Perception Is Reality

The Church and Islamic Law

Posted on: February 8, 2009

I have recently been reading up about the aspects of Italian culture for my course. Among other things, I have read the historical aspect as well as the cultural aspect of life from authors such as Bocaccio, Machiavelli, Pico, and studying the life and notes of Da Vinci.

This leads me to express my thoughts on a very sensitive subject. Back then, the Church held temporal powers and attributed its clutch on these powers as a divine right. Just like the divine right to talk about the message of God. I will not get into the historical aspects of the political aspect here and try to back up my understanding which will be evident from reading.

However, the law that is considered Islamic, or as we now refer to this as “Islamization,” it leads me to think of the true nature of politics in Islam, and religion in general. There is no demoracy when it comes to God. God gives you a command and you either follow or you don’t. A follower of God (of whichever religion) finds no flaws in His commands and does not challenge them by means of court or parliamentary debate. The laws governing an Islamic government should ideally be called “best practices” or policies. Politics and government is not an inherent component of Islam as a religion, but as Muslims, nation-states may choose to implement laws based on best practices derived from Islamic teaching.

What I am trying to say, I believe, is that while I see that temporal power is a right of the Church (in the 13th-15th centuries), in Islam there were recommended guidelines concerning nation-state law, and it was no divine right.

A country may choose to be capitalist or communist. Similarly it may choose to be an Islamic republic, implementing recommended Islamic practices.

N.B. Islam allows for non-muslims to be governed under their respective laws, trade and consume items permitted under their religion, as well be free to choose.

I hope this makes sense and someone can talk about this.

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5 Responses to "The Church and Islamic Law"

To go off topic slightly, the 16th Century Church ruled not through the word of God (most layman couldn’t read and had very little religious knowledge, other than Jesus died for them, and what their Church told them). They ruled through fear. Fear such as indulgencies. They ruled through conquest. They got rich, through scaring their subjects into following them. That’s the reality of the history of the Catholic Church.
Islam, ruled in much the same way.
What was written in the pages of the Koran and the Bible had very little to do with medieval through to Renaissance Power (in fact, right up until today) . They both included ambitious men who saw in religion, both Catholic and Islamic, a way to control the people, gain an unprecedented level of power and to claim as much wealth as possible. That’s why the Catholic church went after the Lutherans. They tried to educate the masses, to translate the Bible so more could read it and judge for themselves, which threatened the power of the Church.
Therefore, religious institutions, will always run their show, on levels of fear. The right wing Christian American institutions do the same today.

“Politics and government is not an inherent component of Islam as a religion, but as Muslims, nation-states may choose to implement laws based on best practices derived from Islamic teaching.”

I do not find it to be true. Islam is not inherently attached to the Christian Principle of Division (between the works of God and of Ceaser). For instance, there is no exact word similar to “secular” in any major Muslim language to this day. there may be some in Persian, but entirely as a legal term.

No I cannot understand this statement of yours when i looked it again. Isn’t Islam unique in the way that it integrated the Tariqah and Shariah perhaps for the first time, that is to say, Christianity (the path) and Talmudic Law/Judaism (the Law)? Every act, every morality in Islam is coded into an action to be performed by the muslim, sanctified by Allah (how to eat meal? How to see mirror? how to dress? How to speak? et al.)

I am not sure I agree. Doesn’t Islam have very particular guidelines on matters related to law and morality? As an example, consider laws regarding inheritance, prohibition of homo sexuality, prohibition of drinking, prohibition of interest to name a few. I am not sure whether Islam “requires” these laws to be fully implemented, but my guess is that it does. You might have a muslim state without these laws, but you wont have an Islamic state.

Well the Idea is, the papacy considered it a right to govern. The divine rights have nothing to do with temporal rights. Islam prescribes or recommends these laws be implemented since they contribute to the strength of the nation, but in that it does not say that these laws must be enforced. Whereas the Church had the Pope as the “intercessor” for lack of better words, Islamic law isn’t really Islamic law. it is law based on Islamic notions implemented by muslims.

Just my two cents.

Luckily, no maulvi considers his right to enforce god’s word, unlike the pope as you say. Not sure how much of a difference that makes in practice in the face of adherents who want to implement the law, but interesting to know the distinction nonetheless.

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Born in Karachi, Pakistan in an Adventist hospital, I grew up in a city where on one side I experienced poverty and oppression, while on the other I had the good fortune of Tabish Bhimani being a member of an upper middle-class business family...more...

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