Islamic Finance or Financing Islamism?

Several key factors in the making of shariah doctrine are worth noting while discussing its Godordained” nature.  It is a well-established fact that none of the four recognized  Sunni schools of shariah jurisprudence (madhahib) were completed until the second or third century of Islam.10 The existence of four different and widely accepted human interpretations of shariah, of course, no matter how similar, hardly squares with the notion of shariah as “God’s sacred law.”11 Another even more important factor that has  led to considerable divergence between shariah rulings and some Quranic precepts is the principle of abrogation (naskh) which was widely practiced in putting together the shariah code. Very simply, abrogation means that a later Quranic verse invalidates an earlier verse or verses on the same subject whenever they contradict  each other. Even though this principle has the rather blasphemous effect of invalidating the revealed word of God, it was recognized as valid by early Islamic jurists and, in fact, “constituted the cornerstone of their conception of sharia.”12

The practical effect of this technique in shariah, for example, has been to invalidate numerous Meccan verses urging tolerance and peaceful coexistence with “people of the book” and, instead, incorporate the aggressive, intolerant attitudes  toward the infidels advocated in the Medinan suras. This is a major reason why prominent Muslim reformers have argued forcefully that to reform Islam one must start with abrogating abrogation.13

Shariah doctrine, though claiming to be derived from the Quran, is thus a politicized interpretation of the Muslim scriptures and other non-revealed sources and is, as a result, often considerably more radical than its sources. Below, as an illustration, are just a few examples of shariah tenets on the subject of family law, human rights and jihad and religion that speak for themselves. They are taken from the authoritative shariah compendium of the Shafii school of jurisprudence (madhhab), “The Reliance of The Traveler: The Classic Manual of Sacred Law,” known in Arabic as Umdat al-Salik by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Masri.14

Shariah on family law:

  • A woman is eligible for only half of the inheritance of a man
  • A virgin may be married against her will by her father or grand-father
  • An Arab woman may not marry a non-Arab man
  • A woman may not leave the house without husband’s permission
  • A Muslim man may marry four women, including Christians and Jews, a Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim
  • Beating an insubordinate wife is permissible

Shariah on Jihad and religion:

  • Offensive, military jihad against non-Muslims is a religious obligation
  • Apostasy from Islam is punished by death without trial
  • Non-Muslim subjects of a Muslim state are subject to discriminatory (dhimmi) laws
  • It is permissible to bribe non-Muslims to convert them to Islam
  • Lying to infidels in time of jihad is permissible

Shariah on human rights:

  • Homosexuals and lesbians must be killed
  • Slavery is permitted and legitimate
  • A Muslim man has unlimited sexual rights over slave women, whether they are married or not
  • Female sexual mutilation (cliterectomy) is obligatory
  • Adultery is punished by death by stoning
  • A woman’s testimony in court is worth only half of that of a man (and only in cases involving property )15