This was taken from the non partisan Council of Foreign Affairs website. It is good to read this, and file this so one can understand the impact of law Shariah style. I will post these type of articles or information as it comes along in order to educate those who are not familiar with Shariah Law.
comments by Allyson Rowen Taylor
Islam: Governing Under Sharia
March 14, 2005
How have various Muslim countries applied sharia?
What is sharia?
- the Quran, Islam’s holy book, considered the literal word of God;
- the hadith, or record of the actions and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, whose life is to be emulated;
- ijma, the consensus of Islamic scholars; and
- qiyas, a kind of reasoning that uses analogies to apply precedents established by the holy texts to problems not covered by them, for example, a ban on narcotics based on the Quranic injunction against wine-drinking.
Does sharia apply only to religious matters?
Is there only one interpretation of sharia?
What are the five schools?
How do the rules of each school differ?
Do observant Muslims have to adhere to tenets of one of the five schools?
Do traditional sharia laws continue to apply in modern countries?
How does sharia become part of the law of modern Islamic states?
- The constitution: Many Islamic countries acknowledge Islamic law in their constitutions by making Islam the official religion of the country or by stating that shariais a source–or the source–of the nation’s laws. For example, Article II of the 1980 Egyptian constitution states that Islam is the religion of the state and “Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation.” Iraq’s interim constitution, passed under the U.S.-led occupation, makes Islam “a source of legislation” and stipulates that no law may “contradict the universally agreed tenets of Islam.” The 1992 Basic Law of Saudi Arabia states that the nation’s constitution consists of the Quran and the sunna, the actions and sayings of the prophet as recorded in the hadith. Article IV of the Iranian constitution states that “all civil, penal, financial, economic, administrative, cultural, military, political, and other laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria.” And Article 227(1) of the Pakistani constitution reads, “All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and sunna … and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such injunctions.”
- National law: Sharia has been also incorporated into Islamic national legal codes by decree or legislation. Depending on the country, sharia courts that oversee marriage and other personal law matters are headed either by a secular judge or by an Islamic judge called a qadi. In Saudi Arabia and Iran, supreme religious councils dictate how Islamic law is applied and, to a large extent, have veto power over legislation. In mixed religious-secular systems, such as in Egypt,sharia personal law courts are integrated into a Western-based legal system, and a secular supreme court has the final say, Brown says.
- Sub-national law: Some religiously and ethnically diverse nations that used a federal governmental model–including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Nigeria–allow states or provinces the option of applying aspects of sharia. Because of its adaptability, this federal model for sharia“may well be an important model going forward,” Lombardi says.
How is sharia applied to banking and finance laws?
How does sharia influence modern criminal law?
For which crimes does the Quran mandate specific punishments?
- Wine-drinking and, by extension, alcohol-drinking, punishable by flogging
- Unlawful sexual intercourse, punishable by flogging for unmarried offenders and stoning to death for adulterers
- False accusation of unlawful sexual intercourse, punishable by flogging
- Theft, punishable by the amputation of a hand
- Highway robbery, punishable by amputation, or execution if the crime results in a homicide.
Where are these laws applied?
What happens in the case of apostasy?
How is Islamic personal law implemented today?
What are the traditional sharia laws governing personal status issues?
- Marriage: Islamic marriage is a contract between a man and a woman. In the broadest of terms, the husband pledges to support his wife in exchange for her obedience, Brown says. Women can demand certain rights by writing them into the marriage contract, but the man is the head of the family, and traditionally, a wife may not act against her husband’s wishes. (The Quran permits men to use physical force against disobedient wives in some circumstances, Powers says.) Traditional practices still have significant impact on modern law: in Yemen and other nations, a woman cannot work if her husband expressly forbids it. In Syria, a wife can work without her husband’s consent, if she renounces her claim on him for financial support. Undersharia, a Muslim woman cannot be married legally to a non-Muslim man, but a Muslim man can be married to a non-Muslim woman. Marriages can traditionally take place at young ages–in Iran, the age of consent is 13 for females and 15 for males, and younger with a court’s permission. In Yemen, the minimum marriage age is 15.
- Divorce: Under sharia, the husband has the unilateral right to divorce his wife without cause. He can accomplish this by uttering the phrase “I divorce you” three times over the course of three months. If he does divorce her, he must pay her a sum of money agreed to before the wedding in the marriage contract and permit her to keep her dowry, Powers says. Classicalsharia lays out very limited conditions under which a woman can divorce a man–he must be infertile at the time of marriage; insane; or have leprosy or another contagious skin disease. Most Islamic nations, including Egypt and Iran, now allow women to sue for divorce for many other reasons, including the failure to provide financial support.
- Polygamy: The Quran gives men the right to have up to four wives. There are some traditional limitations: a man must treat all co-wives equitably, provide them with separate dwellings, and acknowledge in a marriage contract his other spouses, if any. A woman cannot forbid the practice, but can insist on a divorce if her husband takes a second wife. Polygamy remains on the books in most Islamic countries, but some countries limit it through legislation. It is banned in Tunisia and Turkey, though reportedly it is still practiced in some areas of Turkey.
- Custody: In a divorce, the children traditionally belong to the father, but the mother has the right to care for them while they are young, Powers says. The age at which a mother loses custody differs from nation to nation. In Iran, the mother’s custody ends at seven for boys and girls; in Pakistan, it’s seven for boys and puberty for girls. Many nations, however, allow courts to extend the mother’s custody if it is deemed in the child’s interest.
- Inheritance: Mothers, wives, and daughters are guaranteed an inheritance in the case of a man’s death. In the seventh century A.D., when the law was developed, this was a major step forward for women, Powers says. However, sharia also dictates that men inherit twice the share of women because, traditionally, men were responsible for women, Powers says.
Are non-Muslims bound by personal status sharia courts?
— by Sharon Otterman, associate director, cfr.org
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