Friday, February 20, 2009

Muslim Law

The Pakistan government has made a deal with TNSM (a militant organization in Pakistan) to impose Shariat law in seven districts of the North West Frontier Province. The western nations are raising voices against the deal. But this blog is not about whether the deal was right or wrong. I merely want to understand as to what Shariat is?

Like Hinduism, Islam also has different variants. The major ones are Sunni and Shia. The Sunni Muslims follow an elected leader and the Shia Muslims follow a leader who is supposed to be appointed by God or the Prophet. Both the divisions follow the Quran. From my understanding the Quran contains compressed information and Shariat was formed to provide rules for all activities in life. But if Shariat is the Islamic law, shouldn't it be already active throughout Pakistan? What is this new thing about implementing Shariat in the north eastern province?

My guess is that Shariat is an old school of thought and was replaced by the Modern Islamic law, and that the Shia Muslims are trying to get Shariat back. Guess I need to do some background research on this.
Tit bit: India and the Philippines are the only countries in the world which have separate Muslim civil laws
Update (20-July-2009) based on inputs from a friend:
Islamic rules are based on 2 things - Quran & Hadith
Quran is revealed from Allah and everything in that is mandatory for a person to follow.
Hadith are the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) . Among Hadith there are few which are mandatory to follow and some are optional.

So Quran & Hadith together define way of life for Muslims and also Quran & Hadith lay down rules and regulations for an Islamic form of Government. Islamic form of governments donot have a constitution written by Human beings. Rather rules laid down in Quran & Hadith are followed for running the government (This is the basis of Shariat form of government).
Now coming to countries like Pakistan, they have their own constitution (which is not in accordance with quran & Hadith) . Hence it cannot be termed as an Islamic Country for their system isnot Shariat compliant ( i.e, based on Quran & Hadith).
So for a country to be termed as an Islamic country the constitution of the country should be in compliance with Quran & Hadith, that is, it should be shariat form.