What is Sharia (Shariah) Law to Western Nations?

According to Islamic scholars, Muslims worldwide ought to follow Sharia law. However, it is hard to understand what Sharia law is, and more importantly how to find a consensus. Many pro-Sharia writers are giving misinformed reasons for why the West should tolerate Sharia law. The Huffington Post states that “Asking a Muslim to stop believing in Sharia is like asking her to stop practicing her religion. It is a blatant attack on religious liberty.” This seems very reasonable, if only it were true. The post assumes that all Muslims live by Sharia law, which is a reflection of the lack of knowledge on the writer’s end, unless the writer has an agenda for intentionally misleading the readers.

Most of the Muslim world does not have Sharia law, rather they follow a constitution and the laws surrounding it, very similar to British law. They are just as Muslim as Muslims from Saudi who do follow Sharia law. Enforcing Sharia law in many Islamic countries may cause a civil war, since there is hardly any consensus on what Sharia law is, and how to interpret the Qur’an and Hadith in order to form Sharia law. The ongoing wars between Muslim groups all around the world is evidence of this division within Islam. There are over one hundred sects of Islam, and each interpret the Qur’an and the Hadith differently, therefore they define Islamic laws differently too. The West needs to stop trying to accommodate Islamic law in the hopes of removing the notion that it is against religious liberty. If the West chooses to accommodate one type of Islamic law, then they will have to allow all Muslim sects to use their own laws accordingly. Besides, Western civilization is in direct opposition to Islamic civilization, and any effort to bring them together will corrupt both.

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Dr. A. R. Javed

Dr. A. R. Javed is on faculty of New York School of the Bible, offering and heading the department of Missions and Understanding Islam. He is a lecturer at Davis College's NYC site and regularly gives lectures on Islam, Missions, Christian Theology nationally and internationally.

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