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In the Name of God بسم الله

An Islamic Government...

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(bismillah)

(salam),

I recently was having a discussion with my friend at school, about the role of an Islamic government, in enforcing Shari'ah. We talked about various points, but when we touched the topic of Hijab, I quickly changed the topic, because I didn't know anything about it. (I'm good at changing the topic ;) )

So, I thought, I would learn something about it, and continue the discussion about it with him. So, I would like to have answers for the following questions, and preferably a discussion about it too. Any answers given, should be supported by references, which can be anything from a verse to a, ruling, again, preferably from Ayatullah Sistani.

(i) Does an Islamic government have to force, Muslim women in the country to wear Hijab? or is it a matter of choice, for the government?

(ii) If the answer to the first point is in the affirmative, do non-Muslim women in a Muslim country have to wear Hijab, or at least observe some kind of dress code, while roaming the streets, or at work/school?

(iii) If the answer to the first two points is in the affirmative, what will be the punishment of not observing Hijab/ moral dress code? Could it possibly include, the expulsion of the female non-Muslim citizen from the country?

If you provide a link to a book, I will appreciate if you be specific, about the page number/chapter number or just copy-paste the answer from there. :)

(wasalam),

Basim Ali Jafri

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(bismillah)

Ask your self this: What do we expect in the government of Imam al-Asr (ATF). Would he let women walk around on streets without Hijab?

and as far as proof from Quran:

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily)appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms andnot display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers ortheir brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss. (Quran 24:31)

"O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful." (Quran 33:59)

Also the question should not be limited to Hijab......it should include all commands imposed by Sharia.

WS

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(salam),

^ I knew about the verses, but thanks for the reminder. But, I believe you have left most, if not all, of my questions, unanswered. :(

I do not want to know whether it is obligatory on the women to wear Hijab or not. What I want to know is that is it obligatory on the government to make women (Muslim and non-Muslim) wear Hijab/ observe a decent dress code.

Of course, Imam Mahdi (ajf) would not allow such a despicable thing. But again, if women opt not to follow his orders, what would be the punishment imposed? I have not come across any ruling from any Marja on this (i.e punishment for women who do not observe Hijab in an Islamic government). :huh:

(wasalam)

Basim Ali Jafri

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One has to keep in mind that part of the Islamic picture of government that can be derived from historical precedent is that the legitimacy of a government is based to a certain extent on the consent of the governed, and the extent to which such a government can go in "implementing Islamic principles" depends on what kind of mandate the people give. That is, the people, as a mass, based on the notion of "no compulsion in religion" can choose to be irreligious in whole or in part, and a government cannot force Islam down the throats of the people en masse if large portions of the population don't approve of it. This both from a perspective of practicality and from a perspective of human freedom.

Now, if we want to refer to the time of al-Mahdi, it is questionable how much such force would even be necessary, for two reasons:

1. The appearance of the imam would be precipitated by the Muslims, or at least a good core of them getting their act together in an Islamic revival movement that demonstrated clearly how Islam is relevant and growth-encouraging in the modern world

2. The imam would come no doubt with powerful arguments based on reason to convince people to want, of their own free will, without being forced into it, to follow Islam

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i don't know the answer to this question.

however i would like to point out that many muslims nowadays let western secular societies tell them what is 'minimum decency'. (i dont mean 'wajib hijab' but i mean 'minimum decency for public dress in society', say what an irreligious person who doesnt care about hijab might wear)

standards of 'minimum decency' in societies have always been different in different times and places. as far as i know in most of the christian oriented west, up until this century it was taboo for ladies to show their upper legs in public. so a westerner would not have said that was a 'personal choice' if a lady showed her upper legs, they would have said it is immoral and wrong to walk around like that in public. of course muslims would have said the same thing.

but now that westerners have changed their minds about 'minimum decency', and generally say (as a society, not as individuals) that you can show almost anything, a lot of mulsims say it is ok to show almost everything and that you should not enforce any standard beyond that because it is all personal choice. (i am not talking about hair covering here, but things more like leg-covering, belly-covering, rear-covering, etc)

there is still 'minimum decency' in western societies (aka no full nudity except for those beaches u hear about) and muslims agree that that is not 'personal choice' and one does not have the choice to be nude in public.

but what i am getting at is a lot of muslims seem to internalize western standards of 'minimum decency' rather than assert their own probably because there is so much cultural influence from the west. if we have ideas about what is minimally acceptable clothing for someone to walk around in in public, we should question where we got those ideas from and whether we are taking them from healthy sources

ps basim i dont think this applies to u since u r in saudi but i mean muslims in other places

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however i would like to point out that many muslims nowadays let western secular societies tell them what is 'minimum decency'. (i dont mean 'wajib hijab' but i mean 'minimum decency for public dress in society', say what an irreligious person who doesnt care about hijab might wear)

The entire post was most noteworthy. I am reminded of what Michael Hoffman wrote in 2005. He is a former Associated Press reporter who became a devout Christian. He understands the moral situation very well.

What price the dignity of future American mothers and wives -- girls as young as ten -- dressing in public like jungle natives, in what amounts to loin cloths, "apparel" that would have gotten them arrested for indecency as recently as the America of the 1950s? We are experiencing child-molestation on a mass scale!
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i don't know the answer to this question.

however i would like to point out that many muslims nowadays let western secular societies tell them what is 'minimum decency'. (i dont mean 'wajib hijab' but i mean 'minimum decency for public dress in society', say what an irreligious person who doesnt care about hijab might wear)

standards of 'minimum decency' in societies have always been different in different times and places. as far as i know in most of the christian oriented west, up until this century it was taboo for ladies to show their upper legs in public. so a westerner would not have said that was a 'personal choice' if a lady showed her upper legs, they would have said it is immoral and wrong to walk around like that in public. of course muslims would have said the same thing.

but now that westerners have changed their minds about 'minimum decency', and generally say (as a society, not as individuals) that you can show almost anything, a lot of mulsims say it is ok to show almost everything and that you should not enforce any standard beyond that because it is all personal choice. (i am not talking about hair covering here, but things more like leg-covering, belly-covering, rear-covering, etc)

there is still 'minimum decency' in western societies (aka no full nudity except for those beaches u hear about) and muslims agree that that is not 'personal choice' and one does not have the choice to be nude in public.

but what i am getting at is a lot of muslims seem to internalize western standards of 'minimum decency' rather than assert their own probably because there is so much cultural influence from the west. if we have ideas about what is minimally acceptable clothing for someone to walk around in in public, we should question where we got those ideas from and whether we are taking them from healthy sources

ps basim i dont think this applies to u since u r in saudi but i mean muslims in other places

(salam),

So, in short, Muslims are westernising. :( They're becoming more, as they call it, 'moderate', and think covering the head, such that no hair shows, or covering the body such that the clothes are loose, and only hands and face show, is clear, extremism.

Moreover, what I think it is coming to - what my grandmother often mumbles when she sees Bollywood actresses dancing with no more than a bikini on - 'aray yeh bhi utaar do!' meaning 'take this off too!'. And she's not wrong. I'm afraid, the 'minimum decency' is showing a rapid decline, and I won't be surprised if I find the word 'decency' vanishing from Western dictionaries, within a few decades, perhaps.

Lol, I get the fact how Saudi Arabia is not westernising as fast as other countries, but it would ofcourse, be incorrect to say it is not westernising at all. New Saudi generations re getting around to the fact, that women are not 'items' or worse, 'animals' which can be bought and sold (dowry I mean) and kept in the home, and 'used' when you like it - the same lesson the Prophet (pbuh) taught 1400 years ago! :squeez:

Inside, all that black 'Burqa', Saudi women, wear shorts, and mini-skirts and what not! The process, is slow, but evident here, too.

And good points, Kadhim, why there wouldn't be much enforcement needed, Inshallah, during Imam Mahdi's (ajf) time. I agree, there's no compulsion in religion, according to verse 2:256, but it is the duty of the Islamic government to keep the society away from all satanic, and evil practices, such as bars, drinking, drugs, dance-clubs, prostitution, etc. , isn't it? This can, not be achieved, unless of course, a feminine dress code is not introduced (if not full Hijab).

Just pondering, does Iran impose any such compulsion on its non-Muslim citizens, especially considering the fact that Imam Khamenei has every right to do so, if it were legal according to Shari'ah?

(wasalam)

Basim Ali Jafri

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Basim,

Yes, a government that sought to call itself "Islamic" would have a duty to pursue social order and decency. But what I am saying is that the government would need a mandate from the people approving the government passing laws to pursue certain goals and with certain guidelines and restrictions as to the sorts of means the government can use to reach those ends. This need for some sort of consent is essential. Remember the case of Imam Ali when the people came to him after the death of Uthman. Ali refused their offers of allegiance at first, making clear to the people under what terms he would rule, and what they would expect of him. He would only take the caliphate if they agreed to give him that mandate.

As for how this would apply to non-Muslim citizens, this is a more complex point, with a number of competing principles to balance and consider.

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Here is one way to look at it:

Each society has certain dress limit.....

They decide on that...

But how would we decide what that limit would be? The only thing we see acceptable and ok is the one we know of in Quran.

So why not make that the dress limit?

I sort of went by that logic. Because if we go no, not this much, not that much, I mean we really deciding what is OK and what is not...

Another issue is that without these rules, because of the influence of the west, a lot of people might be taking it off. So we have to keep in mind that as well.

wa salam

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Basim,

Yes, a government that sought to call itself "Islamic" would have a duty to pursue social order and decency. But what I am saying is that the government would need a mandate from the people approving the government passing laws to pursue certain goals and with certain guidelines and restrictions as to the sorts of means the government can use to reach those ends. This need for some sort of consent is essential. Remember the case of Imam Ali when the people came to him after the death of Uthman. Ali refused their offers of allegiance at first, making clear to the people under what terms he would rule, and what they would expect of him. He would only take the caliphate if they agreed to give him that mandate.

So, you mean some kind of vote? But, shouldn't public vote be on things which are not already decided by the Islamic Shari'ah? I would be surprised if there is no rule about this in the Shari'ah. But I guess there isn't, so there can be a vote, perhaps in the Islamic parliament (elected by the people of the Islamic republic)?

As for how this would apply to non-Muslim citizens, this is a more complex point, with a number of competing principles to balance and consider.

I'm sure it wouldn't take much time for you to explain the competing principles of this complex point? :)

(wasalam)

Basim Ali Jafri

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Here is one way to look at it:

Each society has certain dress limit.....

They decide on that...

But how would we decide what that limit would be? The only thing we see acceptable and ok is the one we know of in Quran.

So why not make that the dress limit?

I sort of went by that logic. Because if we go no, not this much, not that much, I mean we really deciding what is OK and what is not...

Another issue is that without these rules, because of the influence of the west, a lot of people might be taking it off. So we have to keep in mind that as well.

wa salam

(salam),

Well you see, it really isn't that clear in the Quran, either. So let's assess the verses:

And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms... (24:31)

Here a clear command is given to the believing women to observe Hijab. Not doing so is a sin, unless ofcourse, there is a valid reason. However, you can not force them, considering the following verse:

There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error... (2:256)

It is the duty of every Muslim woman, to observe Hijab, but this is only obligatory as an individual. I guess, a government really can do nothing to force them, despite the social problems it may cause. If it does, it will be going against the verse 2:256. It is here, where Ijtihad plays a major role. But surprisingly, I can not find any ruling regarding this matter.

Kadhim's idea of a vote seems like a better choice, since it's democratic, and will work perfectly where the Quran and Ahadith have not clarified an aspect of law.

But again, before holding a vote, shouldn't Marjas be consulted on this? They could produce a ruling, which would make the need of holding a vote unnecessary. Perhaps someone could send this question, to offices of Grand Ayatullahs. I'm rather bad at describing in a few sentences what I mean, so I need someone else to do the job. :blush:

(wasalam)

Basim Ali Jafri

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(bismillah)

(salam)

One has to keep in mind that part of the Islamic picture of government that can be derived from historical precedent is that the legitimacy of a government is based to a certain extent on the consent of the governed, and the extent to which such a government can go in "implementing Islamic principles" depends on what kind of mandate the people give. That is, the people, as a mass, based on the notion of "no compulsion in religion" can choose to be irreligious in whole or in part, and a government cannot force Islam down the throats of the people en masse if large portions of the population don't approve of it. This both from a perspective of practicality and from a perspective of human freedom.

I agree that before the establishment of an Islamic government you need to get people's mandate. But the ayat "no compulsion in religion" applies on non-Muslims who have not yet accepted Islam. But if someone is already a Muslim or have become one there is compulsion. Therefore, in that mandate there are no limitations. Either people chose an to accept an Islamic system of government with all its enforceable laws enforced or they refuse. There is no 20% or 50% or 90% Islam.

Now, if we want to refer to the time of al-Mahdi, it is questionable how much such force would even be necessary, for two reasons:

1. The appearance of the imam would be precipitated by the Muslims, or at least a good core of them getting their act together in an Islamic revival movement that demonstrated clearly how Islam is relevant and growth-encouraging in the modern world

2. The imam would come no doubt with powerful arguments based on reason to convince people to want, of their own free will, without being forced into it, to follow Islam

The above point is not valid. Prophet (SA) also came with powerful arguments based on reason and also with Quran and other miracles. He established an Islamic society and government and yet people violated laws and clear commands of God and they had to be punished during Prophets (S) time and during the time of Imam Ali (A) rule.

Why should one expect that human nature would change and everyone would become a sinless masoom?

WS

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So, you mean some kind of vote? But, shouldn't public vote be on things which are not already decided by the Islamic Shari'ah? I would be surprised if there is no rule about this in the Shari'ah. But I guess there isn't, so there can be a vote, perhaps in the Islamic parliament (elected by the people of the Islamic republic)?

Picture it this way, Basim. Unless the people widely support something and consider it important enough to expend effort as a society enforcing it, you will get backlash if you try to enforce it. Law enforcement is not simply a matter of signing a law and sending men with sticks to make people follow it. There is a level of social norm, understanding of the people, etc. If say 90% of your people observe hijab and understand why it is important, etc, then you probably could "enforce" it legally through some combination of legislation, education, advertising, punishments in the form of moderate fines, supported by the social pressures to conform from the moral majority. Even then, the enforcement has to be done properly, in moderation, without going overboard.

But if you don't have that support from the public, forget about it. If say half the people don't observe the hijab or don't believe in it, how are you going to enforce it? If you get enough bearded men with sticks, and physically beat people, they will comply, outwardly ...for a while. But they will do so with hatred in their hearts. Then, slowly, bit by bit, they will engage in subtle acts of disobedience, testing the boundaries, slowly wearing down the ability of the enforcement people to respond. You see this in Iran with the youth. Ultimately, the police cannot arrest everyone or beat up everyone if they want to challenge the law. Police have sisters and daughters too, after all.

So, yes, governments have to try to pursue social order, and hijab in theory can help to encourage that. But when it comes to setting enfoceable laws, as part of this duty, governments have to think about the impact of trying to enforce laws on the social order.

I'm sure it wouldn't take much time for you to explain the competing principles of this complex point? :)

(wasalam)

Basim Ali Jafri

Briefly:

-Rights of non-Muslim populations to some reasonable amount of self-determination

-Non-Muslims not bound by Muslim religious law

-The need for public decency and social order

-The impact on the social order of trying to apply Muslim standards of dress to non-Muslims in terms of resentment by non-Muslim citizens

-If one sets one standard for the Muslims and another for the non-Muslims, any impact that would have in terms of social cohesion between the different religious groups. Deeply ingrained legal differences along confessional lines can lead in today's world to civil war, as seen in Lebanon in the 20th century

-The amount of public support for the suggested law

-The social cost of enforcing the law as compared to expected benefits

If it's not to much trouble, can someone please answer my question. Was Hijab enforced upon Muslim women during the lifetime of the Prophet(saw)?

I would be surprised if it was ever an issue. It was the common custom of the time and place for women's dress.

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(bismillah)

(salam),

Well you see, it really isn't that clear in the Quran, either. So let's assess the verses:

And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms... (24:31)

Here a clear command is given to the believing women to observe Hijab. Not doing so is a sin, unless ofcourse, there is a valid reason.

Agreed.

However, you can not force them, considering the following verse:

There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error... (2:256)

It is the duty of every Muslim woman, to observe Hijab, but this is only obligatory as an individual. I guess, a government really can do nothing to force them, despite the social problems it may cause. If it does, it will be going against the verse 2:256.

This verse is about non-Muslims. You can not force them to change their religion.

If this verse were to apply on Muslims. You could not enforce anything.If there is no compulsion why punish a person who drinks alcohol or does other haram acts. The Islamic penal code would be meaningless if an Islamic govt. there was no compulsion to obey these laws.

It is here, where Ijtihad plays a major role. But surprisingly, I can not find any ruling regarding this matter.

Ijtihad is not there to change or mend Islamic laws. Allah is the one who makes the laws. Ijtehad is there to find these God given laws

Kadhim's idea of a vote seems like a better choice, since it's democratic, and will work perfectly where the Quran and Ahadith have not clarified an aspect of law.

It is our belief that principals have been written in Quran and hadith. And laws could be deduced from these principals.

But again, before holding a vote, shouldn't Marjas be consulted on this? They could produce a ruling, which would make the need of holding a vote unnecessary. Perhaps someone could send this question, to offices of Grand Ayatullahs. I'm rather bad at describing in a few sentences what I mean, so I need someone else to do the job.

what do you want Marjas to rule about. There job is to look at principals and deduce Allahs commands from these principals. They cant make Hijab non-wajib if it has been made wajib by Allah.

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This verse is about non-Muslims. You can not force them to change their religion.

If this verse were to apply on Muslims. You could not enforce anything.If there is no compulsion why punish a person who drinks alcohol or does other haram acts. The Islamic penal code would be meaningless if an Islamic govt. there was no compulsion to obey these laws.

The verse is not written as being restricted to non-Muslims. Listen; it's rather simple. The Islamic penal code will only be words on paper and the efforts to enforce will be fruitless and counter-productive if the people don't widely support the issues as something important and worthy of being enforced. The only way to enforce something without a popular mandate is through violence. And that approach always fails in the end too. You can only make your people comply with the stick and the gun for so long.

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The verse is not written as being restricted to non-Muslims. Listen; it's rather simple. The Islamic penal code will only be words on paper and the efforts to enforce will be fruitless and counter-productive if the people don't widely support the issues as something important and worthy of being enforced. The only way to enforce something without a popular mandate is through violence. And that approach always fails in the end too. You can only make your people comply with the stick and the gun for so long.

So all in all, if the public do not want a certain Sharia law then it should not be applied correct?

Actually, the tafseer of the verse does restrict it to the Non-Muslims. All the tafseer actually agree with that notion unless you can provide one which is otherwise.

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But, shouldn't public vote be on things which are not already decided by the Islamic Shari'ah?

There is a fundamental problem with this line of thought. The terms "Islamic Shariah" or "Islamic Government" are often used in public discourse as if those are concrete ideas written somewhere and universally agreed upon. Reality is that there are 1.2 billion Muslims and 1.2 billion "Shariah laws". For any given Muslim, Islam is simply what that person thinks Islam is.

In a secular democracy, every citizen brings his/her "Islam" or whatever belief system to the table (through elected representatives) and the country forms some kind of a consensus in developing the laws. The minority who lose out in this consensus still agree to follow the rules because they know that a majority has made the decision. Secondly, they have the option to convince the majority of their point of view and hope that eventually the laws can be changed. So a secular democracy can theoretically have all the laws of, let's say, Shia Ithna Asheri Islam if the majority citizens agree to those laws.

In a religious government, a handful of individuals decide on what the laws should be, based on only their understanding of Islam, and these laws are then forced upon the majority usually by brute force. If laws were derived through consensus of all citizens then by definition that religious government would be called a secular democracy.

Going back to the original question, the laws for modesty and public etiquette should be decided by consensus in which all citizens are involved.

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So all in all, if the public do not want a certain Sharia law then it should not be applied correct?

How do you expect practically to apply it in that case?

Actually, the tafseer of the verse does restrict it to the Non-Muslims. All the tafseer actually agree with that notion unless you can provide one which is otherwise.

Yeah, that's nice. I apply the tafsir of what the words actually say.

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There is a fundamental problem with this line of thought. The terms "Islamic Shariah" or "Islamic Government" are often used in public discourse as if those are concrete ideas written somewhere and universally agreed upon. Reality is that there are 1.2 billion Muslims and 1.2 billion "Shariah laws". For any given Muslim, Islam is simply what that person thinks Islam is.

Correction: There is one Sharia however the interpretations differ from sect to sect not Muslim to Muslim as you have implied.

In a secular democracy, every citizen brings their "Islam" or whatever belief system to the table (through elected representatives) and form some kind of a consensus and agree upon some rules and laws. The minority who lose out in this consensus still agree to follow the rules because they know that a majority have agreed upon them. Secondly, they have the option to convince the majority and hope that eventually the laws will change. So a secular democracy can theoretically have all the laws of let's say Shia Ithna Asheri Islam if all the citizens agree to those laws.

But Secluarism is seperation of State and Religion hence how would a secular democracy take on the laws of a religious sect?

In a religious government, a handful of individuals decide on what the laws should be based on only their understanding of Islam, and is forced upon the majority by brute force. If laws were derived through consensus of all citizens then by definition that religious government would be called a secular democracy.

In an Islamic Government, the laws implemented are those that are in line with the Sharia. The idea of having an Islamic Government is to rule by the Sharia. If the Sharia was incomptent of being implemented in a Society or ruled according to it then it would have been specified in the scriptures and the texts.

How do you expect practically to apply it in that case?

Sharia Law has a branch to it which relates to the society. The Sharia Law is not all individual that it relates only to a person. If the State is an Islamic Establishment and wishes to implement the laws of the Sharia then it has a right to do so and the citizens of the state should follow that. In other countries which are not Islamic States, citizens abide by the laws decided by the Government. The change in the laws are not necessarily in the wishes of the citizen, sometimes it is against their wishes in many cases.

Secondly, the Sharia law cannot be suspended or put on hold in an Islamic State if the citizens do not want that. If such a methodology is applied then the Sharia law would never be implemented and an Islamic State would be nothing but a name.

Yeah, that's nice. I apply the tafsir of what the words actually say.

So you are a Quranist then I take it? Or if you apply the tafsir of what the words actually say then there must be some backing from the Hadith no?

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Requiring women to wear hijab is a part of Islamic Revivalism, which has its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt) - the mother of all 20th century Islamist movements including Khomeinism. You won't find anything written by the Imams requiring women to wear hijab specifically. Many people in the west consider a woman can be modestly attired without any kind of headgear. However in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, the culture prefers hijab. The attempt to attach this cultural garment to Islam is a new thing.

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Requiring women to wear hijab is a part of Islamic Revivalism, which has its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt) - the mother of all 20th century Islamist movements including Khomeinism. You won't find anything written by the Imams requiring women to wear hijab specifically. Many people in the west consider a woman can be modestly attired without any kind of headgear. However in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, the culture prefers hijab. The attempt to attach this cultural garment to Islam is a new thing.

You're on quite the roll of making stuff up as you go along aren't you.

http://www.*******.org/hadiths/dress-and-appearance/womens-modest-dress

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If the State is an Islamic Establishment and wishes to implement the laws of the Sharia then it has a right to do so and the citizens of the state should follow that.

It all depends on whether the people want an "Islamic government," and what sort of mandate, under what conditions they give this government to seek to apply "Islamic Law."

In other countries which are not Islamic States, citizens abide by the laws decided by the Government. The change in the laws are not necessarily in the wishes of the citizen, sometimes it is against their wishes in many cases.

The people select individuals to represent their interests and desires in terms of what sorts of laws and regulations to implement.

People will in the interest of law and order and the greater good go along with some laws they do not as an individual agree with so long as they believe that overall the system is representative of the path they want the government to take in leading the country.

If the individual has had about enough of a particular government, then he will take the next opportunity at the polls to choose someone else who will listen to his opinions more. If enough people feel the same way, their collective choice brings a change in government and a new legislative course, the extent of the legislative shift in correspondance with how much of a sense of discontent was voiced at the polls.

Secondly, the Sharia law cannot be suspended or put on hold in an Islamic State if the citizens do not want that.

I will prompt you to have the decency and courage to answer the direct question posed earlier. How do you suggest practically that a government can accomplish that, given the dismal history of universal failure of those who try to enforce legislation to which there is widespread disapproval?

If such a methodology is applied then the Sharia law would never be implemented and an Islamic State would be nothing but a name.

I fail to see how you draw this conclusion. A law is implemented if a significant majority of the people are convinced of its merit.

So you are a Quranist then I take it?

I fail to see how you draw this conclusion.

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There is a fundamental problem with this line of thought. The terms "Islamic Shariah" or "Islamic Government" are often used in public discourse as if those are concrete ideas written somewhere and universally agreed upon. Reality is that there are 1.2 billion Muslims and 1.2 billion "Shariah laws". For any given Muslim, Islam is simply what that person thinks Islam is.

In a secular democracy, every citizen brings his/her "Islam" or whatever belief system to the table (through elected representatives) and the country forms some kind of a consensus in developing the laws. The minority who lose out in this consensus still agree to follow the rules because they know that a majority has made the decision. Secondly, they have the option to convince the majority of their point of view and hope that eventually the laws can be changed. So a secular democracy can theoretically have all the laws of, let's say, Shia Ithna Asheri Islam if the majority citizens agree to those laws.

In a religious government, a handful of individuals decide on what the laws should be, based on only their understanding of Islam, and these laws are then forced upon the majority usually by brute force. If laws were derived through consensus of all citizens then by definition that religious government would be called a secular democracy.

Going back to the original question, the laws for modesty and public etiquette should be decided by consensus in which all citizens are involved.

Good post but I'd like to register my disagreement with the emboldened. If a government has a law regime which is specifically religious in nature (you gave Shia Ithna 'Ashari as example), even if it is by popular vote, it still can't be called secular democracy. Democracy, yes but not secular democracy. For a democracy to be secular, it has to subtract all reference to religion in lawmaking. It can not enact a law based on religion even if the overwhelming majority of the citizens adhere to that religion.

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You're on quite the roll of making stuff up as you go along aren't you.

http://www.*******.org/hadiths/dress-and-appearance/womens-modest-dress

No, please don't tar me with the same brush as the ulema, who got into the habit of making up hadiths soon after importing Sunni-style Shafi-ist legalism into Islam.

1) Where do your doubtful hadiths mention 'hijab'?

2) Where do your doubtful hadiths give the authority to a government agency to enforce penalties on those who don't wear hijab?

3) Which hadith collections do these doubtful hadiths come from?

You see, if you think it's a part of your religion you have a right to sit at your computer in Pittsburgh wearing a hijab and nobody will care. But if you then say you or some other officer has an Islamic duty to make women wear hijab in an 'Islamic state', you have to prove it. And of course you couldn't do that as it comes down to being a matter of simple brute force imposing your 'interpretation' on others and has no foundation in Islam.

Pahlavi tore the hijab from women's heads, Khomeinists now punish the head that doesn't wear hijab. Both examples are tyrannical. There isn't supposed to be any compulsion in religion.

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No, please don't tar me with the same brush as the ulema, who got into the habit of making up hadiths soon after importing Sunni-style Shafi-ism into Islam.

1) Where do your doubtful hadiths mention 'hijab'?

Maybe if you had a clue, you'd realize that back then they used the more specific word of khimar to describe what we now refer to as a "hijab" in terms of a head covering.

2) Where do your doubtful hadiths give the authority to a government agency to enforce penalties on those who don't wear hijab?

I wasn't talking about that, separate subject.

3) Which hadith collections do these doubtful hadiths come from?

A Shi`a researcher who has actually researched would have realized that Muhammad b. Ya`qub mentioned in the first hadith is Shaykh al-Kulayni, compiler of al-Kafi (heard of it?). The following hadiths after that (quoted in Wasa'il ash-Shi`a) are also from al-Kafi, except for the last which is from Qurb al-Isnad of al-Himyari, which is even older than Kafi (which itself is the oldest of the kutub al-arba`a)

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It all depends on whether the people want an "Islamic government," and what sort of mandate, under what conditions they give this government to seek to apply "Islamic Law."

The choice is limited to having an Islamic State or not. Applying the Islamic laws is not a matter of choice, as I stated previously you cannot suspend the Sharia because of the view of the people in a society even if it is an Islamic one.

As for why the application is not a matter of choice see below in my response.

The people select individuals to represent their interests and desires in terms of what sorts of laws and regulations to implement.

People will in the interest of law and order and the greater good go along with some laws they do not as an individual agree with so long as they believe that overall the system is representative of the path they want the government to take in leading the country.

If the individual has had about enough of a particular government, then he will take the next opportunity at the polls to choose someone else who will listen to his opinions more. If enough people feel the same way, their collective choice brings a change in government and a new legislative course, the extent of the legislative shift in correspondance with how much of a sense of discontent was voiced at the polls.

Have you read any works on the Islamic Governing System? If so you would realise that the system being based on the Sharia Law cannot just change all the laws. They are divided into primary and secondary laws, primary laws being such that cannot be changed such as the fundamentals as well as other aspects of the religion which are clear cut from the scriptures and the Quran.

The laws which are subjected to scrutiny are those which have room to reform. If you look at the laws that the Iranians have implemented in the last 10 years or so you will see a variety of different laws but only pretaining to certain issues of the religion. They cannot take the liberty to change every aspect of Sharia. Hence regardless of the voicing of the citizens, there are certain laws that cannot be changed if the Sharia is implemented.

I will prompt you to have the decency and courage to answer the direct question posed earlier. How do you suggest practically that a government can accomplish that, given the dismal history of universal failure of those who try to enforce legislation to which there is widespread disapproval?

And I will prompt you to do the same in relation to the question I posed to you.

I fail to see how you draw this conclusion. A law is implemented if a significant majority of the people are convinced of its merit.

It is quite easy to draw this conclusion, if you are advocating that collectively if the citizens of the Islamic State oppose the implementation of a law such as that of Hijab then it cannot be implemented by the State then the same can be applied to every other Sharia law. There will always be people who will oppose a law, be it in one generation or the other hence over time the Islamic State is left with nothing in essence but the name.

I fail to see how you draw this conclusion.

That was not a conclusion rather a question given your own statement.

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Maybe if you had a clue, you'd realize that back them they used the more specific word of khimar to describe what we now refer to as a "hijab" in terms of a head covering.

What are you, the PR dept for Khomeinists, Pittsburgh USA?

This thread is about 'hijab'. The Iranian legal code mentions 'hijab'. The definition of 'KHIMAR' is disputed. You might want to check this site and 'get a clue' (wow I'm really getting the hang of internet Khomeinist propaganda LOL).

http://www.muhajabah.com/khimar.htm

I wasn't talking about that, separate subject.

Wrong. Check the first post in this thread. It's about hijab under an ISLAMIC GOVERNMENT. Maybe if you spent less time trying to discredit enemies of Khomeinism on the internet you'd have the chance to read the thread OP, plus a little on Islamic history too instead of playing Shia Taleban in Pittsburgh.

A Shi`a researcher who has actually researched would have realized that Muhammad b. Ya`qub mentioned in the first hadith is Shaykh al-Kulayni, compiler of al-Kafi (heard of it?).

Wow this is great although you're getting to be like a broken record (like these hadiths perhaps?). I love your Islamic adab too 'bro'! Shows your true level of iman. Mashallah. Have I heard of al-Kafi? Hmm.. yes. Do I consider it all reliable. NO.

The following hadiths after that (quoted in Wasa'il ash-Shi`a) are also from al-Kafi, except for the last which is from Qurb al-Isnad of al-Himyari, which is even older than Kafi (which itself is the oldest of the kutub al-arba`a)

These are extremely doubtful hadiths, I reckon fake like hundreds of thousands of others. These things weren't written by the Imams and certainly nobody passed custodianship for interpretation of hadiths on to your 'competent' shoulders. Enjoy your freedom to choose whether to wear hijab.

THERE IS NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION

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For a democracy to be secular, it has to subtract all reference to religion in lawmaking. It can not enact a law based on religion even if the overwhelming majority of the citizens adhere to that religion.

Religion need never be referenced for a secular country's laws to be the exact same as religious laws. So practically, the senator/parliamentarian will follow the will of the people and the people will follow the edicts of their religion. In short, the parliament is not "enacting a law based on religion" rather it is doing so based on the popular vote.

As far as the elected secular senators/parliamentarians are concerned, they do not care where the people came up with their opinions as long as those come from the majority. So the point is all the secular laws can in fact turn out to be exactly the same as religious laws. Example of one such law in the US is the prohibition of prostitution - a law that most Americans support because of their religious convictions however, as far as the senate or congress is concerned, they are implementing the will of the people regardless of where the people came up with it.

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What are you, the PR dept for Khomeinists, Pittsburgh USA?

This thread is about 'hijab'. The Iranian legal code mentions 'hijab'. The definition of 'KHIMAR' is disputed. You might want to check this site and 'get a clue' (wow I'm really getting the hang of internet Khomeinist propaganda LOL).

http://www.muhajabah.com/khimar.htm

So, what's next, that I'm a Nazi? Anyhow, did you even bother to read that link you gave (which I imagine you pulled off of google trying to figure out what the word "khimar" means)? I was talking about covering the head, not a _niqab_ covering the face.

Wrong. Check the first post in this thread. It's about hijab under an ISLAMIC GOVERNMENT. Maybe if you spent less time trying to discredit enemies of Khomeinism on the internet you'd have the chance to read the thread OP, plus a little on Islamic history too instead of playing Shia Taleban in Pittsburgh.

Yes, I do know what the thread is about, I just have a low tolerance rate for people lying about our religion, making up their own fatwas and trying to pass it off as though they know what they're talking about while heaping scorn on people who are actually capable of reading our books.

Wow this is great although you're getting to be like a broken record (like these hadiths perhaps?). I love your Islamic adab too 'bro'! Shows your true level of iman. Mashallah. Have I heard of al-Kafi? Hmm.. yes. Do I consider it all reliable. NO.

So if you knew that why did you ask me where they were from?

These are extremely doubtful hadiths, I reckon fake like hundreds of thousands of others. These things weren't written by the Imams and certainly nobody passed custodianship for interpretation of hadiths on to your 'competent' shoulders. Enjoy your freedom to choose whether to wear hijab.

Extremely doubtful by what criteria? They disprove your baseless assertions therefore they must be wrong according to you?

THERE IS NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION

Ignorance posing as knowledge isn't too welcome either.

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The choice is limited to having an Islamic State or not.

Says you.

Have you read any works on the Islamic Governing System?

You seem to be (incorrectly) assuming that there is some consensus on how an "Islamic Governing System" is to work.

This is not the case however. I have read a number of individuals' personal opinions on the subject of governance, such as they are. The subject of the modern political philosophy of the state is frankly rather undeveloped so far. A lot of broad strokes and unelaborated details.

The laws which are subjected to scrutiny are those which have room to reform. If you look at the laws that the Iranians have implemented in the last 10 years or so you will see a variety of different laws but only pretaining to certain issues of the religion. They cannot take the liberty to change every aspect of Sharia. Hence regardless of the voicing of the citizens, there are certain laws that cannot be changed if the Sharia is implemented.

You bring in Iran as an example. Let's look at the issue of the moment, the hijab. The jurists say hijab is wajib, across the board, consensus. There is an actual law of the land to match this individual moral religious duty. Once upon a time, the enforcement authorities were able to impose this to the strictest sense - not a single stray hair, loose garments, the whole lot.

Over the course of 30 years, the young people bit by bit push back, such that the push back is widespread enough that enforcing this "ideal" interpretation of the law is practically impossible. A scarf loosely draped half way back on the head and the skin on the body technically "covered" (although often with tight shirts and jeans that are basically in violation of the spirit of the law of modest dress) is about all that the boys with clubs can enforce. And year by year, it slips back.

This is what happens when you put a law in place and try to enforce it when there is not a widespread popular support.

If the popular support is widespread, social pressures to conform will pick up and bring compliance where the force of law cannot.

Lacking this, you cannot enforce without resorting to tyranny, which ultimately demolishes the legitimacy of the entire governing regime.

This is why some level of consent of the governed and consultation with the people is necessary. It is not only a moral principle going abck to the Prophet, but it's a necessity from pure cold political expediency.

And I will prompt you to do the same in relation to the question I posed to you.

What question are you talking about? Look, man, if you can't answer what I'm asking me, just say, "I don't know."

It was a pretty simple question though. Take three: How do you practically expect to enforce a law over the long term if there is a lack of widespread popular support for it? What are you going to do? Especially in light of the example I discussed above.

It is quite easy to draw this conclusion, if you are advocating that collectively if the citizens of the Islamic State oppose the implementation of a law such as that of Hijab then it cannot be implemented by the State then the same can be applied to every other Sharia law. There will always be people who will oppose a law, be it in one generation or the other hence over time the Islamic State is left with nothing in essence but the name.

Sigh. I never claimed you need 100% support for a law to be legitimate. Please read more carefully and charitably in the future..

Do you seriously think any intelligent person would argue that you need unanimous approval on every point for a law to be legitimate? Think a little when you're trying to understand what people are trying to tell you. No, you don't need unanimity, but you do need a strong, widespread majority mandate, if not for every individual law (legislation by referendum/direct democracy is rather unwieldy for modern nation states) at least for a clearly explained legislative program/platform. What is more, this cannot be a simple "one-off" process such that in a referendum people are asked, "do you want an "Islamic government" and then that's it forever and ever afterwards if they say "yes."

The matter has to be re-visited and renewed at some sort of periodic interval, depending on the structure of the government.

That was not a conclusion rather a question given your own statement.

You presumed I was a "Quranist." You presumed wrong.

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Religion need never be referenced for a secular country's laws to be the exact same as religious laws. So practically, the senator/parliamentarian will follow the will of the people and the people will follow the edicts of their religion. In short, the parliament is not "enacting a law based on religion" rather it is doing so based on the popular vote.

As far as the elected secular senators/parliamentarians are concerned, they do not care where the people came up with their opinions as long as those come from the majority. So the point is all the secular laws can in fact turn out to be exactly the same as religious laws. Example of one such law in the US is the prohibition of prostitution - a law that most Americans support because of their religious convictions however, as far as the senate or congress is concerned, they are implementing the will of the people regardless of where the people came up with it.

It does make sense in theory however it is next to impossible to make 'secular' laws originally derived from the religious convictions of the citizenry. For instance, a theoretical secular democracy may incorporate this in legislation if 70% believed that women should be made to cover their hair in public. But on what basis the debating parliamentarians would speak in favour of this legislation? Hijab should be enforced because. . .it conforms to the religious convictions of the majority of voters? The second problem is the rights and choices of the women in remaining 30% who would be forced to put on hijab solely due to the religious convictions of the majority. A secular democracy cannot implement the will of the people at the expense of the minority due to religious convictions of the majority. This and every other legislation due to this reason would contradict the secular nature of the democratic system.

I see another problem with this. The government, in order to rule by the wishes of the majority, would have to either rule by direct democracy or hold countless referendums when legislating. We know this is not how it works. So I think, practically speaking, a theoretical secular democracy cannot a maintain a law regime which conforms to the religious convictions of the majority of people.

The ban on prostitution in the US probably didn't come in force after a referendum. So the voters were not given the opportunity to voice their opinions. It was legislated by the lawmakers who banned it for reasons other than religious. It's a different matter if they let their religious bias (no negative connotations attached) in. Compare it with the recent UK laws on the matter. Prostitution was not persecuted but now a guy cannot pay a woman for sex or he will go to jail. This did not happen due to the religious convictions of the majority of Brits.

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Says you.

Prove it otherwise please. An example of what I am referring to can be seen in history when the Prophet [p] went to Medina and the people wanted him to lead, he drafted the constitution and presented it for all the parties.

You seem to be (incorrectly) assuming that there is some consensus on how an "Islamic Governing System" is to work.

This is not the case however. I have read a number of individuals' personal opinions on the subject of governance, such as they are. The subject of the modern political philosophy of the state is frankly rather undeveloped so far. A lot of broad strokes and unelaborated details.

There is a consensus on the implementation of the laws across the board regardless of the system of the Governance. For instance, take the works of Khomeini and then compare it with that of Mohammad Shirazi or Montazeri; you will find that both have many common aspects however differ on the system not the policies. They all agree on the policies that the Government should have because that comes from the sources of Sharia such as the Quran and Hadith.

If anything you will need to go back to the works of Naraqi I would say to find a great detail on the subject of social laws in an Islamic State. There are others too how discuss this in detail.

You bring in Iran as an example. Let's look at the issue of the moment, the hijab. The jurists say hijab is wajib, across the board, consensus. There is an actual law of the land to match this individual moral religious duty. Once upon a time, the enforcement authorities were able to impose this to the strictest sense - not a single stray hair, loose garments, the whole lot.

Over the course of 30 years, the young people bit by bit push back, such that the push back is widespread enough that enforcing this "ideal" interpretation of the law is practically impossible. A scarf loosely draped half way back on the head and the skin on the body technically "covered" (although often with tight shirts and jeans that are basically in violation of the spirit of the law of modest dress) is about all that the boys with clubs can enforce. And year by year, it slips back.

This is what happens when you put a law in place and try to enforce it when there is not a widespread popular support.

If the popular support is widespread, social pressures to conform will pick up and bring compliance where the force of law cannot.

Lacking this, you cannot enforce without resorting to tyranny, which ultimately demolishes the legitimacy of the entire governing regime.

The bold part is not true, it is well known that in certain areas of the country the hijab in its strictest sense was never observed by the public and it continues till this day. Many even opposed greatly to the idea of having this obligation placed upon them and hence it was highlighted by protests in the years after the revolution as well.

The italic part is again misinformation. Many of the young people actually observe the Hijab maybe not in a manner as you would find in Qum or Mashad with chador etc but still observe it fully. There was never an ideal interpretation of the law that was observed throughout, as I said above. The change or those who wish to reform this aspect of the law are in a minority and found in pockets throughout the county. This can be observed from being on the streets in Tehran or Isfahan etc and you can see that majority of the people you come across will be those who take the moderate observation of the hijab and follow that, while there does exist a group who observe what you have defined but not to that extend that it is a transition after 30 years.

I would say that the majority of the Iranians in Iran would actually vote to keep this law if the choice was presented.

Anyhow without digressing coming back to the point I believe that the law should be implemented as it is specified albeit with moderation being the key rather than strictness and not dependent on the citizens unless it is a law which has room for reform where the view of the citizens should be taken into consideration when applying the reform where as you believe that most of the laws in a Government should be dependent on the wishes of the citizens if I am not mistaken right?

What question are you talking about? Look, man, if you can't answer what I'm asking me, just say, "I don't know."

It was a pretty simple question though. Take three: How do you practically expect to enforce a law over the long term if there is a lack of widespread popular support for it? What are you going to do? Especially in light of the example I discussed above.

This question: So all in all, if the public do not want a certain Sharia law then it should not be applied correct?

Mine is a simple question too, it requires a yes or a no, yet you have failed to answer it. Once you answer then you shall have my answer to your question.

Sorry, no. I fail to see where I claimed you need 100% support for a law to be legitimate. You seem to be imagining things.

Do you seriously think any intelligent person would argue that you need unanimous approval on every point for a law to be legitimate. God. Think a little when you're trying to understand what people are trying to tell you. You don't need unanimity, but you need a strong, widespread majority mandate,if not for every individual law (legislation by referendum/direct democracy is rather unwieldy for modern nation states) at least for a clearly explained legislative program/platform. What is more, this cannot be a simple "one-off" process such that in a referendum people are asked, "do you want an "Islamic government" and then that's it forever and ever afterwards if they say "yes."

The matter has to be re-visited and renewed at some sort of periodic interval, depending on the structure of the government.

I did not say you said a 100% support is required, I think you are the one imagining things.

What I am saying is that if you go with advocating the change through majority view on a law then with time and the progression of generations most if not all the Sharia laws will be removed if they do not conform to the ideology of the citizens residing in the Islamic State.

One question I have regarding the above is though why a revisiting referendum process in an Islamic State and not other Government systems? Would you say the same needs to be applied to countries like France for example?

You presumed I was a "Quranist." You presumed wrong.

Sure whatever rocks your boat.

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