Islam refers to the Muslim’s faith. It is a faith that institutes total submission to God by the Muslim. In this submission, it brings about serenity, love, peace and justice. Sharia refers to a line of conduct or morality laid down by the accounts of the religion of Islam. It is usually based upon the Quran and the prophet’s views. The sharia law governs the believer’s lifestyle and behavior. It regulates the Muslims’ on their actions. It is without a doubt that Islam is one of the most devout faiths in the world and it has undergone significant changes in the twenty-first century. The Islamic resurgence has contributed to the development of the religion giving rise to a more politically indefinite growth. To enforce the law of sharia, some Muslims from various countries chose to the use of arms and extreme violence in voicing their demands (as was said in essay by Hefner, 2).
The place of sharia in modern politics has been distorted as the things that are happening in the name of Islam do not align with its teachings (Hefner, 38). It seems as if Islam in the modern world has changed into a non-conforming faith which does not take into regard modern politics, religious tolerance, citizenship implications and the current profession of Islam (Hefner, 4). The author’s work has the agenda of addressing the place currently held by sharia law in the modern Muslim world inclusive of civilization and politics. The sharia law has garnered public attention and discussion as it is referred to as a divine law both in general and from the text description (Hefner, 2).
Furthermore, it the author argues that initially Islamic law was decentralized and used other legal systems. In the encroachment of European states into Muslim lands, the Muslims observed them and saw that they had a unifying factor which was the centralization of a legal and political structure (Hefner, 26). Sharia varied among different Islamic communities and nations, and others applied customary laws. The scale at which the Europeans were rising in power and influence startled the Muslims due to their codified and centralized systems. This influenced the Muslims to adopt a standardized law code, and also movements started calling for states to implement the sharia law (Hefner, 47). This can be attributed to the fact that many Islamic countries had done away with sharia enforcements whereas others had limited it to family and religious affairs.
Initially, this revolution to implement the law was meant to be peaceful, but some radicals invoked Sharia and saw it as an opportunity to justify committing atrocities such as attacks on both Muslims and non-Muslims. This has influenced other Muslims to interpret the law selectively even though some features are stipulated in the Quran, but they are done so in a subtle way (Hefner, 8). Rom the text is also shown how Islam does not tolerate other forms of governance such as democracy. This can be attributed to the development of radicals in the religion as they have differing opinions. This contradicts with the teachings of the prophet Muhammad who encouraged learning from other cultures (Hefner, 11). From the classical period, women enjoyed almost equal rights to men, but this has changed in the modern Islam law.
They have been denied the access to education, authority, ownership of property among others which is not fair from my viewpoint having undergone civilization. Sometimes these Muslims act outside the law and chose to punish women through public executions or punishments. Consequently, most Muslim countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey among others depict parallelism in their implementation of sharia law but some countries exhibit extremes of which makes it unfavorable even for the citizens (Hefner, 43). Women have a role to play towards streamlining the sharia law to accommodate more ethical practices. They are seen to have begun this through acquiring higher education more than men. But this is perceived as a rebellious act to Islam itself for many believers.
The issue of gender should be addressed in the law to align well with the contemporary realities. Hefner concludes by stating that Sharia’s moral and ethical power should be transformative since it a God-given law aimed at social justice and respect to human dignity. I am not for the stance for the law’s influence to wane away but for it to be more appealing to its believers and others. (Hefner, 47)