Islamic Sharia law: hardly heard of in the MSM a year ago, is now subject to daily discussion. Most recently, interest is heightened by the Muslim Brotherhood presidential win in Egypt and its plans to institute Sharia law there. What will it mean for Muslims, for non-Muslims, for the rights of minorities, for women?
The short answer is: "nothing good".
I thought I’d write a mini series about what the Sharia law says about various issues: about non-Muslims, about women, about Jihad, about charity, about apostasy, about homosexuals, about “honour” killings.
The source for all these topics will be The Umdat al-Salik, (the “Reliance of the Traveller” in English), sub-titled "A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law".
This is the authoritative summary of Sharia law, in Arabic with facing English text, authorised by the al-Azhar University in Cairo, the most authoritative source of Islamic Sunni law for the Muslim world. It is also authorised by International Institute of Islamic Thought and the Fiqh Council of North America. All references are to the numbering of the Amana Publications edition of 1991.
I have followed the topic via the index to the Amana Publications, page 1183, so it is not in order of importance of the topic: hence you will see the topic of the right to kill non-Muslims without penalty jostling next to the issue of where pious Muslims should send their children to school.
I have not left out any important topic and have also included at the end those provisions I consider positive in Sharia's treatment of non-Muslims.
What's the summary? Well, you can read and make your own judgement.For myself, I find it hard to come to any other conclusion than that Sharia is really - really - bad for non-Muslims. The default attitude to non-Muslims is that they are second-class (at best), are to be dominated and discriminated against. Supremacism is shot through the Sharia, like the blue in cheese. The few positive provisions are limited and grudging.The corpus of Islamic Sharia law, in this most authorititive form, is antithetical to all we hold dear in the west: equality before the law, tolerance for all religions, beliefs and leanings, tolerance of minorities, respect for women's rights, the freedom of conscience and of speech.
All these find their opposites in Sharia.
If you can spend the time, and are so inclined, my summary of what Sharia means to non-Muslims, from the point of view of its most authoritative source, theUmdat al-Salik is below the fold.
What does Sharia say about non-Muslims?
1. Non-Muslims cannot be Allies in Jihad, unless…
“Muslims may not seek help from non-Muslim allies unless the Muslim are considerably outnumbered and the allies are of goodwill towards the Muslims” (o9.7).
Comment: those of “goodwill towards the Muslims” would clearly include many on the left in western countries, where they are viewed by Muslims as “allies in Jihad”: financial jihad, lawfare and so forth, to instil greater Islamic identities in their host countries. Examples are the Sharia courts in the UK and Australia.
2. Non-Muslim can’t have custody of Muslim Child
“If a child is Muslim, it is a necessary condition that the person with custody be a Muslim” (m 13.2(c))
Comment: clearly discriminatory in the case of adoption and for child custody in interfaith marriages.
3. Muslims cannot share non-Muslims’ clothes or vessels
“It is offensive to use the vessels of non-Muslims.. or to wear their clothes” (e2.3)
Comment: Lee Kwan Yew, ex president of Singapore, talks of this in his memoir “Hard Truths”, when he notes that in the “old days” he was able to mix freely and happily with his Muslim colleagues, but since the rise of Islamism, they were no longer willing to eat and socialise with him. He, rightly, sees this as a backward trend.
4. Non-Muslims are destined for hell
“The Koranic verses concering this are very numerous, it being absolutely certain that whoever ascribes associates to Allah and dies in such a state is one of hell’s inhabitants….” (p1.3)
Comment: those who “ascribe associates to Allah” refers to Christians, as they believe in the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, all “associates” of God/Allah.
5. Non-Muslim religions are “abrogated” by Islam
“[Mohammad’s] inspired message…. superseding and abrogating all previous religious systems with the Prophet’s Sacred law. Allah has favoured him above all the other prophets and made him the highest of mankind, rejecting anyone’s attesting to the divine oneness…” (v2.1)
“Previously revealed religions… were abrogated by the universal message of Islam, as is equally attested to by many verses of the Koran” (w4.1(2))
6. Non-Muslims cannot be given Zakat charity
“It is not permissible to give zakat to a non-Muslim” (h8.24)
Comment: Zakat is a kind of tithing, obligatory “for every free Muslim” (h1.1)
7. Non-Muslim are to be “hated for the sake of Allah”
“And this clarifies the Koranic verses and hadiths about hatred for the sake of Allah and love for the sake of Allah, being unyielding towards the unbelievers, hard against them and detesting them…” (w59.2 end)
8. Non-Muslims are banned from the Hijaz
“[Non-Muslims] are forbidden to reside in the Hijaz, meaning the area and towns around Mecca, Medina and Yamama for more than three days…” (o11.6)
“A non-Muslim may not enter the Meccan Sacred Precinct under any circumstances…(o11.7)
9. Non-Muslims may not inherit from Muslims
“… it is invalid and unlawful for a non-Muslim to inherit property throughestate division from a Muslim, or vice versa” (L1.0)
Comment: “estate division” here refers to bequests after death. There is no such limitations on bequests made when one is still alive.
10. Muslims may not marry….
“Zoroastrians… idol worshippers… apostates from Islam…” (m6.7)
Comment: In sum a Muslim (man) may marry only “a Muslim, Christian, or Jew; nor is it valid for a Muslim woman to be married to anyone besides a Muslim” (m6.7(5))
11. Eid meats may not be given to non-Muslims
“It is unlawful to give any of it [Eid’s sacrificial meats] to non-Muslims” (j14.0)
Comment: this is ironic given the White House’s annual Eid dinners given to honour the religion of peace.
12. Non-Muslims must pay a Poll Tax (jizya)
“The minimum non-Muslim poll tax is one dinar (4.235 grams of gold) per person. The maximum is whatever both sides agree on.” (o11.4)
Comment: this applies to countries with an Islamic government. It is today widely honoured in the breach, although there is talk of applying it: for example the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has floated it.
13. Non-Muslims may not have positions of authority
It is “… invalid to appoint a non-Muslim to authority, even to rule non-Muslims” (o25.3)
Comment: in Islamic countries.
14. Muslims may kill non-Muslims without retaliation
“The following are not subject to retaliation:
“…(2) a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim” (o1.2 (2))
Comment: do we think there may be some connection between this bit of Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic terrorists killing infidels without remorse? Not if you’re a member of the “three blind monkeys” brigade….
15. Indemnity for killing non-Muslims or women
“The indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one half the indemnity of a man.
“The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third of the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid for a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth of that of a Muslim” (o4.9)
16. Muslim children may not go to non-Muslim schools
“It is offensive to send one’s children to a day-care center run by non-Muslims. It is unlawful to send Muslim children to Christian schools or those which are designedly atheist, though it is not unlawful to send them to public schools in which religion is not mentioned” (m13.3)
17. Non-Muslims may not buy the Koran
“If a Koran is being purchased for someone, it is obligatory that the person be a Muslim. The same is true of books of hadith and books containing the words and deeds of the early Muslims.” (k1.2(e))
Comment: reading the Koran may be harmful to a non-Muslim’s view of Islam as a Religion of Peace. Muslim apologists are always saying that non-Muslims should “learn more” about Islam. How is one to do that without reading the Koran? Every one I know who has read the Koran has come to the same conclusions that I have here: that the Koran is, at its core, a book of supremacism, sectarianism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and terror.
18. Non-Muslims subjects must wear special clothing
“… non-Muslim subjects … are distinguished from Muslims in dress, wearing a wide cloth belt (zunnar)” (o11.5 (2))
Comment: largely honoured in the breach, though one hears calls for revival of this practice in Islamic countries from time to time. Interesting to note that Jews were obliged to wear the yellow Star of David, a practice that Hitler took from the Muslims.
Are the any positives in Islamic Sharia treatment of non-Muslims?
1. Treat non-Muslim and Muslims the same in commercial dealings
“… there is no difference between Muslims and non-Muslims in ruling concerning commercial dealings…” (k4.7)
2. A non-Muslim may drink wine
“… nor a Muslim condemn a non-Muslim for drinking wine” (q3.2)
Comment: this is an inserted comment by Sheikh Ali Salman, and such not as authoritative as the base text. Nonetheless…
Non-Muslim subjects are not penalised for “drunkenness” (o11.5(1))
3. Non-Muslims may be given non-Zakat charity
“It is permissible to give charity to a non-Muslim (but not Zakat)” (h9/7)
4. Muslims and non-Muslims may bequeath to each other
“… it is legally valid for a Muslim to bequeath up to a third of his property to a non-Muslim and similarly valid for a non-Muslim to bequeath his property to a Muslim” (L1.0)
Comment: note the one-third limitation of the Muslim to non-Muslim transfer; no limitation the other way. And note also the difference with inheritance in point 9 above.
5. Muslims may visit non-Muslim in hospital
“If the sick person is a non-Muslim subject of the Islamic state, then if he is a relative or neighbour, visiting him is recommended. If not, visiting him is merely permissible.” (g1.2)
And finally, if we infidels should get the idea that we are detestable, despicable dross, destined for hellfire, all is not lost. We have a reason for being: it’s so that Muslims may contrast their superior selves against our pitiable ignorance and may glory therein. Allah was wise to create infidels:
“(Objection:) What is the wisdom of creating such people [non-Muslims]?
“(Reply:) The wisdom lies in making manifest the divine omnipotence, so that believers may contemplate it and reflect upon the immensity of the majesty of Allah Most High… [who] is well able to create all people as obedient believers, but He Most Glorious has willed to manifest the thing and its opposite, those who know [ie Muslims] to know it, and those who are ignorant to be ignorant of it…” (w55.3 end).
So, you see, if you’re an infidel, it’s not your fault, it’s Allah’s will!
Sharia for Dummies
By Nonie Darwish
Imam Feisal Abdel Rauf claims that the U.S. constitution is Sharia compliant. Now let us examine below a few laws of Sharia to see how truthful Imam Rauf is:
1. Jihad, defined as “to war against non-Muslims to establish the religion,” is the duty of every Muslim and Muslim head of state (Caliph). Muslim Caliphs who refuse jihad are in violation of Sharia and unfit to rule.
2. A Caliph can hold office through seizure of power meaning through force.
3. A Caliph is exempt from being charged with serious crimes such as murder, adultery, robbery, theft, drinking and in some cases of rape.
4. A percentage of Zakat (charity money) must go towards jihad.
5. It is obligatory to obey the commands of the Caliph, even if he is unjust.
6. A caliph must be a Muslim, a non-slave and a male.
7. The Muslim public must remove the Caliph if he rejects Islam.
8. A Muslim who leaves Islam must be killed immediately.
9. A Muslim will be forgiven for murder of: 1) an apostate 2) an adulterer 3) a highway robber. Vigilante street justice and honor killing is acceptable.
10. A Muslim will not get the death penalty if he kills a non-Muslim, but will get it for killing a Muslim.
11. Sharia never abolished slavery, sexual slavery and highly regulates it. A master will not be punished for killing his slave.
12. Sharia dictates death by stoning, beheading, amputation of limbs, flogging even for crimes of sin such as adultery.
13. Non-Muslims are not equal to Muslims under the law. They must comply to Islamic law if they are to remain safe. They are forbidden to marry Muslim women, publicly display wine or pork, recite their scriptures or openly celebrate their religious holidays or funerals. They are forbidden from building new churches or building them higher than mosques. They may not enter a mosque without permission. A non-Muslim is no longer protected if he leads a Muslim away from Islam.
14. It is a crime for a non-Muslim to sell weapons to someone who will use them against Muslims. Non-Muslims cannot curse a Muslim, say anything derogatory about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam, or expose the weak points of Muslims. But Muslims can curse non-Muslims.
15. A non-Muslim cannot inherit from a Muslim.
16. Banks must be Sharia compliant and interest is not allowed.
17. No testimony in court is acceptable from people of low-level jobs, such as street sweepers or bathhouse attendants. Women in low level jobs such as professional funeral mourners cannot keep custody of their children in case of divorce.
18. A non-Muslim cannot rule — even over a non-Muslim minority.
19. Homosexuality is punishable by death.
20. There is no age limit for marriage of girls. The marriage contract can take place anytime after birth and can be consummated at age 8 or 9.
21. Rebelliousness on the part of the wife nullifies the husband’s obligation to support her, gives him permission to beat her and keep her from leaving the home.
22. Divorce is only in the hands of the husband and is as easy as saying: “I divorce you” and becomes effective even if the husband did not intend it.
23. There is no community property between husband and wife and the husband’s property does not automatically go to the wife after his death.
24. A woman inherits half what a man inherits.
25. A man has the right to have up to 4 wives and none of them have a right to divorce him — even if he is polygamous.
26. The dowry is given in exchange for the woman’s sexual organs.
27. A man is allowed to have sex with slave women and women captured in battle, and if the enslaved woman is married her marriage is annulled.
28. The testimony of a woman in court is half the value of a man.
29. A woman loses custody if she remarries.
30. To prove rape, a woman must have 4 male witnesses.
31. A rapist may only be required to pay the bride-money (dowry) without marrying the rape victim.
32. A Muslim woman must cover every inch of her body, which is considered “Awrah,” a sexual organ. Not all Sharia schools allow the face of a woman exposed.
33. A Muslim man is forgiven if he kills his wife at the time he caught her in the act of adultery. However, the opposite is not true for women, since the man “could be married to the woman he was caught with.”
34. It is obligatory for a Muslim to lie if the purpose is obligatory. That means that for the sake of abiding with Islam’s commandments, such as jihad, a Muslim is obliged to lie and should not have any feelings of guilt or shame associated with this kind of lying.
The above are clear-cut laws in Islam decided by great Imams after years of examination and interpretation of the Quran, Hadith and Mohammed’s life. Now let the learned Imam Rauf tell us: What part of the above is compliant with the U.S. Constitution?
Nonie Darwish is the author of “Cruel and Usual Punishment; the terrifying global implications of Islamic law” and founder of Former Muslims United.