Many of you are curious about why I support Sharia. Some of you might be curious to see why an American with an American sounding name supports the Sharia. You’ve probably wondered if I want to put America under some sort of Fox News version of Sharia Law, where every woman’s face is covered and there is no more freedom or liberty in America.
Now before I answer your question, it is important to understand that I am a Sunni Muslim that practices the Malaki Madhab (School of Thought). There are four Madhabs, and all four have their own interpretations of Sharia. I do not have the religious knowledge to speak on all of them, and I am trying to simplify here what Sharia is and what is not.
Is the Sharia compatible with the West?
So now you ask, is the Sharia compatible with American society and culture? Are you for or against the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Or how can you be an American and believe in Sharia?
The Grand Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, who sits on the Islamic Fiqh Council and is the former Vice-President of International Union of Muslim Scholars, and also sits on numerous boards worldwide, has stated that Americans must obey the American Constitution. Islam makes it clear that you must obey the laws of the land that you live in. Sharia also says that you must defend your country, so if we were ever to be invaded for example, it is my duty to fight to defend the USA.
Traditionally, Sharia did not apply to non-Muslims. For example, during the time of the Abbasids, Islamic Law did not apply to them – Christians and Jews held their own court services using their books for rulings. This was also the same in Andalusia as well as in the Ottoman Empire.
Do I want to make all American women cover? No, it is their choice to dress how they choose. The Qur’an states that there is no compulsion in religion (Quran 2:256), and we cannot force anyone to do anything. I do want the right to have my daughter cover, and this is my choice as a parent, just like American parents have the right to allow their daughters to wear very revealing clothes at young ages.
Sharia, or the sacred law, is understood to be used for self-guidance. It is like a GPS system to get to heaven. If it tells you to turn left, then you turn left, if it tells me to turn right, then I turn right. If it tells me to turn right, but I turn left, then I do not make it to my destination. My destination here is heaven. Of course, the GPS will recalculate when you miss a turn – this is like getting back on the right path.
What does Sharia require?
Sharia requires for me to pray 5 times a day. It requires for me to give charity, to give a helping hand, to want for my fellow man what I want for myself. Islam requires me to help an old woman carry her groceries, give up my seat on the train to the elderly, it requires me to be honest, to be just, to speak out against tyranny and injustice – even if it is being performed by a Muslim against a non-Muslim.
Some have heard that Islam cuts people’s hands off for stealing. Yes, in some Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, if you steal a large value item, you can get your hand cut off. However, the Sharia allows for the offender or his family to return the item or to give the monetary value back without getting your hand cut off, showing that the punishment is more of a deterrent. It is very rare to see this happen, however in areas with lower education rates it can be a little bit more common.
There is a judicial aspect of Sharia in Muslim countries. However, it is my belief that this is for the countries that have it and not for the USA. We are a pluralistic society based upon a Constitutional Republic that guarantees our right to the freedom of religion – even though some states like Oklahoma pass anti-Sharia laws which would in effect make me a criminal for praying, hence violating my civil rights.
Scholars have stated that any law that benefits humanity is Sharia. So traffic laws, laws pertaining to business, contract laws, and various laws that protect people are all Sharia.
This is why I support Sharia Law – and why Sharia Law isn’t exactly what you think it is.