American "Fear of Sharia" Is Anything but "Silly"
In a recent op-ed in the New York Daily News, Kuwaiti American Sufi cleric and activist Feisal Abdul Rauf -- who served more than 25 years as the imam of the Masjid al-Farah Mosque in New York City -- argued that nobody in the United States should be worried about the incorporation of Islamic law, sharia, into the legal system or should be protesting it. To allay fears inspired in Americans by what he called a "right-wing caricature" of Islamic jurisprudence, Rauf claimed, falsely, that sharia "does not presume to replace American law. It agrees with its underlying values and promotes them." In fact, both founders of political Islam, Sayyed Qutb and Hassan al-Banna, openly explained that Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments.
Hmm, a new problem seems to have sprung up: some disembodied entity at Google apparently decided, with a few swipes of a bear-paw, to censor all the contents from these historically accurate think-tank postings. What is Google trying to keep you from knowing? Material that would be more dangerous for you to know or more dangerous for you not to know? How considerate of Google to have made this decision for you!
Anyhow, Rauf then goes on to say that sharia courts would never be sanctioned in the U.S. "The First Amendment, which prevents government establishment of religion, forbids it," he writes, incorrectly.
The First Amendment, in its entirety, reads as follows:
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.Rauf then proceeds to defend sharia against its detractors.
"Sharia is not about amputations and stoning," he assured readers, again incorrectly.
Rauf continues: "...Within the history of Islam, they have rarely occurred." A short search in google belies that.
"What Islamic law does prescribe," he goes on, in a breathtaking example of taqiyya [obfuscation] and kitman [dissimulation] -- which are both permitted in Islam under certain circumstances, such as to defend Islam -- "are the same do's [sic] and don'ts of the Ten Commandments — the social imperatives most of us recognize whatever our religion."
Ironically, the Reuters photo selected by the Daily News op-ed editor to accompany the piece -- a snapshot of a Muslim bride at her "sharia" wedding – provided inadvertent evidence of Rauf's deceit. Sharia forbids taking, printing or disseminating photos except when required (such as to obtain a passport) or otherwise necessary. In addition, according to sharia, a female Muslim must cover her entire body, her hair and preferably her face -- so as not to arouse sexual desire in men other than her husband. As it is written in the Quran (33:59):
"O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should draw over themselves their jilbab (outer garments) (when in public); this will be more conducive to their being recognized (as decent women) and not harassed."One frequently quoted hadith (the actions and saying of the Prophet Muhammad) goes farther, branding women who are "dressed but appear to be naked" as "inviting to evil and will be inclined to it. They will not enter Jannah (paradise) and they will not even smell its fragrance."
The bride in the photo illustrating Rauf's article is wearing a very revealing dress, which exposes not only her face and hair, but her entire upper body and a view of cleavage. Although it is likely that the picture was taken while she was with a group of women, it is now on public display, enabling men other than her husband to see it.
As someone who has shared the article on social media, Rauf would be considered by sharia to be among those responsible for "inviting to evil" through its dissemination, as would the bride herself, the groom and her other male guardians, such as her father and brothers.
In any country governed by sharia, such as Iran, these transgressors could expect not only divine retribution, but punishment ("ta'zir"), meted out by a qadi (judge), Muslim ruler, religious police or other disciplinary forces. This punishment is often imprisonment or brutal lashing.
In Saudi Arabia, for example, a woman was arrested last December for tweeting a picture of herself without a hijab or abaya.
Such instances are completely absent from Rauf's article.
Rather than whitewashing the Islamic legal system, and trying to assuage what the headline of the piece calls the "silly American fear" of sharia, Rauf -- and the family and imam of the Muslim bride in the photo -- should be grateful for living in the United States, where they are not subjected to such cruel and senseless punishments. American fear of sharia is anything but "silly." It comes not a minute too soon.
A.Z. Mohamed is a Muslim born and raised in the Middle East.
 "any system, in which the final decisions are referred to human beings, and in which the source of all authority are human [is doomed to failure because it] deifies human beings by designating others than God as lords over men. This declaration means that the usurped authority of God be returned to Him and the usurpers be thrown out -- those who by themselves devise laws for other to follow, thus elevating themselves to the status of lords and reducing others to the status of slaves." [p.58]
 Sami Mukaram, Al Taqiyya Fi Al Islam (London: Mu'assisat al-Turath al-Druzi, 2004), p. 32.