In the comments on last night’s post about the Konstanz discotheque incident, the venerable Mark Spahn asked me to justify my statement that “[n]othing a Muslim does to a non-Muslim is illegal under Islamic law.”
I’m glad he made the request. It gives me the opportunity to explain once again the legal justification under the Shariah for various deeds that would be considered crimes under Western law. We’ve picked up quite a few readers since the last time I covered this material, so newcomers may find the following references helpful.
As with so many examples from Islamic law, I’ll cite ’Umdat al-salik wa ’uddat al-nasik, or The reliance of the traveller and tools of the worshipper. It is commonly referred to as Reliance of the Traveller when cited in English.
The Revised Edition (published 1991, revised 1994) is “The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law ’Umdat al-Salik by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 769/1368) in Arabic with Facing English Text, Commentary, and Appendices”, edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller. The publisher is listed as amana publications in Beltsville, Maryland.
This is an authoritative source on Sunni Islamic law, because it is certified as such by Al-Azhar University in Cairo. There is no higher authority on Sunni Islamic doctrine than Al-Azhar; it is the closest equivalent to the Vatican that can be found in Islam.
Here are some samples of authoritative Shariah law, Book O, Justice, “Those Not Subject to Retaliation” (o1.2):
|The following are not subject to retaliation:|
|(2)||a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim.
From the same section of “Justice”, also not subject to retaliation are:
|(4)||a father or mother… for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring…
Maj. Stephen Coughlin makes the following observation on clause (4):
This is honor killing. When someone says honor killing is not a part of Islam, all I say is, “Reliance of the Traveller, o1.2-(4).” If I can show you it is published in Islamic law, it is part of Islam.
So there you have it. You can find numerous other acts that are permissible (or mandatory) under Islamic law — for example, rape and slavery — that would be crimes in the West.
Conversely, there are hundreds or thousands of instances of behaviors that are forbidden under Islamic law, but not even mentioned in Western statute books.
For example, from Book E “Purification”:
|e4.4||It is unlawful for men or women to dye their hair black, except when the intention is jihad (O: as a show of strength to unbelievers). Plucking out gray hair is offensive. It is sunna to dye the hair with yellow or red. (N: It is unlawful for a woman to cut her hair to disfigure herself (n: e.g. for mourning), though if done for the sake of beauty it is permissible.) It is sunna for a married woman to dye all of her hands and feet with henna (n: a red plant dye). but it is unlawful for men to do so unless it is needed (N: to protect from sunburn, for example).
So go easy on the henna, boys.