Islamic law, far from being a strict, draconian code of medieval discipline, can adapt to new circumstances—a very American virtue. U.S. citizens should accept this Americanization of Islamic law with open arms. ut Sharia, as with other religious groups’ laws, does not always perfectly mesh with American society or American values. For example, the Islamic law forbidding the use of interest-bearing financial products means that many Muslims refuse to use credit cards, take out auto loans, or have home mortgages with banks—things many Americans consider necessary and ordinary. For another example, a very small number of American Muslims practice polygamy (as do some fundamentalist Mormons).
In areas ruled by the so-called Islamic State or Boko Haram, fear and destruction are used to try to turn the clock back,’ he adds. With the exception of Putrajaya, the new administrative capital of Malaysia, each state in Malaysia, including the Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur and Labuan) has its own religious Council.
There have also been many cases where the Sharia was used to correct a more repressive customary law, for example in Tanzania and Nigeria where according to local customs women had no inheritance rights whatsoever; Sharia offers them more. Research on legal systems in Muslim societies helps to clarify these kinds of developments. Professor Jan Michiel Otto sees that most Muslim countries are struggling to find a balance between deep-rooted traditions and modern requirements, worldly and religious laws, conservative and modern interpretations of the Sharia.
Governments are under pressure from conservative spiritual leaders on the one hand and women’s groups on the other. In Saudi Arabia, where Wahhabi spiritual leaders try to oppose women’s rights. In Iran, where some aspects of Khomeini’s Islamic revolution have been reversed.
The function of this Council is to advise the ruler, or the king in non-ruler states, on Muslim and Islamic matters. The Federal Constitution also provides that a State Legislature has power to enact laws relating to, inter alia, personal and family law for Muslims, Muslim Waqf, Zakat, Fitrah, Baitul Mal, Mosques, the creation and punishment of offences by Muslims against precepts of Islam, Muslim Courts, the control and propagation of doctrines and beliefs among Muslims, and the determination of matters of Islamic Law. The second session of the segment on Islamic law looks at the application of Islamic inheritance doctrines in contemporary Indonesia. We will focus on the inheritance provisions of the Compilation of Islamic Law, which was used by progressive Muslims within the government to attempt to grant greater inheritance rights to female relatives and relatives related through females than is recognized in the classical doctrines.
This shows that the call for a stronger role for the Sharia in Muslim countries has led to diverse reactions. ‘Our research refutes the prevailing impression of an entirely conservative turn of events,’ says Otto. ‘Countries such as Egypt and Morocco have modernised their marriage laws by giving the Sharia a modern interpretation.
Sharia may represent an ideal for most Muslims, but it does not have an equally good reputation in all quarters. In the West, the Islamic legal system is often associated with rigidity and the undermining of women’s rights. For instance, many Muslims feel free to interpret Sharia – ‘God’s Will’ – in their own way.
Hence, there have been recurring requests, including in Australia, for formal state recognition to be given to Islamic law, especially for family law matters involving Muslims. Just as Canada, Britain and the nations of Europe grapple with this issue, so too is Australia.
This article assesses the premise for Australia’s “one law for all” approach and canvasses the case for and against official legal recognition being given to aspects of Islamic law as the applicable law for Muslims in family law matters. In 2016, the first full year when Islamic laws were implemented in Aceh, 339 people, including 39 women, were caned, according to Human Rights Watch. hile Muslims are among the newest religious immigrants to the United States, they are joining a long line of people who have had to accommodate their religious and personal needs to a new cultural and legal environment. Like all who came before them, Muslims have some issues that are difficult to fit into the mainstream. But, like other religious groups, these are challenges they meet with care and thought.