Filed Under: International

Islamic law: Why the Taliban’s rules depart from the religion’s core values

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Worldwide concern for Afghan women grows as the Taliban takes control of their country in the name of Islamic law. However, in reality, the Taliban’s enforcement of an extremely conservative lifestyle is only one interpretation of Islamic law.

JOE BIDEN: HOW AND WELL THEY TREAT WOMEN AND GIRLS.

STEPHANE DUJARRIC: ALL PEOPLE, INCLUDING WOMEN AND GIRLS

KAMALA HARRIS: IINCLUDING WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

SHANNON LONGWORTH: AFGHAN WOMEN AND CHILDREN—EYES ARE FOCUSED ON THEM AS THE WORLD WATCHES THE TALIBAN TAKE CONTROL OF AFGHANISTAN.

TALIBAN LEADERS PROMISE WOMEN’S RIGHTS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF ISLAMIC LAW-

BUT WHAT EXACTLY IS ISLAMIC LAW AND IS IT DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THE TALIBAN SAYS IT IS?

LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHT.

THE NATIVE TERM FOR ISLAMIC LAW IS SHARIA.

BUT KHALIL ANDANI, AN ISLAMIC STUDIES SCHOLAR AND PROFESSOR, SAYS THERE’S A LOT OF MISINFORMATION ABOUT THAT TERM.

KHALIL ANDANI: IT DOES NOT ACTUALLY MEAN LAW, THE WORD SHARIA DOES NOT MEAN LAW JUST MEANS A PATH OR A WAY.

LONGWORTH: SO IT’S THIS IDEAL WAY OF LIFE WHICH, MUSLIMS BELIEVE, IS FAVORABLE TO GOD.

ANDANI: WITHIN THE ISLAMIC TRADITION, THERE HAVE BEEN VARIOUS ATTEMPTS BY FALLIBLE MUSLIM SCHOLARS, TO ACTUALLY CONCRETIZE IN THE FORM OF CONCRETE RULES, WHAT SHARIA LOOKS LIKE.

LONGWORTH: THOSE SCHOLARS SOMETIMES USE SOURCES THEY BELIEVE ARE DIRECTLY REVEALED BY GOD. LIKE THE QURAN, FOR INSTANCE.

SO, THE RULES THEY COME UP WITH ARE NOT TECHNICALLY SHARIAH.

THEY’RE SOMEONE’S INTERPRETATION OF SHARIA, AND THAT’S CALLED FIQH.

AND THE FIQH A MUSLIM FOLLOWS IS A PERSONAL CHOICE.

ANDANI: YOU KNOW, ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO WORSHIP, AND DO THESE PRACTICES, ACCORDING TO ONE’S UNDERSTANDING, THEY CAN’T BE FORCED ON YOU OR PARTICULAR COMMUNITY.

LONGWORTH: SO NOW, FORCING A FIQH ONTO PEOPLE IS WHERE WE RUN INTO CONTROVERSY WITH THE TALIBAN.

WHEN THE TALIBAN WAS IN POWER, THEY MERGED THEIR FIQH WITH STATE LAW, FORCING AN EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE LIFESTYLE ON AFGHANS.

ANDANI: THEY CONFINE WOMEN TO THE HOME, THEY DON’T LET WOMEN GO OUT IN PUBLIC, UNLESS THEY’RE WEARING BURQAS.

LONGWORTH: AFGHANS LIVED THROUGH THAT, NOT TOO LONG AGO.

I’M TALKING ABOUT IN THE NINETIES, WHEN PEOPLE WERE PUBLICLY EXECUTED FOR NOT FOLLOWING THEIR RULES.

EVEN AS THE TALIBAN’S PUBLICLY CLAIMED WOMEN WILL BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN THEIR RIGHTS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF ISLAM, ANDANI’S SKEPTICAL.

ANDANI: I CAN TELL YOU THAT IF HISTORY MEANS ANYTHING, THE TALIBAN WILL LIKELY NOT FOLLOW THROUGH ON THEIR RHETORIC.

LONGWORTH: SO NOW, A GENERATION OF WOMEN, RAISED WITH HOPES FOR EDUCATION AND CAREERS, MAY FACE A FUTURE WITHOUT THOSE THINGS.

AND NOT BECAUSE OF ISLAMIC LAW, BUT THE TALIBAN’S INTERPRETATION OF IT.

GOT IT STRAIGHT?

LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS AND MAKE SURE YOU HIT THE STRAIGHT ARROW BIAS METER.

Worldwide concern for Afghan women grows as the Taliban takes control of their country in the name of Islamic law. However, in reality, the Taliban’s enforcement of an extremely conservative lifestyle is only one interpretation of Islamic law.

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