Understanding Islam – Part 8 (Sharia Law-2)

We all know what Law is; it is something we obey.  Wherever we live there are laws that govern.  If we abide by what is legislated and enacted we can live without any concern for police, the court system, or jail time.  We would be good citizens.  Now God has laws, the Ten Commandments, and Christians have learned that to obey them is to be viewed well in the eyes of the Lord.  Some are also laws of our Government.  Thou shalt not kill. Indeed that is a crime punishable by most legal systems if enacted in civil society.  War may be an exception.  The punishment can be quite severe too.  Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother.  That is a law of God.  Punishment in civil society for not Honoring They Father and Thy Mother is not on the legislative agenda as something the police need to enforce.  Have No Other Gods Before Me. Here again is a Commandment from God, but not a law applied to everyone through a legal/justice system, by applied personally.  Worship money, your car, your home, the sun, moon, or other objects, and unless you are harming others, civil society allows it, except in a Muslim Country under Sharia Law, then only Allah is to be honored.

For Christians it is recommended we pray.  Prayer should be a daily occurrence and is our form of having a conversation with the Lord.  It can take the form of thanks for our salvation and God’s grace, a petition for the needs of mankind or personal transgressions requiring understanding and forgiveness, praise of the Lord, the Trinity, for the sacrifice made on behalf of mankind, especially those who believe and the eternal life with God made possible, and simply humble acceptance of the Lord and how insignificant we may be yet made much more significant by the width, breadth, height and depth of the love of the Lord our God.  All of the knowledge on earth pales in comparison with the totality of knowledge and wisdom of the Lord.  I love the term A.C.T.S. as used for prayer – a reminder – (from: montney.com/inspire/prayer.htm)

Adoration: praise Jesus for one or several of His attributes (e.g., sovereign, gracious, holy, perfect, merciful, all knowing, loving, just, powerful, ever present, creative) both generally or as it applies to your circumstances. “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” – Psalm 36:5

Confession: tell Jesus what you have done wrong and why, apologize to Him, seek forgiveness, and thank Him for it. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

Thanksgiving: express your gratitude to Jesus for His love, mercy, grace, leading, sustenance, discipline, and blessing. “Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men” – Psalm 107:15

Supplication: ask Jesus to guide, heal, protect, comfort, sustain, or provide for you, or intercede for someone else. “…Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” – 1 Chronicles 4:10.

Yet there is no Law requiring we pray.  It is recommended; it is recommended strongly that we do so.  It is beneficial.  It is conversational.  It is a Christian’s opportunity to have a conversation with God and to develop a relationship with God.  The Holy Spirit as an inner part of a faithful committed Christian is our mental reminder to pray.  The Spirit is our guarantor, the seal of our faith in the Trinity, insurance for the life everlasting as provided all sinners that accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the sins we commit (past, present and future) and truly repent.  Forgiveness is there.  Reborn and a new life, a life lived using Christ as our example, yet impossible to achieve as to the level of perfection, yet an admirable goal and a worthy goal to live one’s life for the honor and glory of the one who died in our stead, bearing the punishment for our crimes, and freeing us all for a life eternal with God.  That is something worth kneeling and praying and being thankful for. 

Under Sharia Law prayer is required.  Five times each day facing Mecca and the Ka’aba, a structure containing a black meteoric rock, a symbol, assuming a prone position (prostrate) and reciting verses, it is required to pray.  (Note:  the term ‘mosque’ means ‘a place of prostration.’) Prayer is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.  “Prayer is the ultimate worship of the Muslim.” (Unveiling Islam, pg. 123)  Purification prior to prayer is required.  “It (prayer) is not, however, a personal conversation between a human and God; rather it is an external practice saturated with formal procedures and required customs.” (Unveiling Islam, pg. 124).  The concern appears to be if the prayers are not repeated five times daily then Allah could be forgotten, thus repeated daily are the words, “God is great, God is great, etc.”  It is a systematic rote requisite reminder.

Consider Temporal Law and Spiritual Law.  Temporal Law is that of our government, the authorities, part of secular governance, and reflective of proper ethical and moral standards.  It is for all those living under the arm of their particular government.  Spiritual Law on the other hand is that from the Bible, from one’s Lord, from one’s God, Spiritual leader, from Allah.  The Spiritual may have an influence on the Temporal, yet they remain, in America clearly, separate.  Biblically they were separate as well.  Jesus even noted that what was Caesar’s was Caesar’s, and what was God’s was God’s.  A topic for lively debate is the relationship that should exist between the Temporal and the Spiritual, and the extent to which government’s laws should embody both, or be influenced more by one than the other.  Are they to be separate; is Temporal to reign over Spiritual; is Spiritual to reign over Temporal? 

Under Sharia Law the Spiritual is to reign over the Temporal.  The dictates of Sharia Law come directly from the Qur’an and the Sunnah and Hadith (an instructional guide prepared by Muhammad for Muslims – it depicts the events  of the life of the Prophet, and offers examples for ethics and living, compiled together).  According to Ergun and Emir Caner (Unveiling Islam, pg. 94), “The Sunnah is the basis for the legal code of Islamic jurisprudence (sharia, ‘the path’), and is authoritative in rulings among Islamic states.”  It is not as much interpretation or influence, it is the direct commands of Allah and the prophet Muhammad as expressed in his dictates – the Hadith and the Sunnah.  It is not for the people to decide; it had been proclaimed and decided for them.  Praise be to Allah is the judicial command.

There is much to be concerned about with regard to Sharia Law.  The website, www.ntpi.org/html/whyoppose/html states with much candor concern for this form of law providing a most informative commentary entitled, Why Sharia Law Must Be Opposed.  It is a valuable read.  To quote one paragraph, “Islamic apologists often claim that many so-called violations of human rights are based on a misreading of the Holy Qur’an and will quote this or that sura in its defense.  But the arguments against Political Islam are not against the holy texts but against Sharia as it is practiced today in Islamic states.  We are told that Islam is a religion of peace and that the struggle, jihad, to impose by conquest is not to be taken literally.  But for Political Islam it is.  Ask the suicide bombers.  The only possible response to the charge of misunderstanding or misreading Islam is to look at the reality of what is happening in those countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and northern Nigeria where the Sharia now holds sway.”  The writer suggests, as I have in discussions regarding Women and Islam, that it is time for Muslims to understand and agree they need to grow out of the “primitive tribal society of 7th century Arabia that gave birth to Islam.”

Another reference, from a source favorable towards Islam, provides a location where more detailed definitional details of Sharia can be found.  www.ediscoverislam.com/Sharia.asp.  This site introduces Sharia noting its significance to the most religious in a timeless fashion, of which many today disagree, “Allah has willed to make the Sharia Law of Islam (its canonical code of doctrine and law) the final Sharia for Creation, just as He has willed to make it the most complete and perfect Sharia.  It exists in a form that guarantees its continued existence and vitality, one that is relevant to mankind in every age and in every locality.  It fulfills all the needs of humanity in all circumstances.” 

May the grace of the Lord be with you always.  Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.  Test everything.  Hold on to the good.  Avoid every kind of evil.  May the Lord’s blessing fall upon you.  Wake Up to the Triune God, the sacrifice and grace he provides all who believe in him.

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