Islam 101, Part Four by Peter Burrows firstname.lastname@example.org 1/18/15
This series has examined the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sunnah, bedrocks of the religion of Islam, for any proof that “Islam is peace,“ as President George W. Bush asserted, or that it is “a religion that preaches peace” as President Obama said. So far, the evidence is incontrovertible that Islam advocates war against non-Muslims.
In this column, we discuss the fourth pillar of Islamic fundamentalism, the complex set of laws passed down through the centuries that Muslims, and everybody subject to Muslim rule, must obey: Shariah, or Islamic Law. Shariah is derived from the Koran, the life and sayings of Muhammad, called the Sunnah, and precedents set through centuries of Islamic jurisprudence based on Ijma‘ and Qiyas (consensus and analogy.)
Since Shariah is based on the word of Allah and the examples set by His Messenger, it can’t be changed or overruled by laws passed by mere mortals. Sharia exemplifies the absolutism of Islam, which allows for no compromise, no accommodation for other beliefs. This is important to know when dealing with Muslims today.
Unsurprisingly, Islam views the only proper government as one ruled by the teachings of Allah, i.e. Islam is inherently theocratic. The idea of separation of church and state makes no sense to the vast majority of Muslims. This dooms attempts to “nation build” Islamic nations around democratic principles. Turkey was once an exception, but that looks increasingly like a false hope.
Since Sharia has its roots in Seventh Century tribalism, the punishments prescribed for breaking laws reflect the barbarism of the time. What appalls today, was common then. While most of the world has advanced from pre-Middle Ages concepts of punishment, Islam has not because it cannot. The Word of Allah has cemented them in place for all time.
(Infidels might note that Allah changed His mind frequently in His revelations to Muhammad, and it would be interesting to know how Islam would look today had Muhammad passed along his revelatory gift to a successor.)
For an overview of Sharia, a good source is the Fourteenth Century compilation of Islamic laws, Reliance of the Traveler and Tools for the Worshiper, usually shortened to Reliance of the Traveler, the travel meaning life’s journey. I downloaded a copy from the Internet, 336 pages, including translator notes.
It contains 22 chapters of Islamic jurisprudence, A through V, some mandating in excruciating, mind boggling detail the proper execution of various aspects of Islamic life, from personal hygiene to how to prepare for and conduct prayer, as well as more traditional legal areas such as marriage, divorce, settling estates, etc.
It also has punishments for various transgressions, e.g. if a sane person voluntarily commits sodomy or fornication, then “he or she is stoned to death.” (O 12.0) (In Saudi Arabia, people are still being stoned to death, something verifiable on the Internet. Also on the Internet, Saudi death sentences by beheading, the executioner using a sword.)
Some examples of Shariah: The first offense for theft is amputation of the right hand, the second the amputation of the left foot, and so on. (O 14.0) This is a refinement of sura 5:38 in the Koran: “As to the thief, male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah.”
A sane adult who becomes an apostate “deserves to be killed” (O 8.1) and there is no penalty for killing an apostate. (O 5.4) Interestingly, Reliance of the Traveler equates blasphemy with apostasy, as evidence of the rejection of Islam. Section O 8.7 lists 20 examples of blasphemy/apostasy and concludes: “There are others, for the subject is nearly limitless. May Allah Most High save us and all Muslims.”
(The Hadith has numerous stories of Muhammad ordering the death of people because they mocked him or showed disrespect, including an old woman and two of his women slaves . Muhammad would certainly have approved the murder of the 12 staffers at the Paris-based satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo, for their disrespectful, blasphemous cartoons.)
Treatment of women is another subject found in The Reliance of the Traveler. For example, the Koran’s sura 4:34 directs men to discipline their wives in three steps, first to scold, second to not cohabit with and, if all that fails, to beat her. The Reliance of the Traveler expands on that with admonitions not to break a bone, cause bleeding, or hit her in the face. (M 10.11) How kind.
One of the Hadith has Muhammad personally ordering an adulteress stoned to death (Bukhari 8:82:806), which set a precedent still followed today, with appalling results when combined with other Sharia. Since the charge of rape requires four MALE witnesses (Sahih Bukari Vol 9 Bk97, 7409; Reliance of Traveler, P 18.1.2), many rape victims end up being charged with adultery. Such was the sad case of a 13-year -old Somalian girl who was gang raped and then stoned to death in front of a thousand people at a soccer stadium.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Reliance of the Traveler leaves no doubt that jihad means war against non-Muslims for the purpose of establishing the supremacy of Islam. It cites three suras from the Koran and three hadiths from both Sihah Bukari and Sihah Muslim as justification. (O 9.0) While the Koran, sura 4:95 says Allah favors those who fight “with their good and persons” over those who “sit (at home)” the Reliance of the Traveler elevates it to a sin not to have engaged in jihad if possible. (O 9.1)
The Reliance of the Traveler represents one of four schools of Sunni jurisprudence, and Sunnis can pick and choose among them as they wish. Sunnis represent about 85 percent of the Muslims in the world, Shias most of the rest, but both advocate jihad against the unbelievers.
Anyone who thinks Islam is a religion advocating peaceful coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims only needs to study, just a little bit, any of Islam’s defining writings, those being the Koran, the Hadith, Muhammad’s biographies, and Reliance of the Traveler. Bear in mind that the Koran is the eternal word of Allah, not subject to change, and that Muhammad’s Seventh Century conduct and the Shariah are appropriate for today and always.
Welcome to Islamophobia.