Implementing Sharia in government: Muslim governments
With so much talk about Sharia in the news, a natural question to ask is ‘Is there a Muslim country which implements Sharia now?’ After all, as has been mentioned by the tabloids, if Muslims do not want to live in the UK because of the absence of Sharia law, then Muslims can go back to the Muslim world.
The problem that growing numbers of Muslims face when they examine the Muslim World is that none of the Muslim countries implement the Sharia in its totality. Some Muslim governments apply aspects, or parts, notably some parts of personal law in the courts, for example Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Nigeria whilst some like Turkey face opposition from secularists who continue a call for religion to be separated from government, and see religion as a purely personal matter, much like people do in the UK.
Religion and State: government policies
Islamically, religion and State, or politics, are intertwined, so Islam as a creed and set of laws whether personally, communally or in government is followed. Whilst the majority of Muslims conduct their personal affairs according to Sharia, and develop a communal atmosphere, its absence at State level impacts Muslims worldwide in ways of huge proportions. Let’s look at a few examples:
1) Egypt allows US warships easy access through the Suez canal to the Arabian gulf so it may conduct military operations in Iraq, via bases in Qatar and Kuwait for UK and US forces. So many Muslims observe these governments helping the UK and US to kill other Muslims. Aiding foreign powers to kill and wage war is not from Islam, whether those being killed are Muslim or not Muslim.
2) Economic policies in Muslim countries are influenced by western multinational foreign interests (backed by western governments). IMF and World Bank loans and policies severely hamper any form of independent national economic policy. A case in point is the IMF's insistence on Pakistan to rapidly privatise its strategic energy sectors assets including Sui Gas and Pakistan State Oil. This was outlined in the Pakistan Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility Policy Framework Paper, 1998/99-2000/01.
As recently as September 2007, the IMF, visiting Pakistan for an annual review of the economy, again demanded that the government of Pakistan put the privatisation programme on track as part of its earlier commitment. Muslim countries do not have independent economic and political will.
3) Interest, in the banking system is allowed throughout the Muslim world with government approval. The banking crisis in Kuwait in 2005/2006 is an example of this, along with corruption and the Kuwaiti government not being interested in its responsibility to look after its financial dealings with its own citizens. Interest, as a financial concept is strictly prohibited in Islam.
4) US oil companies take huge profits from Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and even Iran as well as others, all selling oil at cheap prices to suit western oil demands. The Islamic economic system stresses the distribution of wealth to combat poverty which has been completely abandoned by Muslim governments.
5) The Egyptian education system has been practically re-written, particularly history as a subject, excluding much of 1400 years of Islamic history, supplementing it with ancient Egyptian history. This is to steer Muslims away from their Islamic heritage, and towards a foreign cultural heritage.
6) Many Gulf countries have legalised gambling establishments, which have received government licences. Gambling is strictly forbidden in Islam
7) In Pakistan and Bangladesh English common law constitutes the basis of the legal systems. The legal system of Islam is based on the two primary sources, the Qur’an and the Prophetic example, not English common law.
8) Sovereign Wealth Funds of Muslim countries, notably the Gulf States pump
billions of dollars into western financial institutions that have lost billions
of dollars, (the most recent example being the sub prime loans economic
disaster), instead of developing industry, manufacturing and trade in their own
countries. Oil money could easily help reduce the poverty faced by much poorer
Muslim countries, like Bangladesh. Rich oil countries only have oil wealth, and
are totally dependent on western industrial and manufactured goods.
These examples, and there are many more, show that the Muslim world is in fact subject to the policies and dictates of western governments or western run political or economic institutions and not the Sharia.
The problem is that the secular western political, economic and legal tradition does not match what the Muslims believe in, hence the difficulty in implementing it in Muslim countries. On the whole, it does not solve people’s problems; there is a conflict of creed versus law. When the scattering of Sharia law is implemented (e.g. partially in criminal law, or divorce) in personal areas, and the outcome is perceived to be detrimental, Sharia law is blamed.
Some Muslims who are economic migrants or political refugees or visitors in the UK are in Britain because of these failed imposed policies to try and lead better lives, leaving the chaos of social, economic, political and judicial failure not of Islamic Sharia law, as it is not implemented, but western secular law implemented in their countries of origin.
Submitted by a Mujahid