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iceHorse

Can We List Some "true" Facts About Sharia?

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As always, my goal is to understand Islam. I found this list of so-called "facts" about Sharia. I don't know if they are true or false, so I thought I'd list them here and we can discuss them and find out at least some parts of what's true or not true about Sharia.

 

So, I'm admitting up front that parts of this list might be wrong - okay? I also understand that this is only a small part of what Sharia means.

 

== Some parts of what's true in a country ruled by Sharia ==

 

1. The Church and State are integrated and the Quran is the state's constitution.

 

2. Islam is the only religion allowed to be freely practiced. Other religions are either prohibited or restricted.

 

3. Leaving Islam (apostasy) is punishable by death.

 

4. Free speech is restricted and the press is censored by the state.

 

5. Criticism of Islam is forbidden.

 

6. People cannot peacefully assemble without prior permission from the state.

 

7. The Quran (as interpreted by Imams) is the absolute law and cannot be changed.

 

 

Feedback?

 

Edit by admin:

The poster did not mention the source of that fabricated list. Quoting from anti-Islamic websites is against forum rules. Dragging Muslims to defend themselves against lies is a cheap game to distract members, and will not be tolerated here.

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Number 4 is not right. Free speech is allowed in Islam. Is degrading Islam allowed in the press? No, but then again it's not allowed in Finland, a Western country, and Finland has free speech. It all depends on your understanding of free speech. Is criticizing rulers allowed in Islam? Yes, something which is not allowed in Muslim countries in the present.

 

I have never head about number 6. Of course people can peacefully assemble. Did you come up with this yourself?

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5. Criticism of Islam is forbidden.

 

This again depends on what you mean. Non-Muslims are allowed to express why they don't believe in Islam, i.e. criticize. 

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Younes, you're always so skeptical :)

 

As I said, I read this list somewhere, I didn't make it up. I'm reading lots of stuff from lots of sources. I just ordered this book:

 

"Who Speaks For Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think"

 

Do you guys know of this book? Do you consider it to be honest?

 

Okay, back to original list... Younes when it comes to #5, you say that non-Muslims are allowed to criticize Islam. Hmmm... perhaps you are correct, but I don't think you can use Finland as an example. Remember this list has to do with what's true in a country ruled by Sharia. What are the countries in the world that come closest to being "true Sharia countries"? Saudi Arabia, Iran, others? While I don't know this for sure, I suspect that if I went to one of these countries and started publicly criticizing Islam, I'd be in trouble.

Edited by iceHorse

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I would say Saudi Arabia implements Sharia to some degree. However, even Saudi Arabia does not implement Sharia. For example, interest is forbidden in Islam yet Saudi Arabia's banks function like the rest of the world's, the head of state has to be the Caliph while Saudi Arabia is ruled by a king, being allies with disbelievers is not allowed yet Saudi Arabia has taken the US as its patron, taxation (apart from Zakah) is not allowed yet Saudi taxes like the rest of the world. There's more problems with Saudi Arabia. Thus, it's not like Saudi Arabia is a mode of Sharia. It does not even come close.

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As always, my goal is to understand Islam. I found this list of so-called "facts" about Sharia. I don't know if they are true or false, so I thought I'd list them here and we can discuss them and find out at least some parts of what's true or not true about Sharia.

 

So, I'm admitting up front that parts of this list might be wrong - okay? I also understand that this is only a small part of what Sharia means.

 

== Some parts of what's true in a country ruled by Sharia ==

 

1. The Church and State are integrated and the Quran is the state's constitution. - don't know

 

2. Islam is the only religion allowed to be freely practiced. Other religions are either prohibited or restricted. - incorrect

 

3. Leaving Islam (apostasy) is punishable by death. - incorrect

 

4. Free speech is restricted and the press is censored by the state. - with free speech comes responsibility

 

5. Criticism of Islam is forbidden. - incorrect

 

6. People cannot peacefully assemble without prior permission from the state. -

 

7. The Quran (as interpreted by Imams) is the absolute law and cannot be changed. - yep however Allah has given us brains to use

 

 

Feedback?

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Hi shaidmahmood,

 

Can you tell me how you know? It seems that the rules I proposed are consistent with the scripture and it seems they are consistent with what we see in the world today? Maybe there is a Muslim majority country that is interpreting Sharia the way you suggest?

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What are the countries in the world that come closest to being "true Sharia countries"? Saudi Arabia, Iran, others? 

 

 

None. The best example is the Islamic State under the Prophet Muhammad(saw) and the first four Caliphs after him(saw). What they did is what the correct Islamic position is.

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Just to make sure there is no confusion over terminology, when was the last Caliph?

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Just to make sure there is no confusion over terminology, when was the last Caliph?

 

Well technically the last one was Ali(ra) and after him the Kingship sort of started by they are still considered Caliphs as they continued the Islamic Laws and governance. The last Caliph would be the last Ottoman Caliph. However, the best example is that of the Prophet(saw) and the First four Caliphs if you want to know what the Sharia says and what it looks like. The rest were a mixture of Good, bad and everything in between which is just being human I suppose. 

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So the four you are referring to ended over 1300 years ago and together lasted about 30 years?

 

Could you characterize them? What did they achieve in that short span of time that makes them the model of Sharia 1300 years later?

 

Just a quick recap?

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So the four you are referring to ended over 1300 years ago and together lasted about 30 years?

 

Could you characterize them? What did they achieve in that short span of time that makes them the model of Sharia 1300 years later?

 

Just a quick recap?

 

 

The Prophet(saw) ordered us to follow his way and the ways of the righteous Caliphs after him(saw). Those righteous caliphs are the first four. There is also another hadith where the prophet(saw) said the best generation is his generation. Basically the Companions of the Prophet(saw) followed Islam the best and most correctly because they learnt from the Prophet(saw) himself so they are the best examples to follow.  

 

Obviously I'm not putting down the rest of Islamic history but the best example to look to are the first four. So back to the main point of all this is that whatever the Prophet(saw) and his companions followed regarding the points you raised above is what Islam says about this issue. 

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Do you know if there is a modern book that does a good job of capturing the essence of the scripture? The reason I ask is because whenever I discuss scripture here I'm told that I'm not interpreting it correctly. 

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Do you know if there is a modern book that does a good job of capturing the essence of the scripture? The reason I ask is because whenever I discuss scripture here I'm told that I'm not interpreting it correctly. 

 

If there is I'm not too sure about it. There is this website here that might have something: http://www.kalamullah.com/

 

Maybe you can browse and have a look. There are lectures on the lives of the Prophet(saw) and the first 2 Caliphs if you want you can listen to. They're pretty awesome and a good glimpse at how things were back then. 

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Do you know if there is a modern book that does a good job of capturing the essence of the scripture? The reason I ask is because whenever I discuss scripture here I'm told that I'm not interpreting it correctly. 

 

did you ever read quran???

 

my advice to you to start read it, and you will know how muslims think, and it will be easier for you to discuss different stuff with us here on this forum

 

this is one of the best translations of the quran, in easy english language

http://ia600800.us.archive.org/25/items/AttributesOfAllah-KnowYourCreator.BookByLateDr.Mir.AneesuddinM.sc/the_quran-abdel-haleem.pdf

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Hi andalusi,

 

Yes, I am reading the Quran and the Hadith. And as I mentioned, whenever I discuss a verse here at this forum I'm told that I am not interpreting the Quran correctly. Either I take it too literally, or I need to read it with my heart, or there is a context I don't understand, or something like that...

 

Saracen - thanks for the link

Edited by iceHorse

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Hi andalusi,

 

Yes, I am reading the Quran and the Hadith. And as I mentioned, whenever I discuss a verse here at this forum I'm told that I am not interpreting the Quran correctly. Either I take it too literally, or I need to read it with my heart, or there is a context I don't understand, or something like that...

 

Saracen - thanks for the link

 

we are here to help you understand quranic verses, when i say that you dont interpretate correctly i will give proof for that, not only empty words. we allways need to prove stuff.

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Hi andalusi,

 

I appreciate your offer. With that said, as I study Islam there is a common question that many people ask, and the question is: "Who speaks for Islam?". In other words, how does *any* Muslim know that *he or she* has the correct interpretation? So I'm not questioning your knowledge at a personal level, this is a more general question. It's clear that Muslims often disagree with each other, correct? Given those disagreements, how does anyone know what the correct interpretations are?

 

So as an example, we can look at this thread! So far, as near as I can tell, we have no agreement as to whether the initial propositions were correct or not! It's very interesting...

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Hi andalusi,

 

Yes, I am reading the Quran and the Hadith. And as I mentioned, whenever I discuss a verse here at this forum I'm told that I am not interpreting the Quran correctly. Either I take it too literally, or I need to read it with my heart, or there is a context I don't understand, or something like that...

 

Saracen - thanks for the link

I would suggest reading history surrounding the Quran. This will help give you context for the verses. Remember, the Quran as we read it is not in the chronological order it was revealed.

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If we step back a bit from this conversation I notice a couple of things:

 

- In the West at least, I often hear Muslims saying that Westerners are intolerant and that Westerners don't understand Islam.

 

- In the West I often hear Muslims saying that they feel that they don't fit it.

 

- I've been trying REALLY REALLY hard to understand Islam, and out of the billion Muslims in the world, it seems none of them have written a book for people like me. :(

 

I think it's safe to say that 99% of the people in the West are not going to put in the effort that I'm putting in - correct? It's just not very likely that most westerners are going to read a big stack of Islamic scripture and Islamic history. 

 

But it WOULD be fantastic if Westerners could understand what it means to be a moderate Muslim. Does that all seem correct?

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If we step back a bit from this conversation I notice a couple of things:

 

- In the West at least, I often hear Muslims saying that Westerners are intolerant and that Westerners don't understand Islam.

 

- In the West I often hear Muslims saying that they feel that they don't fit it.

 

- I've been trying REALLY REALLY hard to understand Islam, and out of the billion Muslims in the world, it seems none of them have written a book for people like me. :(

 

I think it's safe to say that 99% of the people in the West are not going to put in the effort that I'm putting in - correct? It's just not very likely that most westerners are going to read a big stack of Islamic scripture and Islamic history.

 

But it WOULD be fantastic if Westerners could understand what it means to be a moderate Muslim. Does that all seem correct?

I'd say you were right, and I'd say I would love to find a book that would suit what you're looking for. I'll try and find something, because I'm sure my sister would love to read it as well (she remains a devout Christian). Can you provide me with a description about what sort of things you would be looking for in a book (or books)? Edited by Amna4

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Hmmm... (another time that a separate thread is running parallel to this one)

 

Things westerners would like to know about moderate Muslims (no offense intended):

 

- Islam includes many instructions concerning politics. Are moderate muslims "political Muslims"?

- If you come to a Western country, do you want to integrate with the culture or stay within your own Muslim communities?

- Do you want to replace parts of Western culture with Sharia?

- Some parts of Sharia seem horrible to Westerners. Examples are women's rights and blasphemy laws. How should Westerners understand those parts of Sharia that you think are important? (And which parts you might not pursue.)

- Your scripture instructs Muslims over and over and over to despise infidels, do Muslims despise us?

- If you don't despise us, can you tell us how you interpret Islamic scripture? (Most modern Christians ignore most of the Old Testament. For example, modern Christians don't seriously considering killing their neighbor if he is working on Sunday.)

- We hear over and over that Islamic scripture is final, perfect and unalterable. Do you follow every instruction in the scripture?

- Most Christians in the West are very casual about their religion. It could be said that they "cherry pick" little bits of their religion's philosophy and leave most of it behind. Is this attitude common for moderate Muslims?

 

Maybe you get the idea? This list isn't complete of course, but I think that this kind of question is very natural for people in the West to ask. 

 

As always, no offense is intended!

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Christians aren't necessarily cherrypicking parts of their scripture. Christianity is simply far less legalistic than Judaism or Islam. It doesn't have complete instructions on how to life, just a few general ethical rules how to be a good person.

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Not to go off on too much of a tangent, but I'd say most modern Christians must ignore huge chunks of the Old Testament and some parts of the NT as well.

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I'll answer some of these myself, from my perspective as a Western born, raised, still living here convert from Christianity Muslim. I'll also ask around for some books. I think I know of some but I have to look through my book collection inshallah.

 

Hmmm... (another time that a separate thread is running parallel to this one)

 

Things westerners would like to know about moderate Muslims (no offense intended):

 

- Islam includes many instructions concerning politics. Are moderate muslims "political Muslims"?

//Yes and no. Are Christians automatically "political Christians"? Muslims differ in political beliefs across the board. As an example, I know Muslims who refuse to participate in politics in general. I know staunch Republicans, staunch Democrats, and everywhere in between. I personally vote either Libertarian or Green Party, depending on my mood. I've never been a big political activist, but I am vocally anti-War and pro-Palestine ( <-- the Palestine discussion can be taken to PM if you would like. I have a different view than most, I believe)

 

- If you come to a Western country, do you want to integrate with the culture or stay within your own Muslim communities?

// I'm American! Woohoo :) I definitely plan to stay present in the larger community. While I believe it is important to be active within the Muslim community, it's pointless to be holed up. I know many of the masjid in my area agree with that view, and do outreach dinners, interfaith dinners, etc...

 

- Do you want to replace parts of Western culture with Sharia?

// Which parts? Sure. I'd love to see Sharia implemented properly. There wouldn't be the extreme wealth inequalities and a lot less crime. Haha... But in all seriousness, no. It is not possible in this age for Sharia to be implemented properly, so unIslamic systems will suffice for now. There is too much diversity, too much corruption, etc... Not that diversity is a bad thing! I love all races, religions, etc...

 

- Some parts of Sharia seem horrible to Westerners. Examples are women's rights and blasphemy laws. How should Westerners understand those parts of Sharia that you think are important? (And which parts you might not pursue.)

//I think it's important to understand the reasons behind those sections of Sharia, especially the ones about women. I definitely know there have been books about this.

 

- Your scripture instructs Muslims over and over and over to despise infidels, do Muslims despise us?

// Not really. We are instructed to respect people of the book, to allow them to practice their religion freely, etc. "To you is your religion, to me is mine". There are verses that are "war verses", which is why I suggest you read a book that includes description of the time in which each verse was revealed. The Quran was revealed in different situations, with the verses pertaining specifically to each situation.

 

- If you don't despise us, can you tell us how you interpret Islamic scripture? (Most modern Christians ignore most of the Old Testament. For example, modern Christians don't seriously considering killing their neighbor if he is working on Sunday.)

// I explained some before, but will continue if you have more specific questions.

 

 

- We hear over and over that Islamic scripture is final, perfect and unalterable. Do you follow every instruction in the scripture?

// I wish! It's impossible in this day and age as an imperfect human. This is where "jihad of the self" comes in, as it is so important for us to strive to make ourselves as perfect as possible, even as we fail over and over.

 

 

- Most Christians in the West are very casual about their religion. It could be said that they "cherry pick" little bits of their religion's philosophy and leave most of it behind. Is this attitude common for moderate Muslims?

// I'd take a stab to say that from my experience, the average Muslim is more strict about their religion than the average Christian. Especially with prayers. Even people who we would tend to consider 'non-practicing' often still pray the five prayers. Mind you, I grew up in a traditional Christian community with many practicing people - I'm still much more aware of Christian culture and religious views than Islamic (though it's quickly evening out).

 

Maybe you get the idea? This list isn't complete of course, but I think that this kind of question is very natural for people in the West to ask.

 

As always, no offense is intended!

Edited by Amna4

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