2011024Week1readingspart2pages134-156

2011024Week1readingspart2pages134-156 - Three DIVINE AND...

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Unformatted text preview: Three DIVINE AND HUMAN LAWS And now We have set that (O Muhammad) on a clear road (Shar‘) of Our Commandment; sofilllow it, and follow not the whim of those who know not. Qaran 45:18 It is the Law of God which has taken coarse afbrm'me. Thou wilt not find any change in the Law of Goa. Qaran 48:23 134 THE HEART OF ISLAM _ Divine andHuman Law; , 135 days, the next five, thirty days, and the twelfth month, . of tithes for the support of the Levites and temple service, twenty—nine days, except on leap year when it has thirty . ‘ The book of Numbers ( 18:21) in the Old Testament states, days. It therefore makes it easier to keep count of how 'I _ “I have given the Children OfLeVi a“ the tithes in Israel for many days are in €3Ch month as com-1.3MCd With the WCSt' an‘inhcritance in return for the work which they perform.” ern calendar and-is also astronomically more precise. But - 1 The practice was followed later by the Roman Catholic Islam explicitly bans intercalation, which means adding a 1 Church and revenues were used for the support of clergy, number of days to the lunar year to make it the equivalent Churches, and the poor. It became enjoined by ecclesiastical of the solar year. Consequently, the Islamic lunar calendar I law from the sixth century onward and enforced by secular moves through the solar calendar completing one cycle ‘ law. starting in the eighth century. It provided the main CVCtY thittY‘thl'CC Years. A3 a rCSUhu Ramadan is sometimcs - Source of funds for the building of the beautiful medieval inthe winter and sometimes in the summer, sometimes ‘ cathedrals. Martin Luther approved of tithing, while the' during long and hot days and sometimes during short and French Revolution repealed it, In contrast to Catholicism cool ones. Since Islam is a global community, this injunc- and'Protestantism, however, the Orthodox Church did not tion banning intercalation, as foreseen in the Quran, guar- ' accept the practice of tithing. As far as the United States antees fairness and justice as far as conditions go for fasting, : V is' concerned, the practice of tithing was never enforced the bajj, and early morning prayers for people living in 1 except by Mormons. Looking at Western Christianity in ferent geographical latitudes and in the two different heml- I general, one can therefOre see that tithing and may are Spheres 0f the gIOhC' ' . Similar, although theamount of the aims or religious tax Almsgiving: The word for almsgiving, zakdk, comes has not been the same in the three Abrahamic faiths. from the mm 5133’: meaning “to Purify” It is a tithe 0t ahhs In Shi‘ite ISIam in addition to zaledh, there is also an— whose payment is obligatory according to the Shari‘ala and I other obligatory religious tax called leimms, meaning one is the means of “purifying” what bounties God has given Moreover, there are many other kinds of almsgiving by sharing some of it with the poor and- the needy. In tradi- . common to all Muslims, such as Jadaqala, a sum given to tional Islamic society, this sum was paid to the public trea~' the poor in gratefiilness to God for the warding off of some sury. Many projects for public use, such as the creation and anger or the receiving of a special blessing, or fi'trz'yyah’ maintenance of schools, hospitals, orphanages, and the like, ‘ ney given to the poor at the end of the month of were implemented by use of the sums collected thr0ughf V Ramadan. These forms of almsgiving must not, however, this religious tax. 56 'onfused with the zulezih, which is obligatory and one of Those familiar with Jewish and Christian practices can. the “pillars” of Islam. see obvious similarities in the use of tithing in the three In general, the Shm/Z‘ah encourages giving (film—r) in the Abrahamic traditions. The word “tithe” comes from th gr throf God, and Muslims agree completely with the die- Old EhghSh word meaning “tenth,” bUt the Practice ghcs' . 1 0f the GospelS, “It is more blessed to give than to baCk t0 Indaism, Where Mosaic laws Prescribed the Paymg; ‘1 I .” Much of the social and economic life of Islamic 136 THE HEART OF ISLAM society, in fact, continues to be financed through various forms of religious charity. The institution of waqf; or reli- gious endowment, whose conditions are set forth in Islamic Law, has played the greatest role in Islamic history in the creation of public facilities, especially schools and hospitals; Today in most Islamic countries the waqf is taken over by governments, but traditionally the 122an was like the endow- ments created and sustained by the private sector in Amer— ica today, except that it was always of a religious character. Pilgrimage: Thanks to radio and television broadcasts I available globally, most of the world has now heard of the Muslim pilgrimage, the kajj, and most likely seen images of what is perhaps the largest annual religious gathering in the world. The loaf], which is obligatory at least once in a Mus- lim’s lifetime if he or she has the financial means and is physically able to perform it, involves pilgrimage to Mecca during a particular period in the lunar month of Dhu’lv hijjah. The rite retraces the acts of Abraham after he rebuilt the Ka‘bah (the cubic structure at the center of Mecca con~ ‘ sidered by Muslims to be the most ancient sanctuary, built , originally by Adam) and follows the model established by i the Prophet. It is in a sense an Abrahamic rite within the final expression of monotheism, that is, Islam, which re? vived and reestablished pure Abrahamic monOtheism. The pilgrim, whether male or female, must wear a special ' White cloth, called ilawim, before entering the sacred pre- cinct around Mecca, within which only Muslims are al- lowed, a cloth that is often used later as one’s shroud. In becoming mukrim, that is, clothed with this special cloth, " men and women must leave the world behind. During the ' Igujj they must abstain from sexual activity and devote themselves wholly to God, whose House, the Ka‘bah, they r are visiting. Here all external distinctions are erased; king Divine and Human Laws 137 and peasant are dressed in the same manner. The compli— cated rites involve among other acts circumambulation around the Ka‘bah in a counterclockwise direction with the awareness that one is moving against the march of time and washing away from one’s soul all the dross that has accrued I, thin as the result of the flow of time. Through these rites which include the sacrifice of an animal'symbolizing the: sacrifice of one’s passionate soul before God, the pilgrim returns to the state of primordiality, or the Edenic state in lfwhich he or she was created, and God forgives that per- "'_SOI}’s sins if the kajj is performed with full sincerity and devotion. That is why many older people make the pilgrim— :“age, With the hope of dying in the process and therefore 1 leaving this world cleansed of their sins. At the corner of -1 the-Ka‘bah is to be found the black stone that symbolizes the :covenant between human beings and God. All pilgrims Chinese and Indo-Pakistanis aswell as Germans and Americans, black-skinned as well as I -skinned people, pilgrims with dark eyes as well as blue nes; Nowhere else in the world is the ethnic and racial versity of the Islamic community unified in the surrender ‘ the One God more evident than in Mecca during the lay]. Here, exchange of ideas and goods also takes place between Muslims from various parts of the world, and the "'""""“-*".“TTFW‘?‘F?FWS’E:‘9mw;_'fi?§’FI “‘7‘” \-j~‘ ‘.W1‘{fiifimeWfiw_$-"Tm'r-rwvvr «Mummy—«gem,“WWVMWWM . . 138 THE HEART OF ISLAM , . Dzvme and Human Laws 139 bajj has been called by some Western scholars the world’s first international scientific congress as well as international economic fair. But more than anything else, through the kajj, pilgrims are purified and in returning home bring something of the grace, or bamknk, of the Center to the farthest outreaches of the Islamic world. ' With the global population explosion, the problem of accommodating all the pilgrims who wish to make the [ij has become acute. Although the number of pilgrims has now risen to over 2 million, this is still a small percentage of the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, not all of whom, however, fulfill the conditions necessary to make the (aajj. The number of those who do qualify annually according to the Divine Law to make the loaf]; however, is much larger than those given permission to perform it. There is there— fore a great deal of pressure on most Muslim governments as well as on Saudi Arabia to permit more pilgrims every year, while at the same time the very logistics of such a large _ gathering and the space limitations make it impossible to continue to increase the number of pilgrims. In View of the limitations, some Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca V outside of the specified season to benefit from the grace of r‘ the visit to the House of God even if it is not during the . days specified by Islamic Law. v ‘ The kajj, however, is not the only form of Islamic pil- grimage, but the only one that is obligatory according to I the Sham—(ah if certain conditions are fulfilled. Today in '3 America, pilgrimage does not play such a central role in the . religious life of Protestants, although there are still those ~j who make pilgrimage to Jerusalem. As for Catholics, both -. in America and Europe there are still those who make pilv‘ grimage to Jerusalem, Lourdes, or Rome, and in Central aginof Guadalupe in Mexico City. In the Middle Ages however, pilgrimage was much more common in the West3 only to Jerusalem, which served as the excuse for the Crusades, but also to many local sites such as Canterbury in :England and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The impor— ance of pilgrimage in Islam today must be compared more V,0".practices in the earlier eras of Christian history than those today, especially in America. .i‘iIn the Islamic world, those who make the [mjj also visit eltomb of the Prophetin Medina and before the 1967 _~ sraeli takeover of Jerusalem, they also made pilgrimage in ,ge numbers to this third holy city of Islam. Many local te’s of pilgrimage are loci of grace associated with the rubs of descendants of the Prophet and the great saints. “of these sites are so many extensions of Medina and pand the bamlmk of the city of the Prophet and his ed remains to the various areas of the Islamic world. ‘ ome of these sites are the tomb of Ahmad Bamba in ‘ 'ba, West Africa; the two Moulay Idrises in the proxim- of Maknes and in Fez; the Mosque of the “Head of ( u‘sayn” in Cairo; the tomb of Sayyid Ahmad Badawi, the pa on saint of Egypt, in Tanta; and the “sacred stations” of Z “nab in Cairo and Damascus. The many holy sites in Iraq Clude the tomb of ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani and the mau- , leums of the Shi‘ite Imams, especially those of ‘Ali in and Husayn in Karbala’. The mausoleum of Jalal al- Dln Rfimi in Konya, Turkey; the holy cities of Mashhad and 90m in Iran; the mausoleum of Khwajah ‘Abd Allah Ansari 'Herat and that of Baha’ al-Din Naqshband near Bukhara; an ithe tombs of many of the great Sufi saints of the sub- ,I, if i, 55:, if .35.. E; . La ;. L. a. . i, i. Q .i l2 I. l,“ > i l: 140 THE HEART OF ISLAM Divine andHumm/z Law: 141 religious life in Islam. During annual commemorations of the death of these saints, often hundreds of thousands of people gather at these locations for religious rites and to receive blessings. It is important to note that these sites of blessing are not limited to the sacred station (maqdm), or mausoleum, of males, but include those of females as well. In Cairo, after the Mosque of the “Head of Husayn,” the most important sanctuary and center for pilgrims is the matqu of the granddaughter of the Prophet, Zaynab, whose other mapqu in Damascus is in many ways the religious center of the city. Also in Cairo, the mausoleum of Sayyidah Nafisah, a great scholar, saint, and descendant of the Prophet, IS a major religious site. In Iran, after Mashhad, the city of Qom, which is the center of Twelve-Imam Shi‘ism, IS the most important shrine in Iran because of the tomb of Hadrat—i Ma‘sfimah, the sister of Imam Rida, who is buried in Mashhad. And before the Wahhabis destroyed the mau- soleums of the wife and daughter of the Prophet, Khadijah and Fatimah, in the Hijaz, those sites were also major cena ters for pilgrimage. Naturally, these mausoleums of female saints are visited especially by women, but not exclusively. Both men and women participate in large numbers in pil- grimage to all of these sites, whether they are associated with a male or female saintly figure. Visits and pilgrimage to the tombs of saints is strongly opposed by Wahhabis and other puritanical reformers and also discouraged by modernists. The Wahhabi opposmon is based on the idea that to visit the tomb of a saint is like idol worship and takes one’s attention away from the transcen— dence of God; modernists have discouraged such pilgrim-y ages in order to secularize social life, but their opposition V has never been as severe as that of the Wahhabis. Still, the practice of pilgrimage to various holy sites remains to this day at the heart of the religious life of the Islamic world. One cannot understand the religious practice of Islam with- out paying attention to the significance of pilgrimage, which ranges hierarchically from the [gay] and the pilgrimage ‘towMedina to visitation of local sacred ,sites that exist in most Muslim lands. These “lesser” forms of pilgrimage do nOt, however, in any way detract from the centrality of the 1111]]; but are like so many foretastes and reflections of it. The visit to the “House of God” remains supreme in the mind of Muslims when it comes to pilgrimage, and many visit it even outside the designated season in what is called .um‘mh. That is why today, when populations have in— creased and travel is easier, every day of the year there are “numerous pilgrims in Mecca, and in the middle of any night during any season one finds thousands of pilgrims circum— ainbulating around the Ka‘bah and praying before the house rebuilt by Abraham in celebration of the One God who in the Old Testament uttered, “I am That I am.” esides all these rites promulgated by the Shari/fab, there at also many other religious practices in Islam based on the» Summla of the Prophet and later traditional elabora- fidns thereof. They include ritualized ways of feeding the pier, sessions of special prayers, ritualized sermons, sacri— tide of animals whose meat is then distributed among the ‘e’e‘dy, and many other activities. In the traditional Islamic world, in fact, nearly every necessity of life is sanctified, and the-"Shari‘ah considers even the earning of one’s daily bread “religious act. It is the totality of the obligatory rites as well as the recommended ones together with the sacralized E5 g. i. i . 142 THE HEART OF ISLAM DivinrnndHnmnn Laws 143 ordinary or everyday life is integrated into the matrix of the sacred. respon- , sibility for its protection and sustenance. The Quran is re- 3.pl_ete with references to nature, and the phenomena of V ature are referred to as God’s signs and are therefore Js, red. In traditional Islamic society human beings lived in markable harmony with their natural environment, as can “seen in the urban design of traditional Islamic cities and also in the life in the villages, which, as in other premodern parts of the world, is still based on remarkable harmony the rhythms of nature and makes full use of what is HOW called recycling. Transactions It is precisely the all-embracing nature of the S/mrz' air that has necessitated its dealing with what are called transactions (mn‘zimnlfit)—social, environmental, economic, and polit- ical matters such as personal laws, the family, the neighbor, and so forth. Social teachings are dealt with in the next chapter, but here it is necessary to say a few words about the environmental, economic, and political teachings of the Shari‘nk, some of which are parts of jurisprudence, or fiqh, and others principles to be applied by various generations of Muslims to specific situations in the absence of explicit legal rulings. Environmental Teachings: The environmental crisis is primarily the consequence of an inner malaise and a whole worldview that gives human beings unlimited power over nature seen as a desacralized reality. This manner of look-- ing at things has resulted in the reduction of nature to only ‘ a resource for economic production. As far as dealing with »; it on the social and legal planes is concerned, however, for V Islam environmental matters may be said to be a legal issue 3 already treated in principle in the sources and applications of Islamic Law, whereas in the West law seems to be trying to “catch up” with the problems caused by this crisis. The ’ traditional Islamic worldview is totally opposed to the ' prevalent modern paradigm of the relation between human beings and nature, which has caused unprecedented harm to the natural environment, has led to the loss of many spe: cies, and now threatens the very future of human life on earth. Islam sees men and women as God’s vicegerents on earth. Therefore, in the same way that God has power over trees preserved and not cut unless absolutely ‘ vegetation guarded even in war, running water protected, and many other relevant issues. The Prophet him$elf was always very kind to animals. As for trees, he mphasized the significance of creating what is today called green space; He said, “It is a blessed act to plant a tree even 113136 a day before the end of the world.” The Shnri‘nk , such as that of balance (mizdn) between all parts , u n I n i . 8 creation, the prohlbition of waste, and respect for ‘ llfe forms, and specific injunctions, such as the creation 144 THE HEART OF ISLAM Divine and Human Law; 145 of the crisis grew, however, the situation changed during the last two decades of the twentieth century. A whole new branch of the Shari‘ah is now being developed on the basis of the traditional sources of the Divine Law to address the crucial problems posed by the environmental crisis in the Islamic world as elsewhere. From Nigeria to Malaysia, legal and so forth. It also contains, as does the Hadith numer- ous ethical teachings that bear directly upon econbmic life _ and are incorporated into the Shari‘ak. These include op— posrtion to greed, the importance of honesty in all eco— nomic transactions, the inviolability of private property, ‘ g and , so on. As far as property is concerned, . . . in principle “all scholars are applying themselves to these issues, and this property belongs to God,” but God has given human be- branch of the Sham-Ma is one of the most challenging and t , ings the right to possess their own property althou h dynamic aspects of it in the present day. limit is set on the right to private property WhCI’l it CC)ng t a Economic Teachings: Before modern times there was no What is meant for everyone and should remain ublic ssv I: such thing as economics among the Islamic sciences, just as ,as mountains, forests, and rivers. p uc it was not part of European divisions of learning before the " The Shari (01/7 promulgates a work ethic of central im or- Renaissance. Both civilizations knew the Latin word occo- , tance to economic life. The Quran states “0 ye who 5 mama'qu (itself of Greek origin), from which the modern ' faith! Be faithful to your c , ave word is derived, but understood it in its original sense of managing the affairs of one’s household. The modern Ara- bic word for economics, al-iqtistid, in fact, had the com- pletely different meaning of “moderation” or the “just mean” in classical Arabic and is part of the title of one of the most famous works of Islamic theology by al-Ghazzali. One could not say, of course, that there was no economics '7 in Islam, but the area or activity known as economics as we . understand it today was never isolated by itself in Islamic , society. It was always combined with ethics and was seen as an organic part of the life of human beings, all of which ‘ should be dominated by ethical principles. That is why the very acceptance of economics as an independent domain, WhiCh they carry out a transaction affects their 8 not to speak of as the dominating factor in life according to as their relation to God. the prevailing paradigms in the modern world, is devastate ing to the Islamic View of human life. If we were to accept the modern definition of econom ics, then we could say that the Quran has many verses tha refer to economic life, including questions of inheritanc religious tax, opposition to excessive amassing of wealth manner in oul as well 146 . THE HEART OF ISLAM DivineandHuman Lawr ' 147 dried. This personal relationship in economic transactions is so emphasized in Islamic civilization that to this day, even amid modern impersonal economic practices, most Mus- not limited to men and integration concerned the whole of ' socrety. Women were active in the production of many goods from agricultural products to carpets and also as lims still rely on and trust personal contact above all else. merchants and property owners. The 81mm" ‘alo has given This personal relationship was of course also very much economic rights to women that did not exist in any large emphasized in the production of goods, as we see in the society, including the West, until very recently. guilds, to which we turn in the next Chapter, ' There has been a great deal of effort during the past few The Shari‘ah, moreover, opposes certain economic prac- decades to study the economic principles and injunctions tices, some of which are forbidden and others discouraged. (in the Western sense) contained in the Skari‘ah which ) The practice of usury (rim?) is forbidden in the Quran and g many now call Islamic economics, and to put them into according to Islamic Law, as it was forbidden in the Roman ‘ . practice, Intercsbfrcc banks, called Islamic banks Empire, in Europe in'the Middle Ages, and even in En- ' ’ gland before Henry VIII. The excessive amassing of wealth, I to which the Quran refers in terms of gold and silver is also forbidden, as is dealing with substances that are themselves (aardm, such as making or selling alcoholic beverages. Such acts are considered both illegal and sinful. Altogether the Shafi‘ak envisages a society in which economic life is or- the most lively on the contempora ganic, based on the flow of goods and capital through vari and religious scene, ous parts of society like the blood circulating through the IPolz'rz'ml Rankings: The Quran does not outline a partic— human bOdY- Tular political structure, but presents certain basic principles In contrast to the Christian West, where mercantile ac-_ for rule, the most important of which is consultation or I ' — I 3 Wm, as stated in the verse, “and consult with them teeming conduct in affairs” (3:159). The rule of the 'ophet in Medina and the document called the Constitu— nof Medina are also central to all later Islamic political have been created in several Islamic countries and in the West :"and interest-free loans made available. But the deeper issues have rarely been tackled in the face of problems created by ~ the fact that the Islamic world is forced to be involved in a ' global economic system based on very different tenets and ry Islamic intellectual point of View. The Prophet himself had. originally been merchant, as had his wife Khadijah, and throughout Islarm. history the merchant class associated with the bazaar has been among the most pious in Islamic urban areas, as hav' been farmers living in the countryside and villages. Tradi tional Islamic society succeeded in creating a notable int gration of economic life and religion. It is also important ti _ . ‘ i p that of religion, which, however, must not be inter— remember that in the economic domain, part1c1pation was 'ed as “church” in the Western sense of the term. In #5? mm“, ,m,“ was». .ygqu-e .mw-ms-am «firm-r ._.-«—~. my a" m. p w _ d a“. gmuu...» fim-wdr' x] mm mvmwn ‘W‘W‘H‘m m' “5‘” “ we, .1. .__.v.v:r.a _v3.r.-ur1W"‘gum»,emu-r...«st—Was.““finds-u 1-, .- -‘ ‘ 3“? “we‘— ‘ : Tm‘fi ‘ 148 THE HEART OF ISLAM America one always speaks of the separation of church and state, although religion itself has never been totally sepa- rated from political life from the time of the writing of the American Constitution onward. In Europe, during the pre- modern period there were always two powers, the papacy and the empire or monarchy, and the latter received its reli- gious legitimacy and investiture from the former. Later, states became secularized, especially after the French Revo- lution, but in many countries state religions have been maintained to this day, and in Great Britain the monarch is still the head of the Church of England. None of these models apply, however, to the Islamic world, where there is no church or pope and where the classical caliphate was neither like the papacy nor like the emperorship of the Holy Roman Empire. Some have said . that the Islamic model is a theocracy, but this is not exactly 1 true as this term has been understood in the context of _ Western history or even that of ancient Egypt or classical Japan. A theocracy means the rule of the priesthood or the priestly class, of whom the ruler is the head or leader. In Islam, however, there is no priesthood comparable to that found in Christianity, Hinduism, or Buddhism; the closest class in Islamic society to priests is the ‘ulamd’, or religious scholars, who are knowledgeable in the Divine Law and serve as its guardians and interpreters. Moreover, except for Iran since the Revolution of 1979, the ‘ulamd’have never ruled directly over Islamic society, and even in Iran, the rule of the jurisprudent (wildyat-i faqz'k) is modified by the presence of an elected parliament. In any case, facile com" parisons between the views of Christian fundamentalis: concerning “theocracy” and Islamic views of government are simply false. Technically speaking, the Islamic ide that of a nomocracy, that is, the rule of Divine Law. I Divine and Human Law: 149 true that all power, including political power, belongs ulti- mately to God, as the Quran states, “The command rests With none but God” (6:57; 12:40). But in the case of Islam, the. rule of God was never associated with the rule of the priestly class; rather, it was associated with that of the Shari‘ala. The Islamic Republic of Iran is the first case in Islamic history in which the religious ‘ulamfl’, the closest one can come in Islam to a priestly class, has ruled directly over a major Islamic country. Mahdi. This was even the View of Ayatollah Khomeini in his earlier writings, before he turned against the institution the monarchy in favor of the new concept of the “rule of the-:jurisprudent” (wildyat-i faqih). In any case, in all the V fferent forms of government, the ruler sought legitimacy rotecting the Shari‘ah, or at least claiming to do so seeking the backing of those who were the custodians A the Sharia/4, namely, the ‘ulamd’. Even the legitimacy of the monarchy relied not so much on blood, as in Europe, Sh _( protecting and preserving ~ am ale was always there, and, in fact, in practice the buffalo often served as a shield for the protection of the eople against the whims of powerfiil authoritarian rulers o'ugh there were, again, exceptions. ’ Islamic political theory, the role of the government is ys limited, and in practice such major areas as justice, 150 THE HEART OF ISLAM Divine and Human Law: 151 health, and education were left to-the private sector before the rise of modern states in the Islamic world. Rule was also usually personal, and before modern times caliphs and kings would hold regular sessions with their ordinary sub jects during which the petitions of the latter were received and answered. Today there is much talk of Islam and democracy. If democracy is understood as the rule of the ‘ will of the people, then there were mechanisms in tradi- tional Islamic society where the will of the people was reflected to the ruling class, including the caliph or sultan, and it definitely played a role in those governments that g were successful and that endured. If it means the particular institutions developed during the past few centuries in the West, then there is no parallel for them in premodern Islamic history, no more than there is for them in premodr ern Japan, China, or India. Although many Islamic coun solder form of Sultanate or monarchy, and yet others want to cvive the caliphate. It will take some time before Islamic ,vilization can again develop its own authentic political forms, a task that is being made much more difficult today by the fact that it is under constant external pressure and is not-able to create institutions based on the inner dynamic ' f Islamic society. Paradoxically, many Western-oriented Islamic countries that are praised in the West for having ‘f‘secularist” governments do not allow Western-style dem- Ocratic practices; if they did in the sense of allowing people to really express their preferences, the result would be ‘7 much more Islamic government as far as the rule of the vkazi‘ala is cOncerned. This is because the vast majority of all Muslims, even in the most Westernized and modernized untries, would like to live according to the 81mm" ‘ak and have their own freedom and democracy on the basis of their own understanding of these concepts and ideals rather anon how they are understood in the modern and post— modern West. during the past century, usually with little success, an although there is much turmoil in this domain today, th one principle that remains clear to all Muslims is that sove Law and an Islamic society is one in which this sovereign. RECES people can exercise their Views and act freely as long as the do not oppose the Divine Law. in the Islamic world on this matter. Some have adopt Western republican models, others have continued- 152 THE HEART OF ISLAM Divine andHumam Law: 153 this criticism is immediately leveled at the Islamic restrictive ordinances. To make the situation clear it is necessary to point out, however, that these statutes and ordinances, I called 1.414de in ISlamiC Law) are fewer than in IeWiSh Law: utuThat is why this punishment has also been very rare. Where thirtY'Six crimes SUCh as adUItel'Y’ SOdOInY) idOIatrY,' For lesser cases there is flogging. The punishment for mur- SOFCery, and murder are PuniShable by death by hanging; ' d --is death unless the family of the victim accepts blood beheading, burning, or strangling. I mention especially " ' . ‘ ' ions against God, Jewish Law, because according to Islam, the Jewish laws brought by the Hebrew prophets remained valid as long as they were not abrogated by Islamic laws. A case in point is. the stoning of an adulterer or adulteress, which is not men- tioned in the Quran, but which was a Jewish practice that- was continued in Islam with the addition of restrictions to the conditions needed to prove guilt in a Skari‘ite court. extreme cases a hand or foot. But many other condi- tions, according to some jurists twelve in number, have to be met before the punishment of amputation can be carried ’ t, and the judge or qpiqlz', is even permitted to accept the 'thdrawal of confessions. Many religious scholars, over the ages, have given the edict that the punishment for theft . - should only be carried out in a society that is Islamically The Quran 533’5, “He l GOdl 15 the mo“ SWIft 0f feekon‘. List from the economic point of View and that it should not em” (6562), and many Verses 0f the Quran, SUCh as 2187». applied to a petty thief who has stolen because of pov- 229, 230 and 4:13—14, are concerned with ordinances, or and dire need. haploid, which literally means “limits” set by God. For example, “Those who disobey God and His Messenger and transgress His limits (laudfid) will be admitted to a fire, to abide therein: and they shall have a humiliating punish-,- ment” (4:14). Quranic punishment, based on the concept that God is just and the reckoner of our deeds, involves: acts forbidden in the Sacred Text; such acts are both illegal! and a sin against God. These acts include illicit sexual in-‘ tercourse and false accusation of it, drinking wine, theft robbery, and murder. According to the Skari‘ak, the pun ishment for adultery is stoning, but there has to be either’ confession by the party or parties involved or four just wit nesses. That is why such a punishment has been extremely : rare in traditional Islamic society. Punishment for theft and highway robbery, if it involves homicide, is death by sword or hanging, and if it does not, the amputation of a finger 0 “Although a great deal is made today in the West of the extreme nature of such punishments in certain so-called . fundamentalist countries, little is said about how rare, in fact, such punishments are in the Islamic world as a whole. Ore important, few want to face the fact that the number mg theft and rape in America is far greater than the number f 'pe0ple punished for theft or adultery in a land such as .audi Arabia, where they deal severely with these matters. I), ying to understand the Shari‘ite restrictive ordinances, u e must do so in the context of the historical reality of slam and in light of all the mitigating circumstances that [nit them in practice. Furthermore, it is important to see uch matters not in the matrix of what is popular in the est today, but also in relation to the whole history of the cst and the punishments meted out until only recently in 154 THE HEART 01: ISLAM .' l . Divine andHumtw Law: both Europe and America for various crimes. The Islamic world is in the process of observing and studying the recent changes in the West in these matters and will not follow the same course as has the West, if the results of current social and legal experiments in Europe and America-do not suc-.~ ceed in noticeably diminishing the crimes for which various ' a ‘ JIIh the Sunni Worlda as alrcady mentionCda many want t0 societies, including the Islamic, had set punishments over 3 PCh the $3“ 0f Zjnlbdd again, and there 3er those Who the ages. V ' peak of combining rulings from different classical schools I of Law such as the Shafi‘i and the Hanafi. Also, there are DIVINE AND HUMAN LAWS: , 332:;gogiyfliliialiiitffii ZCEECEZJELIZ): CRISIS AND CONFRONTATION TODAY vvho believe that they have the right to make juridical deci— Already in the middle of the nineteenth century in many. §i°ns (famds) and formlhate new Sham—rite mhhgs- EVCH in Islamic countries, the rule of the Shari‘zzh as a legal system Shi‘ite Irahv Where thc Zjfibdd is PraChCCd afi'CSh in CVCF y was either limited to personal laws governing the family, I generation, a number of modernized religious thinkers inheritance, and so on or replaced by Napoleonic codes or Sheak 0f the “dynamic Sham—(“177 WhiCh they Contrast With English common law and Europcamstylc comm. By the the old static one. In the field of law, just as in the field of time most Islamic countries gained their independence aft politics, which is closely related to it, there is much debate ter World War II, the filll Shari‘ala was applied only in a few ‘ ahd'djscuSSiOh gOihg 0h throughom the ISlamiC world; bUt lands suchas Saudi Arabia, the Yemen, and Afghanistan, ' These countries may have had various political and eco: nomic problems, but at least they did not experience the tension between two different legal systems and philoso- phies that other Islamic countries did. Unfortunately, the " application of the Shari‘ah did not prevent Yemen and Afghanistan from being invaded by foreign forces and hav- ing their traditional patterns of life, including their legal aspects, deeply disturbed and in some places shattered. Despite these tragedies, however, Shari‘z'te Law played a central role in preserving the religious character of the life of the people of these countries even under great duress; Despite all the political turmoil in the Islamic world during the past half century, there has been an attempt in most THE DIVINE LAW, ETHICS, AND THE RELIGIOUS ETHOS 156 THE HEART 'OF'ISLAM Slowi‘ala teaches Muslims to respect their parents, to be kind to their neighbors, to be charitable, to be always truthful, to keep their word, to be honest in all affairs, and so forth. The whole ethics of Islam is related on the indi~ Vidual and social plane to the Shari‘alo, while the inner purification of the soul and the penetration into the inward meaning of the Slam/£9114 are for the spiritual path, or the Tariqala, which is of necessity always based on the formal practiceof the Divine Law. Today, in many parts of the Islamic world, Divine Law, or the Shari‘a/a, is no longer fully practiced on the level of law, but the ethics that are contained in its teachings still permeate Islamic society. The Show/fab, in fact, determines the religious ethos of Islam on both the personal and the social level and is inseparable from the life of faith. For the vast majority of Muslims, the practice of the injunctions of the Shari‘ah is their manner of practicing their surrender to the Will of God and of living a virtuous and righteous life leading to felicity and salvation in the Hereafter. Even those who do not practice the Shari‘ak but still consider them- selves Muslims draw their ethics, their understanding of right and wrong, and their frame of reference in the chaos of this world from the Showi‘a/a. And those who aim to reach God in this life and to walk the path of the Tam‘gak to that Truth, or Haqz'qah, which is the source of both the Law and the Way are more aware than anyone else how indispensable the Divine Law is, the law that alone can pro- vide the sacred forms that are the sole gateways in this world of change and becoming to the immutable empyrean of the Formless. ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/12/2012 for the course LAW 621 taught by Professor Arshada.ahmed during the Fall '11 term at UC Hastings.

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2011024Week1readingspart2pages134-156 - Three DIVINE AND...

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