Children of a Lesser Sharia


injusticeI squirmed nervously in my chair at a recent interfaith conference as a dear colleague tackled the controversial topic: “Is Sharia compatible with the America Constitution?” Thankfully, he nimbly navigated the situation with declarations that sharia (Islamic law) melds with democratic, developed world values such as freedom of religion and expression (2:256), presumption of innocence (49:6), gender equity (4:32, 33:35), social safety nets (9:60), rule of law (33:60), and strong ethics (70:21-70:33). Indeed, the Quranic sharia is versatile, benevolent, and in tune with the laws of Western republics. However, there is another “lesser sharia”, as I call it, corrupted with non-Quranic, false traditions which promotes human rights violations and to a good extent is incompatible with civilized life. How did this divergence come to be?

Sharia is an Arabic word meaning “path to be followed” or “path to the watering hole”. Within two centuries of the death of Prophet Muhammad (S), the source of Islamic law became not only the Quran but also false histories and hundreds of thousands of supposed actions and sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad. During that time period, 5 prominent imams, Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi’i, Hanbal, and Jafar, came to represent separate Islamic jurisprudence schools based on their interpretations of the corrupted sharia with rulings on topics as diverse as crime, marriage, trade, prayers, sexual intercourse, personal hygiene, etc. Hence, the lesser sharia and its various interpretations became codified as they are today. The supermajority of modern day religionists idolize these ancient imams. Challenge or reform of the ancient rulings is shunned by almost all scholars, deemed blasphemous by some.

The average Muslim is either blissfully unaware or in denial that human rights violations such as blasphemy and apostasy laws, child marriage, stoning, and gender oppression stem from the rulings of these ancient jurists. It is their lesser sharia which made it haram (forbidden) to pluck a stringed instrument and yet introduced the barbarity of stoning into Islamic law. Perhaps no other example of the corrupted sharia is as glaring as this: the Quran makes it possible for adulterers to be forgiven (25:68-71), marry (24:3), and there is no death penalty, but the lesser sharia prescribes stoning for sexual transgression! The Benevolent God of the Quran prescribes no worldly punishment for blasphemy or apostasy, but paranoid imams and caliphs could not stand dissidents, and hence tailored the lesser sharia to deliver death upon them. Muslim women under the lesser sharia must cover head to toe, but if the same woman is sexually assaulted, must produce four witnesses to the crime(!). Some corruption is rather comical: the lesser sharia forbids the playing of chess, deriving the ruling from supposed declarations of Prophet Muhammad. But it is well established by historians that Muslims were introduced to the game almost two centuries after his death.

It is understandable that critics may have reservations about beliefs based solely on the Quran as well. For example, polygamy may give pause to many. But does the Quran really make four wives some kind of norm? Certainly, no benevolent Supreme Being would assign four mothers-in-law to any one man.

4:3: “If you (society) fear that you shall not be able to do justice with orphans, (as may happen in times of war), in order to accommodate widows and orphans, men of sound finances and character shall be encouraged to marry these widows; two, three, and four (4:127).”

The verse addressing polygamy is meant for times of post-war societal upheaval to help widows and orphaned children. Most modern societies have welfare systems that can support the disadvantaged, obviating the need for multiple marriage. Another common objection against Quranic Law is the hand amputation of thieves (5:38). But, in the Quran, the word for “hand” (yadd) also means “ability” and “cut” (qata) can mean “to disable” or “to bind” (26:49). Hence, jailing the thief is the punishment, unless he/she repents and makes amends (5:39).

In conclusion, the Quranic sharia flows well with the laws of the developed world. In contrast, much of the lesser sharia is contaminated with oppressive traditions and is not suitable for 7th century or 21st century life, for Western life or on any inhabitable planet for that matter. I assure my non-Muslim friends that in no way are Western Muslim citizens interested in passing laws of the lesser sharia into action here. And that is where the hypocrisy is self-evident. The same elephant in the room that the majority of Muslims and their traditionalist scholars do not want for themselves or their children, but refuse to challenge, continues to trample human rights all over the world. Hence, when a Bengali blogger is stabbed to death for blasphemy, when a 9 yr old is traumatized by her middle aged groom, or when a poor lady is stoned to death in Afghanistan, it is not only the perpetrators but the silent Muslim majority and enabling imams that are equally to blame. These Children of a Lesser Sharia must arise from their slumber and reclaim the Soul of Islam.


11 thoughts on “Children of a Lesser Sharia

  1. Ronnie says:

    Jesus asks those Jewish men surrounding the woman who was accused of adultery to cast the first stone if he himself affirmed before Yahweh that he has never sinned before.

  2. Lynne Adrienne says:

    Thanks to those who wrote these articles. The challenge is to get the information out there in the public domain, through debates with traditionalists and extremists, using technology and the media eg TV, Internet, books etc and through getting these articles published via popular media.

  3. Thank you for your reply. 1) The lashes are for “az-Zani”, the habitual unrepentant adulterer who take their affairs into public, spreading lewdness in society, to the point that several witnesses of the affair are available. 2) A rape requires nothing but reasonable evidence…not four witnesses like Adultery. 33:60-61: “Thus it is. If the hypocrites and they in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the City do not cease (terrorizing women in the streets, 33:59), We indeed give you the authoritative mastery over them. Then they will be your neighbors no more than a short while. Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain one and all. (That is the penalty for men who keep annoying innocent women on the street, assault them or rape them). 3) This is not metaphor, but figurative, which is a form of literal interpretation, and we provided evidence where it is used in the Quran without a physical cutting off. The reason many more people don’t have hands literally cut off despite the harsh understanding is a) it is applied to habitual thieves, b) many False shariah practices are curbed by common decency of the society. We wish to go back to the source and interpret free of false traditions. 4) The 2:282 verse, review again, it says “so that she could remind her”…the other female is there as emotional supporter, not as a witness, and also in financial transactions. In current society, if the woman is educated/professional, she would not need that support. Finally, I did not mention allegory/metpahor, please look up “figurative” and you will know the difference. The inheritance law you mention in 4:11 is regarding probate in case one does not leave a will, which can be written in any way one chooses. It is described in Surah 2.

  4. iVAN MENDENS says:

    I shall be delighted when I can see an endorsement for Fawads statements above from important dignitories from Iran like the Ayatolla, rulers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar,Abu Dhabi,Grand Mufti of Australia etc so that uninformed people like self can have a better understanding of ISLAM.

  5. There are so many elephants in the room in religions, politics, corporate, and even in the sciences and health.

    I acknowledge you Fawad Ahmed as one of the rare and treasured advocates of religious truth. Some noisy, fanatical vocal scholars and writers throughout history were the biggest hypocrites, control freaks, and self-proclaimed religious police who bring fear of retribution and severe punishment to those who stand for decent human rights, freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

    Truth is simple, clear, and universally understood by all religions.

    Thank you for your clarity in your article. You are like Muhammad, unlike so many religious extremists who are not like Muhammad, Christ, Buddha, Laozi, Mahavira, Martin Luther, Bahá’u’lláh, Joseph Smith, or the numerous founders of religious traditions they profess to follow.


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