What are the 27 Things that the Taliban of Afghanistan Really Want?
It is possible to waste many hours, if not days, reading the world press and listening to pundits go on and on about what it is precisely that the Taliban wants.
You will not find the answer listening to those fast-talking, talk show hosts on either Fox News or CNN.
That is because few from these media organizations have taken the time to do the appropriate research that answers the question, “What do the Taliban want?”
The answer is simple. They want a society of Sunni Muslims ruled according to the principles of Shariah law.
In order to understand Shariah law, from an academic point of view, one has to have read the Quran in Arabic, as well as understand the history of the many sayings of Muhammad (the Hadith in Arabic). One must know how the Quran and these sayings have been interpreted by Muslim judges and jurisprudence for at least the last thousand years, and recognize how the five major Islamic legal systems (four Sunni and one Shia) have ordered and ruled the daily lives of Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia.
It is a tall order and few Western scholars are up to the mark. But there have been a few who have managed to distill this legal tradition down to its 27 basic principles.
In 2009 researcher Sam Solomon, at the request of British Parliamentarian, the Right Honorable Lord M. Pearson of Rannoch, created a simple chart comparing and contrasting Shariah law with that of British law.
It is an easy read with a ponderous title, “A Comparison Table of Shari’ah Law and English Law prepared by Sam Solomon and Kathryn Wakeling of CCFON for the Debate on 4th June 2009 Regarding the Oral Question Posed by The Right Honourable Lord M. Pearson of Rannoch.”
Here is a direct link to the full document which can be accessed online. It takes no more than a half-hour to read it carefully and the rest is, as some scholars would say, commentary.
The twenty-seven principles outlined in this paper cover issues such as the legal basis upon which a court system is established, the system of governance, the nature of law, the scope of the law, access to justice, the purpose of the court system, the relationships between religion and the state, categories of crimes and punishments, the nature of treason, and that beloved topic of the woke establishment, gender rights and obligations.
Here are some of the most dramatic contrasts between the two legal systems, quoted from the document, comparing Shariah principles and practice with those underlying the British tradition (and in most cases Anglo American common law).
According to Islamic courts:
Inheritance must be apportioned as per Islamic jurisprudence based on the Qu’ran and the Sunnah in which a male’s portion is double that of a female’s, and none is to be given to an unbeliever (kaffir) even if she or he would otherwise be the most legitimately entitled.
In the Anglo legal tradition:
The deceased estate is divided in accordance with the last valid will of the deceased; otherwise in accordance with statutory rules that do not discriminate on grounds of sex or religion.
In the Shariah legal tradition:
Polygamy is expected. Men may marry up to 4 free women with no limit on the number of concubines or sex slaves.
In the Anglo tradition:
Polygamy is the crime of bigamy. The ownership of slaves is a crime. Sexual activity with a person who does not consent involves either rape or sexual assault…
In the Shariah tradition:
Women need written permission to travel and/or a male relative to accompany them.
In the Anglo tradition:
All citizens are free to come and go as they please unless arrested, imprisoned or excluded from private or Government property.
In the Islamic Shariah legal system the following punishments are indicated for the associated crimes:
- Adultery: 100 lashes and capital punishment (stoning or beheading by the sword or being hanged or shot)
- False allegation of adultery: 80 lashes, loss of the right of being an upright witness
- Alcohol consumption of liquor: minimum 80 lashes-may vary but never less than 40
- Theft; chopping off the right hand from the wrist
- Apostasy: capital punishment
In the Anglo version of this legal tradition.
Life imprisonment is the most serious punishment that is meted out and then only for the most serous crimes such as murder and rape. No corporal punishment is permissible. Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman and degrading punishment …Adultery and the consumption of alcohol may be regarded as sins but they are not crimes. At most they may be grounds for divorce. Apostasy may be regarded as a sin by the religion against which a person has turned but it is not a crime.
(One must point out that in the U.S., capital punishment is still legal.)
The authority from which Shariah emerges is “revealed by Allah, revealed to Muhammad via the Quran and Sunnah…applied by the Shariah courts.”
The most integrated and complete functioning of a modern Shariah system has been that of Saudi Arabia where these 27 principles have been in place and practice since the 1920s when the Saudis conquered most of Arabia and gave it their tribal name.
Not all Muslim countries implement all aspects of Muslim law. Some like formerly British-occupied Egypt and French-occupied Tunisia have been influenced by European legal models, largely resulting from their pre-independence colonization, where for example Britain tried to modify Shariah by imposing aspects of British common law.
This is not just theory. Today Shariah law is alive and well in the Islamic world and perhaps in its most pristine form in Saudi Arabia, exemplified in this most recent excerpt from the website of the House of Saud itself:
Saudi Royals to abolish public flogging but keep amputation for theft
April 24, 2020
The Saudi Royal Family are planning to abolish flogging as a form of punishment, as part of an effort to improve the Kingdom’s image and human rights record.
When the directive from the Gulf kingdom’s Supreme Court is introduced flogging will be replaced by other non-corporal punishments, possibly imprisonment or fines.
The decision comes as the latest in a series of changes to “outdated” laws introduced since Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to power. Reforming the Saudi Royal Family’s reputation is considered a key factor in attracting investment and tourism, and has become even more of an uphill task since the Khashoggi assassination.
The Saudi Royal Family have landed in the headlines a number of times for flogging their subjects, most recently in 2015 when young blogger Raif Badawi was subjected to a public flogging.
He was sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes in weekly public whippings, but a global outrage put a stop to his sentence part way through.
Some other punishments meted out by the Saudis are viewed as human rights concerns and may also be jeopardised, however at this stage hand amputations as a punishment for theft is likely to be kept and is described as a fair punishment under Islamic law.
While Saudi Arabia, which is now threatened by an ever-emboldened Shariah-based theocracy of the Shia variety from Iran, it is trying to show the West that it is “evolving.” You can be sure that the Taliban in Afghanistan will be establishing a Shariah-based state that makes the Saudis look soft by comparison.
As recently as August 19, 2021, The Hindu (a major Indian newspaper) quoted a Taliban leader that the movement is dedicated to imposing Shariah law and does not believe in democracy. Full stop.
None of this is news. It is well documented and after having read Solomon’s report you can go to any good university library and read up on the details of Shariah law and its application in the Islamic world.
As we contemplate the failure of the West after 9/11 to label its enemy as Jihad in the service of Shariah, we must listen carefully to the now victorious Taliban for the goal of the Taliban today is the same as it was twenty years ago; not only the creation of an Islamic state in Afghanistan but a world dominated by Shariah. Jihad is their means towards that end and it will not stop at their national borders.
That is the real meaning of 9/11. Most Americans have yet to wake up to this simple fact.
Image: Library of Congress, via Picryl // no known restrictions
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