Shariat Laws and Islam:position paper

SHARIAT LAWS AND ISLAM: position paper that has confirmation of a dozen qualified scholars of Islam
Muslim Council of America

What is going on in the state legislatures of the US in regard to the ban of Shariat Law is noteworthy both in terms of its reflection and its impact on the relationship between Muslims of America and America at large. It highlights misunderstandings and apprehensions on both sides which often serve as the bedrock for animosity, bigotry and political exploitation. This paper is an attempt to present the position of contemporary Islam correctly and clearly in the hope to contribute positively to bring better understanding and better relationship.
Position of Islam
There is enormous confusion as to the meaning of Shariat, not only in non-Muslim Americans but also in Muslims at large.
1)It has been used variously, it refers to the specific laws which have been ever changing over time as a matter of Islamic interpretation. This way they do not constitute any fixed body of laws to push for and pose no pressure for Muslims to seek the application of. The other meaning of Shariat refers to the values and ideals that are universals and are akin to the US Constitution; as a matter of fact they match the Constitution to an amazing degree. It was this recognition of the formulations of Islam done more than 1400 hundred years ago that caused the statue of Prophet Muhammad to be placed in the supreme court of the US. This universal body of laws is the only entity that has remained unchanged and could have posed as a force for Muslims to see it alive. But that is already there, the Us Constitution, as observed before is very similar to Islamic values and arouses nothing but respect in Muslims, who have no need to change it.
2) There is no coercion in religion, as Quran says. It is against Islam to force any human to change one’s believes and religious precepts- there is an agreement among all the Islamic scholars on this. That means simply that it is against Shriat to impose Shariat on any American by force.
3)At some time in the distant past when there was the culture of holy wars fought to conquer and subjugate people for worldly reasons, a partial justification provided was religious, namely that having the power insured the practice of worshiping God openly. That justification is obsolete in the curreent context of many societies. America especially is the country which gives freedom to worship and freedom of many other kinds which closely resemble Islamic formulations. Therefore, Islamic scholars like Tariq Ramadan emphasize that it is categorically wrong for Muslims to think of the need for Shariat laws – not to mention forcing them, in the context of America.
4) Muslim scholars unanimously agree that Muslims are required to follow the laws of the land, wherever they live. That takes away any possibility of Muslims to fight for their shariat based on religious requirement.
5) Notwithstanding the majority of Muslims who follow American laws, a portion of Muslims have the preference to follow the old shariat in their personal and family sphere of life, if they are given the choice. They insist on it and protest if they are denied that choice. The reason for their protest is that Jews have Hadaka laws and Catholics are allowed to follow similarly their own domestic laws When Muslims are barred of these laws, it is considered by Muslims discriminatory and violation of their rights. Even so. this discrimination is to be conceived more ethnic in essence rather than religious in nature. It affects Islamic position little if Muslims are not given the option to practice domestic side of Shariat. .
To put it simply, Muslims have no religious need or compulsion for Shariat in the US, the notion to force shariat law on America is categorically un Islamic. (Even if they had the will, they would have no resources or power to force America to follow Shariat . The underlying fears of Muslims are nothing but unfounded fears not connected with Islam ( may be linked to the fears of Muslims terrorism).

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