SHARIA: CIVILIZATION AND BELIEF
Nigerian Tribune September 11, New Nigeria September 17, Thisday
September 22,Post Express September 28, Daily Trust November 13, 2002, The Monitor April 8, 2003 p9
those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses(to support their allegation), flog them with
eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after; for such men are wicked transgressors." (Quran 24: Verse4)
above is a quotation from the Holy Quran. The commentary on the verse is on the people who put forward slanders or scandalous
suggestions about women without adequate evidence. Evidence bordering on immorality against women must be supported by evidence
twice as strongly as would ordinarily be required for business transaction, or even in murder cases. Four sane witnesses are
required in Islamic law. Failing such preponderating evidence, the slanderer should himself be treated as a wicked transgressor
or punished with eighty stripes.
the stoning of the adulterous woman, there is indeed the urgent need for our religious and political leaders, and even the
followers, some of whom I suspect have little knowledge about the spirit of punishment in the noble religion of Islam to ponder
briefly on the deterrent nature and its application in legitimate environment.
All the Hadd offences so categorized in Islam are also seen by other rational human beings as abominable and condemnable
in the civilized world. The medical profession, for instance supports the Islamic restraint on intoxicants, which make human
beings lose their senses of reasoning and rationality. Stealing and robbery are first class world offences outside Sharia
and many victims have been maimed or killed as a result, while some offenders have been hackled, executed and arbitrarily
burnt alive in some cultures and customs.
Adultery and fornication as felonious sexual escapades, are worst forms of cheating, betrayal and unfaithfulness, especially
when one's spouse commits the act outside the matrimony. This promiscuity encourages the breeding of bastards who are eventually
rejected and end up being criminals in the society.
Infidelity is ignominious and incompatible with any self-respect as it annihilates the foundation of the family values.
The Quran therefore provides the following: " The man and the woman guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them
with a hundred stripes . . . " Q24 V2. There are also stiffer penalties in other cultures and religions.
It is crystal clear that our tupsy-turvy world has taken an alarming dimension with some preachers, especially in the
developed world, have been indicted of sodomy and officiated on marriages between gays and lesbians. As a result some Nigerian
religious leaders have now turned missionaries in developed countries, labouring to restore them from backslided states of
apostasy. That does not exonerate some Nigerian preachers too, who have been caught red handed committing atrocities contrary
to the tenets of their faiths.
It is no gainsaying that Islam is a peaceful and beneficial religion which emphasizes on the forgiveness and mercifulness
of Almighty God. The Prophet of Allah (peace be Upon Him) is known to promote leniency in the application of justice. It takes
100% perfect witnesses of not less than three people for the conviction of some offences. Even if a suspect admitted on his
volition, of performing such unwholesome acts, in several (Hadith) narrations, the Prophet hardly listened to them. In cases
where the offenders ask for the punishment to be carried out after self confession, the narrations provide a long process
and consideration in determining the sanity of the self-confessed offenders before the punishment is meted out. Allah states
in the Holy Quran that "He is the one that accepts repentance from His servant and forgives sins: and He knows all that ye
Though human rights activists and NGOs rely on free-civilization to criticize religious practices and beliefs as archaic,
but unbridled freedom in an unchecked society results in the seeming competition between Man and God(Subhanallah). Freedom
and liberty taking to the extreme level, makes man to play God. There are some sinful inventions based on the scientific advancement
in the modern civilization, which include the cloning of animals, sexual transformation of men to women and vice-versa and
to the recent breaking news of a man who is purported to have been mysteriously impregnated through scientific maneuvers to
take over childbearing when he could easily marry a woman to give him a child.
Modernism and civilization have other ills considering the proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons, which have
the capacity to wipe off the human race. No one prays that these deadly weapons should ever be used, but it appears modernization
has accepted the proliferation of the armament and promoted them.
Islam is never against the aspects of civilization and modernization that are beneficial to humanity. In fact, some
aspects of civilization have facilitated the ease in religious practices. I can say that Muslims have benefitted more from
the invention of the airplane which has made easier the spiritual task of performing the holy pilgrimages to Mecca;
the timer and alarm watch for responding to the regular daily prayers and the loud speakers for hearing of large believers
gathered for congregational prayers. Modernization and civilization are compatible with Islam if they are pursued within reasonable
and religious limit. There are different verses that predicted the emergence of this generation and some of its features.
In fact Quran proffers human race many ideas in the science and arts of aeronautics when it says "Do they not observe the
birds above them, spreading their wings and folding them in?
While not trying to prevent the cause of justice to be meted to the adulterous, I would want to implore our political
leaders who agree with the stoning of the adulterous, to honestly consider whether the application is only meant to deal with
the poor and the downtrodden since so far most of the victims are the impoverished and wretched of the society.
One may ask whether adultery is now perpetuated exclusively by the illiterate and poverty-stricken who may even be
ignorant of the introduction of the Sharia and its contents or does it mean our elected officers have stopped or are no more
involved in sexual escapades even after the introduction of Sharia in their domains? At least it is on record, though unfortunate,
that some of the proponents of the codes stay in luxury hotel rooms when residential accommodations are available.The poor
masses may wonder the moral justification for this kind of extravagance and even be suspicious of such acts as a cover-up
for clandestine engagement in illicit affairs. Has the government provided an enabling environment for people not to have
cause to steal by providing jobs, food and social welfare? This is to also examine whether our public officers truly and honestly
rely on their salaries to take care of their families and immediate needs, including personal properties without dipping their
hands into the public treasury compared to the unemployed who may be stealing to meet basic needs. I am not justifying stealing
whether due to greed or actual need. Have they ever weigh the Islamic implications of deceit and hypocrisy through lying and
cheating while trying to win public support and failure to fulfill the promise made to improve the living standards of the
But could our leaders live by example so that the poor may not cite their action as endorsement or inducement to commit
sins? Or how can they participate in Owambe parties and social engagements where beer and alcoholic drinks are freely served
and expect the hoi polloi to be sacrificial lambs? At least we see them daily on television(though may be teetotalers) surrounded
by bottles of beer. Let our Ulamas tell them too that they deserve commensurate punishment. Our Ulamas should also rise to
the occasion and recommend judicial opinions from Quran, Hadith and other legislation (IJMA) in properly interpreting the
various juristic views of the Four Imams ( i.e., Maliki, Shafii, Hambali and Hanafi) Schools of Thought for uniform codes
of judgement which promote the uniqueness and benevolence of Islam against the erroneous belief in some quarters. With a Foreign
Citizenship right given to one of the victim recently, it would not be a surprise if those prostitutes from a particular part
of the country, invade the Sharia states so that after some noises, they would secure automatic foreign visas too.
We should be honest with ourselves without making Islamic codes unnecessarily harsh, which is not intended to be. Afterall
Sharia is not only about punishment but is total ways of happy life. If properly applied in the right environment, Sharia
is a beautiful bride that will attract even the non-Muslims to its principles and teachings.