Tuesday, June 10, 2014

At this juncture it is important to understand the distinction between the divine Sharia of Islam and its Classical Sharia Law that proponents of political Islam are keen to implement.

The Qur’an represents the divine Sharia of Islam (5:48). It uses the words Shira (technically Shir’ah) and Sharia (tech. Shari’ah) synonymously with the generic notion of a system or principles of law (5:48, 45:18). It expounds fundamental universal notions for just and harmonious governance of human society. These include, among others, justice, liberty, equity, good deeds, good neighborly and inter-faith relations, sharing of wealth with the poor, eradication of slavery, deliverance of women from various entrenched taboos, empowerment of women use of intellect (Aql) and rational logic (Fiqha) , striving for excellence – to cite some major examples. This is different from the Classical Sharia Law of Islam which is nothing but an endless list of jurists’ opinions and rulings. The jurists also privileged their own rulings over the Qur’anic commandments by declaring: “Any Qur’anic verse which contradicts the opinions of ‘our masters’ will be construed as having been abrogated, or the rule of preference will be applied thereto. It is better that the verse is interpreted in such a way that it conforms to their opinion.” [Doctrine of Ijma in Islam, by Ahmad Hussain, New Delhi, 1992, p.16.]

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