The Freaking out about the Shariah: American Muslims Response
by Dr. Mohammad A. Siddiqi
Originally published by The Islamic Society Of Clinton County
A tight network of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim foundations, misinformation experts, grass roots organizations, religious right groups, and their allies in the media and in politics profoundly misrepresent Islam and the American Muslims. According to a recent report published by The Center for American Progress, 42.6 million dollars have been spent by various organizations, people and groups in hate propaganda against Islam during the last ten years.
This Islam and Muslim hate propaganda has had tremendous impact on the way Muslims and Islam are being perceived in this country. Compared to the time after 9/11, during the first two years, the attacks on Muslim mosques, centers and individuals now have increased many folds. Twenty three states have some kind of legislation or law that would ban the nonexistent threat of Shariah law being used in their court rooms. Oklahoma has passed an anti-Shariah bill that has been stayed by a federal court for now. According to a Tennessee State Senate Bill, adherence to Shariah could be punishable by 15-years in jail.
What is Shariah? It is the pidance God has provided human beings through his prophets to conduct their daily lives. From Adam to Noah, Jesus, Moses, and
Muhammad (Peace be upon all of them), all established a Shariah for their people. Praying five times a day, fasting in Ramadan, giving charity, hajj, dealing with one’s neighbors, and conducting all of the affairs of life according to the guidance given by God are acts of Shariah. God says in Qur’an:
“God has established or you the same Shariah in your religion that He enjoined upon Noah. He has revealed to you (0′ Muhammad) the same that he enjoined upon Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus so that you can establish the path that God likes (His religion) and so that you do not dispute in the way of God. To those who worship other gods than the one God, accepting the way of your Lord is very hard and difficult. It is the will of your Lord that He chooses those He wills to follow HiS path and He guides them to turn toward their Lord.” (Qur’an, Chapter 42, Verse 13)
Any Muslim, who observes Islamic practices, would consider him or her a Shariah adherent. Shariah is not confined to the penal laws of Islam, although they are part of Shariah. It encompasses the entire teachings of Islam and provides a broader framework for Muslims to live their lives.
It is hard to believe that this anti-Shariah campaign has become a buzzword in the republican campaign debates. This, I think, is an attempt to weaken the very foundation on which our country has been established. The First amendment guarantees freedom of religious practices to the followers of all religions and not any particular religion alone.
This anti-Shariah campaign contradicts and violates, both in letter and spirit, the First Amendment, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”
There is need for a well organized campaign to create a mass awareness about Islamic Shariah among fellow citizens, media, and policyrnakers at all levels. This is not a
onetime campaign; instead, it should be a continuous, proactive, engaging, and long-time campaign.
Muslims and Islamic Shariah
The success of this campaign depends also on how well Muslims themselves embody the Sharjah. No logic or argument would be better convincing than a Muslim society in America that reflects the true meaning of Shariah. The golden periods of Islam from the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) till today have been those in which Muslims were living examples of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the two primary and most important sources of Islamic Shariah. They were ambassadors of “Peace and Justice,” the protectors of the weak and the poor, and the pioneers of science and civilization. The world benefitted from both their spirituality and their leadership of the material world.
The success of our Shariah campaign therefore depends very much on our commitment and relationship to God and our love to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Qur’an beautifully describes this path to success in Surah As-Saf: “0′ Believers! Come towards me to a trade that will save you from the most severe punishment. Believe in God and His Prophet and strive in His way with your wealth and your lives; that is better for you if you know. God will forgive your sins and enter you into garderzs underneath which rivers flow and beautifil houses in the Garden of Eden. That is the supreme triumph. And God will give another blessing that you are looking forward to: Help from God and a victory soon. Give good tidings (0′ Muhammad) to the believers.” (61:10-13).
In Chapter 50, God provides a mirror for us all. If Muslims have the qualities shown in this mirror, they will be successful in this world and the hereafter. The verses read: “And the Heaven is brought near to those who fear God and it is not far from them. This is what has been promised to all those who turn toward Him and guard the limits of God. Those who spend their lives in the awe of the Merciful unseen Lord and come forward (in His obedience) with a repentant heart.” (50:31-33).
Therefore, while we must embrace every aspect of this Shariah awareness campaign with our support and active participation, we should also sincerely try to implement Shariah in our own lives. If we do this, people would soon come to realize that Shariah is not a menace; rather it is a blessing for all humanity. I pray to God Almighty that He showers His mercy upon us and shows us the path to Islamic Shariah. May God make it easier for us to explain the meaning and implications of Shariah to our fellow citizens and may He give us the strength and courage to withstand the challenges of Islamophobia. A’meen!
Published with the author’s permission.