Tag Archives: law

Probable Islamic Influence on The Presumption of Innocence

justice-gavel-and-book

The historian Marcel Boisard states in his journal “On the probable influence of Islam on western public and international law”, published in the International Journal of Middle East studies[i]:

“It was above all the very high ethical standard of Islamic law that impressed the medieval West and provoked the development of a more refined legal thinking. This aspect is undoubtedly the most durable merit of Muslim influence, as illustrated by the administration of justice. Until the Crusades, legal procedure in the West consisted of “God’s judgments” by boiling water or by duel, or by “ordeal” during which people were burnt with red-hot irons or boiling oil and, if they survived, declared “not guilty.” In contrast, we have only to quote the instructions given by Omar in the seventh century to the Muslim judges to show what a chasm separated the two conceptions:

“Only decide on the basis of proof, be kind to the weak so that they can express themselves freely and without fear, deal on an equal footing with litigants by trying to reconcile them.”

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The Old ‘Punishment for Apostasy is Death’ Chestnut

PART 1

It is easy to watch the above video for just 23 seconds (to hear that in Islam, apostasy means death) then stop, pack our bags, go home with our understanding that Islam is a wicked religion and have our prejudice against Islam, confirmed.

If we continue to watch after 23 seconds, suddenly we realise there is a bit more to understand.

This is Assim Al-Hakeem and in summary, the content of his talk after 23 seconds is as follows:

1. Not anyone can mete out the judgment for apostasy.

2. The ‘procedure’ must be understood first.

3. He gives an example: If a random person says ‘I don’t believe anymore’, can we kill him? No.

4. The ‘Procedure’ = i) check that the condition has been fulfilled; ii) check that the criteria can be made to NOT apply to this person [as a fail-safe].

5. How is the ‘Procedure’ performed? a) a panel of Muslim judges/scholars to question the person, first, to try and persuade them out of apostasy; b) if he still insists to apostatise, the verdict is given ONLY by the Muslim ruler (the ‘Imam’, meaning ‘leader’ – not ‘Imam’, meaning ‘the normal guy that leads the prayer’); c) then the Muslim ruler must make a decision.

6. Al-Hakeem then gives random, modern anecdotes of people applying and meting out judgements against perceived-apostates on a day-to-day level. This is blatantly wrong. The doer of that action could end up in hell! Because the layman does not have the right to issue takfir (identify and confirm in a legal sense that a person is a kaffir (‘The one that covers the Truth’/  ‘unbeliever’/ ‘disbeliever’).

7. Never do anything without knowledge. One must be really careful when dealing with these things.

Now, there is something very important that is not noted in this video. Check out the next link to contextualise the issue: Continue reading

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Fiqh of Love

By Ammar AlShukry

 

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“The word fiqh is an Arabic term meaning “deep understanding” or “full comprehension”. Technically it refers to the body of Islamic law extracted from detailed Islamic sources (which are studied in the principles of Islamic jurisprudence) and the process of gaining knowledge of Islam through jurisprudence.” (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiqh#Etymology)

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