Shari’a Law: God’s Right vs Human Right
By Ekechi Gerard
For the sole purpose of preface: I don’t write out of hate or to discriminate, but rather, out of rationality and good reasoning. Since the sentencing of Yahaya Aminu Sharif hit the internet, I’ve been bothering myself with questions like: Why should a religiously derived law be imposed on people who chose that religion out of freewill?Why would a death penalty be attached to a crime as trivial as blasphemy? Why is Islam not a subject to evolutionary transformation and development?Do Muslims still wonder why the whole world is so schizophrenic about Islam? But honestly, the death penalty is discriminatory and flies in the face of human right. Death penalty is often used against the most vulnerable in the society. Where justice systems are flawed and unfair trials rife, the risk of executing an innocent person is overly present. The Federal government should take steps towards the abolition of death penalty in all legal systems operating in Nigeria. Judges should refrain from handing down death sentences, amputations and floggings; and the government authorities should not authorise the execution of these punishments. I guess it’s all wishful thinking. Sharia law is is one of the four distinct legal systems in Nigeria. It was fully adopted in to the Nigerian constitution in 1999. Yushau Sodiq, in his book, “A History of The Application of Islamic Law”, defines sharia law as: ” …the law which God has promulgated through the Prophet Muhammad.” But from the way I see it, Shariah law is a midieval and barbaric legal framework incompatible with basic human right and modern values. The word “sharia” means path. The road of Islam encompasses belief and moral for an individual, as much as legal, economic and social framework to govern a society. Islam’s central values are justice and freedom, but ironically Muslims are far from recognising that, and instead focus on penal codes and some outdated interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence. The Islamic law tries to legislate for every single aspect of a person’s life. The person is not at liberty to think or decide for himself. He has to accept God’s rulings as interpreted infallibly by doctors of the law. It manifests hostility towards human reason, rationality, and critical discussion, which in dearth, democracy and moral progress can never be achieved. Sharia as practiced today illustrates injustice and denies people basic elementary human freedom. For instance, in parts of Muslim world like Iran, Pakistan, and northern Nigeria, women who are raped are persecuted under Sharia law for fornication. In Saudi Arabia and northern Nigeria, the amputation of limbs and stoning as a punishment still occur. Now tell me if that is morally defensible. Human Rights Watch is concerned at provisions within Sharia that discriminate against women, both in law and in practice, and other patterns of human rights violations against women in this context.Some of these violations do not stem directly from the legislation itself, but from the way it has been used and from a climate of intolerance which has accompanied the introduction of the new legislation. There have been intensive research and many articles and interviews containing testimonial evidence that women in societies or countries governed by Islamic Sharia Law have limited rights and freedom, and no hope of justice or equality. I’ve got instances: Reyhaneh Jabbari, does it ring a bell? No? Okay. Jabbari was an Iranian student and interior designer who was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by hanging, for stabbing and killing her rapist in self defence. Despite a high internationalintervention to the Iranian authorities, Jabbari was executed in 2014 at the age of 26. In 2002, a Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal was sentenced to death by stoning for adultry and having a child out of wedlock. While Lawal faced a death penalty, the father of her child was never tried. A 16 year old Iranian girl, Atefah Sahaaleh was hanged for having a sexual relationship with a 50 year old taxi driver. As she took her last breath with a noose around her neck, the 50 year old taxi driverwalked free. Now tell me if that is morally defensible. Islam with its classical laws foster an authoritarian society which is incompatible with democracy and human rights. I would very much like to see an open minded Muslim world but they are represented by anti-intellectuals, authoritarians, and extremists. Name a country where hate and intolerance rules, or one Islamic county that isn’t a failed state?