Hamblin & Peterson: The function of Shariah law in Egypt

Published: Saturday, Dec. 1 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

Few in the West realize that European imperialists systematically dismantled many of the traditional precepts of Shariah in the 19th century in order to further their dominance and colonialism among Muslim peoples. Thus many modern Muslim countries have fractured legal systems based on elements of Shariah inconsistently mixed with French or English law. Only a few Muslim countries today, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, are governed solely by Shariah. A fundamental goal of contemporary Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood (which now rules Egypt through its Freedom and Justice Party) is to strip away foreign European colonial laws and return to Shariah, which had once been the law of the land throughout the Muslim world.

On the other hand, since several generations of Muslims have grown up under the hybrid colonial-Shariah legal systems that they now see as the norm, it will undoubtedly be a monumental and, no doubt, chaotic political task to reverse the process completely.

Thus, in this age of revolution, reformation and anarchy in the Muslim world, the future role of Shariah is a fundamental issue that will significantly impact the progress, stability and prosperity of the region.

email: religion@desnews.com

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