I am against imposing Shariah. Any version of Shariah. Even though I belong to the majority sect and was a Zia-era child, when I put my Muslim hat on, I do not think I am making God angry by saying no to Shariah. And this is why:
There is only one revealed book in Islam. Only one. Every other religious book – every hadith book, every fiqh book, and every religious history book is written by men. Some of these men did the best they could, some did what they thought would be best for them – whatever the case – none of these books have any power over me. They are thoughts, interpretations and stories written down by men. They hold no religious authority. The Quran says that it is complete. I think it is safe to take that at face value.
Secondly, there is no clergy in Islam. This is important to internalize because this means that my interpretation is as valid as anyone else’s. I have been brainwashed to believe that unless I have an Islamic education and have mastery over the religious books I am not able to understand my religion. This is wrong. There IS NO clergy in Islam. None. Therefore, the maulvis and the religious scholars and the fatwa givers also have no authority over me.
Given the fact that there is only one book and that book encourages everyone to interpret it – there is no concept of a divine Shariah. The Quran does not have laws concerning the minutia of running a country. One can only interpret and extrapolate from it. And that is what the Shariah is. An interpretation and an extrapolation of what some people thought the Quran and Sunnah and Hadiths meant. Apart from the problem that the Hadiths were also used to come up with the Shariah, the main problem is that it is someone’s interpretation that is now given full religious authority.
Let me give you an example about interpretation. The Quran says to cut off the hands of those who steal. That is all that it says. Valid interpretations are:
- Anyone who steals should have his hands cut off
- This only applies to adults of sound mind and only to those who steal while not under duress
- The cutting of hands is metaphorical. Thus the thief should be made incapable of stealing and locking him up will be following the Quran.
Some people may say that the current Shariah is old and it needs to be updated and that ideally there is always room for argument and change. I understand this argument. I adhered to this argument for many years. But I do not accept it now. Ignoring the fact that all modern Islamic states have done poorly and that the golden age of Muslims was less about Islam and more about conquest and science, the point is that once a law is assumed to be divine, logic and discussion and proofs cease to matter.