Aware presents lecture on Sharia Law
Sharia teaches equality, justice and mercy, says researcher

Ricky Laxa
Al Watan staff

KUWAIT: Ahmad AlـMutawa, researcher at the International Moderation Center of Kuwait, delivered an enlightening lecture about the Specialties of Sharia Law on Tuesday at Aware Center which was attended by a number of Arabs and westerners including Christian ministers and members of different religious denominations. AlـMutawa, who gives lectures on ways of combating extremism and also delivers sermons on Fridays at AlـOthman Mosque, explained the basic principles of Sharia and how it is applied in society.
As AlـMutawa explained, the word ”Sharia” literally means Islamic Law, however these laws were not created by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) but formulated subsequently by religious people. Sources for Sharia Law are based on the Holy Quran, the Sunna (the Holy Prophet”s sayings and actions), ”Ijmaa” or consensus by Muslim scholars, as well as ”Qiyas” which is the result of analytical reasoning.
AlـMutawa explained during the lecture that Islamic Sharia comes from God and is based on a code of ethics that is both external and internal, permanent and universal and stresses the sincerity of intentions.
Sharia Law teaches that God commands justice, kindness, wisdom and mercy and any form of teachings that contradict these principles do not reflect the true meaning of the law.
AlـMutawa commented on the Imam Mutaib, a great Muslim scholar who said that God commands justice, kindness, performs good acts and forbids evil and oppression. He also added that Sharia is founded in wisdom and benefits people in this life and hereafter.
Sharia Law”s objectives include justice and equality (Adl” and Gist), an emphasis on rights and obligations (Huquq), ”Shura” or consultation, ”Masalih” or interest and ”Falah” or success. Such objectives encompass all people regardless of their race, color, nationality or language.
Sharia Law was formulated for the purposes of ”Din” or promotion and protection of the religion. AlـMutawa explained that The Holy Prophet (PBUH) came to preach Islam and draw people out from the other injustices imposed by other religions. Sharia Law teaches about the importance of ”Nafs” or the protection of life. AlـMutawa explained this principle by citing the example of two Muslim men, one of which had killed someone and the other had the intention of killing someone. Both asked the scholar Imam Hanifah if God would grant them forgiveness and both men were given different answers. As AlـMutawa explained further, Sharia Law promotes love, care and the sincerity of intention and for this reason, the scholar told the man who intended to commit the crime that God would not forgive him, in the hope of preventing the act. However, seeing the remorse and true sincerity in the other man”s eyes, the scholar answered that yes, God would forgive his actions.
Sharia Law also promotes ”Nasl” or the protection of the family and it is for this reason that fornication and adultery are forbidden under the law. The law also protects ”Aql” or the mind and thus prohibits the foreign influences of alcohol or narcotics which alter one”s as a result of intoxication. The law also promotes education and science that enrich the mind.
According to Sharia, one”s properties or ”Mal” must also be protected. Stealing and destruction of others” property is discouraged as it contradicts the true values of Islam. The law also encourages followers to be rich and be wealthy in order to then be able to give alms to the poor and help build society.
AlـMutawa stressed that the taking of interest on loans and other forms of capitalist enterprises are prohibited under Sharia Law and that the Islamic Banking system does not really provide an alternative to this. “Let”s just say I cannot afford to buy a car and the bank buys it for me and reـsells the car with higher interest. Is that not interest?” questioned AlـMutawa.
But what is Sharia now?” AlـMutawa asked. Speaking at the lecture he stressed that there is not a single Islamic country in the world that practices and observes Sharia Law in full. “Let”s take for example the law of cutting off the hands when caught stealing. Do you think this law will apply in Kuwait if a high ranking officer commits the same crime? Do you think anyone will dare cut his hands off?” questioned AlـMutawa. “So where is the principle of equality then? Is this Sharia? Does it represent Islam?” he added.
The law does not promote and teach violence and hatred in the name of Islam and AlـMutawa pointed out that extremists who kill and wage wars in the name of religion are not following the true teachings. “Take for example Iraq,” he said. “There is what is called “rule of engagement in Islam” and it needs to be understood very well. When Romans waged war against Muslims, Omar Ibn AlـKhattab called the officers and instructed them not to harm women, children, old people, and worshippers inside temples, not to cut trees and not to stop people from drinking. These are some rules of engagement,” added AlـMutawa.
However, killing and torture as punishment are integral parts of Sharia law with such penalties applied to crimes such as fornication and murder. The penalties are intended to stop others from committing similar crimes.
AlـMutawa concluded by explaining that although many Muslims refuse to live under the governance of Sharia Law, Jews who were under the Muslim occupation called the period as “Golden Years” because the Muslims practiced justice, equality and freedom.
Sharia law states that if anyone lives in any Islamic country, it is the country”s duty to protect him but will not impose on him to embrace the religion or join the army,” AlـMutawa concluded.

Last updated on Thursday 10/7/2008

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