WHAT DOES SHARIAH MEAN?• The word Shariah comes from the Arabic: shara‘a• It means a way or path and by extension— the path to be followed.• The term originally was used to describe ―the path that leads to water,‖• Shariah is the way to the source of life.• Shariah in Islam refers to the way according to divine guidance leading to a peaceful and happy life in this world and the next.
Goal of Shariah• Shariah‘s goal is to protect and promote basic human rights, including :1. Faith,2. Life,3. Family,4. Property and5. Intellect.
Scope of Shariah• Shariah is all-embracing and encompasses personal as well as collective spheres in daily living.• Shariah includes the entire sweep of life: Prayers, charity, fasting, pilgrimage, morality, economic endeavors, political conduct and social behavior, including caring for one‘s parents and neighbors, and maintaining kinship
Shariah concept is found in nearly all of the world‘s great religions• In Judaism, the Halakhah and Haggadah comprise the norms by which individuals of the Jewish faith are governed• Canon law is a body of law that applies to certain sects of Christianity (Catholics, Episcopal Church)• Adi Granth scriptures that guide Sikhs around the world,• United Methodist book of church law• Colorful boxed set of the renowned Adin Steinsaltz translation of Jewish Talmud
Myths about Shariah1-Shariah is a ―legal-political-militarydoctrine,‖2-Shariah is equated only to the punitivelaws of Islam3- Shariah Law is a Threat to theConstitution4-Advancing Islamophobia by insinuatingthat the Shariah law will replace theAmerican laws
Myths about Shariah5-Muslims are using stealthy techniques andagendas with the express aim of "destroyingWestern civilization from within― andestablishing caliphate here.6-Islamic Shariah only propagates violence,intolerance and extremism. This image wasblown out of proportion by the mass media.7-Exploit the sharia hysteria to rally the basefor political purposes. Mythical accusations arelaid against Shariah.
Myths about Shariah• 7-Muslims think Christians and Jews are infidels.• 8-Muslim Americans do not believe in Democratic principles• 9-Islam instructs Muslims to subjugate women.• 10- Muslims are socially active only on issues that affect other Muslims
Myth#1-Shariah is a ―legal-political- military doctrine,‖• Two Tennessee legislators who authored anti Shariah bill incorrectly defined Shariah ―as a system of legal, political, military and religious laws• that calls its followers to overthrow the United States‘ government through brutal force, acts of terrorism, and ‗holy war‘ (i.e., jihad),• in order to establish itself as the sole political and religious power in the world.‖
This does not define Shariah• Shariah‘ that this bill defines is a Shariah that we don‘t recognize, nor do the millions of American Muslims who proudly claim allegiance to this country, nor does the recognized body of Muslim scholars formally trained in the study of Shariah• The word ‗Shariah‘ literally means ‗path,‘ and for all Muslims, the Shariah is a set of ethics and laws they believe will lead them to God‘s mercy.
What is truth about Shariah.• The bulk of the Shariah, approximately 70 percent, deals with rituals of worship.• For example, the Shariah tells us that we should regularly take time out of our day to remember God.• It advises us to give charity, and instructs us that a percentage of our earnings and savings should be dedicated for the poor.
Shariah explained• The Shariah instructs us how to fast every year in order to cultivate patience and to feel unity with those who are less fortunate.• It asks us to commemorate the faith of the Prophet Abraham by visiting the house of worship that he built in Mecca, and details the rituals that we should perform during this pilgrimage
Shariah explained• Approximately 25 percent of the Shariah deals with dietary restrictions and personal economic and family laws• Family law in the Shariah requires Muslims to follow religious customs when marrying or divorcing.• The Shariah also prohibits Muslims from dealing in usurious transactions.
Penal Laws in Islam• Penal laws make up a portion of the remaining five percent of the Shariah.• However, these laws are intended to be applied in a system of government that derives its rules from Islam.• Such a hypothetical system of Islamic government is not being championed by American Muslims.• Constitution of the United States of America — mandates the separation of church and state. American Muslims understand, appreciate and fully support that mandate
Components of Shariah 5 Rituals of Worship25 Personal, Famil y, Economic 70 laws Penal Laws
Myth#2-Shariah is equated only to the criminal laws of Islam
FACT#2-Shariah is not equal to the criminal laws of Islam• Sharia is far from merely a set of punishments or legal obligations. Rather, it is a set of comprehensive guidelines of a personal and private nature dictated by faith.• Penal code makes only 5% of the Shariah.• No Muslim has asked for its implementation• Muslims respect and abide by the laws of
Examine Islamic Penal code in the context of moral teachings• The Islamic system of punishment must be examined in the context of Islamic moral teachings, and the atmosphere of high moral standards that Islam first wishes to establish in a Muslim society.• When that happens, society rises to such heights that crimes become very rare and unnatural.• Without creating that society first – where everyone‘s needs are met, where honesty, integrity and safety are accepted principles and crimes are an anomaly – no attempt can be made to institute criminal
Myth#3 Shariah Law- Threat to the Constitution
Fact: Shariah Law- Is Not a Threat to the Constitution• This exposes absolute ignorance about Shariah and the American Constitution itself.• The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution suffices to protect the Constitution as ―the supreme law of the land.‖• Furthermore, the Establishment Clause prohibits the federal government from establishing or preferring any religion (including Islam) in the United States.• No law can trump the Constitution of the
Myth #4 Shariah law will replace the American laws
Fact #4 Shariah law will not replace the American laws• Sharia is sometimes consulted in civil cases with Muslim litigants who may request a Muslim arbitrator.• These may involve issues of marriage contracts or commercial agreements, or probating an Islamic will.• They are no different than the practice of judges allowing Orthodox Jews to resolve some matters in Jewish courts, also known as beth din.
Shariah can not replace American Law• U.S. courts also regularly interpret foreign law in commercial disputes between two litigants from different countries,• or custody agreements brokered in another country.• In those cases, Islamic law is treated like any other foreign law or Catholic canon law.
Foreign Laws can not override US laws• U.S. judges may decide to consider foreign law or religious codes like sharia• That doesnt mean those laws override the Constitution.• We have a criminal justice system that no outside law can supersede.• Additionally, judges consider foreign laws only if they choose to.• They can always refuse to recognize a foreign law.
Xenophobic Demagoguery• Dearborn has been home to the largest community of Arabs in the U.S.• And yet after five or six generations, Dearborns Muslims have not sought to see the city run in accordance with sharia.• Those who cry "Sharia!" are engaging in one of the oldest and least-proud political traditions -- xenophobic demagoguery.• One of the easiest ways to spot its use is when politicians carelessly throw around a word simply because it scares some voters
Myth#5 Sharia is part of a plan toturn the US into an Islamic state
Fact#5 American Muslims support the constitution of USA• In the past, political parties targeted Catholics, claiming that they might try to impose Roman canon law in the U.S.—but that myth was dispelled more than half a century ago.• ―Sharia‖ is a large corpus of norms and conventions that guide daily Islamic practices.
Fact#5 American Muslims Supportthe Constitution and the rule of law• A recent report from the Center for American Progress stated that Sharia is ―overwhelmingly concerned with personal religious observance such as prayer and fasting, and not with national laws.‖• Muslims support Constitution and apply Sharia to the private realm.
Muslims seek to live under laws of the land and tenets of their faith• American Muslims, like all people of faith, are working to navigate their way of life into the American framework.• No reputable Muslim group in America is calling for overthrowing the U.S. government or establishing some sort of Islamic government.• What we are asking for is what all Americans of faith ask for: that we be allowed to live under the laws of the land and according to the tenets of our faith.• To deny us this right is not just unconstitutional, it is anti-American.
Myth#6- Shariah only propagates violence, intolerance and extremism
Fact #6 Shariah promotes peaceful coexistence and respect of Law• Peaceful coexistence, not violent overthrow, is the mandate of the Shariah• When a Muslim lives in the U.S., they are doing so while agreeing to follow the law of the land• This agreement is binding upon them according to Shariah
God commands Muslims to fulfill their agreements• ―O you who have believed, fulfill (all) contracts.‖ (5:1)• ―Fulfill your agreement with them to the end of their term. God loves those who are mindful of Him.‖ (9:4)
Myth #7-Muslims think Christians and Jews are infidels.
Fact #7Islam embraces Christians and Jews as ―people of the book‖• As an Abrahamic faith, Islam embraces Christians and Jews as ―people of the book‖ and believers in one God.• The Quran recognizes the Torah and Injil (Gospel of Jesus) as Divine revelations to mankind• Many of the same revered figures and prophets including Jesus and Moses, peace be upon them– that appear in the Torah or the Bible, also appear in the Quran
Shariah teaches tolerance and respect for other faiths• The precedent for religious tolerance was established in the first constitution of Medina, in 622 CE in which the Prophet Muhammad ensured religious freedom to its non-Muslim citizens• In Islamic Spain, both Christians and Muslims prayed in the Great Mosque of Cordoba.•
Muslim Americans work with all faith communities• Muslim Americans have founded NGOs and dialogue circles to renew the tradition of working side-by-side with different faiths
Myth #8-Muslim Americans do not believe in Democratic principles
Fact #8 American Muslims believe and participate in democracy• Over a thousand years before Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Quran stated that humanity is created equal regardless of gender, race, or religion.O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and madeyou into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despiseeach other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) themost righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with allthings). Hujurat,49:13
American Muslims believe and participate in democracy• In 632 CE the Muslim community in Arabia set a precedent by electing their first political leaders by consensus.• In 2008, the largest-ever survey of Muslim Americans found that 95% of Muslims who regularly attend a mosque believe that Islam and the American political system are compatible.• Muslim Americans are involved in all steps of the political process from fundraisers, to door-to-door campaigning, to holding political office in state and national legislatures.
Myth #9- Shariah instructs Muslims to subjugate women
Fact#9-Islam ensures equal dignity and honor to women and men• Muslims are taught from childhood to honor women according to the Islamic maxim ―Heaven is under the feet of your mother.‖• Muslims believe there is no distinction between a Muslim man and woman in faith: both have the same rights and obligations, and are promised equal rewards in heaven.• The iconic Virgin Mary – whom Muslims believe will be the first to enter Paradise – is a role model for Muslim men and women
Islam ensures equal dignity and honor to women and men• Aisha, a wife of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is credited for preserving a large number of prophetic traditions which serve as the basis for Islamic jurisprudence• In recent years, the four largest Muslim countries have elected women as Presidents and Prime Ministers• In Yemen, the face of pro-change movement is a female journalist and human rights activist, Tawakkul Karman who received Noble Peace Prize
US Muslim Women• In the US, Muslim women are thriving as doctors, university professors and executive directors of NGOs.• In fact Muslim American women are one of the most highly educated female religious groups in the United States, and they report incomes more nearly equal to men, compared with women and men of other faiths
Myth#10-Muslims are sociallyactive only on issues that affect Muslims
Fact #10Muslims are committed for wellbeing of entire humanity• It is obligation for Muslims to give charity• Muslim Americans have raised funds and helped Hurricane Katrina victims• Built houses for Habitat for Humanity,• Created soup kitchens to feed the homeless.
Islam teaches sincere service for mankind• A group of young professionals in the Washington DC area created Green Muslims to practice sustainable living to protect our environment.• Countless NGOs such as ICNA Relief & Muslim Women‘s Coalition – establish and help local women‘s shelters• They are driven by their love for America and the belief that service to mankind is a central component to Islamic practices
Conclusion• In his landmark speech in Cairo, President Obama said, ―So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace.‖• In order to end social conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims and foster cooperation, we have to use our public diplomacy resources well.
Conclusion• Extremists constitute a very small minority.• Because they are well-funded and receive undue media attention, they have led a successful campaign to propagate these myths and created false fear against Sharia• The key to countering their narrative is to emphasize the beliefs and practices of mainstream Muslims who share our values and work towards creating a better America
Conclusion• Highlighting the examples of Muslim Americans who are promoting religious tolerance, pluralism, democracy, gender equality, and community service will pay- off in the long run by marginalizing the extremists that work against US interests.• Muslim Americans ought to guide dialogue efforts between Muslims and non-Muslims at the national and international levels for better mutual understanding and respect.
PrayerO Allah! Creator of the heavens and the earth!Knower of all that is hidden and open! It isThou that wilt judge between Thy Servants inthose matters about which they have differed.Zumar, 39:46