Sharia Law and the US Constitution
Americans are among the most tolerant and patriotic people in the world. As a nation of immigrants, there is a certain appeal to the idea of multiculturalism where people of different backgrounds are accepted in our communities. Our nation was founded on the principles of equality and freedom, and we have invested our resources and blood over and over again to defend those principles.
Our constitution guarantees not only the freedom of speech, but also the freedom to practice our religion of choice. So it is not surprising that many Americans see Sharia Law as a Muslim religious prerogative which we should support or at least tolerate. Banks have rushed to provide Sharia-compliant banking, and public institutions like universities and airports have spent taxpayer dollars to help Muslims comply with their religious requirements, providing special foot-baths and prayer rooms for them.
If anyone speaks out against Sharia Law, there is often a strong reaction within the Muslim community. This month, Dalia Mogahed, President Obama’s advisor on Muslim affairs, complained on British television that the Western view of Sharia was “oversimplified” and misunderstood. While acknowledging that even Muslims associate Sharia with draconian criminal punishments and laws that seem unequal for women, she stated, “Part of the reason there is this perception of Sharia is because Sharia is not well understood and Islam as a faith is not well understood.” The London-based Islam Channel panel she was on made repeated attacks against secular “man-made Law” and the West’s “lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism.” Ms. Mogahed described her government role as “to convey . . to the President and other public officials what it is Muslims want.” (Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/6274387/Obama-adviser-says-Sharia-Law-is-misunderstood.html)
A similar reaction took place in a recent US Congressional hearing on the dangers posed by political Islam. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, one of the most prominent Muslim reformers in the United States, testified, “I think if Muslims want credibility and we want to be respected equally, we need to stand for reform within our faith of [Sharia] laws that are still in the 15th and 16th Century.” He explained that the jihadists will not be defeated until Muslims start to recognize that their ideology is on a slippery slope toward radicalism. In response to this testimony, Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D, Mn) delivered a verbal tirade that accused Dr. Jasser of encouraging anti-Muslim bigotry and attempting to censor Islamists. Ellison said to Dr. Jasser, “I think you give people license for bigotry. I think people who engage in nothing less than Muslim-hating really love you a lot because you give them freedom to do that. You say, ‘yeah, go get after them.’ . . Now is somebody going to snatch my 13-year-old daughter’s hijab off, call her a horrible name, and spit on her because of something you said, Dr. Jasser? I worry about that.” (Source: http://www.investigativeproject.org/1448/jasser-challenges-congressman-on-reforms-value )
So, to better understand whether Sharia Law is desirable (or even legal) in the United States, it might be instructive to compare it with the US Constitution. This isn’t too difficult for the layman because the US Constitution is only 17 pages long, including its 27 amendments. Sharia Law is well-documented in the 1,200 page Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, “The Reliance of the Traveler” by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, and published in the United States by Amana Publications. While the original document dates to the late 14th Century, it has been updated in the 1990’s and bears the approval of the Fiqh Council of North America as well as the authoritative Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy in Egypt. The introduction to this manual states, “The four Sunni schools of Islamic Law . . are identical in approximately 75 percent of the legal conclusions. . . [T]he authors of the present volume and their positions do represent the orthodox Muslim intellectual and spiritual heritage that has been the strength of the Community for over a thousand years . . to the present day.”
While this volume of Sharia Law is primarily about the religious practice of Islam, the 800 pages of the manual devoted to rules and regulations also include sections on Trade, Inheritance, Marriage (suitable partners, legal rights, custody), Divorce, and Justice which would fall under civil law in the United States. Those sections comprise 35% of the manual, and are among the most controversial because they impose draconian punishments, authorize jihad, and sanction discrimination on the basis of religion and gender.
The summary below highlights the serious disconnects between the provisions of the US Constitution and those of Sharia Law.
Article I - All legislative Powers shall be vested in the Congress.
The source of legal rulings for all acts of those who are morally responsible is Allah. (a1.1) It is not a sin to comply with man-made laws that require buying auto insurance or having a photo ID because “the authorities are responsible for the sin, not the individual forced to comply.” (w42.3 and w50.4)
POWER TO DECLARE WAR
Section 8 – Powers of Congress include to levy taxes, to make laws, and to declare war.
It is obligatory to obey the commands and interdictions of the caliph or his representative in everything that is lawful, even if he is unjust . . because the purpose of his authority is Islamic unity, which could not be realized if obeying him were not obligatory. (o25.5) The caliph or his representative have the duty of undertaking jihad if their territory borders on enemy lands, of dividing the spoils of battle, and of remitting a fifth for “deserving recipients.” (o25.9(8))
Jihad is obligatory for everyone when the enemy has surrounded the Muslims. (o9.3) It is permissible in jihad to cut down the enemy’s trees and destroy their dwellings. (o9.1)
Article II, Section I -- Qualifications of a President – He must be a natural born citizen, thirty-five years old, and a resident for fourteen years. The President is elected by ballot by the people (via the Electors) and shall serve for no more than 2 four-year terms.
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
A caliph must be a Muslim, a non-slave, a male, of the Quraysh tribe, etc. (o25.0)
The Caliph appoints a group to select his successor among themselves. There is no a term of office. However, the caliphate of someone who seizes power is considered valid, even though his act of usurpation is disobedience, in view of the danger from anarchy and strife that would otherwise ensue. (o25.4(3))
(Note: The Islamic Caliphate was disbanded the Turkish Parliament in 1924.)
REMOVAL OF GOVERNMENT OFFICERS
Section 4 – The President and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from office if found guilty of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
(No provision for removal from office.)
Article VI – This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made under it shall be the supreme law of the land, and judges in every state shall be bound by them.
Senators and Representatives, legislative officers, all executive and judicial officers both of the United States and the several states shall be bound by a Oath or Affirmation to support the Constitution.
The source of legal rulings for all acts of those who are morally responsible is Allah. (a1.1)
CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS
Amendment 1 – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.
Non-Muslims are obliged to comply with Islamic rules that pertain to the safety and indemnity of life, reputation, and property. Non-Muslims are forbidden to openly display wine or pork, recite their scriptures, or make a public display of feast days or funerals. Non-Muslims are forbidden to build new churches. A non-Muslim may not enter a mosque without permission. The protection for non-Muslims is withdrawn if a non-Muslim commits adultery with a Muslim woman or marries her, leads a Muslim away from Islam, kills a Muslim, or says anything derogatory about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam. (o11.5 through o11.10)
Amendment 2 – The right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
It is a condition that someone buying weapons be of a people who are not at war with Muslims. (k1.2(f))
Enormities (sins) include selling weapons to non-Muslims who will use them against us. (w52.1(192))
Amendment 3 – No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.
(Not covered.) However, the Pact of Omar (636 AD) imposed on Christians in Syria, “We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way for three days.”
Amendments 4 – 8 – These amendments prohibit unreasonable searches, require due process according to the law, provide for confrontation of witnesses, impose jury trial on all matters involving over $20, and prohibit excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishments. Amendment 14 provides for equal protection of the laws for all citizens.
No testimony may be made by people who have lowly jobs, such as a street sweeper or a bath house attendant, or non-Muslim. (o24.2-3)
Testimony regarding fornication or sodomy requires four male eye-witnesses to the act. (o24.9)
A woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man. (o24.10)
(There is no provision for a jury trial under Sharia Law.)
Cruel and unusual Islamic punishments include 1) stoning for adultery (o12.2); 2) scourging 40 lashes with hands, shoes, ends of clothes, or a whip for drunkenness (o16.3); 3) severing the right hand for theft of over $36 and the left foot for a repeat offense (o14.1); and 4) death for apostasy from Islam. (o8.2)
Indemnity for accidentally killing a male Muslim is 100 camels or 4,235 grams of gold. (Current value: $144,000.) Indemnity for killing a woman is half that of a man, for killing a Jew or a Christian is one-third of the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid for a killing Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth of that of a Muslim. The indemnity for causing a miscarriage is one slave. (o4.9)
There is no indemnity for a killing a non-Muslim at war with Muslims, an apostate, or someone sentenced to death by stoning. (o14.17)
Jews and Christians are subject to a “poll tax” not less than 1 dinar (Current value: $144) per adult male per year. No maximum is stipulated. (o11.4) This is a penalty for remaining in their ancestral religion instead of embracing the “religion of truth.” (o9.8)
A husband may beat a “rebellious” wife for 1) not allowing immediate sexual intercourse when he asks for it, at home, and if she can physically endure it; 2) answering him coldly; or 3) being averse when she was previously kind. (m5.1 and m10.12) The only limitation is that he may not break her bones, wound her, or cause bleeding.
Amendment 13 Slavery and involuntary servitude are abolished.
The section on Slavery (k32.0) is not translated into English. The provisions remain in Arabic. The editor of “The Reliance of the Traveler” claims that these provisions are no longer applicable, yet they remain in there in the text of Sharia Law. Elsewhere, the manual states, “Originally the status of slave was simply the outcome of having been taken as a prisoner of war. A captive who could not buy his own freedom by means of ransom remained in the possession of the captor until he had earned his freedom by work or until he was granted liberty by his master.” (w13.1)
Amendment 21 repealed “prohibition,” thereby allowing manufacture, sale, and transport of alcoholic beverages.
It is unlawful to sell grapes to someone who will make wine from them. (k4.9) “Allah cursed whoever drinks wine, gives it to others to drink, sells it, buys it, presses it for another, transports it, receives it, or eats its price.”
Enormities (sins) include drinking wine in any form or other intoxicant, even if only a drop as in medicine; pressing out the juice to make wine or other intoxicant; carrying it for purposes of drinking, or having it carried; serving it to others or having it served; selling it; buying it; having it bought or sold; consuming proceeds from selling it; or keeping wine or other intoxicant. (o16.6 and w52.1(350-361))
So, the next time someone suggests that we should be more understanding of Sharia Law, it would be fair to ask him/her what parts of our US Constitution would he/she be willing to abandon in order to accommodate Sharia Law.