Let’s Talk About Sharia

May 21, 2022 0 comments

I’m often asked to explain “Sharia.”

I can’t.

No one can.

What I can do is explain what I follow according to my understanding of religious texts and often explain other interpretations that I don’t follow.

While people often translate Sharia as Islamic Law, it’s not law.

In Arabic, Sharia literally means “the clear, well-trodden path to water.”

Sharia acts as a code for living that all Muslims should adhere to. It aims to help Muslims understand how they should lead every aspect of their lives according to God’s wishes.”

Sharia” is various interpretations of Islam by different sects using three sources:

– Quran

– Hadith (sayings/actions of Prophet Mohammed pbuh, not all of which are considered “credible” in general or by particular sects)

– Scholarly opinions (current and spanning back almost 1400 years)

But even within the sects, there are schools of thought (scholarly interpretations of a particular way of thinking).

Generally, but not all-inclusive regarding sects:

– Sunni Islam is separated into four main schools of jurisprudence, namely, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali.

– Shia Islam, on the other hand, is separated into three major sects: Twelvers, Ismailis, and Zaydis.

There is no book of Sharia, only various books of interpretations according to sect and school of thought.

1.8 billion people follow Islam under different sects (more than just Sunni and Shia) and different schools of thought.

Some Muslims don’t even bother with schools of thought but just pick and choose the “rules” they want to follow or the “rules” they learned from their family.

Muslims span 7 continents, less than 20% are Arab or speak Arabic, and 1.8 billion Muslims don’t share a culture or history other than the label and/or tradition of being “Muslim.”

There is no single explanation or interpretation, even among Muslim-majority countries, or even within one country.

Almost all majority-Muslim countries have civil law (legislative codified law + court rulings).

Though their constitutions refer to sharia as a source or main source of law, as well as universal laws such as democracy and human rights, the constitutions also leave it up to legislators to work out how these norms are to be reconciled in practice.

Some countries also have sharia courts but only for family issues (marriage/divorce/property/inheritance).

Sharia law explanations depend on the individual’s interpretation of the sources, sects, schools of thought, scholars, and jurisprudence.

There is no universal Sharia law.

On a side note….

Oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices (IUDs), male condoms, and injectable contraceptives are legally available without a prescription in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

In some cities, female sterilization and implant are also accessible.

Both religious clerics and the government support the use of contraception that prevents zygote production and implantation in the uterus, intentionally leaving a private decision to the woman.

Even the most symbolic Muslim countries, Iran and Saudi Arabia, leave abortion decisions to individuals and are more lenient on abortion than some U.S. states.

It’s time to call the Christian “rights” actions something other than “Christian Sharia” because Sharia is not what you think it is.

Even comparisons to the Taliban, as bad as they are, are incorrect when it comes to both abortion and contraception.

And yet, not all Muslims agree on abortion or contraception because the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world are not monolithic and don’t share a brain.

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