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Thread: Muslim vs. Jewish interpretations of holy books

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    @ robrecht, Marta

    Both raised some good points about authority---and here are some of my thoughts....
    (these are not answers---just some thoughts)

    Can an Imam/Sheikh (Scholar) or Jurist (Faqih) have an opinion about laws not derived from Quran/Sunnah?
    Usul al-Fiqh (methodology at arriving at law) has several sources/tools---The Quran and Sunnah ofcourse---but there are other sources that can be used in the construction of law---Al-urf (customs) is a source from which the customary/normative practices of a (pre-Islamic) community were incorporated into Islamic law. This community could have been Byzantine, Persian, or other. So, if a practice has become customary and normative---it can be "Islamic law" provided it does not contradict the ethico-moral principles of the primary sources....Therefore, a Jurist or Scholar can have opinions on the Laws of the land as it is practiced in that country.
    Other tools that are used in Usul al-Fiqh are Al-Istislah (public Interest), Qiyas (analogical reasoning), ijma (consensus)...etc...
    Both Islam and Judaism are religions of Law---but Judaism (as I understand it) has about 613 commandments/Mitzvot. Islam is different--in that, the Quran is not really a book of law.

    Authority and justice in an environment of failed/unstable states---Without a mechanism that can establish equitable justice, particularly if these communities were multi-religious, the situation would be very difficult...but... perhaps, the community could establish a Shura (consultation) system? The larger community could choose a group of people who warrant their respect and who could arbitrate by mutual consultation to arrive at the most equitable and just solutions?....
    Consider, when we think about "authority figures" in our own lives, parents, teachers, peers we might respect, mentors---and other such people come to mind. Therefore, it seems to me that even in a political power vacuum, there may be a possibility of some degree of restorative justice?

    Sharia (law) and State (in the context of Authority)---Power corrupts. Laws can be an instrument to gain power. So the mixing of two areas of power--that of the state apparatus and lawmaking is not the most brilliant idea...?...It might be better to have these areas of power independent, and competing so that both are kept in check by the other? So, Sharia might work better if the Scholars and Jurists are independent of the State/government...thus, corruption and abuse of one institution can be addressed by appeal to the other?

    Democracy---I don't have any particular preference on labels of political systems. Perhaps there may be some criteria that leads towards good governance regardless of the label? for example, diffusion of power in such a way that communities have the "authority" to help themselves---that is, find solutions to the particularities of their situation/environment. Systems that support transparency and accountability so that corruption can be deterred or at least speedily dealt with at all levels and the division of responsibility and authority is clear. Fostering charity as an obligation in the communities so that all members are responsible for the well-being of everyone in their community...and the government is responsible for safeguarding the well-being of all its members/citizens....and such?... I do not have a clear idea of what type of governance/political structure I prefer but considering that democracies can "elect" bad people...I am still reflecting on how large group systems could best be structured for the maximum benefit of all.....particularly in the context of globalization....

    Sharia (law) and State (in the context of Authority)---Power corrupts. Laws can be an instrument to gain power. So the mixing of two areas of power--that of the state apparatus and lawmaking is not the most brilliant idea...?...It might be better to have these areas of power independent, and competing so that both are kept in check by the other? So, Sharia might work better if the Scholars and Jurists are independent of the State/government...thus, corruption and abuse of one institution can be addressed by appeal to the other?


    Good and there's so much to write back to you on this subject perhaps Thursday or Friday night - maybe sooner. You touched on some real good thoughts on this. One being that each Middle East society can be independent (sort of speak) of each other but they have one thing in common and that is the religious law - and the question is, can religious and (perhaps) civil law remain separate from each other? Traditions and/or culture is the direction that I'm heading with this. Countries in the Middle East have a range and according to their culture but the law (Sharia) is the central focus point to all and the interpretations from the law will determine how the people will either heal or be hurt - religiously, but how will each country in the Middle East separate civil and religious without having them intertwine with each other, considering - that would be difficult to do.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by stfoskey15 View Post
    So you're saying that the worst offenses in predominantly Islamic countries are not the fault of Islam but the fault of the governments there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marta View Post
    Good and there's so much to write back to you on this subject perhaps Thursday or Friday night - maybe sooner. You touched on some real good thoughts on this. One being that each Middle East society can be independent (sort of speak) of each other but they have one thing in common and that is the religious law - and the question is, can religious and (perhaps) civil law remain separate from each other? Traditions and/or culture is the direction that I'm heading with this. Countries in the Middle East have a range and according to their culture but the law (Sharia) is the central focus point to all and the interpretations from the law will determine how the people will either heal or be hurt - religiously, but how will each country in the Middle East separate civil and religious without having them intertwine with each other, considering - that would be difficult to do.
    The question asked by stfoskey is interesting---but I have been pondering how to answer it.
    if we turn it around---we could say---are the worst offenses in Christian-majority countries are the fault of Christianity or the government?.... take the torture in the U.S. as an example---the legal opinions (fatwa) of John Yoo and Alberto Ganzales paved the way to authorize torture by the American government (which wanted legal cover for an immoral activity). President Bush, under whose watch this occurred is a "born-again" Christian and if we are to use the sort of logic that Islamophobes use---then we could also blame this on Jesus Christ (pbuh) saying that since he was tortured to death (crucified) torture has become "heroic" in Christianity and so most Americans (according to polls) approve of torture. ---so, who is to blame for bad laws?

    Religious law/civil law---Both in the East and the West---religion cannot be wholly removed from "law" because ethics/morality come from religion. So any supposed separation between religion and law should be examined critically. When I speak of Sharia in this context (lawmaking/Authority)---I am simply speaking about "ethical-moral laws" and saying lawmaking/Judiciary should be separate from State---not about civil/religious laws. Power must be distributed---not concentrated---in order to contain its tendency towards abuse.
    (Also---there are many Sharia---so the Sharia is not necessarily "one thing in common" as you might suppose....unless you also want to suppose that British law and U.S. law are also "same" in that they spring from a Christian ethico-moral heritage?).

    The term "Sharia" can be used in two contexts--which is why there is often confusion when writing about it. a) Sharia in its general context are ethico-moral rules about dietary laws, modesty, etiquette, good governance, ethical economics, ethical justice, and ethical societies----and how to have a good relationship with God (worship of God). b) Sharia can also be in the context of Figh (Jurisprudence/law) which is a specific field in the general "Sharia" pertaining to ethical Justice. ---to translate---it would be Sharia (ethical) Justice (Fiqh).
    To remove ethics from politics, economics, governance, society..etc, is a bad idea. The certain path to abuse. If we, as humanity, are to curtail abuse...we all need strong foundations of ethical/moral values from which we can build (plural/multiple) ethical/moral systems. Therefore---philosophies (including religious philosophies) that articulate and promote clear, and consistent ethico-moral principles are very necessary.
    To me, this is the way to combat the injustice/immorality we see all around us, both in the East and the West.

    ...but this argument brings us back to the question stfoskey asked---who/what is responsible for bad laws/policies? Does it spring from an immoral cultural/philosophical heritage? or power greedy State/Government institutions? or the bad people (individuals) that enable and/or promote an environment of irresponsibility?

    From an Islamic perspective, the distinguishing characteristic of Right Belief vs Wrong Belief is the paradigm of Unity (Tawheed) vs Division (Shirk). Right belief promotes the idea of the Unity/Brotherhood of all humanity, while wrong belief encourages tribalism. One encourages us towards reciprocity and altruism, the other towards prejudice and extreme selfishness. Perhaps we need a deeper look at the intersectionality between Paradigms, Systems/institutions, and the Individuals that use/abuse them.....?.....

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    The question asked by stfoskey is interesting---but I have been pondering how to answer it.
    if we turn it around---we could say---are the worst offenses in Christian-majority countries are the fault of Christianity or the government?.... take the torture in the U.S. as an example---the legal opinions (fatwa) of John Yoo and Alberto Ganzales paved the way to authorize torture by the American government (which wanted legal cover for an immoral activity). President Bush, under whose watch this occurred is a "born-again" Christian and if we are to use the sort of logic that Islamophobes use---then we could also blame this on Jesus Christ (pbuh) saying that since he was tortured to death (crucified) torture has become "heroic" in Christianity and so most Americans (according to polls) approve of torture. ---so, who is to blame for bad laws?

    Religious law/civil law---Both in the East and the West---religion cannot be wholly removed from "law" because ethics/morality come from religion. So any supposed separation between religion and law should be examined critically. When I speak of Sharia in this context (lawmaking/Authority)---I am simply speaking about "ethical-moral laws" and saying lawmaking/Judiciary should be separate from State---not about civil/religious laws. Power must be distributed---not concentrated---in order to contain its tendency towards abuse.
    (Also---there are many Sharia---so the Sharia is not necessarily "one thing in common" as you might suppose....unless you also want to suppose that British law and U.S. law are also "same" in that they spring from a Christian ethico-moral heritage?).

    The term "Sharia" can be used in two contexts--which is why there is often confusion when writing about it. a) Sharia in its general context are ethico-moral rules about dietary laws, modesty, etiquette, good governance, ethical economics, ethical justice, and ethical societies----and how to have a good relationship with God (worship of God). b) Sharia can also be in the context of Figh (Jurisprudence/law) which is a specific field in the general "Sharia" pertaining to ethical Justice. ---to translate---it would be Sharia (ethical) Justice (Fiqh).
    To remove ethics from politics, economics, governance, society..etc, is a bad idea. The certain path to abuse. If we, as humanity, are to curtail abuse...we all need strong foundations of ethical/moral values from which we can build (plural/multiple) ethical/moral systems. Therefore---philosophies (including religious philosophies) that articulate and promote clear, and consistent ethico-moral principles are very necessary.
    To me, this is the way to combat the injustice/immorality we see all around us, both in the East and the West.

    ...but this argument brings us back to the question stfoskey asked---who/what is responsible for bad laws/policies? Does it spring from an immoral cultural/philosophical heritage? or power greedy State/Government institutions? or the bad people (individuals) that enable and/or promote an environment of irresponsibility?

    From an Islamic perspective, the distinguishing characteristic of Right Belief vs Wrong Belief is the paradigm of Unity (Tawheed) vs Division (Shirk). Right belief promotes the idea of the Unity/Brotherhood of all humanity, while wrong belief encourages tribalism. One encourages us towards reciprocity and altruism, the other towards prejudice and extreme selfishness. Perhaps we need a deeper look at the intersectionality between Paradigms, Systems/institutions, and the Individuals that use/abuse them.....?.....
    Looking up the word "Suhl" and trying to give it some meaning and understanding to it lead me along to someone's thoughts about the word Salaam and Suhl there is a difference, correct?

    "All of this is a little academic, in that I have a guess as to why the original poster asks the question...and it has to do with politics, not linguistics. Back in the 1970s, again to make a complicated story simple, it was claimed that Sadat used the word "salaam" when speaking about Camp David rather than "SulH" (the S and H are gutteral). Salaam, it was argued, was merely the state of the non-existence of hostility whereas "SulH" means "reconciliation". Salaam between Israel and Egypt, in other words, just means not fighting at the moment; SulH means no more fighting ever. (A third term often came up in this linguistic debate, hudna, or "cease fire".) It was claimed Sadat was saying "peace" to the West but really saying "temporary non-aggression" to the Arab world." - quote
    The wording, in the same breath, can take a different meaning versus what is really being said across the way, or interpreting. What might be translated can mean a different understanding and how it's view/heard by others within the Middle East or in another way to others outside of this realm. However, what might be said or understood in one Arab country might take on a whole different meaning in another. Given an example of this is Iran, "According to some Iranian officials, the judiciary of Iran does not follow Sharia law, but it is civil law ratified by the Parliament. However, all agree that multiple aspects of sharia law are observed in the legal system" - Wikipedia. The legal code is now based on Islamic law or sharia, although many aspects of civil law have been retained, and it is integrated into a civil law legal system.
    Last edited by Marta; 12-24-2016 at 08:00 AM.

  4. #24
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    Sharia law -

    Tattooing: There is, however, difference of scholarly Sunni Muslim opinion as to the reason why tattoos are forbidden. Due to Sharia (or Islamic Law), the majority of Sunni Muslims hold that tattooing is religiously forbidden (along with most other forms of "permanent" physical modification).

    (Several Sunni Muslim scholars believe tattooing is a sin because it involves changing the creation of God (Surah 4 Verses 117–120).[10] There is, however, difference of scholarly Sunni Muslim opinion as to the reason why tattoos are forbidden.) Tattoos are considered forbidden in Sunni Islam, but are permissible in Shia Islam.

    Family Law: (Fatwa)

    The Protection of the Lineage
    The child is an extension of his father and the bearer of his characteristics. During his lifetime he is the joy of his father's eyes, while after his death he represents a continuation of his existence and an embodiment of his immortality. He inherits his features and stature as well as his mental qualities and traits, both the good and the bad, the beautiful as well as the ugly, from his father. The child is a part of his father's heart and a piece of his body.

    Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has ordained marriage and has forbidden adultery so that paternity may be established without doubt or ambiguity and that the child may be referred to his father and the father to his sons and daughters. Through marriage a woman is reserved for one man; it is haram for her to be unfaithful to him or to let anyone else have access to what belongs exclusively to him. Thus, every child born to her in wedlock will be her husband's child, without any need for recognition or public proclamation of the fact by him or a corresponding claim on the part of the mother. "The child is attributed to the one on whose bed it is born," (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Literally: "The child belongs to the bed.") declared the Prophet of Islam (peace be on him).


    The Prohibition of Denying Paternity

    It is not permissible for the husband to deny his paternity of any child born to his wife as long as they are married to each other. Such a denial would bring the ugliest shame imaginable upon both the wife and the child. He is, therefore, not allowed to take such a step on the basis of a mere suspicion, a sudden notion, or an evil rumor. If, however, on the basis of evidence which has come to his attention, he is convinced that his wife has betrayed him, the Shari'ah of Islam has no desire to force him to raise a child whom he believes not to be his own or to let the child be his heir, or—at the very least—to allow him to suffer from suspicion and doubt the rest of his life.

    A way out of this dilemma, known in Islamic jurisprudence as li'an, is provided by the Shari'ah. If a man is convinced or strongly suspects, although without having proof, that his wife has had sexual relations with another man and is carrying his child, he can take the case to a Muslim judge (qadi). The qadi will ask the man and his wife to invoke the curse of Allah on one another in the manner prescribed in Surah al-Nur: As for those who accuse their wives but have no witnesses except themselves, the testimony of one of them shall consist of bearing witness by Allah four times that he is of the truthful, and a fifth (time) that the curse of Allah be upon him if he is one of those who lie. And it shall avert the punishment from her if she bear witness by Allah four times that he is indeed of those who lie, and a fifth (time) that the wrath of Allah be upon her if he is among the truthful. (24:6-9)

    After this the two shall be separated permanently, and the child shall be identified by the name of his or her mother. (http://www.themodernreligion.com/fam...ren_rights.htm)

    Each of these can be placed differently and according to interpretation between Sunni and Shia. I could continue with another issue under family law.

    A child has a right to sustenance, education, and proper care. The parents are not permitted to neglect the child's needs nor to abuse it The Prophet (peace be on him) said: "Each one of you is a caretaker (ra'iy) and is responsible for those under his care." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) "Wasting the sustenance of his dependents is sufficient sin for a man." (Reported by Abu Daoud, al-Nisai, and al-Hakim) "Allah will ask every caretaker (ra'iy) about the people under his care, and the man will be asked concerning the people of his household." (Reported by Ahmad, al-Nisai, and Abu Daoud)

    Equal Treatment of Children:

    ...Some other ahadith in this regard are as follows: Do not ask me to be a witness to injustice. Your children have the right of receiving equal treatment, as you have the right that they should honor you. (Reported by Abu Daoud) "Fear Allah and treat your children with equal justice." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

    Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said that preferential treatment of a child is permitted if he or she is handicapped while others are not. (In Al-Mughni, vol. 5, p. 605, it is stated that special treatment of a child is permissible due to a need, a handicap, blindness, his or her being from a large family, being engaged in studies, or something of the sort, as it is aIso permitted to withhold from a child who would spend what he is given on sinful or wicked things.)

    All good laws however, they don't all receive the attention that they should.
    Last edited by Marta; 12-24-2016 at 09:11 AM.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    The question asked by stfoskey is interesting---but I have been pondering how to answer it.
    if we turn it around---we could say---are the worst offenses in Christian-majority countries are the fault of Christianity or the government?.... take the torture in the U.S. as an example---the legal opinions (fatwa) of John Yoo and Alberto Ganzales paved the way to authorize torture by the American government (which wanted legal cover for an immoral activity). President Bush, under whose watch this occurred is a "born-again" Christian and if we are to use the sort of logic that Islamophobes use---then we could also blame this on Jesus Christ (pbuh) saying that since he was tortured to death (crucified) torture has become "heroic" in Christianity and so most Americans (according to polls) approve of torture. ---so, who is to blame for bad laws?

    Religious law/civil law---Both in the East and the West---religion cannot be wholly removed from "law" because ethics/morality come from religion. So any supposed separation between religion and law should be examined critically. When I speak of Sharia in this context (lawmaking/Authority)---I am simply speaking about "ethical-moral laws" and saying lawmaking/Judiciary should be separate from State---not about civil/religious laws. Power must be distributed---not concentrated---in order to contain its tendency towards abuse.
    (Also---there are many Sharia---so the Sharia is not necessarily "one thing in common" as you might suppose....unless you also want to suppose that British law and U.S. law are also "same" in that they spring from a Christian ethico-moral heritage?).

    The term "Sharia" can be used in two contexts--which is why there is often confusion when writing about it. a) Sharia in its general context are ethico-moral rules about dietary laws, modesty, etiquette, good governance, ethical economics, ethical justice, and ethical societies----and how to have a good relationship with God (worship of God). b) Sharia can also be in the context of Figh (Jurisprudence/law) which is a specific field in the general "Sharia" pertaining to ethical Justice. ---to translate---it would be Sharia (ethical) Justice (Fiqh).
    To remove ethics from politics, economics, governance, society..etc, is a bad idea. The certain path to abuse. If we, as humanity, are to curtail abuse...we all need strong foundations of ethical/moral values from which we can build (plural/multiple) ethical/moral systems. Therefore---philosophies (including religious philosophies) that articulate and promote clear, and consistent ethico-moral principles are very necessary.
    To me, this is the way to combat the injustice/immorality we see all around us, both in the East and the West.

    ...but this argument brings us back to the question stfoskey asked---who/what is responsible for bad laws/policies? Does it spring from an immoral cultural/philosophical heritage? or power greedy State/Government institutions? or the bad people (individuals) that enable and/or promote an environment of irresponsibility?

    From an Islamic perspective, the distinguishing characteristic of Right Belief vs Wrong Belief is the paradigm of Unity (Tawheed) vs Division (Shirk). Right belief promotes the idea of the Unity/Brotherhood of all humanity, while wrong belief encourages tribalism. One encourages us towards reciprocity and altruism, the other towards prejudice and extreme selfishness. Perhaps we need a deeper look at the intersectionality between Paradigms, Systems/institutions, and the Individuals that use/abuse them.....?.....

    I think you hit the target on it. There is a multitude of problems within the system. However, I don't think the problem is with the Christian faith, alone. Again, I think that it has become a challenge for many of the religious groups (not just with the Christian faith) in the US. In order to strengthen its stands on many laws that are being passed, whether good or bad, the word "coalition" is coming into play. Many groups that can stand out and be heard as a whole. We are challenging the other side just as much on ethical and moral issues. Our legal system, is being challenged and its laws. Rethinking certain issues that never came up in the past. A lot of these issues are human rights issue and family law. Now, with the financial issues - which is playing hardball and as we're seeing many people going under. So you have financial, ethical and moral issues on the plate. Are any of these problems a Christian one? No.

    Are there good laws as well as bad laws that individual groups (of people) wanting to support because they don't want some religious groups telling them how to live? Perhaps, yes - but, in the same vein, there are Christian religious groups that don't want to ignore what's being done around them, either. Younger adults are now challenging family issues and pressing hard about their sense of independence. Many adults family members going down the wrong direction because of being threaten by social groups on ethical behaviors - are challenging parents. So now, it looks like a night mare.

    Sometimes, I think, we're losing that reputation of what America use to be and we're now focusing on a more global end. That's not something we were really ready for yet. Some have questioned how we will fit in globally and be recognized, financially and ethically. Prior, we were worried about what our ratings (Standard & Poor's credit rating for the United States stands at AA+ with stable outlook. Moody's credit rating for the United States was last set at Aaa with stable outlook. Fitch's credit rating for the United States was last reported at AAA with stable outlook. In general, a credit rating is used by sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and other investors to gauge the credit worthiness of the United States)- for loans, globally and how other countries will be supporting us with economic trade agreements. How can we brings jobs back to America when we're in debt? Some trade agreements brought other kind of jobs back to the US in order to create them, farming and agricultural (see Israel and Africa)

    "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Africa signaled Israel’s renewed emphasis on its relationship with the continent. Beyond the mutual economic benefits, this renaissance in Israel-Africa relations is an opportunity, among other things, to bolster support for Israel on the international stage, particularly at the United Nations.

    In the early years after independence in 1948, Israel enjoyed a unique relationship with many African nations. Recently freed from British rule and newly independent after thousands of years of exile and occupation of our homeland, Israel served as a role model for many African states caught in their own struggles with colonialism." Reviving Relations Between Israel and Africa. This special bond brings back many mutual benefits, both economic and diplomatic

    In water policy, for example, Israel is not only the world leader in recycling and reusing water for agriculture, we have now successfully mastered the desalination process so that all our water needs are fully met despite our arid climate. In energy innovation, our cutting-edge technologies in solar, wind and other clean- and renewable-energy sources is a major focus of many budding economic ties.

    There are larger, multilateral and global benefits of improved relations with Africa. For many decades, Israel has suffered under a bias at the U.N. because we have been greatly outnumbered in almost every forum. One byproduct has been the Palestinian attempts to circumvent direct negotiations through international bodies. Better relations between Israel and Africa could mitigate this escape hatch and encourage the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
    With the new presidency, all is watching and waiting on how we will act and what kind of government will take form with the trade agreements. How we're building up are military and what kind of negotiations we will have and with which countries.

    Now, with the new fears, how does the Middle Eastern countries struggle to survive after the years of tearing itself apart. What I was trying to say to Siam is that "not" all Muslim countries think a like when it comes to interpreting what is acceptable according to Sharia law. What might be acceptable in one, might not be in others. Is it that each view the law more strictly than others - regarding the kind of laws like family law - moral and ethical of women from a spiritual, economic, social, and political sense.

    "Some Muslim scholars say that secular government is the best way to observe sharia. "Enforcing a [sharia] through coercive power of the state negates its religious nature, because Muslims would be observing the law of the state and not freely performing their religious obligation as Muslims," said sharia expert Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im.

    Opinions on the best balance of Islamic law and secular law vary, but sharia has been incorporated into political systems in three general ways:

    (and the one that we both had introduced)

    Dual Legal System
    . Many majority Muslim countries have a dual system in which the government is secular but Muslims can choose to bring familial and financial disputes to sharia courts. The exact jurisdiction of these courts varies from country to country, but usually includes marriage, divorce, inheritance, and guardianship. Examples can be seen in Nigeria and Kenya, which have sharia courts that rule on family law for Muslims. Islam: Governing Under Sharia
    Last edited by Marta; 12-25-2016 at 08:18 AM.

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