“Shariah” - The Imperative Divide

“Shari’ah” appears just once - in just one place in the Holy Quran in Chapter 45 Verse 18 – Surah Al-Jathiyah – The Crouching) 

by Zulkifli Nazim

It is momentous and is of very great importance that the subject of “Shari’ah” is to be perceived and analysed dispassionately and in an impartial manner as well as to be understood with knowledge, intelligence and wisdom. Trying to make scurrilous and irresponsible comments being emotional and sentimental will certainly exhibit ones ignorance and destroy the objective of the subject. They are those who would be accused of extremism.

The word Shari’ah is exploited and used profusely by the Muslim community and accentuated and stressed by the religious heads with forceful exertion and enthusiasm – They go to the extent of describing Financial transactions are according to Shari’ah law – Shari’ah compliant instruments; Death Penalty according to Shari’ah law - for anything and everything it is “according to Shari’ah Law”. Then we should expect this “Shari’ah” to have a direct connection to the Holy Quran.

This made me go through a systematic investigation and explore thoroughly to establish facts, as to what this Shari’ah law is – that which is causing so much confusion, unrest and utter chaos all over the world. Is it really a divine law?

In the first instance let us take the most significant words Salah (Prayer), Zakat (Charity -Right of the Poor) Jihad (strenuous effort), Justice (‘Adl), are found in many places in the Holy Quran. For example:

Salah is used 83 times as a noun and the root word “Salloo” is used 99 times.

Zakath is mentioned thirty-two times in the Qur'an, of which twenty-eight is associated with prayer (It reads: Salah and Zakah),

Jihad : “There are 35 verses of the Holy Qur’an which contain the word Jihad and/or its derivatives.

(The word Means to struggle and strive for the benefit of all - not aggressive fighting, kill or get killed) –

Justice (‘Adl) :The word appears 24 times in the Quran in 22 verses.

That means if the word Shari’ah is so significant it would be expected to appear a number of times!

Let us see how many times does the word “Shari’ah” appears in the Holy Quran ? –

Do not be stunned – Do not be amazed –

It appears Just once - in just one place in the Holy Quran in Chapter 45 Verse 18 – Surah Al-Jathiyah – The Crouching) – It reads:

“Then We put thee on the (right) Way (Shari’ah) of Religion: so follow thou that (Way), and follow not the desires of those who know not.”

It means, Follow the right way of the religion, do not follow those who do not know religion. What is happening today is diametrically opposite to it’s teachings.

“Shari’ah” is translated as the “Way” and the Arabic Lexicon gives the meaning as “The way to a waterhole”.

History of the usage of this word tells otherwise. The usage of this word is a misapplication and without proper authority. And not only totally alien it is also alienating to what is meant by the Holy Quran. These people try to single it out as important and significant. They stress with such Intensity and forcefulness, so as to show that it is divine, permanent and everlasting.

They are trying to state that “Shari’ah” is law codified, inviolable and rigorous observance of it is imperative.

Investigation into this word revealed that it has never ever been used by the Prophet of Islam as anything to do with Islamic Law, during his life time or even during the time of the Caliphs.

However, In the middle of the 8th Century, over Two Centuries after the demise of the Holy Prophet was the ascension of the Abbasid Caliphate.

It is during this Abbasid Caliphate that attempts were being made to codify the Islamic law and the word Shari’ah was introduced. To cut long historical events short, here the Arab Custom and unwritten barbaric and savage laws of the Abbasids has been brought largely into play and to give it a legally religious hue, the used the word “Shari’ah”

Please note that : “Custom is not accredited as a source of Islamic Law in the Holy Quran”; but here; “Shari’ah” is served as an essential component in shaping what is called today as “Islamic Law” – Therefore it could be rightly described as an innovation – Bid’ah – something that was done over 200 years after the demise of the Prophet of Islam.

There is an authentic Hadith or sayings of the Prophet of Islam, which states that all Bid’ah – innovation is (Dhalaalah) – means: straying from the right path, and Dhalaalah will lead to the fire of Hell.

Interestingly, the word “Dhalaalah” also means deviation, error, perversity, delusion and deception.

Hence the word Shari’ah which is an innovation - is a total deviation from the correct path, perverse and deceptive.

This word is now used by all and sundry, to everything and anything, to justify their personal deviations and demoniacal frenzy. It is no wonder that the whole Muslim world is in utter chaos.

The best part is, it is not the people who are deemed to be enemies of Islam who are causing this extreme confusion and disorder, suicide attacks murder and mayhem, it is their own brothers and sisters in faith, killing their own - innocent men, women and children, - it is those who think that Shari’ah is the unchanging divine law.

Every radical organization, association, foundation, Jama’ath in the Islamic Faith all over the world are turned into bigots – intolerance and prejudice are high on their agenda. Hence the involvement in terrorism, mayhem and murder.

The word “Shari’ah” is now a mockery.

If such hardhearted tyranny is unleashed on any people, causing misery, affliction and misfortune, it can never ever be of divine origin or of any decent origin, other than the deceptive and delusory innovations of the misguided extremists and bigoted radicals.

In conclusion we could say that this so called “Shari’ah”:

1. Is often opposed to the very spirit of the moral decency of the Quran;

2. Whatever that is described as the maximum limit in punishment under certain conditions, rules and regulations, “Shari’ah, makes it the norm and standard punishment;

3. While the Holy Quran lays emphasis on social justice and human rights – This innovated “Shari’ah” ends up in spreading and propagating injustice.

This “Shari’ah” says Kill everybody who disagrees with you or those who breaks your rules and regulations.

In fact this is the total antithesis of the spirit of the Holy Quran and such sentiments are totally alien to the Quran.

So you can see how this “Shari’ah” is totally at variance with the Quran, how these innovations and ancient Arab customs have intertwined with the sacred text of the Holy Quran and how irrelevant, immaterial, inconsistent, derisory, and ridiculous this “Shari’ah” appears in this contemporary world.

If any human being feels uncomfortable in the deep recesses of his or her heart at certain laws or practices which will undermine the peaceful co-existence of a family unit, the peaceful living of the people around the world, you can be rest assured that it can never be of divine origin.

The “Shari’ah is almost totally a characteristic of human product.

It is exigent that “Law” changes as society changes and its needs to change to cope up with the changing times.

Resolving with words of Wisdom of Lord Buddha from The Sutra of Knowing the Better Way to Catch a Snake:

“Misinterpretting religious teachings can be compared to a man trying to catch a poisonous snake in the wild. If he reaches out his hand, the snake may bite his hand, leg, or some other part of his body. Trying to catch a snake that way has no advantages and can only create suffering.

Indicating that the Snake has to be caught by its neck or else catching the snake from any part will lead to great suffering and disappointment. The perils in them are greater."

Finally, it is said by religious leaders of all faiths:

“Reach Out with Love, Kindness, Gentleness, and Friendliness – This is what that can change a heart, can change a country, can change the world.”


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