Hasan Mahmud

The law permitting a sharia court was passed in 1991, when Ontario sought to streamline the overloaded court system (and save money) by diverting certain civil cases to arbitration, including arbitration conducted on religious principles.- GLOBE AND MAIL- Published Saturday, May 29, 2004 12:00AM EDT.

September 11, 2005. It was just another Sunday morning. Who knew that this would be one of the most memorable days of my eventful life. This was the day the Canadian Sharia Court was eleminated. The day rushed back the recollections of the past, of December 16, 1971, the day Bangladesh gained independence from its opponents. In both the events we were fighting against political version of Islam. In 1971 we were fighting  but in 2005 we were calm, we were determined. Once again, we stood with our heads high, above and beyond.      

1991 was the year when the very first Sharia court protected by local law in the Western world was formed. Most Canadians did not know that a parallel legal system sneaked in secular and democratic Canada. Protected by this law, Darul Qada (House of Justice) was informally mediating family conflicts in Muslim communities. Fourteen years later, in 2003 they applied to the Canadian Government for arbitration status. Until then with mediation status people could appeal to Canadian court against the verdict of Darul Qada. But if the arbitration rights were granted to Darul Qada, the parties involved would lose this right and verdict of Darul Qada would be binding. “Arbitrators’ decisions are final in almost all cases. In the event that one of the parties in arbitration decides to renege on their initial agreement to accept and comply with the Arbitration decision, we will be able to enforce those arbitration decisions with the help of the Ontario/Canadian justice system” Barrister Mumtaz Ali, the leader of Darul Qada, Booklet published by Darul Qada, page 33).  This means they wanted to establish a parallel legal system in Canada.

With the news hell broke loose, Canada was stunned. Can justice be franchised?  Isn’t Sharia court a symbol of so called Islamic State? Besides our jobs and family we were preparing round the clock to face Darul Qada. Three organizations, Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) Tarek Fatah, Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) led by Aliya Hogben and International Campaign Against Sharia Court in Canada led by Homa Arjumand revolted explosively against Darul Qada. The government was puzzled. Why are Muslim organizations resisting Sharia Count when they should be rejoicing?

We wrote a one-pager quoting Sharia laws from the most authentic sources showing how the laws are against Islam, human rights and Canadian values. In a hot summer noon we distributed thousands of copies of the flyer to people in downtown Toronto. Canadians were shocked to see these laws; Sharia-Bolsheviks of Darul Qada fumed and I was invited to join Muslim Canadian Congress as its Director of Sharia law.     

CCMW created a coalition of many women’s organizations and started creating public awareness about Sharia law through articles on Sharia laws in their website. We in MCC continued exposing the horror of Sharia law and inviting Darul Qada for discussion in the TV shows of Muslim Chronicle. They never responded. We started receiving lots of emails from Canadians supporting our movement. Homa’s team was fierce as well. As the victims of Sharia law, immigrant women from Iran were the experts on Sharia law.  Eventually the media could not ignore our movement. The news spread in Europe like wildfire and the government of Canada started receiving emails from many humanitarian organizations in our support, including   a strong statement by Roy Brown, the then president of International Humanist Ethical Union (IHEU). The government of Canada was then compelled to get involved and sought advice from ex-Attorney General of Ontario, Mrs. Marion Boyd.

That was an erroneous step.

It was the very Mrs. Marion Boyd who was the Attorney general of Ontario in 1991 and was the main proponent of enacting the law allowing faith courts. So it was impossible to expect an unbiased advice from her. However, the Sharia-Bolsheviks of Darul Qada were happy to see the fate on their “Allah’s Law in the hands of a non-Muslim. Both sides rushed to Boyd’s office to convince her with the arguments. We tried our best to convince her about our point of view with references of the laws while she listened passionately. We felt that she understood our logic behind the argument. But when she submitted her report to the government we were shocked and totally heartbroken. Her view was, there were some weaknesses in Sharia laws but those could be handled to ensure that no one is oppressed by the law.

Darul Qada celebrated their victory.

By this time they had huge influence on media and the politicians. Their smiling faces next to the politicians and ministers were being published.  They even managed to get support from the Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin after he was invited to attend one of their events. They regularly invited the politicians and high ranking officials. We did not have much funding to compete with them. They had many organizations supporting them; they had opportunities to reach many people through Friday sermons in the mosques. Lot of these mosques was built on funds from Middle Eastern countries. A Pakistani journalist of Toronto Star declared that we were Islam haters. He and his journalist friends kept writing against us in newspapers.  Their hue and cry almost cornered us. Time and again we invited them through emails to meet and discuss this issue with us but they kept declining.

Finally two debates took place in the TV show of Muslim chronicle between me and Mubin Sheikh of Al Noor Mosque, one of the loudest voices in support of Darul Qada. The outcomes boosted my confidence enormously.  

Long story short, the grand mufti from Mauritius and Tarik Ramadan, “the most influential Islamic leader in Europe” supported us.  Darul Qada also kept receiving supports from many organizations and individuals. In a survey done by Daily Globe among 8000 Canadians, an overwhelming majority voted against Darul Qada. Some popular Canadian writers gave statements against Darul Qada. These created pressure on the Canadian government. Around August 8th, 2003 people protested in front of the Canadian embassies and parliaments in twelve cities including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Paris, etc. It was a collaborated effort of eighty seven organizations from Canada and Europe led by Homa’s group. Women in front of the Canadian parliament shouted – ‘’Hey Prime Minister, if we could put you in power, we can bring you down too….”

Both the parties were tensed. What would happen next?

September 11th, 2005, on a Sunday afternoon, I opened my computer to check my emails and there was the most desired news waiting! The Prime Minister of Ontario Dalton McGuinty announced that all people will live under one legal system and any separate legal system or religious court will be banned. The Sharia-Bolsheviks tried their best to change this outcome. Sharia experts from all over the globe such as Egypt, Pakistan etc. gathered in Toronto to prepare for a good fight. They threatened to sue the government. Their decade’s long effort of establishing “Allah’s Law” in the West was doomed.  But they were not ready to give in yet.  We were also prepared to fight them back in the court if needed. We had all our arguments ready but eventually they backed out.

We were able to convince the members of the parliament about the corruption and the destruction of Sharia Law. The issue was not only of Ontario, or of Canada. It was a global matter and the outcome of our movement would impact the whole world profoundly, especially the Muslim countries, where the progressive force is weakening over time. Had Darul Qada won in Toronto, the clergies in other Canadian provinces and all over the West and Europe would have created tremendous pressure on their governments to follow suit. 

History is bound to pay its price for oppressing so many people for so long.  We dream and we hope that the progressive people in the societies from all over will carry the torch of freedom from the corruption and darkness of Sharia Law.  We had only planted a seed of hope and one day it will grow into a huge tree to provide shelter to endless people. We may not be there on that day but our dreams will turn to reality for many generations to come!

Here are some quotes from a booklet published and distributed by Darul Qada. The discussion below shows how Darul Qada violated Islam and Canadian values.

  1. On the cover of the booklet Quran chapter 4 verse 35 is mentioned: - “An Arbiter From (Al QURAN 4:35) MAN’S FAMILY AND WOMAN’S FAMILY”.

In this verse the Quran illustrates the process of arbitration of conflict between and a husband and his wife: - “If you fear a breach of marriage between a man and his wife, appoint one arbiter from his family and another from hers; if they want to reconcile” - translation of the Quran by Malik.

What is wrong with their claim?  The cover of the booklet is an upfront violation of the Quran because the lawyers of Darul Qada are not authorized by the Quran to do the arbitration since they are not family members of the husband and his wife.

  1. Syed Mumtaz Ali, the supreme leader of Darul Qada and a lawyer by profession was asked in an interview- “Who will pay for this (arbitration)?” His answer was (page 15): - “The parties to the dispute would pay the fees for arbitration”.

This is also an upfront violation of Islamic heritage.  No Sharia court of the past Caliphates ever charged fees for their services.  The Noor Mosque Toronto has been conducting informal mediation and arbitration in Muslim society for free. Its member Mawlana Mubin Shaikh also confirmed in a TV show that their service was free of charge. However, many Muslim lawyers strongly supported Darul Qada and some people think that it was a money-making game for these lawyers.

Mawlana Mawdudi wrote in his book "Islamic law and it's introduction in Pakistan" pages 74 and 75 that :-

"In order to make the country's judicial system conform to the Islamic standards, another important reform is needed, and that is abolition of the court fee. This is a pernicious innovation and we Muslims where not even acquainted with it before the domination of the Western political thought and values over us. it is foreign to the very Spirit of Islam that our courts of law, instead of rendering the service of dispensing Justice, should be turned into 'shops of law' whose doors are closed for the persons who are not in a position to pay the price of their services............. Abolition of the lawyer's profession will also play its part in reducing litigation".

  1. Canadian Muslims had the right to choose between Darul Qada and the Canadian court to resolve their family matters. The booklet claims that if you choose the latter, “you cannot claim that you believe in Islam as a religion and a complete code of life actualized by a Prophet” (page 9).

This is not only emotional blackmailing but also a dangerous claim. If a Canadian Muslim goes to the Canadian court he or she turns into an apostate according to Darul Qada and the Sharia law allows killing of apostates. In addition, the killer would be protected from Hudud punishment as per Sharia law. This is an anti-Islamic practice (see details in chapter on Killing Apostates).

  1. The booklet of Darul Qada states- “once the parties have agreed to be governed by Muslim PFL (personal family law of Darul Qada), then they will be committed to it by their prior consent. As a consequence, on religious grounds, a Muslim who would choose to opt out at this stage, for reasons of convenience would be guilty of a far greater crime than a mere breach of contract – and this could be tantamount to blasphemy – apostasy” (page 15).

That is a threat not the less but insanity the more. Breaching a legal contract with an organization, religious or not, is a legal matter and the issue can be dealt in the court. This has nothing to do with faith. It does not violate the basic criteria of being a Muslim. Nobody gave the clergies of Darul Qada any authority to define who a Muslim is.  Islam does not need a broker between a believer and his Creator; threatening a believer by such statement is totally anti-Islamic.  

  1. There are one Shiaite and four Sunni schools of thought in Sharia law. In the booklet Syed Mumtaz Ali states: - "If the parties involved belong to one of those schools, then the law of that particular school would be applied” (Page 15).

The reality is way more complicated. What if they are a couple of Shia and Sunni thoughts, or of different schools of Sunni thoughts?  What about a case of instant divorce by a Sunni husband to his Shiaite wife? Imagine; a Sunni husband has the “legal right” to instantly divorce his wife; it is illegal in Shiaite law.  Even if they both are Sunni, there are conflicting laws among the four Sunni thoughts. For details see the chapter ‘Contradictions Within Sharia Laws on the Same Issues’.

  1. Syed Mumtaz Ali claimed: - “Establish a Darul Qada – a judicial tribunal that will, in effect, operate as a private Islamic Court of Justice without in any way infringing on any Canadian judicial jurisdiction or legal authority or violating any Canadian law (page 32).

Let us see if his statement violates Canadian law.

  • Canadian law accepts adoption. In his interview he was asked- “Can a Muslim living in Canada become a guardian of a child according to Muslim Law?” His reply was – “No” (page 11).
  • He said – “If a person should die without leaving a will, Muslim arbitration could provide a binding legal system which is according to Muslim Law” (page 14).

So, they would distribute half of the inheritance to the daughter than to the son. This is upfront violation of Canadian Law.  

  • He claims: - “To meet the needs of all Muslims living in Canada we’ve conducted a comprehensive campaign which includes, among other things, an open dialogue. We invite both Muslims and non-Muslims to communicate their concerns to us” (page 16).

Actually many Muslims, including this humble self who are aware of the violation of women-rights by Sharia law sent emails to them for a dialogue. After repeated reminders there was no response from Darul Qada. Ironically deception is allowed and in some cases “obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory”, according to Sharia Law (Shafi Law Umdat Al Salik r8.2). Indeed establishing Darul Qada is obligatory to these clergies.

Darul Qada perished in Canada in 2005. Unfortunately, it is functioning with complete immunity given by the local law in many counties until today. 

(Some dates and names may vary.  It is a chapter of my book - "How Sharia-ism Hijacked Islam: The Problem, Prognosis, and Prescription" - ).