Looking Back

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by Sarah Mushtaq

It is funny how quickly the new school year is upon us. When I began my undergrad, I never thought I would finish. Now, it feels like third year is just flying by.

One of my lasts posts was on the mostly peaceful revolution in Egypt. In that time, we’ve witnessed the bloody revolution in Libya come to an end with the demise of its leader. What I want to comment on is the negativity associated with Sharia Law.

I find it so disheartening that the general media feels like painting everything Islamic with a negative brush. I agree that many so-called “Islamic” governments have used Sharia law terribly incorrectly and I am not encouraging that in any way.

Sharia Law is a governmental system based on the teachings found in the Qur’an and teachings of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). When Sharia law is applied correctly, it is intended to be for the benefit and protection of every person. Sharia cannot be applied without an Islamic government (usually seen as the caliphate). The ruler, judges, and law-makers should be strongly versed in Islamic jurisprudence. You can’t pick a random Moe off the street and make him the “Grand Mufti.” Moe is not going to know right from wrong, and how to apply the laws correctly in situations not mentioned in Islamic texts. A knowledgeable scholar with (preferably), a PhD or relevant degree from a reputable Islamic institution would be ideal.

The biggest thing, I feel, lacking from countries who are applying their supposed versions of Sharia law is Taqwa. In Islam, the concept of Taqwa, loosely translated as God-consciousness is a beautiful one. Taqwa, in Arabic, comes from the root meaning a shield. A shield is something which protects a person. Likewise, taqwa is that feeling of remembering God at all times. It protects you from disobeying Him in any way.

Sharia law’s intention is not to oppress. It is to liberate. But it can only be done so with leaders who embody this trait of Taqwa. The leaders on the past used the laws for their personal gains. The future leaders need to realize that does not accomplish anything. Only with true Taqwa will we see peace in the Muslim countries, and hopefully, in the world.

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