Watching the “I am a Muslim, Too” rally on Feb 19 in Time Square was inspirational. I’ve been touched by the outpouring of support for the Muslim Community.
However, in Kernersville, NC recently there was a chilling reminder of the fear and hate that exists. As reported and recorded by Jordan Green with the Triad City Beat, a meeting was held to hear a presentation on a “supposed Muslim plot to conquer the United States” by instilling Sharia Law in America. During that meeting one participant exclaimed, “My only recommendation is to start killing the hell out of them.” The FBI later announced it was looking into the report.
That kind of rhetoric is gaining popularity, in part, by fear that Muslims are trying to supplant the U.S. Constitution with “Sharia Law,” which is an unsubstantiated fabrication. Muslims aren’t trying to do that.
To clarify, Sharia consists of rules for individual Muslims, and Muslim societies to follow. They are derived from the Quran and the Sunnah/Hadith (the sayings and examples of Prophet Muhammad). The rules range from how a Muslim prays, to rules for marriage, business and how to deal with crime; all of which should only apply to Muslims.
In order for Sharia to be legitimate for criminal proceedings, there must be a functioning, lawful government with a trusted ‘police force’ and justice system in place, who are following ALL of the mandates of Islam (most so-called Muslim countries don't qualify). There are very rigorous rules which must be adhered to in order to convict and punish an accused, and if they repent, then the charges should be dropped or a lesser penalty administered.
Although heinous “Sharia” punishments in other countries make headlines, they do not represent how the majority of Muslim scholars interpret proper Islamic legal principles.
A clarification of some crimes and punishments:
▪ THIEF: The cutting off of a hand for stealing is rarely enacted because there are a lot of conditions that must be met. During the time of Prophet Muhammad if a person stole because they were hungry, then the leadership of the community was held accountable for not meeting the needs of their citizens.
▪ APOSTATE: The Quran says “Let there be no compulsion in religion” 2:256, which means belief has to come from the heart, contrary to what some say, it can’t be forced. What is erroneously being translated as ‘apostate’ is actually referring to someone who is traitorous in time of war. For example, the punishment for someone who used to have a treaty with the state, but then joins forces with the enemy against the state is the same as the punishment in America for treason, death.
▪ ADULTERY: A person (man or woman) cannot be punished for committing adultery unless 4 witnesses actually saw the sexual act taking place.
▪ HONOR KILLING: There is nothing in the Quran or the history of Prophet Muhammad which allows for the concept of “honor killings”; such practices stem from pre-Islamic times.
Islam and Sharia are compatible with the U.S. constitution in that both promote liberty and justice for all. I practice Sharia when I follow the tenets of my faith: Pray five times a day, fast during Ramadan, pay obligatory charity, cover my hair and dress modestly, etc.
I practice Sharia when I live a life in keeping with the guidance of the Quran; which includes treating everyone with dignity and respect, being honest, kind and trustworthy and being a good citizen of the land I live in.
It is important for people to ask questions of those who practice Islam and not allow their fears to make them go against their better selves and do things not in keeping with their own faith.
For more columns by Rose Hamid visit www.MrsRoseHamid.com
(originally published in the Charlotte Observer on March 4, 2017)