Is Sharia law cruel? Does it still apply today?

I just heard the news that a 14 year old girl in Bangladesh was whipped until she died because she was accused of having a relationship with a married man. Of course that’s a bad sin, but shouldn’t the punishment be between her and Allah SWT? It’s not only in this case but many others who punished people under the name of Islam. These kinds of things really put my faith into a depression. Should Sharia really be practiced in todays world? Yes I do know the teachings are from the Quran but isn’t it true some teachings in the Holy Book were only meant for the Arabs back then?

I don’t like to question. But when I hear such scary things, happening under the name of Allah SWT, the Holy Prophet, and Islam I have no choice but to question. I honestly don’t know what to believe. I’m sure if Allah SWT were to reveal the Quran in todays world, it would be very different. I believe that Allah revealed the Quran to fit with the Arab culture of the time. Do you guys believe that these people that are following the Shariah are really following the Shariah or they’re just abusing it? Or that the Shariah shouldn’t be practiced in today’s world because some of the teachings were only meant for Arabs at the time?

Sharia law is meant for all Muslims at all times. It is designed by God to achieve a good society. The Quran was revealed for all times.

That said, Sharia has plenty of preconditions and pre-requisites. It cannot be applied until after a lot of foundations have been in place and all conditions are met. The Prophet (PBUH) spent 13 years in Mecca teaching faith and theology. Not even prayer, fasting and Zakah were clearly defined yet. After migrating to Medina and establishing a state, Sharia was gradually implemented. In fact, the penalties for adultery and theft were not specified until year 7 and later.

A Muslim society needs to establish the entirety of Islam before Sharia may be applied. For instance, you cannot enforce the theft penalty when citizens are poor and cannot find work and Zakah is not collected or properly distributed. That is why Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may God have been pleased with him, suspended the theft penalty during the year of famine (`Aam-ur-Ramaada).

By the same token, the penalty of adultery cannot be enforced when people are unable to marry and when pornography is allowed and easily available.

The Islamic state has the duty to teach Islam to its citizens, to protect them from sin and to provide them with an environment where sin is a luxury, not a necessity. If they choose sin after all that, then the punishment in Sharia is applied to them for discipline and as a deterrent. When you understand this, you understand why Sharia is not cruel though it may seem that way.

When Sharia punishes a crime, it is protecting all others from it. If adultery is left unpunished, for instance, all will be in fear that their spouses may cheat on them. Some spouses will cheat no matter what, but if the adultery penalty is enforced, the probability of cheating is significantly reduced.

Sharia law applies to all Muslims. No one is above the law. So, a state which claims to be Islamic, but will not penalize its elite is NOT Islamic. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “What destroyed those who came before you was that when their nobles stole, they let them go, but when their weak stole, they penalized them! By Him in whose Hand is my soul, if Faatima bint Muhammad (his daughter) stole, I would cut her hand!” (Narrated by `Aa’isha, Urwa ibn Az-Zubayr and Jaabir and reported by Al-Bukhaari, Muslim and At-Tirmizhi).

The above is not my opinion only, it is also the ruling of Dr. Yoosuf Al-Qaradhaawi, President of the International Union of Islamic Scholars. See this interview with him (in Arabic).

I have a few questions for you:

  • The girl was a minor. Minors do not suffer the same penalty as grownups. How come her sentence was not reduced?
  • Was the married man whipped too?
  • Were there four eye witnesses to the adultery act? I doubt it very much. Accusation is not enough. In fact, accusation without supporting witnesses is punishable by eighty floggings! And the accuser is permanently discredited, his testimony is never accepted and he is labeled a Faasiq (deviant). That’s in the Sharia law too, so why is it that not applied?

Update: According to this CNN News article, the girl’s dying words to her mother were that she was innocent! If that’s true, then those who whipped her must be tried for negligent homicide (ضرب أفضى إلى موت). That’s in the Sharia too.

3 Responses to “Is Sharia law cruel? Does it still apply today?”

  1. tariq353 says:

    As salamu alaikm,
    Brother Jazalk allah for ur answer…..
    sm countries applied sharia as per their convenience in parts, in other words whats suits them (like in Gulf countries)

    Isn’t they are making fun n misrepresenting Sharia.

    wa salam

    • noclash says:

      Of course. God threatens such people saying, “Do you believe in parts of the Book and disbelieve in other parts? Then the recompense to those who do that of you is but disgrace in this life and on the Day of Judgment they will be turned to the severest torment. God is not unaware of what you do.” (2:85)

  2. Aapa says:

    There is not much I can write. It amazes me whenever I hear of these incidents there is nothing said about the witnesses. The fact that there is a relationship by definition means it spanned over time. Where are the adults. Was the minor child an employee of the man. Where do we define rape. Do these accusers not understand they allowed the repeated rape of a minor child.

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