Legal Debate on Sharia Law
Sharia refers to a vast array of moral and ethical principles drawn from the Quran, specifically from the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. Jurists then interpreted these principles to come up with legal standards and moral prescriptions within which people are required to live. These set legal standards are commonly referred to as the ‘Islamic law.’ The Islamic law has come under fierce scrutiny in recent times, with those who oppose it citing the fallible and inhumane nature of its laws. One major law indicates that people who commit adultery should be punished by stoning or lashing. Even though most Muslim majority states do not practice these punishments in the modern era, some, like Pakistan and Nigeria, still do. The jurists who oversee these punishments are untrained in classical Islamic law, and act in accordance with the Kharijites’ argument that “if someone was a “grave sinner,” that person was no longer Muslim and therefore it would be right to stand against him/her, even by force.” They believe that sinners do not deserve legitimacy, and sentence them to death without considering the rules of evidence that should inform such decisions, such as the presence of at least four witnesses during the act of sin. The anti-Sharia campaigns dominating US states and courts might be as a result of these misinformed sentences or punishments, accompanied by a mixture of fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims, commonly known as Islamophobia.