Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sharia -- What is it?

As is often the case with me, coming off a discussion on a list I am on:

A very large flag goes up in my head when someone--whether it is Daniel Pipes, or someone on the progressive side or in the mainstream of the Muslim community--equates "Sharia" with the understanding of the dominant strain in the North American Muslim community of how Muslims should live and conduct their lives.

Here is one little believing Muslim who disagrees that girls' education is secondary to their being dressed modestlly. Or that the word "hijab" is a synonym for "headscarf". Of any description. (See note at the end of http://ifaqeer.blogspot.com/2004/04/whither-muslim-world.html.) Or that "Allah Hafiz" is the preferred "Islamic" greeting--for South Asians or anyone else. Or that being aggressive or downright rude to waiters when you explain that you don't eat pork is allowed under Sharia or Islam--much less identifying you as a "good Muslim". Or that it is an option for you to assume the negative when you are offered meat at a fellow Muslim's home. (All based on real incidents in my own life--and, no doubt, others'.)

When we accept or assume that what is being thrust down our throats by the privileged or dominant strain of North American or Western Muslim communities--and by a vocal section in the Muslim world--is what Shariah or Islam really is, we've lost the battle for a sane, enlightened world. That's just my humble opinion. Wallahu Aalam, as we Muslims say; Allah knows best, I might be wrong.
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