The world is still reeling from the Taliban rapid takeover of Afghanistan. Afghans, particularly women, are wondering what the future holds for their country. A Taliban spokesperson stated that the Taliban would not discriminate against women. He would grant them their rights within shariah.
The Taliban’s moderate messages give the impression that they may have changed. We can get a good idea of their likely implementation of shariah from their track record since the 1990s, as well as their interpretation of Islam and the events of the past 20 years.
What Taliban to Shariah? How Did It Get Start?
Shariah in Arabic literally means the path to a watering supply. It was use to refer to a unique legal system that based on Islam’s sources.
In 622, Prophet Muhammad founded the first Muslim community in Medina. It was clear that a better legal system was need than the primitive customs of the tribal Arabian Peninsula. The foundations of Shariah laid by the revelations of the Quran, and Prophet Muhammad’s own reforms.
The Prophet’s legal approach was progressive and reasonable for his time. Prophet Muhammad’s wife Ai’sha stated that whenever faced with a problem relating to people, he would always choose an easier option and never take revenge. This is an important fact for the Taliban to remember.
A common legal system was essential as Islam expanded rapidly from Spain to India in the seventh century. Instead of trying to replicate the Persian and Roman legal systems, caliphs built a complex and detailed legal system based on the Quran and Prophet Muhammad.
Identified By Taliban Scholars
Higher objectives were identify by scholars. The highest objective of law was identify by Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi, a prominent Muslim jurist. To promote goodness and benefit humanity and to protect them against evil, harm, and subsequent suffering.
Five basic human rights were identify by Muslim jurists. They are the right to life and property, freedom from religion, freedom to think including speech, and the right to start a family. These individual rights could not be violate by sultans or caliphs.
In the Muslim world, legal pluralism was also practice. Many schools of law, which were develope over many centuries, were implement in large parts of the Muslim world. Five of these schools survived. Hanafi Maliki, Shafi’i Hanbali, Hanbali, and Jafari. The Sunnis have the other schools, while Shiites Muslims use the last.
From the eighth century to the 17th, Shariah was the most developed and sophisticated legal system in the world. It was the common legal code for all the Muslim lands and peoples that were characterize by geographic, cultural, and religious diversity.
Why Is Shariah Appearing Backwards In Today’s World?
Then why does Islamic law seem to have a medieval flavour and look backwards when it’s being apply in modern times? Five main reasons.
First, Muslim scholars announced the closing of the gate to ijtihad (legislation), beginning in the 11th century. They discouraged any new legal interpretation. From the 11th to the 14th century, this was the time of the Crusades and Mongol invasions of Muslim heartlands. With so many crises, it was not the right time to create new interpretations. Scholars argue that Islamic law was well-develope.
Second, the European colonization of most of the Muslim world in the 19th century led to the collapse of religious, political and legal institutions. Muslim scholars and leaders were too busy with modernity and defending conservative societies, so they did not have the time to create Islamic law.
The third was that Muslim countries gained their freedom, mainly after the second World War, and began nation-building. Most of the political leaders were secular modernists who wanted to modernize and westernize their countries. Their vision did not include Shariah. For example, the new Republic of Turkey used direct translations of Swiss civil codes to replace Shariah.
Muslim Taliban Scholarship
Fourth, the historical position of Muslim scholarship has changed. The rich endowments of religious institutions that were owned by secular nations have been nationalized by newly established secular states. Fear of opposition and dissent, Muslim scholars were persecuted. The Islamic scholarship was reduced in size to a tiny, poorly funded university faculty. Talented Muslims chose other professions than Islamic law.
This results in a significant loss of scholarship and at least 150 years of insufficient practical development in Islamic law. In its Majalla civil code project, the Ottoman Empire made the last attempt to integrate Islamic law and a modern legislative framework. Majalla was completed in 1876 and consisted of 16 volumes with 1,851 articles. The world has changed drastically since then without any adequate Islamic law response.
The fifth factor is the influence that puritanical Salafism has on jihadist groups like Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and Islamic State. These groups ignored the extensive Shariah legal literature and scholarship, as well as historical experience. They selectively interpreted and applied certain Quranic verses, prophetic traditions and Islamic law.
When compared with other legal systems, Islamic law seems relatively undeveloped. It was simply not able to evolve in the modern age.