In that case, know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you?
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And in respect of cutting the hands of the thief, Allah says:. But if the thief repents after his crime, and amends his conduct, Allah turneth to him in forgiveness; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. We see that all these verses which commence as verses of punishment are immediately followed by verses of mercy.
That is why a judge must examine each case with great consideration. Truly it is preferable for the ruler to pardon mistakenly than to punish mistakenly. Avert death from the Muslims as much as you can. Those who were before you nothing destroyed them except their extremism in religion. This verse shows that even in debates with others, one must use a good form of discussion and dialogue. Allah prevented Muslims from discussion with non-Muslims except in a moderate way:. Our God and your God is one and it is to Him that we surrender. Allah will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning the matters in which ye differ.
Were thou severe or harsh-hearted they would have dispersed from around thee, so pardon them and ask forgiveness for them …. There are many other verses and hadith which will demonstrate the moderation of Shariah. On this topic Kamali says:. Although the leading schools have also recognized considerations of public interest istislah as a source of law, they have generally tended to impose a variety of conditions on it because of its strong utilitarian leanings.
Whereas analogy operated within the given terms of the existing law, and juristic preference basically corrected the rigidities of analogy, public interest was not bound by such limitations. Furthermore, it vested the ruler and mujtahid with the initiative to take all necessary measures, including new legislation, to secure what he considered to benefit the people.
Nevertheless, some Muslim jurists tried to develop legal theories to regularize the quest for a normative basis of Shariah in the social practice and usage of the people.
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Extremism is described in Islam by two words: ghuluw — extremism, extravagance, immoderation, and tatarraf — radicalism. One of the main forms of extremism in religion is complete ignorance of the comprehensive nature of Islam. This is what makes an individual who has knowledge of parts but not the whole think he has entered the circle of scholars when the fact is he knows nothing but bits and pieces that he uses to deduce a verdict.
Such a verdict will invariably be fraught with error. In their ignorance of religion and in their pride, people are lead to hold tight to the literal meanings of the source texts without trying to understand the multiple meanings and the intent and purpose behind the revelation or a relevant action or saying of the Prophet s. Today extremists are bringing back the school that was known as the school of literality al-dhahiri.
That school originally refused to take into consideration qiyas , analogy, or reasoning between different rules, or precedence in law. The extremist on the other hand, will declare that the letter of the saying must be obeyed, without taking into consideration the circumstances and reasons for this ruling. In emphasizing the respect and honor in which women are held, the Prophet s asked that she travel with a relative. Today however, traveling from one place to another is no longer fraught with difficulty.
One has complete security and is accompanied by hundreds of fellow passengers in the short time it takes to cover thousands of miles. Therefore there is no longer fear for a woman traveling alone, for she is accompanied by all the people on the plane, whom may be considered as adequate protectors. But the extreme interpretation of the hadith is that a woman cannot travel except with a relative, again emphasizing the literal meaning of the hadith.
If in such minor issues, we see examples of extreme literalism among the non-moderate Muslims, what then when it comes to cutting hands and stoning? These are far more serious issues to consider. For those who ascribe false things to Allah will never prosper. This verse addresses the extremists. Moderate Muslim scholars are extremely surprised to see those who migrated overseas to different countries around the world, seeking study and sustenance, have carried with them this extreme literalist ideology, The result has been the creation of a large number of groups and divisions within the Muslim community, seemingly showing the entire Muslim community as radical in their views and violent in their actions.
If the leadership of the immigrant Muslims had shown moderation in the countries to which they moved, and integrated with the culture of the country, they would have greatly changed the stark image of Islam in the eyes of common people. He rejected this view and argued that Shariah laws were not merely forthe sake of obedience; they have human welfare as their goal.
However, a faqih should not impose hard conditions on Muslims in the matters that concern the wide majority: he has to take into account that among them are the weak, the old and those who have lawful reasons for exception. They suggested an emphasis on Shariah, the inner meanings of Shariah, and personal commitment as the motive for obedience to laws, instead of punishment and coercion.
Contrary to the jurists, who lived in the world of text, the Sufis were closer to the masses and their norms. In most Muslim societies, Sufis represented a popular and liberal view of Islam. Muslim jurists in the past were quite aware of the constant need to reconcile contradictions between social and legal norms. They continuously adjusted laws to bring them in line with the customs and norms of the people. The normative basis of the institutions and concepts such as family, property, rights, responsibility, criminality, civil obedience, social order, religiosity, international relations, war, peace, and citizenship have changed significantly over the last two centuries.
When he moved from Baghdad to Egypt in the last years of his life, he changed his school of thought. So what I wrote previously and explained is insufficient to treat these corrupted people because I was more lenient. Now I have to be more strict. So I have to change [my rulings]. Shah Waliullah expounded the theory of evolution of society in four stages and found that social norms played a central role in the evolution of laws. He distinguished between two types of texts: Shariah and jurist law fiqh.
In case of conflict between a custom or usage and the Shariah text, Ibn Abidin rejected only those customs which were absolutely contradictory. In case of conflict with a jurist law text, the custom prevailed as a principle. One can see this principle employed extensively today. This is because photography has now become a ubiquitous practice among Muslims everywhere.
Maliki jurisprudence also attempted to forge a closer link with the practicalities of life in Medina and attached greater weight to social customs than other jurists did. Dhimma means a pact and guarantee. That is to say, the non-Muslims who live in Islamic society and within the Islamic nation, are the responsibility of Allah, His Messenger, and all Muslims, under their guarantee and their protection.
Islam established rules regulating the relations between the Islamic state and non-Muslims … so that these would be natural relations. If their religion commands them to have a day of rest on Saturday, I will not impose upon them to work on Saturday and rest on Friday. No, I must be considerate. I respect what their religion dictates. How can we allow this? Even if they marry their mothers, their religion allows this. Respect for the dictations of [other] religions and faiths is one of the most fundamental things for us. What is required in this matter is that this [behavior] not be spread among the Muslims.
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This is the basis of the factual legal autonomy of the non-Muslims which was extensive in the Middle Ages, and has survived in part down to the present generation. A nation whose leader is socialist will produce official scholars who endorse socialism. The intent of Islamic law is not punitive, as much as corrective and reformative. Another important function which these punishments serve is educative, and thus preventive and deterrent. Laws were revealed to Prophet Muhammad s due to real-life situations requiring a judgment.
For example, the rules of hijab, the covering of women, were revealed in a time when the hypocrites were ridiculing Muslim women in the streets of Madina. One finds that in the early days of Islam some Divine orders were very strict, and were later reduced. For example, Muslims were not allowed sexual relations during the month of fasting due to the initially restrictive rules of the fast.
Later revelations to the Prophet permitted intimacy during night hours fasting occurs between sunrise and sunset. Initially, the early Muslims were ordered to pray for one third of the night; to build up their spiritual relationship with God. Later this was reduced. Similarly, God initially declared that in a defensive war against an aggressor, unless the ratio of aggressors to Muslims exceeded to-1 the Muslims were obliged to fight.
This was later reduced to a ratio of 2-to-1 as the general level of faith decreased with the influx of new converts to the faith.
Thus we see the importance of gauging the capacity of the people to implement any given code of conduct. Today, it cannot be expected that the law be enforced as it was a century ago, as the conditions of life have changed immensely. For that reason, the Prophet s indicated that in the last days applying the letter of the law would become very difficult, saying that those who would attempt to implement religion in its entirety at that time would be like someone carrying a burning coal. Another example is the requirement of prayer.
The Prophet s was first told to order his nation to pray fifty times a day. During the Night Journey, this requirement was reduced to five prayers per day. All the above is found in the theoretical definition of an Islamic state. We find such governments constantly issuing decrees of stoning to death, amputating hands, lashing, and other severe punishments for various crimes. On the other hand, in Islam, traditional governments follow precedents established over many centuries, much as is the case here in the U.
In Islam rules are tempered by application. As a simple example, who is allowed to make the judgment to cut the hand of a thief? Let me explain how this is implemented. First of all, you cannot cut the hands of someone who steals in order to eat, as we see today in Argentina. If a person is in need of medicine and steals it, you cannot cut off his hand. The only time the judgment of cutting the hand applies is when someone steals out of greed, without need, and even then numerous criteria must be met to hand down such a punitive sentence.
Even rules based on the principle of consensus of scholars, ijma , which in itself is difficult to accomplish, can be changed. Wahba al-Zuhayli, wrote:. Consensus of scholars on a certain issue made earlier can be abrogated by the consensus made by a later generation if there were changes in the conditions which are for the common good of the people as time progresses.
Islamically, this concept of reformation or rejuvenation of the law is necessitated by change in society over time. The Islamists differ from the traditionalists in that the latter call for a reinstitution of fiqh , but not necessarily an elimination of existing systems of law. Islam requires in the case of the thief that the system attempt to rehabilitate him and seek ways to encourage him to repent:.
This means he should be given every chance to reform, such as assisting him to earn a lawful living. Job opportunities should be provided as a form of social security. Such examples can be found in Brunei, and in a number of other wealthy Muslim countries. Someone steals medicine, food, etc. This is the sad condition of some Islamic religious leaders of our time, who follow the letter of the law in contravention of its spirit. Those in power however, typically remain exempt form its application.
This is a purely political implementation of the Shariah, done for show and thus appears wantonly cruel; utterly lacking wisdom. This is utterly contrary to the Objectives of the Law, Maqasid ash-Shariah. Even if my daughter Fatimah steals, I would cut off her hand. His intent was not to show Islam as stern Islam nor to demonstrate a specific parenting style, but rather to demonstrate how abhorrent theft, of any kind, is in the Eyes of God, including: corruption, forgery, bribery, deceit, and larceny.
Let us take another example — that of the punishment of stoning to death for the commission of adultery. In accordance with Islamic Law, the witness must pass his hand or a string between the man and woman, and find it is blocked. Therefore, who can testify, fulfilling all the technical conditions and proofs that the crime was committed? Short of a confession, in practice there is no possibility of fulfilling the stringent evidentiary requirements to guarantee a conviction.
Another caveat attached to the required evidence to prove the crime of adultery is that without sufficient witnesses, the accuser actually becomes the accused and will be punished for the very ugly crime of libel — for which the accuser will be liable.
This demonstrates the essence of Islamic law, with the intent to raise the highest standard of morality for human beings, while in reality the law is almost impossible to legitimately enforce. Therefore, we see legal and social intent is to prevent an act from occurring by highlighting its enormity and emphasizing the threatened punishment, while not expecting it to be applied.
Let us say that we accept their claim, then what will be done with the wedded slave girls, since their penalty, is half of the penalty of the free wedded woman? Should we divide it, into two halves, this claimed stoning? And how should we do so? That is why the interpreters, were forced to say, regarding the slave girls, the penalty is half the number of lashes of the original punishment.
Just this concession on their part, refutes the claim of stoning, without their being aware of it. Pursuant to the IMF agreement, Cairo has allowed the Egyptian pound to float, reduced subsidies, and introduced new taxes. As a result, foreign investors are showing higher confidence in the Egyptian economy. There are reasons for concern that Egyptian economic reform will stall or that, even if it continues, changes will not occur quickly enough to allay public discontent.
While reforms are being made, they may be driven more by desperation than by a genuine belief in their necessity. For instance, resumed Gulf aid may lead Egypt to reinstate subsidies or delay other reforms. Reform efforts may also suffer due to backlash from special interest groups. Even if President Sisi does sustain reform, however, successful economic reform does not guarantee stability in the near term. Reform will likely be a tumultuous process, as is already evident.
The civil unrest that will likely accompany such indelible suffering — as well as a potential uptick in terrorist activity — may pressure Cairo to abort reform. Economic liberalization does not guarantee long-term stability either. For instance, Hosni Mubarak sought a similar economic revitalization in the s. But they did not yield the types of lasting improvements to average Egyptian households that could have helped to strengthen his legitimacy and stave off revolutionary sentiment.
But if President Sisi does not sustain reform — or if reforms prove ineffective — the Egyptian economy is unlikely to right itself. The only path forward, then, would be to more limited production, rising prices of necessities, expanded unemployment, weakening of the social welfare system, and escalating civil unrest. All this would only compound the threat already posed by Egyptian terrorists. However, if current security trends hold, homegrown jihadist organizations will likely continue to gain ground. Their foreign counterparts — especially al Qaeda — may then be able to exploit local successes in order to penetrate mainland Egypt.
Economic trends are also concerning.
From Reform to Revolution
These trends threaten to push Egypt toward higher levels of civil unrest and state responses. This, in turn, could lead back to the cycle of violence that actors like al Qaeda have demonstrated their ability to co-opt. American support for Cairo during heightened security crackdowns may validate the narrative that the United States is at war with Islam, a narrative that is prominent across the Middle East and that fuels radicalization. Visible jihadi inroads into Egypt may also embolden like-minded actors throughout the region. It would signal to onlookers — friends and foes alike — that its strategy of slow expansion, stoking and capitalizing on local unrest, works.
That would pose a serious threat beyond Egypt to U. Libya remains in a very fragile state. Jihadi gains in Egypt may yet embolden bad actors there, who may find opportunities for operational cooperation as well. Not only will they require more assistance from the United States to sustain operations, they will also be increasingly hard-pressed to secure the Israel—Sinai border. This could allow Gaza-based actors to smuggle in more weapons and men, at a time when Israeli—Palestinian tensions are on the rise. Their departure would only further heighten the risk to Israel. There is also the question of the Suez Canal, which would be a high-value target for Egyptian jihadists.
But doing so will require adopting a more balanced approach to counterterrorism. The use of force will form a key part of any successful Egyptian counterterrorism strategy. Demonstrate that the burden of economic reform is borne by all Egyptians. The Egyptian government will likely face increased public outcry during the period of transition to a more liberal economic order. Yet this transition must succeed if Egypt is to remain a pillar of stability in the Middle East. Strategic communications should focus on why economic reform is essential for their well-being and how it will affect them while it is taking place.
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Cairo should emphasize as well that the wealthy are bearing their share of the burden, as validated by shifts in the Egyptian industrial base. Such an outcome would be to the economic detriment of all. It would also seriously endanger the political and security interests of these actors, who benefit most when Egypt is stable, secure, and led by someone with military experience. Sustain efforts to target irreconcilable jihadi actors. They are unlikely ever to be persuaded to return to the Egyptian political fold.
Whether for ideological reasons or simply a profound loss of faith in the Egyptian government, they have opted for a path of violence and are unlikely to give up their arms or ill intentions. These actors should be dealt with justly but decisively so that they cannot continue to use or incite violence against the Egyptian state. Improve detainee treatment. Egyptian officials should take visible steps to curb the mistreatment of detainees. Abysmal prison conditions, as well as torture, sexual assault, and other abuses in Egyptian prisons, do likewise. The net effect of detainee mistreatment is to accelerate the growth of populations vulnerable to radicalization in the Egyptian mainland.
Exercise restraint in the treatment of nonviolent protestors. Egyptian security forces should show greater restraint when dealing with nonviolent protestors. As with the mistreatment of detainees, the use of indiscriminate violence to keep nonviolent protestors off the street is strategically counterproductive. Egyptian security forces should be trained, equipped, and mandated to disperse protestors using nonlethal force whenever possible.
This will be especially important if civil unrest results from the economic reform process. As Mokhtar Awad and Mostafa Hashem detail, this approach to threat analysis not only increases the likelihood of poor targeting and collateral radicalization. Prepare a political agenda to complement economic reform.
Economic reform is an inherently painful and uncertain process. The Sisi administration should design a political agenda to mitigate blowback caused by slow or failed economic reform. This has been done before. Hosni Mubarak allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to operate freely in broader Egyptian society and run for a minority of parliamentary seats. President Sisi might initiate engagement by offering lighter sentences to imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood officials who publicly renounce violence. His administration might also publicly state its desire to cooperate with exiled members of the reform-oriented Brotherhood old guard in order to build a more peaceful Egypt or ease the targeting of Islamist advocates of nonviolence.
Accept — as necessary — greater risk in reintegrating the Muslim Brotherhood into Egyptian politics. Moreover, if the Brotherhood were to regain power in the future, the Egyptian government will nearly certainly be better positioned economically and politically to deal with it then than it is today. That is a powerful deterrent for the future. President Trump has rightly stated that his administration has no desire to interfere in the domestic affairs of other nations. This principle of noninterference should form the basis of renewed U. As Mr. Trump and other senior U. In this regard, the policy recommendations listed below are designed to help the Sisi administration as it faces a particularly innovative terrorist threat.
Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood: What is the difference?
Washington should offer additional economic aid to help Cairo provide or finance food and other important social welfare initiatives. In addition, the U. Sustain the counterterrorism focus for U. Future U. This reconfiguration of U. Open an additional — conditional — stream of U. The United States should also consider opening a second stream of military aid to Egypt that includes conventional military assets.
Congress contingent upon certification by the U. Congress should stipulate that certification cannot be waived. This would clarify for Egyptian officials that conventional military aid cannot be legally authorized until reforms are made. Then this is compared to the present condition of the Muslims along with giving an explanation as to why so much differing and splitting has occurred. In a time of severe confusion and corruption, this treatise is sure to be a beacon of enlightenment and a pure spring from which all those desiring true guidance can drink. Later, the study turned to affirmation and negation, a beautiful crisp 45 min study on tawhid.
A specific focus was on mentioning the name of Allah in beginning actions such as eating, drinking etc.