What prevents Shariah from being abused?

What prevents Shariah from being abused?


My brother has been trying to convince me that shariah could work in arabic-speaking countries. I just don’t believe him because I really believe that it is too easy to manipulate Islam in a political setting. And as you mentioned before, there is this idea that once the question of God enters, the debate ends. You still seem to be an advocate, but I am very much skeptical. Can you direct me to some readings on the issue? Preferably for and against.

Salaam alykum,

Can I be honest with you?

What cannot be manipulated? Where is this magical ideology that works in harmony with the mother nature and Whole Foods organic snack wraps and poetry on rainy days with chamomile tea?

I don’t mean to be rude, but let’s take a step back and look at any ideology, whether God is present or not, and how can you stop abuse of said ideology? The reality is that humanity has the tremendous skill to abuse anything and everything.

You see, I actually did not agree with the statement that once God enters into a debate, the debate ends, I wrote:

There is this idea that once “God” enters into the equation that debate somehow ends, and in our Western experience that is mostly true, but not because the concept of “God” inherently enforces that stipulation, but because of a refusal to engage this discourse.

So only in the Western experience this may be true, but, look at how Republicans dominated the discourse during the years of George W. Bush, and to lesser extent today, they have championed themselves as the holders of “real America” and “patriotism” and that underlines a dominance of the “civil religion” that is the American experience by the Republicans. Their opponents do not challenge them in this regard, and so, when people talk about “God” the only reason someone wins is because someone stops.

Take Muslims, it is once someone talks louder and quotes some random Hadith or whatever that people shut down. I don’t understand why. We can not have any progress if this continues. But also, we never will witness any progress if we approach situations this way.

In short, I see no fundamental or functional difference between a state structured around theology or one structured around the idea that the nation state is real, they both require a belief in something that is immaterial at its foundations, so truly, the only issue is whether a state can be organized in this way, since nationalism has taken such a strong hold.

I am an advocate because in order to enfranchise the vast majority of the population, you need to utilize their discourse and the strength of Islam is its value as a discourse. You can create tremendous progress, you can include large segments of the population by utilizing Islam as a discourse, just as America uses Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and the Federalist papers as part of its mythology, you can talk about the Sahaba, The Qur’an, and the Traditions of The Prophet within the same structures, they are arbitrary and I find that arguments against this idea are predicated on a base misunderstanding, if not outright ignorance of, Shariah.

I don’t think there are any accurate critiques of Shariah, to be fairly honest, but I would suggest reading the two following works:

Muhammad Asad’s The Principles of State and Government in Islam and Noah Feldman’s The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State.

If you are interested in learning about Shariah, please take a look at the video of my lecture on Shariah, insha Allah.

I pray this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.

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