, with a good knowledge of Islam. If necessary, they are asking for advice on religious issues familiar abroad. Mediation usually works like this: Either party to the conflict contacts the mosque, and he’s invited to tell his own side of the story. Then the other party is invited to speak. When both have been consulted, they are called, together with the front panel, if necessary, many times.”Sometimes mediation can take weeks, months.”

Sugulle estimates that the mediators will meet an average of two times per week. In addition, issues are settled by the telephone. The don’t get paid.”This is done because of Allah, is part of the religious obligations.” The panel mostly arbitrates between spouses. … Sometimes the issues is relating to parent and child or between the financial conflicts.”Who has the right to receive what, or who should pay for something.”

Certain persons mediate in the community, but the plan is for a permanent four-person panel.Acting as an arbitrator, Mahammed Hussein, describes the process thus: “We report on what the Koran and the prophet will say what is right and what wrong, what is forbidden and what is ok. People know that if you do evil, it becomes a ruling of the Court.” … Mediators settle mostly cases in which Finnish law does not take a position.

(August 3, 2009)

A special UK police force for Muslims? Today Shar’i courts, tomorrow a separate police force. According to London’s Daily Express, Muslim victims may be able to request their cases investigated by police from their own religion, particularly in cases of “honor killings,” forced marriages, and other culturally sensitive matters.

In fact, in London, Sikh victims already have the right to ask for a Sikh officer to be involved in an investigation. As Palbinder Singh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Sikh Association, explains: “I don’t believe a white officer is ever going to be fully conversant with a Sikh.” Chief Superintendant Joanna Young of the Metropolitan Police Criminal Justice Policy Unit, hopes this pattern will expand. Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Peter Smyth hopes not: “We’re stretched thin enough already. Are Sikh officers going to have their rotas changed so there’s always one on duty? It’s political correctness gone mad. We talking about the creation of a separate force within a force.” (July 23, 2009)

Non-Muslims use Shar’i courts: According to the UK’s Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, 5 per cent of its cases, and at least 20 cases so far in 2009 involve non-Muslims who turn to Shar’i courts due to their less cumbersome and more informal ways. To which, Denis MacEoin remarked that this claim “raises all sorts of questions.” Comment: And I say that I do not believe this statistic until it’s been proven. (July 21, 2009)

85 Shar’i courts in the United Kingdom: According to a study released today, Sharia Law or “One Law For All”? by my colleague Denis MacEoin, with foreword by Neil Addison and published by Civitas, Britain hosts at least 85 Shar’i courts, most of them operating out of mosques. That makes 17 times more than the 5 such courts previously known of. (June 29 2009)

Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, UK: The Sunday Mercury‘s Jeannette Oldham reports that scholars and lawyers at Hijaz College Islamic University in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, near Birmingham, have set up what it terms “the UK’s first official sharia law court.” Called the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, it has already applied the Shari’a, reports Oldham, “to decide the outcome of more than 100 civil disputes between Muslims across the UK since it opened its doors” in December 2007, meaning an annual rate of about 150 cases. Some particulars:

Cases already heard in Nuneaton include an inheritance dispute between three sisters and their two brothers, a divorce and a neighbour dispute. In the inheritance case the men were given double their sisters’ inheritance. The divorce hearing ruled that a Somalian woman should be granted an Islamic khula (annulment) despite her husband’s strong objections. And in the neighbourhood dispute the tribunal ruled that the losing party – a group of young Muslim graduates – should teach the winning party, who had young children. … The court also has the power to order parties taking part to pay compensation to the winning party. The most it has handed out in a single case is £500,000, and the least £50. No criminal matters can be considered by sharia arbitrators and no corporal punishment can be imposed.

What makes the MAT different from unofficial sharia courts which exist all over the United Kingdom? That it has binding legal status: “Its proceedings,” explains the Sunday Mercury, “are operating in tandem with the British legal system, and decisions challenged by the losing party will be upheld by a county court bailiff or high court sheriff.” While the tribunal cannot force itself on anyone, once the parties agree to give it jurisdiction, English law binds them to abide by the court’s decision. Divorce cases are the only exception to this rule, for the MAT may grant a Muslim woman an annulment regardless of a husband’s wishes – so she can marry again. (September 7, 2008))

Sep. 14, 2008 update: Abul Taher of The Sunday Times (London) adds some additional information about the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal:

  • It is not a single court but a network of five Shar’i courts headquartered in Nuneaton with branches in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester. Two more courts in Glasgow and Edinburgh are on the way.
  • They are classified as arbitration tribunals under a clause of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • The courts began doing business in August 2007.
  • Working with the police, the tribunals have settled six cases of domestic violence between married couples.
  • They expect to deal with “smaller” criminal cases. .
  • “There are concerns that women who agree to go to tribunal courts are getting worse deals because Islamic law favours men. [The initiator of these courts, Faiz-ul-Aqtab] Siddiqi said that in a recent inheritance dispute handled by the court in Nuneaton, the estate of a Midlands man was divided between three daughters and two sons. The judges on the panel gave the sons twice as much as the daughters, in accordance with sharia. Had the family gone to a normal British court, the daughters would have got equal amounts. In the six cases of domestic violence, Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment. In each case, the women subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police and the police stopped their investigations.”
  • Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, responded to this news with a statement: “If it is true that these tribunals are passing binding decisions in the areas of family and criminal law, I would like to know which courts are enforcing them because I would consider such action unlawful. British law is absolute and must remain so.”
  • Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, endorsed the move: “The MCB supports these tribunals. If the Jewish courts are allowed to flourish, so must the sharia ones.”
The UK’s Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips.

Muslim leader calls for application of Shari’a in UK: Sarfraz Sarwar, 60, leader of the Basildon Islamic Centre, in Laindon, before it was burnt down in 2006, wants Shari’a, including public floggings in town centers, to be introduced in Britain. “If anybody is caught with a knife then give them ten lashes in the town centre. Sharia law is not controversial. It’s a deterrent. Muslim countries don’t have half the problems we have because Sharia law is there.” (July 7, 2008)

UK’s most senior judge endorses Shari’a: Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips, speaking at an East London mosque yesterday blessed Shari’a law for use among Muslims. Islamic legal principles, he said, could help deal with family issues and to regulate finance. (July 4, 2008)

Overview of British Shar’i Courts: Kim Murphy offers a sympathetic view of the UK’s budding alternative legal structure today in “Islamic law plays a role in British legal system.”

For British Muslims, many of whom have one foot in Piccadilly Circus and the other in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Somalia, the British legal system is available, as it is to all. But it is singularly impotent when it comes to civil issues such as marriage, divorce and other disputes whose dispensation in heaven is often perceived as more crucial than any ruling that might be handed down by an English judge in a horsehair wig. … Sharia is quietly being applied every day in Britain, via Sharia councils that dispense Islamic civil justice in more than half a dozen mosques across the country.

The councils do not involve themselves in criminal law or any aspects of civil law in which they would be in direct conflict with British civil codes. The vast majority of their cases cover marriage and divorce. By consent of all parties, they may also arbitrate issues of property, child custody, housing and employment disputes, though their rulings are not binding unless submitted to the civilian courts.

According to Mohammed Siddique, described as a paralegal who advises the Sharia council in Dewsbury, in northern England, on the technicalities of British law, all is well: “It is known that English judges are willing to accept agreements like this that are reached in Sharia courts, as long as it has been put into proper form. It saves time and hassle for the court, and it shows that both parties are willing to compromise and reach some sort of agreement.” Indeed, Murphy continues, “Government officials have raised no objections to the councils, which first emerged in 1982 in Birmingham, because they operate in cooperation with British civil law, and British courts still issue all necessary legal decrees.”

Better yet, explains Suhaib Hasan, a judge on a North London Sharia council, the Sharia courts offer divorces that are cheaper and quicker than those available in the British courts. Further, courts like the one in Dewsbury offer services in Arabic, Gujarati, Urdu, and English. (June 20, 2008)

The Archbiship of Canterbury endorses Shari’a: I explain the statement and reactions to it in an article, “Britain’s Encounter with Islamic Law.” (Feb. 13, 2008)

The Sharee Council of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire: Paul Jeeves provides detailed information on one particular Shar’i court at “Now Muslims Get Their Own Laws in Britain,” in the Daily Express today. Dewsbury’s Sharee Council, he writes,

operates as a Muslim judiciary making decisions by which attendees must abide. … Non-Muslims are excluded from the secretive court which is registered as a charity to receive British tax benefits. Although the court has no official legal standing, scales of justice adorn a sign outside a former pub building which has been converted by the Islamic Institute of Great Britain. … The Madrasa – which is a former pub situated less than a mile from the one-time home of London bombing mastermind Khan – sits as a court every other weekend and hears up to 10 cases a day.

Four Muslim scholars, who have spent their life studying and preaching the Koran, sit in judgment on an array of cases alongside a Muslim solicitor whose role is to advise on the implications of their rulings in British law. The operation is headed by prominent scholar Sheikh Yaqub Munshi. Accounts for the Dewsbury court’s parent company the Islamic Research Institute of Great Britain, show that it was registered in Dewsbury as a charity in 1996 with the ethos of promoting the advancement of Islamic religion and education in the United Kingdom. Charitable status allows the organisation to claim tax relief and apply for government grants and trustee funding. Between April 1999 and April 2004 its gross annual turnover rocketed from £2,500 to above £177,000. At the end of the last financial year it recorded total funds of £255,000 but it is not known if or how it charges for use of the service.

At the moment, the leaders insist they only deal with civil matters such as Muslim divorces, wedding dowries and asset sharing. But the secretive Muslim-only nature of the dealings will provoke fears that radical Sharia law could be allowed to spread across the Muslim population. The source said: “These courts take the law into their own hands and dish out punishment for bad behaviour. “I have not heard of physical punishments being used but those in the wrong are often ordered to pay compensation. Many who have no respect for British law are the most stringent observers of Sharia law.”

Sheikh Yaqub admitted that in­troducing Sharia law into the UK has been his goal since moving to Britain from Pakistan in the 1960s. But he insisted its main aim is to help repressed women who are trapped in bad or violent marriages and who dare not use British law. He said: “Ever since I arrived here in the 1960s there has been a case of women being forced to get married, others forced to get married, but unhappy afterwards. Until now there was no organisation which could Islamically solve their problems.” … After the Sharia court has ruled in judgment, solicitors process matters officially through UK courts on their clients’ behalf.

(April 30,2007)

German judge cites Koran: The husband beat his wife and even threatened to murder her. But because both are Muslims, Christa Datz-Winter, a German divorce court judge referred to the passage in the Koran that permits a husband to beat his wife.”The exercise of the right to castigate does not fulfill the hardship criteria as defined by Paragraph 1565 [of German federal law],” the judge wrote; “to castigate” here is a euphemism for to beat. (March 21, 2007)

Yale Law School dean okays Shari’a: Harold Hongjiu Koh suggested in a speech that the Shari’a, among other foreign laws, could in certain circumstances be applied in the United States. A listener in the audience at the Yale Club of Greenwich summarized his remarks this way: “In your discussion of “global law” I recall at least one favorable reference to “Sharia”, among other foreign laws that could, in an appropriate instance (according to you) govern a controversy in a federal or state court in the US.” (March 21, 2007)

German scholar agreeable to Shari’a: Tehran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency quotes Matthias Rohe, an expert on Islamic law as well as a judge at the court of appeals in Nuremberg, Germany, saying that parts of the Shari’a are quite applicable in Europe, for example those concerning prayer, fasting, and the building of mosques. He also gave the example of the mahr (brideprice) marriage law which would be acceptable under German family law. Muslims already live under Shari’a personal law, he noted, in two places in Europe – Bulgaria and the Greek province of Thrace.

We would accept that in other countries there are other set of rules which to some extent would contradict our ideas and our rules. … But to a certain extent we are ready to accept these kind of differences and would apply the norms. When people cross the border, when they come to us we wouldn’t destroy their family structures even if we wouldn’t agree to this model because people are already relying on it.

(February 25, 2007)

Shar’i courts booming in the UK: Agence France-Presse reports that Muslims in increasing numbers are turning to about a dozen Islamic courts in the UK, mostly to resolve family disputes. The largest of them, the Islamic Sharia Council in Leyton, east London which, since its creation in 1982 has handled 7,000 divorce cases. As one of its founders, Mufti Barkatullah, explains, “We act as a religious court, which means deciding about their dispute and giving them written determination, based on Sharia, Islamic principles and jurisprudence.” What is the relationship between this and the British laws? Barkatullah replies: “People who live in the United Kingdom undertake and abide by the law of the land, but they regard those laws as administrative law, not a divine law. The matters of marriage and divorce don’t fall into the state domain. It is a religious matter.” Even if a couple has registered a civil marriage or divorce, “their perception is that their religious duties and their religious relationships are not finalized.”

Barkatullah suggests that the future belongs to his court, rather than the country’s official system. “If the government doesn’t take the political way, then the consumer will have the choice. If more and more people come to us rather than to a British court, we’ll know their choice. That’s what is happening.” (February 17, 2008) Feb. 24, 2008 update: The Independent reports that the Leyton court has never heard a criminal case, plus that it has Charity Commission status.

Helping a wife divorce in Canada: Here’s another argument in favor of adopting Islamic law, this one concerning a Lebanese family from Canada, as presented by Dene Moore of The Canadian Press, with names withheld. A Muslim man, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault to avoid attempted murder charges. He stabbed his wife in the face and their infant daughter in the stomach in their Montreal apartment in February 2006. The Crown wants his refusal to grant his wife a Shari’a divorce to be considered an aggravating factor, this as a way to pressure him to divorce her. He testified that he will not divorce her in Canada: “The issue of the divorce will be decided over there,” he told the judge, meaning Lebanon.

So, if only there were Shari’a in Canada, things would be fine.

That, say advocates, is the problem with the refusal to recognize Shariah law in the Canadian judicial system. Observant Muslim women, especially those who emigrated from Islamic countries, feel they have nowhere to turn, said Shahina Siddiqui, executive director of the Winnipeg-based Islamic Social Services Association. “Many, many times we see this,” Siddiqui said. … The woman earlier told the court she would like to return to her family in Lebanon but without the religious divorce and worries she could be forced to return to her husband or face charges of abducting her own daughter. “They had a religious marriage in Lebanon and if she returns she could have problems,” Crown lawyer Sophie Lavergne told the judge.

(January 25, 2007)

Parallel Somali law courts in the UK: The BBC Radio 4 program “Law in Action” has raised the issue with the account of Aydarus Yusuf, 29, a Somali-born youth worker resident in the UK for 15 years. He says he is bound more by Somali law than its British counterpart. “Us Somalis, wherever we are in the world, we have our own law. It’s not sharia, it’s not religious — it’s just a cultural thing.” To help others of Somali origin retain this sensibility, he helps convene a gar, or unofficial Somali “court,” in Woolwich, south-east London. Unlike its Jewish equivalent, the Beth Din, which deals only with civil matters, this court also deals with criminal ones.

For example, it considered the case of several young men arrested on suspicion of stabbing a fellow Somali teenager. The victim’s family said the issue would be settled out of court, so the police released the suspects on bail. “When the suspects were released on bail by the police, we got the witnesses and families together for a hearing,” says Aydarus. At the hearing, the elders ordered the assailants to compensate their victim. “All their uncles and their fathers were there. The accused men admitted their guilt and apologised. Their fathers and uncles agreed compensation.” Scotland Yard admitted to ignorance about this case. A spokesman noted the police commonly do not proceed with assault cases when a victim decides not to press charges. In other cases, such as rape or murder, the victim’s wishes count for less.

English law, it bears noting, permits resolution of disputes not based on English law, so long as both parties agree to the process and the decision is reasonable. At that point, it is enforceable by English law.

Some academics welcome “legal pluralism.” Prakash Shah, of London’s Queen Mary University, argues that “Tribunals like the Somali court could be more effective than the formal legal system in maintaining social harmony.” In contrast, former judge Gerald Butler QC insists that “What they mustn’t do – and this must never happen – is to stray into the field of criminal matters. That simply would never be acceptable.” Islamic scholars also offer an alternate approach: adapting secular courts to apply Shari’a in such areas as family law and inheritance. Mohammed Shahid Raza notes the precedent: “When Britain was ruling India, there was a separate legal code for Muslims, organised and regulated by British experts of law.”

Faizul Aqtab Siddiqi, a barrister and principal of Hijaz College Islamic University, predicts that there will be a formal network of Muslim courts within the decade. Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, writes in Islam in Britain: The British Muslim Community in February 2005 that there already exists an “alternative parallel unofficial legal system” operating in the Muslim community, on a voluntary basis. Indeed, Shari’a courts operate in most larger cities.

Comment: The potential for splitting the UK judiciary into ethnic enclaves brings to mind the Mixed Courts of Egypt that existed from 1876 to 1949, with its fourteen capitulary powers all represented on the bench. (November 29, 2006)

Feb. 9, 2008 update: A Daily Mail article by Fiona Barton and Alex McBride, “A brutal beating and justice meted out in a humble back street cafe: How sharia law already operates in Britain,” quotes Aydraus Hassan, 30, a member of the Isaaq, one of Somalia’s four “noble” clans, a resident of Woolwich, and a youth worker in the Somali community, on the gar system; he seems to be the same person as Aydarus Yusuf quoted above.

When you have two kids fighting over stuff, they sometimes stab each other up or shoot. If that happens, the Somali community knows who it was straight away. The elders in the accused’s family would call the victim’s family and ask for a meeting. It is happening in Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Manchester, all over the country. It is very rare for families to call the police because they can come to an agreement within the community.

In addition, the Daily Mail found that parallel courts are also dispensing their own form of law in Dewsbury, Birmingham, and other towns where Britain’s 43,000 Somali population and other Muslims live. The gar is typically convened in the early evening:

In the 10th century, we used to do this under a tree. But now we go to the victim’s home or occasionally a restaurant for a meeting. It is a mark of respect that we go to them. The elders – the father and uncles and cousins of both victim and accused – discuss what happened. There are no arguments. The victim’s family always accepts an apology from the family of the accused. Then, if there is any compensation to pay to the victim’s family, they collect the money and pass it on. The money is paid by all the members of the accused’s family – everyone pays a small amount so the father doesn’t end up paying it all.

Aydraus argues that the system works well, even though, no matter how terrible the crime, cases always end with an apology and financial compensation for the victim. Those found guilty neither do not go to prison, nor is their crime registered. A violent criminal is free to potentially to engage in more violence. Aydraus insists that repeat offences do not occur: “If you do it again, you are banished. You cease to exist in the eyes of the community and you would bring shame on your family and the community.” The gars offer, he says, a “civilised form of justice. … It is not that we are against the law in this country, we are trying to save time and money for the country. This is how we have dealt with crime since the 10th century. This is something we can sort out for ourselves.”

But, as the Daily Mail reporters note, the system

is far from civilised where women are concerned. They are excluded from hearing cases, and sexual crimes against them are rarely heard because if a daughter is raped, it is often considered best for the family to keep quiet about it. Under sharia law, a raped woman brings “aayib” [‘ayb], or shame, to the family because losing virginity out of wedlock (under whatever circumstances) is one of the gravest sins in Islam. The Department for Constitutional Affairs is so concerned about evidence of sharia courts and their denigration of women in this country that it has put out a statement: “It is essential that the criminal justice system gives a voice to and supports the victims of crimes such as rape, harassment and intimidation.”

Dutch electorate may vote in Shari’a: Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner says the Shari’a could be introduced in the Netherlands, if voted in democratically. “For me it is clear: if two-thirds of the Dutch population should want to introduce the Sharia tomorrow, then the possibility should exist. It would be a disgrace to say: ‘That is not allowed!’.” (September 13, 2006)

The Shari’a

The Shari’a

IT IS CHARACTERISTIC of the practical bent of the Islamic community and of its thought that its earliest activity and most highly developed expression is in law rather than in theology. Several explanations might be advanced for this fact. It might be said, for example, that the practical needs of the community-in-being made it necessary to stabilize and standardize the processes of law long before its intellectual curiosity progressed to the point of asking and answering metaphysical questions. Or some might argue that the familiarity with Roman law acquired by the Arabs not only in Syria and Egypt but also among the Christians in Iraq predisposed them to construct their own legal system at a much earlier date than Christian controversy and Greek philosophy began to influence Islamic religious thought. In support of this view it could be pointed out that the first Muslim schools of law, in the strict sense, arose in Syria and Iraq before the end of the Umayyad Caliphate in 750. Or again, on more sociological grounds, it might be suggested that oriental societies, in contrast to most western societies, have generally devoted much more sustained and successful efforts to building up stable social organizations, with law as one of their pillars, than to constructing ideal systems of philosophical thought.

It is possible that the study of law in Islam and the organization of its elements into some coherent system were influenced or hastened on by these or other factors. But the impulse itself came from none of these things. So far as our evidence goes, it seems to show that in the Umayyad period disputes amongst the Arab tribesmen were either settled by customary law administered by their shaikhs or dealt with by the Caliph or his representatives in accordance with their own judgement – both, no doubt, influenced in greater or less degree by the legislation of the Koran. As for Roman law, though some of its formulae and contents percolated into Islamic law, the principles upon which the latter was constructed and (one may even say) the whole spirit of its application were entirely unrelated to those of the Roman jurists. Indeed, from the very beginning, the methods and formulation of Islamic law present a curious combination of positive injunction and theoretical discussion which betrays the atmosphere of the school rather than the market-place.

Law in the eyes of the Muslim scholars was not in fact an independent or empirical study. It was the practical aspect of the religious and social doctrine preached by Mohammed. For the early Muslims there was little or no distinction between ‘legal’ and ‘religious’. In the Koran the two aspects are found side by side, or rather interwoven one with the other, and so likewise in the Hadith. The study and interpretation of the Koran involved sometimes the one and sometimes the other, and nearly a century elapsed before scholars began to specialize in one or the other aspect. Ultimately they were distinguished by relative terms: ‘ilm – ‘positive knowledge’, denoting theology (though not excluding law), and fiqh, ‘understanding’, denoting law (based on theology). Only at a much later date was Greek word ‘canon’ (qanun) adopted to denote administrative rule as distinct from revealed law. (Thus ‘canon law’ in Arabic should mean the exact opposite of canon in European usage.)

The connexion between law and religion thus established by Mohammed and adopted by his followers persisted throughout all later centuries. Characteristically, all expositions of Muslim law begin with the ‘religious duties’ or ‘acts of worship’, such as ablution, prayer, and pilgrimage. As in other Semitic religions, law is thought of, not as a product of human intelligence and adaptation to changing social needs and ideals, but of divine inspiration hence immutable. For Muslims its proof-texts were to be found in the Koran and Prophetic Tradition; and on this assumption the jurists and theologians of the second century elaborated a structure of law that is, from the point of view of logical perfection, one of the most brilliant essays of human reasoning.

Before examining the product of this activity, it is of some importance to look a little more closely into the methods followed by the jurists in their endeavour to systematize their material, for the insight which it affords into the character of Muslim epistemology and reasoning.

The Koran and the Tradition are not, as it is often said, the basis of Islamic legal speculation, but only its sources. The real foundation is to be sought in the attitude of mind which determined the methods of utilizing these sources. The first question, then, is not ‘What is laid down in the Koran and the Hadith?’, but ‘Why are the Koran and the Hadith accepted as sources of law?’, and the second is ‘How are their prescriptions to be understood and applied?’

To answer the first question by saying that Koran and the Hadith are accepted as infallible sources because they are the foundations and title-deeds of the religion of Islam is to argue in a circle. The ultimate reason is metaphysical and a priori. It is a conviction of the imperfection of human reason and its inability to apprehend by its sole powers the real nature of the Good or indeed any reality whatsoever. Absolute good and evil can therefore be known to men only through a divine revelation mediated through Prophets. By Divine Providence there has been a succession of such Prophets ever since, by the creation of Adam (who was the first of them), mankind has existed on this earth. The revelations accorded to these Prophets were all identical in principle, but formed a gradually developing series adapted to the stages of man’s development. Each in turn expanded, modified, and abrogated the preceding revelations. The Koran is the final revelation and therefore contains the final and most perfect solutions for all questions of belief and conduct.

So far the Koran. The argument for the infallibility of the Sunna is rather a consequential and logical than a metaphysical argument. The Koran is comparatively short, and even in this small book the greater part has no direct bearing on dogmatic, ritual, legal, political, and social questions. In theory, the general principles by which all these matters should be regulated are to be found in the Koran but not all of them are set out with equal clearness and detail. It is therefore essential to interpret and elaborate the relevant texts. The natural, and indeed the only possible interpreter whose judgement can be trusted is the Prophet through whom they were revealed. According to the Koran itself this Prophet was possessed not only of the kitab, the written ‘book’, but also of the hikma, the ‘wisdom’ whereby ultimate principles can be applied to the details and episodes of ordinary life. Consequently, his actions and sayings, transmitted by chains of reliable narrators, form a kind of commentary and supplement to the Koran. From this it was only a step to the further position that this commentary was itself inspired, in that in all his sayings and doings the Prophet was acting under ‘tacit inspiration’ and thus supplied solutions to the problems of good and evil as final as those of the Koran.a

The Koran and Tradition having thus been accepted as infallible sources, how are their rules and indications to be applied? Neither offered a systematic body of legal provisions, but only supplied the materials out of which a system could be constructed. The actual construction of this system thus involved the creation of a new and elaborate science of interpretation or ‘roots of jurisprudence’.

Obviously, the foundation of the system was laid by the clear and unambiguous commands and prohibitions found in the Koran and Tradition. Where these exist the exercise of human reason is excluded. But first of all it is necessary to prove their existence. This question does not, of course arise in the case of Koranic texts (unless there are variant readings which alter the sense), but does arise in the case of texts in the Hadith. Hence the creation of that study of the authenticity of hadith with all its complicated disciplines which was outlined in the preceding chapter. In addition, it is necessary to show that the relevant text has been ‘abrogated’, if it should happen to be in conflict with another of equal authority.

The requirements of historical criticism having now been satisfied, it next falls to be considered whether the rule formulated in any given case is limited or not in its application. The general principle which was laid down by the jurists was that unless the text itself expressed or implied some limitation (as, for example, to local historical circumstances or to a particular class of persons), then the rule was not limited in any way but was universally applicable at all times.

Lastly it is necessary to determine what the rule means, that is, to establish the literal sense of the text or rule by means of philology and lexicography. This once established, it was held as a general principle that the words were to be taken in their literal sense as commonly used in Arabic speech – excepting, of course, such expressions as were clearly metaphorical (as, for example, the Koranic injunction to ‘hold fast to the rope of God’).

Where, however, points of law arose which were not covered by a clear statement in Koran or Tradition, the majority of jurists had recourse to analogy (qiyas), i.e. the application to a new problem of the principles underlying an existing decision on some other point which could be regarded as on all fours with the new problem. But even this was rejected by the strictest jurists as involving an element of human judgement and therefore fallible.

On this apparently narrow and literalist basis the theologians and lawyers of the second and third centuries worked out not only the law, but also the rituals and the doctrines, which were to be the special property of the Islamic community, in distinction from other religious and social organizations. Yet the narrowness is more apparent in theory than in practice, for (as we have seen and shall see again) a great deal became naturalized in Islam from outside sources through the medium of traditions claiming to emanate from the Prophet and in other ways. But because the principles on which this logical structure was built up were immutable, so also the system itself, once formulated, was held to be immutable, and indeed to be as divinely inspired as the sources from which it was drawn. From that day to this, the Shari’a or Shar’, as it is called, the ‘Highway’ of divine command and guidance, has remained in essentials unchanged.

It may be asked how far this inflexibility and stereotyping were inherent in the systems of law and theology as they were originally conceived. One might have expected that the work of the theologians and jurists of the second and third centuries would have been open to review and, if necessary, revision by later generations with equal authority within the same limits. The rigidity was due to the introduction of a principle which made its appearance in the community in the first place, it would seem, to give the sanction of legitimacy to its political structure. This was the principle of ‘consensus’ (ijma’).

It is one of the boasts of Islam that it does not countenance the existence of a clergy, who might claim to intervene between God and man. True as this is, however Islam, as it became organized into a system, did in fact produce a clerical class, which acquired precisely the same kind of social and religious authority and prestige as the clergy in the Christian communities. This was the class of the ‘Ulama,’1 the ‘learned’ or the ‘doctors’, corresponding to the ‘scribes’ in Judaism. Given the sanctity of Koran and Tradition and the necessity of a class of persons professionally occupied with their interpretation the emergence of the Ulama was a natural and inevitable development though the influence of the older religious communities may have assisted the rapid establishment of their social and religious authority.

As their authority became more firmly held and more generally concerned by the public opinion of the community the class of Ulama claimed (and were generally recognized) to represent the community in all matters relating to faith and law, more particularly against the authority the State. At an early date – probably some time in second century – the principle was secured that the ‘consensus of the community’ (which in practice meant that of the Ulama) had binding force. Ijma’ was thus brought the armoury of the theologians and jurists to fill up all the remaining gaps in their system. As the Tradition was the integration of the Koran, so the consensus of scholars became the integration of the Tradition.

Indeed, on a strict logical analysis, it is obvious ijma’ underlies the whole imposing structure and alone gives it final validity. For it is ijima’ in the first place which guarantees the authority of the text of the Koran and of the Traditions. It is ijma’ which determines how the words of their texts are to be pronounced and what they mean and in what direction they are to be applied. But ijima’ goes much farther; it is erected into a theory of infallibility, a third channel of revelation. The spiritual prerogatives of the Prophet – the Muslim writers speak of them as the ‘light of Prophecy’ – were inherited (in the Sunni doctrine) not by his successors in the temporal government of the community, the Caliphs, but by the community as a whole.

When the Muslim community agrees to a religious practice or rule of faith, it is, in a certain manner, directed and inspired by God, preserved from error, and infallibly led towards the Truth … by virtue of a special grace bestowed by God upon the community of Believers.2

Ijma’ thus intervenes more or less decisively in every branch of Islamic doctrine, law, and statecraft; it may even set aside or supersede the strict logical conclusions regarding the authenticity, meaning and application of a given text; it may give support to a tradition which strict criticism rejects as of doubtful genuineness; and though it cannot in theory abrogate a direct text of Koran or Tradition, it may (in the view of the jurists) indicate that ‘the law so prescribed has fallen into disuse’.

When, therefore, a consensus of opinions had been attained by the scholars of the second and third centuries on any given point, the promulgation of new ideas on the exposition of the relevant texts of the Koran and Hadith was as good as forbidden. Their decisions were irrevocable. The right of individual interpretation (ijtihad) was in theory (and very largely in practice also) confined to the points on which no general agreement had yet been reached. As these were narrowed down from generation to generation, the scholars of later centuries were limited to commenting and explaining the treatises in which those decisions were recorded. The great majority of Muslim doctors held that the ‘gate of Ijtihad’ was shut once and for all, and that no scholar, however eminent, could henceforth qualify as a mujtahid, an authoritative interpreter of the law; although some few later theologians did from time to time claim for themselves the right of ijtihad.

There is a certain analogy between this settlement doctrine by ‘consensus’ in Islam and the Councils of the Christian Church, in spite of the divergences of outer form; and in certain respects the results were very similar. It was for example, only after the general recognition of ijima’ as a source of law and doctrine that a definite legal test of ‘heresy’ was possible and applied. Any attempt to raise the question of the import of a text in such a way as to deny the validity of the solution already given and accepted by consensus became a bid’a, an act of ‘innovation’, that is to say, heresy.

The most remarkable feature of this whole development is its logical formalism. Although the presuppositions which it rests may certainly be derived from the Koran, the later scholars of Medina and Iraq, in their zeal to make the system completely watertight, did not hesitate to push the conclusions derived from these presuppositions to their extreme logical limits. The doctrine that Mohammed was ‘implicitly’ inspired in all his sayings was due simply to the necessity of safeguarding his infallibility as the interpreter of the Koran. If it were held that he was inspired in those sayings which interpret the Koran but not in other sayings which refer to the trivial events of daily life, the difficulty of distinguishing between them would arise; and further, as we have seen, the legists needed an infallible source for precisely all these trivial details. Any possibility of questioning whether in fact this or that solution was inspired had to be avoided at all costs, and so the danger was parried by declaring all his acts and sayings inspired. It must not, of course, be assumed that this was anything but an instinctive, almost unconscious, movement of thought.

The same preoccupation with theoretical completeness underlies the doctrine of ijma’. Originally it allowed a measure of development (the Caliphate, for example, rests entirely upon ijma’), but its function was afterwards circumscribed to the purpose of setting the seal upon the doctrines elaborated by the jurists and theologians and stamped them as unalterable. From a positive and creative principle it was forced into a negative and repressive use.

The conception of law in Islam is thus authoritarian to the last degree. ‘The Law, which is the constitution of the Community, cannot be other than the Will of God, revealed through the Prophet.’3 This is a Semitic form of the principle that ‘the will of the sovereign is law’, since God is the sole Head of the Community and therefore sole Legislator. Consequently, to violate the law, or even to neglect the law, is not simply to infringe a rule of social order – it is an act of religious disobedience, a sin, and involves a religious penalty.

We can now examine briefly the content and character of this divine legislation. Muslim jurists lay it down that ‘the fundamental rule of law is liberty’. But since human nature is weak, easily led astray, ungrateful, and covetous, it is necessary both in the interests of the individual and in of the social organism to set certain limits to human freedom of action. These limits constitute the law; and hence Muslim jurists use the term hadd, ‘limit’, in the sense of ‘legal ordinance’.

These limits, ordained by the Wisdom and Lovingkindness of God, are of two kinds, corresponding to the dual nature of man as soul and body. As soul and body complement one another in the human organism, so do the two aspects of law complement one another in the social organism. The limits ordained for the soul of man define his relations to God, i.e. prescribe the principles of religious belief and in particular the acts whereby these are given outward expression, namely, the five ‘Pillars of the Faith’ (see p. 57). Similarly, the limits set to the bodily activities of man define his relations to his fellow-men. These form the subject-matter of law in the narrow sense, i.e. questions of personal status, family organization (including marriage and divorce), holding and disposal of property, commercial activities, and penal law, although the Western distinctions between civil, penal, private, and other kinds of law are not recognized in the Muslim law-books.

The consequence of this was that Law was never quite separate in conception from Duty, and never became fully self-conscious. As the standard definition put it: ‘The science of law is the knowledge of the rights and duties whereby man may fitly conduct his life in this world and prepare himself for the future life.’ The Shari’a was thus never erected into a formal code, but remained, as it has been well said, ‘a discussion on the duties of Muslims’. This characteristic determines the nature of the judgement passed upon the various activities of which it takes cognizance, a judgement which goes back to the basic conception of a divine legislation mediating absolute standards of Good and Evil. The majority of actions do not come within the scope of law at all, since the initial principle of liberty assumes that in the absence of revealed information about an action it is morally (and therefore legally) indifferent. Such actions are therefore technically called ‘permitted’. The remainder are either good or bad in themselves, but in both cases the law recognizes two categories, an absolute and a permissive. Thus the full scheme comprises five grades or classes:

1. Actions obligatory on Believers.
2. Desirable or recommended (but not obligatory) actions.
3. Indifferent actions.
4. Objectionable, but not forbidden, actions.
5. Prohibited actions.

The ethical or ritual element enters, further, not only into the classification of actions but also into the sanctions of law. These are not, in consequence, consistently worked out, and religious penalties frequently supplement or take the place of social or civil penalties.

Such a ‘science of classification’ bears on its face the marks of its theoretical and rather bookish elaboration. In origin, it was based upon a body of legal practices of heterogeneous provenance: Arab customary law, the commercial law of Mecca, the agrarian law of Medina, elements of foreign (chiefly Syro-Roman) law taken over after the conquests, supplementing or accommodated to the Koran. But since, in Umayyad times, the actual administration of law was largely in the hands of civil and military officers, the formulation of the Revealed Law was left in the hands of theologians and expositors who had little judicial experience in the outer Arab world. The advent of the Abbasid Caliphs brought this scholastic law for the first time to the test of practice, and it was at the beginning of this period, in the second and third centuries of the Muslim era, that classification was finally systematized.

As the capital of the Abbasids was in Iraq, it was natural that the legal school which they favoured should be that of Iraq. Its reputed founder was Abu Hanifa (d. 767); and although Abu Hanifa himself refused to accept judicial office two of his disciples, Abu Yusuf and Mohammed-Shaibini, held high judicial posts and in their writings organized and developed his teachings. This school, called after him the Hanafi school, arose out of the older Iraqi sunna and legal schools, adapted to the later growth of Prophetic Tradition, but retained a considerable element personal reasoning (ra’y = opinio).

The Medinian school likewise grew out of the ‘practice’ of Medina, supported by the findings of prominent Medinian Jurists of the past. Its champion was Malik ibn Anas (d. 795) who collected the traditions upon which he, as a practising judge at Medina, based his decisions into a corpus called al-Muwatta (‘the Levelled Path’), and after whom the school is called the Maliki school.

Less than a generation later, al-Shafi’i (d. in Egypt 820), a disciple of Malik, laid the foundations of the juristic science described earlier in this chapter. The system to which he gave his name combined strict adherence to the established Prophetic Tradition (which he distinguished from Medinian tradition) with a modification of Hanafi method in the form of analogical deduction (qiyas).

In spite of their formal differences and divergences in details, all three schools grew into substantial agreement on the more important matters. All of them in practice recoginzed the same sources: Koran, Sunna, Ijma’, and some form of analogical reasoning; and all recognized each other’s systems as equally orthodox. Thus they are not to distinguished as different ‘sects’ of Sunni Islam, but merely as distinct schools, or in the Arabic expression ‘ways’ (madhahib, sing. madhhab). Any scholar or ordinary Believer might belong to any one, but in the long run they tended to divide the Islamic world between them. At the present day the Hanafi school predominates in Western Asia (except Arabia), Lower Egypt, and Pakistan; the Shafi’i in Indonesia; and the Maliki in North and West Africa and Upper Egypt.

Besides these three there were several other schools. The Syrian school of al-Awza’i (d. 774) disappeared in favour of Malikism at a very early date. During the third century a strong traditionalist reaction against the speculative ‘innovations’ of the previous schools and the Mu’tazilite dialectic was led by two Baghdad doctors, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 855) and Da’ud al-Zahiri (d. 883). The Zahiri school seems never to have gained a wide following, though it counted some outstanding jurists in later centuries, but the Hanbali school had a strong following in Iraq and Syria until the Ottoman conquest. In the eighteenth century it was revived (under the name of Wahhabi) in Central Arabia, and is now the dominant school in most of Central and Northern Arabia. Although recognized by the other schools as a fourth orthodox madhhab, its attitude towards them has been generally less tolerant.

Since the formal legal doctrines and definitions of these schools remained substantially unchanged through all the later centuries, there is little to be gained by tracing down and discussing their formidable output of juristic works. But in view of the very widely held view that Islamic Law (or Koranic Law, as it is often called) has remained in a petrified state ever since the ‘gate of Ijtihad’ was closed in the third century, it is of considerable interest to note some of the later developments.

Since the formulation of the Religious Law was totally independent of the secular authority, there could be no question of interference by Caliphs or Sultans with its rules and decisions. The secular authorities were bound to recognize it and to provide for its due administration by the appointment of judges (qadis) in all parts of their territories. But although there is little that can be called legislation by the State until the rise of the Ottoman Empire, yet from an early date the secular authorities intervened to a certain extent in judicial administration by holding courts ‘for the redress of wrongs’ (mazalim). In these a somewhat arbitrarily modified form of the religious law was applied, with or without the collaboration of the official qadis.

In the religious courts, and sometimes in mazalim courts as well, it was a common procedure to submit a summary of any important case to a qualified jurist for his opinion. Such a consultant was called a mufti, and his reply was embodied in a fatwa or statement of the legal issues. As a rule the muftis maintained their independence of the secular administration, but in the Ottoman Empire they were graded in the official hierarchy, ranking below the qadis, and the Chief Mufti of Constantinople, who was entitled Shaikh al-Islam, was the highest religious authority in the Empire.

The collections of fatwas by eminent jurists are thus a much more important source for the study of legal usage and development than the stereotyped text-books of the madhahib. In them there is reflected the long struggle which went on for centuries (and still continues) between the Religious Law and local customary law in many Islamic countries, and the steady pressure of the religious leaders to assimilate local usages (‘adat) to the standards of Islamic law.

In spite of these derogations from its authority, the Shari’a always remained in force as an ideal and a final court of appeal, and by its unity and comprehensiveness it formed the main unifying force in Islamic culture. Its very lack of flexibility contributed to this result by preventing divergences and disintegration into purely local systems. It permeated almost every side of social life and every branch of Islamic literature, and it is no exaggeration to see in it, in the words of one of the most penetrating of modern students of the subject, ‘the epitome of the true Islamic spirit, the most decisive expression of Islamic thought, the essential kernel of Islam’.4

1 Properly ‘ulama;’ plural of ‘alim,’ one possessed of ‘ilm’ (i.e. religious knowledge).

2 Santillana, Instituzioni de Diritto musulmana, I, 32.

3 Santillana,Diritto, I, 5.

4 G. Bergsträsser’s Grundzüge des Islamischen Rechts, edited by Joseph Schacht, p. 1.

Mohammedanism, An Historical Survey H.A.R. Gibb, London: Oxford University Press, [1950] (pages 72-84).

[ a Note of the web editor: The basis for taking Muhammad’s words and deeds as inspired is already part of the Qur’an, see 33:21, 53:2-4. ]

What is Sharia?

What is Sharia?

Why Sharia Is A Problem For Western Democracy

This series is for Westerners who may not know much about Islam, but who wonder why it seems to lead members of its faith into violence against the West in numbers unseen among adherents of other faiths.

It turns out that the structure of Islam’s legal philosophy, shariah, is a driving force. The most obvious readings of Islamic law, the readings of the Koran and the other core writings of the faith that is most direct and literal, sets those who come to believe deeply in the faith on a collision course with secular democracies of the type that the West has built since the Enlightenment.

This series will explain why.


Clinton’s borderless world

Clinton’s borderless world

Sharia and the destruction of Western Civilisation

What has disappointed in the recent Presidential debates is the total lack of focus on Clinton’s open border policy.   Hopefully it will come up in the third debate as this is one of the most significant dangers that is facing the West today.  Clinton stated that she is committed to a borderless society and plans to introduce 65,000 Syrian refugees next year (just the start) into America.  They are already flooding into Europe in an unstoppable tide (unstoppable because the European elite does not have the will to stop it.  Easter European countries like Hungry and Poland are saying no to this tide because they recognise the dangers.

Easter European countries like Hungry and Poland are saying no to this tide because they recognise the dangers. The UK are saying no to it because of BREXIT but voices within the political elite (Jeremy Corbyn the Labour leader for example).  Clinton sets Merkel in Germany as an example to follow and someone she admires – her favourite world leader no less.  Merkel, Corbyn and Clinton will plunge the West into a battle for identity never seen before in our history.  Western Europe is now seeing the fruits of Merkel’s open border policy and if the current trend continues Europe is on course for major cultural conflict.  Yet this seems to be what the left wants, as their hatred for the West’s cultural roots seems unbounded.  Roots that are grounded in Judeo-Christian values.

Jihad is terrible but not the main danger we face

The more you read about Islamic history the more you realise that the real danger in mass Islamic migration is the imposition of sharia law.  It is sharia that destroys cultures and a people’s identity.  Dr Warners short video illustrates this and should lead us to look at the subject in more detail.

As Syrian refugees and other migrants are being brought to the US, we hear that we don’t need to worry about any nasty “terrorists” (jihadists, to use the right word), because they will be vetted.

We are worrying about the wrong kind of jihad. The “terrorist” is the least of our worries. Instead, we need to concern ourselves about the jihad of the increasing demands and use of Sharia. It is the Sharia that annihilates a native civilization. For an example, before the Sharia, Turkey was a Christian civilization. Today it is 99.7% Muslim. It was jihad that put the Sharia in place, and then, over the centuries, Christianity was annihilated.

Our vetting needs to focus on the Sharia, not just violence. The US has taken a stand against racial hatred, why not take a stand against Kafir hatred?

We need to say no to Sharia wife-beating, no to Sharia Kafir hatred, no to the Sharia killing of apostates, no to Sharia suppression of free speech, no to Sharia abuse of women.

When Islam came to Medina in the first migration, Medina was half Jewish and with some Arab Muslims. Five years later, Medina was totally Islamic and with no Jews. Annihilation by migration and Sharia is pure Sunna.

Why do we want American citizens who think our Constitution is haram (Sharia forbidden) and that Kafirs are scum? We need to vet all migrants and insist they repudiate political Sharia.

The oath of citizenship should read: I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, sovereignty, religious legal system of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;

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