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Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam (23 Sep 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

If Sharia Is Divine, Why Don’t Ulema Demand Medieval Punishments Of Flogging, Amputation And Beheading For Muslims?

By Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

14 September 2016

Muslim media is in a state. Acclaimed poet and writer Javed Akhtar has rightly condemned the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) “in the strongest words” for justifying the instant divorce prevalent in India. In its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the AIMPLB had defended the practice of triple talaq and polygamy, professing that “polygamy is a social need and a blessing and not a curse for women.

The Muslim reaction to Javed Akhtar’s tweet can be summed up by what Khalid Yunus Ansari wrote in Pratap of 11 September: “There has never been any dearth of opportunists and traitors among Muslims. These people may appear intelligent and educated but are ignorant of Muslim mores. … A real Muslim is one who consciously and even sub-consciously believes in and follows Islamic Laws, someone who cannot even imagine finding fault with or challenging or violating any of them. Even imagining any fault with Muslim Laws is absolute kufr (disbelief), not to speak of expressing such thoughts.”

I have been reading Urdu newspapers for 45 years. While Muslims have been constantly fighting for the so-called Muslim Personal Law which allows them to treat women as inferior beings, never have I come across any Muslim demand for being governed by Islamic criminal laws. If Sharia is so important, if it is such a vital part of our faith, then why this dichotomy? Except for drinking alcohol, punishments for all other hudud crimes (mentioned in the Quran, considered crimes against God) are to be amputation, flogging and beheading. One would have thought that at least those Muslims who are so particular about following Sharia, and, of course, all ulema who consider Sharia divine, would demand the implementation of the entire Sharia. Why follow only the part that helps keep women subjugated and avoid those that may lead to severe medieval punishments specified by Quran and Hadees.

Triple talaq or instant divorce is one of the evils emanating from the personal laws instituted for Muslims by the British. Hardly any Muslim in India follows the Quran-based practice of divorce in three stages, encompassing three menstrual cycles. After Independence from the British, a united Pakistan had refused to accept the Anglo-Mohammedan Law and reformed its personal law in 1961. These reforms have passed the test of time. Pakistan has since gone through much upheaval including an era of Nizam-e-Mustafa under General Ziaul Haq, in which even traditional pre-Islamic forms of punishment like whips and lashes and public flogging were practised for Hudud violations. So what progressive Muslims in India should be and indeed have been demanding for long is reforms in Muslim personal law itself. But perhaps we should also be demanding that those who claim to believe in the divinity of Sharia should be punished in medieval Hudud ways. If the government cannot reform Muslim Personal Laws, out of deference for ulema’s views, it can at least extend Hudud punishments to them. Ulema say Muslims have to be fully Muslim, accept Sharia laws literally, not be partial Muslim. The ulema must be given the option to face medieval Hudud punishments and be fully Muslim according to their own interpretation.

Reform of Muslim personal law is urgent. A demand for this has been made for decades. This is inevitably opposed and equally inevitably exposes the two-facedness of Islamic fundamentalists. India should not tolerate these archaic and un-Islamic personal laws.

But, to my mind, the most important benefit is the opening up of a theological debate within the community. This has already started to a certain extent.

Reacting to Dr Tahir Mahmood’s recent call for reform, AIMPLB’s Secretary Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani made a dangerous and subversive statement. He said: “This issue is not related to the laws of the country but it is an issue related to Fatwa. Hence this issue should be dealt with by reliable scholars of Islamic jurisdiction.”

The clerics questioning Supreme Court’s jurisdiction should understand that the Muslims are as much subject to the Indian Constitution and its interpretation by the Supreme Court as any other citizen. Muslim personal law is a part of the Constitution and the Supreme Court has every right to interpret it. Progressive Muslims are not committing a sin by encouraging the courts to intervene in the matter.

The most important outcome of this debate, however, is that it is breaching the complete stagnation in Islamic theological thinking. This is essential to replace the current theology of violence, exclusivism, xenophobia and intolerance with a new Islamic theology of peace, coexistence, inclusiveness, pluralism and gender equality.

Note: This article was first published in India Today’s Daily newspaper Mail Today and its online newspaper Daily “O”.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/sultan-shahin,-founding-editor,-new-age-islam/if-sharia-is-divine,-why-don’t-ulema-demand-medieval-punishments-of-flogging,-amputation-and-beheading-for-muslims?/d/108648


  • Ahmad AL-Hakeem, B.A Civil Engineering, Qassim University comments,

    “True Sharia law is never practices in any Muslim country despite what they might say .. Muslims countries are of three types:

    “Countries ruled by western-backed military dictators who struggle against Islam in general since it goes against them.

    “Monarchies that claim to follow it but really don’t .. they might restrict it to one class of people or allow what’s not allowable (like financial interest) by giving it some bullshit name.

    “democracies like Malasia and Turkey where they’re slowly regaining a lot of their freedom back (turkey un particular) and implementing aspects of Sharia back into the government.

    “Sharia is both very detailed and broad in subjects. So, on personal and community level it’s practiced and held by the people themselves, not governments. On the government level, somethings like divorce or inheritance laws generally follow Islamic ruling.”

    By Kaniz Fatma - 1/20/2019 9:49:53 PM

  • Muslim ulema still demand rajam stoning of adulterers though there is no verse in the Quran to that effect. Even if such a verse existed in the Quran it has been abrogated. So for that they have discovered a wahi-e-Khafi allegedly narrated by the prophet pbuh according to which even if the Quran tells Muslims to only flog adulterers, they insist that the hadith which is weak should be given precedence over the statement of the Quran. And ulema of the ISIS did impose stoning, flogging and amputation in their so called khilafat for two years because they do not understand the meaning of urf and maruf in the Quran. However, development the world may make they will insist on adopting the path of the people living in the sixth and seventh century ignoring the teaching of the Quran that Muslims should make advancement according to the time.
    By arshad - 6/3/2018 6:54:15 AM

  • @Praveen Gutta , Mohammad Ashraf Mr Gutta not secular but say manuvadi laws. unde r income tac you get benefit of hindu undivided family
    By Iqbal Husain - 10/12/2016 9:38:21 AM

  • @Mohammad Ashraf  Yes, apply Sharia criminal laws for Muslims, rest of us will follow Secular laws for us. :)
    By Praveen Gutta - 10/12/2016 9:35:41 AM

  • I endorse your suggestion for implementation asap and I assure you that the glaring problems like raping a daughter in front of a helpless father will not recur.
    By Mohammad Ashraf - 10/12/2016 9:34:17 AM

  • New Age Islam, Pls enlighten us about sharia. What is Sharia?
    By Mohd Abu Rayhan - 10/12/2016 9:33:26 AM

  • No Muslim in his senses will ever support ISIS. Indian Muslims scholars have already condemned its unIslamic acts. Moreover, Muslims know very well that this outfit has been created by the US in order to defame Islam and distort its teachings. There are many fake videos made by vested interests showing the cruelty of ISIS. But it cannot be denied that they are masters in perpetrating cruelty and Muslims know why. It should also be noted that this outfit has killed more Muslims than others. It gets orders from Tel Aviv.
    By Serajuddin Khurram - 10/12/2016 9:30:09 AM

  • @Iqbal have you read those books by Dr.B.R Ambedkar or by Periyar or by poula richman or by Doniger......and what to say about these books....in your last comment you have asked about reservation....he have made reservation only for low level casts and minorities.....do you think Muslims are low level cast or is minor now....the answer is "NO".....i intentionally avoided your point.....which point....of debating with zakir naik....hmmm first of all now his telecast are not acceptable and next he is not present in India....and last but not the least he have never accepted any debate challenge form anyone....and I m not wasting my time here....i m giving information about true Islam not that "filtered Islam" which you followers know....you answer me "Do you support ISIS?" Please briefly explain me your answer and be in the topic related to "religion".....XOXOXO
    By Subhashish Rock - 10/12/2016 9:26:02 AM

  • @Subhashish Rock be specific . tell me about rejoinders / rebuttals written till date for these books "Riddles of Hinduism" by Dr Ambedkar and his book "annihilation of caste" , "True ramayana' by Periyar , "many ramayana's " by poula Richman , "many books of wendy Doniger like "alternativae history hindyuism" , "shiva lingam ---- ..." etc etc. you intionally avoided my points on zakir. why not going and confornting zakir saheb in OPEN FORUM debates instead of wasting your time of facebook
    By Iqbal Husain - 10/12/2016 9:23:19 AM

  • Yes we can find multiple books out in market but we can also find books like Quran,hadiths out there and people like me are referring from Quran and hadiths.....according to Vedas cast system is not by birth but by profession....same cast system is shown in China's flag....4stars and 1 star shows communism and sati system....Hinduism was included by some evil Brahmins in the 10th century....but Hinduism is much more greater than just a cast system.....and Late Dr.B.R Ambedkar made sure reservation for only Hindus is lol😁😁😂😂.....he was more brilliant than more peoples know him to be.....no such reservations can be granted to Muslims because you all cant say that Muslims are SC and ST or OBC.....if you can then reservations are for you also😉
    By Subhashish Rock - 10/12/2016 9:19:13 AM

  • Hmmm for question (2).....yes in market multiple books are there...but book like Quran and hadiths are also there and people like me are not referring from other books but only from Quran and hadiths.....
    By Subhashish Rock - 10/12/2016 9:18:50 AM

  •  @Iqbal Husain And for your first question my answer is "YES"...yes we should preach our religion....but the thing is when someone's religion is producing back to back something which is not acceptable by humans then how can you think of preaching that religion and people to accept that.....conversation by self will is different and force conversation is different....like I m preaching my religion not Hinduism but "agonistic".....i want people to understand that in past few people made these rules to control humans from crossing their limits.....from hurting nature else there will be no difference left between humans and animals.
    By Subhashish Rock - 10/12/2016 9:18:26 AM

  • @Krishna Kumar Saboo, let me remove your misunderstandings about Islam. Islam does not allow killing of those who do not follow it. If anyone claiming to be Muslim does so, he violates and disobeys the holy Quran and will be punished in the hereafter also. Says the holy Quran: "No compulsion in matters of faith"(2:256). The holy book also says: "....Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he has saved all of mankind"(5:32).
    By Serajuddin Khurram - 10/12/2016 9:13:36 AM

  • The issue here  is triple talaq, on which Privy Council had famously put the lid by pronouncing that triple talaq may be bad in theology but is good in law (being strongly customary in India). The fact however is that there is urgent need to reform statutorily,  the talaq  laws for the Muslims in India. One question I had raised which nobody took up to clarify. The issue requires deeper study.
    By Manzurul haque - 10/8/2016 1:07:15 PM

  • Introspection is required and the religious heads shall take initiative
    By Gangadharan VG - 10/8/2016 5:57:15 AM

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