In order to explain the Sharia to your Christian neighbor, simply ask this series of questions:

Do you believe in God?

If so, do you believe that God loves humanity?

If so, do you believe that God wants the best for humanity, individually and collectively?

If so, don’t you think that God would send down guidelines and principles for humanity to follow in order for human beings to flourish?

If so, don’t you think that human flourishing and happiness depends on what happens on the individual and collective levels?

If so, wouldn’t these guidelines and principles apply not only to individual behavior but also to the behavior of society as a whole?

If so, wouldn’t these guidelines and principles have to influence and inform, not only an individual’s personal life and his relationships with God and other people, but also the broader societal laws and ethics of governance, economic practice, family values, etc., i.e., those things that determine the collective well-being and direction of society writ large?

If so, then guess what? That is what the Sharia is: guidelines and principles sent by God that apply not only to individual life but to entire families, communities, and societies, aimed at guiding mankind to its true purpose as worshipers and devotees of Almighty God.

Now you, as a Christian, might not believe that the Sharia is from God, but if you answered all the above questions in the affirmative, then you can at least appreciate the underlying concept at a deep level.

The fact of the matter is, there is no “Christian law” and Jewish Talmudic law has all but been undermined and displaced by reform-minded, secular Jews. In the place of Christian and Jewish law is a secular order based on, among other things, a materialistic, godless understanding of human nature and human purpose. How could God-fearing people see this as ideal?

If you, as a Christian, can appreciate all this, then the Sharia as God’s law, should not, in and of itself, strike you as foreign. In fact, insofar as you believe in God, it is something that you probably crave deep in your bones. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if, for example, governmental authorities prioritized God’s commands and society as a whole were organized according to God’s directives? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if the most powerful and influential institutions of society operated with a sense of greater purpose: to please God and obey Him.

Those who don’t believe in God would disagree, of course. But forget about them for a second. And forget about the fact that different people have different beliefs about what God’s commands actually are. Just focus on the core of the issue: God as King of Kings. God as Ultimate Sovereign. As a believing Christian, isn’t this the kind of world that you really want? Isn’t this the ideal?

OK, well, Muslims have the exact same sentiments, and the Sharia — as a body of ethics, principles, guidelines, and laws — is ultimately the path to realize that ideal.

If you, as a Christian, want to oppose the Sharia, then at least be principled about it. Don’t “sell out” by invoking cheap secular arguments about “separation of church and state” and “freedom of religion,” arguments that are ultimately incoherent anyway. Don’t hide behind liberal secularism to attack Islamic law because that same liberal secularism is equally antithetical to your Christian faith, whether you want to admit it or not. Consider the fact that Europe was the birthplace of liberal secularism and, truth be told, Christianity has not fared well there ever since, to say the least. Christianity has all but died out in countries like the UK, France, Germany, Holland, etc.

If you want to raise substantive critiques again the Sharia that are based on more than what you have seen in 20 second clips of ISIS on Fox News, then I humbly suggest that you, my Christian neighbor, learn more about what the Sharia is and how it speaks to a person’s individual life and spirit, a person’s social dealings, a person’s financial transactions, societal justice, family harmony, and so much more. I am confident that you will find much that resonates with what you have read in the Bible. But if you still have issues, feel free to provide your critique and there can be a constructive dialog and debate.

And if you don’t want to do all that, I hope that you, as a Christian, can still appreciate the Muslim’s devotion to God and his eagerness to obey Him. That is a start.

Here is some further reading.

Islamic Law and Political Authority

Islamic Law and Jihad

Islamic Law and Sex

Islamic Law and Male Bias

Islamic Law and Homosexuality

Islamic Law and ISIS/Terrorism

Islamic Law and Religious Freedom

Islamic Law and Free Choice

And Much More…

Daniel Haqiqatjou

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19 comments

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  • Daniel,

    People primarily oppose Sharia law because of what it entails, not because of its association with God.

    Non-Muslims (as well as liberal Muslims), have no interest in living in a society where a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s. Where changing your religion is punishable by death. Where things like art, music, and love are forbidden (or so restricted they may as well be).

    If you want to convince people Sharia law is good, convince us that the above stipulations are somehow good.

    • The further reading listed addresses most of these points.

      Except for the claim that the Sharia forbids love. That one’s new.

      • Daniel,

        Your linked works do not address any of these issues specifically. They pose vague questions (Is Islam male-centric, is it anti-choice, etc), and respond not by defending specific Islamic precepts, but by attacking liberal-thought as being too inconsistent and subjective to credibly pose these questions. That isn’t an answer at all, its a cop-out; dancing around the issues to avoid uncomfortable truths.

        Be honest with your readers, and yourself.

        Do you believe its ideal for a woman’s testimony to be half of a man’s, because (according to the Quran, Hadith, and Tafsir), she is, “deficient in intelligence”?

        Do you believe people who change their religion from Islam should be murdered?

    • And what will you do when you are provided answers to these questions to your satisfaction?
      Will you be applying ‘sharia’ to yourself and recommend it (not force, just recommend it)

      • Nogai, you do not understand Islam properly. You need to think that if Islam is so biased and bigoted, why is it also the fastest-spreading religion in the world currently?

  • Do you think Christians or other Non-muslims want to know about your ‘godly’ laws? As a matter of fact, we don’t want to know. The west struggled for centuries to eradicate theocracies and there is no way muslims. Keep your primitive sharia laws to yourself. Secular laws are more moral than your religion.

    • Dear @djoroh;

      That’s ironic and a pretty strange thing to state once you realize that secularism is literally at the root cause of some of the most immoral things that humanity ever accomplished. One can now speak even of a scientific consensus on climate and ecological crisis. Colossal environmental destruction; unprecedented forms of violence; the construction of lethal political identities; the poisoning of food and water; extermination of alarming numbers of species; melting of Himalayan, polar and other major glaciers; increasingly worrying health threats; indecent disparity between rich and poor; social and communal disintegration; the rise of narcissistic sovereign individualism; an alarming increase of mental health disorders; a “growing epidemic” of suicide, and much more (the list is long enough to require, literally, an entire ledger), are now calling attention to a revaluation of modernist, industrial, capitalist and chiefly (though not exclusively) liberal values. The increasingly proliferating and widespread understanding that the modern project, together with its knowledge system, is unsustainable (even in the relatively short run) is in the process of taking over center-stage, and not only in Western industrialized countries. Influential activist groups and prominent intellectuals in India, China and several other countries in Asia, Latin America and elsewhere, have come to realize that a major restructuring, if not overhauling, of the paradigmatic structures of modernity is now in order. The crisis affects the global village, and is not the concern of only particular groups or countries, although the genealogy of the sources of destruction are widely recognized as European and more recently Euro-American, i.e. the “West”.

      As Abdal Hakim Murad put it: “Islam’s heart is ethical; the West’s skin is ethical.”

      See as well the Palestinian born Orientalist Wael B. Hallaq’s The Impossible State for a more refreshing critique of modernity’s moral predicament.

  • The problem is that most Christians think that Shariah is about beheading and stoning people, and is aimed towards establishing a global caliphate in which muslims will rule over all. These people cannot be reasoned with, and have no intention of listening to any explanation that Muslims can provide. However, they can be silenced with facts from their own Bible.

    Each time they bring up stoning and beheading, show them the laws about stoning and killing with fire in the Bible.

    When they bring up the tired old “death for apostasy” canard against Islam, show them the bibles command to the Israelites to kill apostates in the Bible.

    When they say Islam is designed to subjugate non Muslim minorities, show them the Bibles instructions for Israelites to enslave and wipe out entire tribes.

    And so on.

      • Dear @Bob;

        You’re misunderstanding his argument, which is that Christians shouldn’t criticize Islam for X when their religion says X or a Y that implies X. Simple.

        And no, Islam isn’t despicable once you get rid of those oft-repeated misconceptions and approach Islam on its own terms.

  • Hi Daniel,

    I have educated myself about Sharia. It’s obscene and barbaric. Indeed, the more I learned about Sharia, the more horrific it gets. I would encourage everybody to educate themselves about this system and the threat it poses to open thought and human dignity.

    Daniel, why not follow something like Buddhism instead? After all, it has just as much evidence to support its claims, but without the killing of blasphemers and stoning people to death.

    Best regards.

    • Dear @Daniel,

      No, the Shariah isn’t “obscene and barbaric”, and you seem to not realize that human dignity is a Shar’i value by the Qur’anic text.

      Budhism is polytheistic hence wrong, simple. Any religion that has at its theology something that contradicts pure monotheism and non-anthropomorphism is simply wrong.

      Please read: https://yaqeeninstitute.org/en/jonathan-brown/stoning-and-hand-cutting-understanding-the-hudud-and-the-shariah-in-islam/

      • I have drawn a quote from the lengthy article you reference above, which summarizes the dilemma:

        “So today it is almost impossible to discuss the hudud apart from consuming political tensions and conflicts over identity and autonomy. In 2005 the Swiss Muslim scholar and intellectual Tariq Ramadan called for a moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning, and the death penalty in the Muslim world. He was subsequently savaged by both Western critics of Islam who saw his call as too little and by some more conservative Muslim ulama who saw it as transgressing the commands of God.”

        While there are many Muslim scholars like Ramadan who understand the inappropriate nature of hudud punishments, the conservative ulama are very influential – recall that Taqi Usmani in Pakistan (chair of the Sharia Court) wrote up a version of hudud punishments and put it into law under President Zia al- Haq. That a person of Usmani’s background and intellect could promote such an initiative is disturbing.

  • Excellent article brother.

    It only makes sense when we consider that our purpose of life and our public affairs of life are related.

  • Shariah consists of guidance and rulings mainly related to belief, ethics and worship.
    Hence shariah will always be integral part of Muslims since it is comprehensive concept grounded in our faith.

    After these three main aspects of life, do we have laws with regards to diet, society and judicial rulings. Thus its noteworthy to remember that the main focus and emphasis of shariah (lit. definition: path to water/well) is to guide us to tread the correct path which leads us to the Creator of life and source of wellbeing.

    The primary source of Islamic Shariah is the Quran which promotes or entails:

    System based upon Key principles which are in harmony with nature (Quran 3:83),
    esteems knowledge, education, and learning (35:28),
    values intellect (5:90).
    expects high moral standards (25:63-76; 31:12-20; 23:1-11).

    rejects intermediaries between God and people (Quran 2:48; 9:31-34).
    condemns profiteering from religion (9:34; 2:41,79,174; 5:44; 9:9).
    stands for accountability, and defiance of false authorities (6:164).

    encourages consultation and representation in public affairs (42:38; 5:12).
    prohibits bribery (2:188).
    requires choosing leaders based upon knowledge and principles of justice (Quran 4:58).
    promises justice for everyone, regardless of their creed or ethnicity (5:8).
    acknowledges the rights of citizens to petition against injustices committed by individuals or government (4:148).

    recognizes and protects individual right’s to privacy (Quran 49:12).
    recognizes the right to the presumption of innocence and right to confront the accuser (49:12).
    provides protection for witnesses (2:282).
    does not hold innocent people responsible for the crimes of others (53:38).
    protects the right to personal property (2:85,188; 4:29).
    encourages charity and caring for the poor (6:141; 7:156).

    “Then We put you on an ordained way (Shariah); so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know. [Quran 45/18]

  • @ “Yes it is OK to ban Women from…

    Akhee I’m really disappointed with the way you handled this issue. This is bigger than just laying out an opinion from the hanafi school of thought and say well u can’t disagree. There are bigger objectives in Islam and the preservation of deen is extremely tantamount. I’ve seen many muslim woman struggle to maintain consistent Salah, bc naturally once a month they cannot do so, then what happens is in cultural household there may often not be as much of an emphasis for woman to pray. I think its really important to understand how much of a struggle prayer becomes for woman. Secondly I come from a hanafi/indo pak background. Do you even know what the wives of many of these people do, sit and watch TV. The home is not the greatest place anymore with modern technology, boredom can be detrimental. You really need to look at the greater benefit here, and not just pick out a fiqhi ruling and slam it into our time wo realizing the objectives of Islam.

  • It is the eagerness to obey, that at times is at odds with secular law. Avoiding jail time by losing ones limbs is a fascinating solution to the problem of prison overcrowding, and the discussions lawful citizens could have over a friendly dinner could be quite lively. As long as no one is breaking the laws of the country they have chosen to make home. That being said, I would like to see more discussion on the ways to draft bills, that could help sharia law make its way into the US Constitution, at least in part, before eventually taking over it entirely.