Why is it impossible to reform Sharia law?

Why is it impossible to reform Sharia law?

Hasan Mahmud 

Global Consortium 'Resolve Network' in a research survey in Bangladesh found that more than 80+% of the respondents believed that corruption in the country would be reduced if Sharia law was in place. A Pew Research Center survey in 2011-12 found similar numbers – (both reported by Bangladeshi daily Prothom Alo on 26 January 2022).  Actually common Muslims hardly know that there are many unjust and oppressive laws in the Sharia books; see “Examples of Sharia Law”:- https://hasanmahmud.com/index.php/articles/islamic-english/240-examples-of-sharia-law

Mawlana Mawdudi wrote - "(Muslim’s) sword and the pen were supreme rulers. But then the vigor of their efforts weakened, and they lost the ability to interpret the Sharia to suit the changing times" – page 8, - ‘The Sick Nations of the Modern Age’. He hardly knew that if Islamic scholars try to “interpret the Sharia to suit the changing times”, their heads will crack by hittin stone-walls of wired “authentic" hadiths and Islamic documents. 

They can't overcome it; here are two of many examples proving my point. Please note that in general, punishments of these crimes are fixed by the Quran and Sunnah and can’t be updated:-

(A) Hudud crimes are apostasy, revolt against the ruler, theft, highway robbery, adultery, slander, and drinking alcohol. Later some scholars added rape in Hudud (Pakistan's Hudud Ordinance # 7, 1979 amendeed by #8B, 1980).

(B) Qiyas - Similar retribution for life and wounds, based on Quran 5:43,

(C) Diyat – financial compensation payable to the victims or their legal heirs for murder or inflicting injury. 

All other laws fall into Tazir section that can be updated.

Now, let’s start our bumpy ride, fasten your seat belts!

Punishment of planned murder is death in Sharia law. But in 4 cases there is no punishment at all and in 1 case the punishment is there but not death. Is that "Islamic Justice"? :-

(1) Head of Islamic State can’t be punished for Hudud crimes – (Hanafi law Hedaya page 188 and CIL Vol 3 law# 914C),

(2) Criminals of genocide and/or mass-rape can’t be punished if the repent in Sharia court   (CIL Vol 1 Law# 13),

(3) Murderers of apostates can’t be punished – “killing an apostate from Islam is without  consequences” - Shafi'i law #o.1.2.3. This law encourages Muslims to kill apostates whereas the Qur'an and Prophet (S) clearly and strongly command against punishing apostates. see for details:- "Why Killing Apostates Is Anti-Islamic" - https://hasanmahmud.com/index.php/articles/islamic-english/244-why-killing-apostates-is-anti-islamic-sources-laws-and-cases   

Other 2 types of cases where the criminal of planned murders can't be sentenced to death are:- 

Example 1: - If parents or grandparents kill their children or grandchildren, the murderer will not be punished. (CIL Vol. 1, law# 65 & Shafi'i law Umdat Al Salik law #o.1.2.4:- “The following are not subject to retaliation: a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring”.

If they try to amend it, the scholars will crack their heads by hitting the stone-wall of Sahih Tirmidhi 1405 (similar hadises are in Sahi Tirmidhi 1406 and Sunan Ibn Majah Vol 3 Hadith 2662):-

Sayyidina Umar ibn Khattab (RA), said that he heard Allah’s Messenger (SAW) say, ‘A father will not be killed for slaying his son.” – Sahi Tirmidhi hadis 1405.

What will they do in such a dire situation? How will they resolve such terrible assault on justice and Islam by Sharia-Hadis coalition ? Can they dare to change or reject those Hadises? I don’t think so. However, we don’t believe our Prophet (S) said such nonsense.

Example 2:- A Muslim shall not be put to death for murdering an unbeliever’ - Penal Law of Islam page 149, Shafi law book Umdat Al Salik law # o1.2 and o2.2.

Obviously, this is also an unjust law. But If they try to amend it, the scholars will crack their heads by hitting the stone-walls  of 4 Islamic documents:-

A. “No believer kills another believer in retaliation for an unbeliever (kafir) ' - Article 14 of "Medina Charter" of the Prophet (S), page 45 of 'The First Written Constitution in the World' - Dr. Hamidullah.

B. 'A believer should not be put to death for killing an unbeliever' - Sunan Abu Dawud hadis 2745,

C. 'No Muslim shall be put to death for killing a non-Muslim' – “al-Shafii's Risala – Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence”,

D. Narrated by Ali (R) - 'No Muslim should be killed for killing an infidel' - Sahi Bukhari Vol 4 Hadith 283.

How will the Almes resolve such terrible assault on Islamic justice by Sharia-Hadis coalition ? Can they dare to change or reject those Hadises? I don’t think so. They have never shown the courage to question who, when why and by what authority wrote such anti-Islamic laws in the Sharia books. Most of those laws are based on Hadis. We must not be hypnotized by the words such as ‘Hadis’, 'Bukhari', 'Tabari', 'Sirat' etc. We must examine each reference because these books contain seriously objectionable reports. Few examples:-

  1. Sahi Bukhari Vol 7 Hadis 173 is terribly pornographic. It is so nasty that I can’t type it here or read in front of others. For scan of the page please contact me in messenger.
  1. "Monkey committed Illegal sexual intercourse" - Sahi Bukhari Vol 5 Hadith 188,
  1. Verses of stoning to death and Prophet’s (S) command to a woman to breast-feed an unrelated adult man were revealed but are missing in our Qur'an because a goat eat the paper on which those verses were written - Sunan Ibn Majah Vol 3 Hadis 1943, 1944 and Sahi Muslim 3424 to 3429 (6 hadises),
  1. Prophet Musa (A) running naked on a crowded road – Sahi Bukhari Vol 1 hadith 277,
  1. Our Prophet (S) was naked in front of people - Sahi Bukhari Vol 1 hadith 360,

The list is long. These are our books, and we must face them. In 2004 Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan took up “The Turkish Hadith Project” and created a new compilation of good hadiths rejecting bad ones. Now Saudi Prince MBS is doing the same. Our Alems must do the same. People’s respect to them is not unconditional, they must bring welfare of the society from Islamic sources. That’s why they are given an Islamic process of “Ijtihad”; sad that they rarely use it.


This article was originally published in:- https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-sharia-laws/impossible-reform-sharia-law/d/130437

* *The Sahi Bukhari I use is the 9-volume translation of Dr. Muhsin Khan of Medina university.

** “CIL” in this article is a three-volume "Codified Islamic Law" is compiled mainly from  Hanafi law by a committee of 6 Islamic scholars. It is published by Bangladesh Islami  Foundation.

** Hanafi Law book is “Hedaya” translated by Charles Hamilton

** Shafi’i law book is “Umdat Al Salik” is translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller and authenticated by Al  Azhar University, Egypt.