The Intersection Of Politics And Religion Around The Globe Essay Samples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Law, Islam, Muslim, Criminal Justice, Religion, Women, Middle East, Crime

Pages: 9

Words: 2475

Published: 2020/12/24


Religion has always remained central to America's sense of mission both abroad and at home and to the national narrative. This observation can be transposed onto various geographical contexts despite the salient belief that religion and modernity are antithetical entities and belief systems (). The intersectionality of religion, law, and justice is nuanced and complex, especially within the context of modernity an in an increasingly globalized world. Indeed, the relationship between religion and law have profound implications for political, social, and legal issues that pertain to constitutional rights to the freedom of belief and religion as well as the nexus between secular and religious legal systems. Focusing on sharia law both past and present, it is unequivocal that the intersection of religion and politics is not a remnant of an antiquated past. Rather, the origins of law within Islam have effectively grafted politics into the religious tenets of one of the world’s greatest religion. It must be remembered that law is a socially accepted system of conflict resolution that functions in a similar fashion to religious precepts.


All legal systems aim to resolve conflicts of quotidian life whether they be civil conflicts or criminal in the cases of maiming and murder. All societies have a legal system of some sort and can be divided into procedural law and substantive law. Procedural law governs how to proceed and how to arrive at a conflict resolution following a legal pattern of rules and how to proceed. Indeed, evidence must be translated or interpreted into a legal opinion or adjudication, so this form of law answers the question of how to proceed. Judges look at evidence of a civil contract that must be translated or interpreted into a legal opinion. In Islam, clerics often play the role of jurist consult and give their opinion about a legal problem or a specific legal case, which is referred to as a fatwa about a legal case or problem. As such, this category of law focuses on the process of resolution, such as how a crime can be resolved in a matter that reduces social violence and proffers a solution to answer the question about how to minimize conflict. The legal system in the United States is unequivocally adversarial in the sense that in criminal as well as civil cases, there are various parties in the case—the prosecutor and the defense attorney—who participate in a legal hearing that aims at arriving at some truth in a usually predictable pattern. In Europe, East Asian, and Islamic countries in the Middle East, however, the legal process that takes place is described as inquisitorial—not in the sense of the Inquisition—but the judge asks questions to the litigants in order to ascertain the truth and reach a verdict. When the process has played itself out, the verdict part of the trial proceeds in order to negotiate a penalty for an individual who is guilty of breaking the law and make good in legal terms.
Substantive law considers what the law actual is and defines what a crime is, what ordinary people should follow in legal terms, what the law says, which can be divided into two categories (). Criminal law pertains to the basic issues of rights and duties that humans beings have towards each other. This category of law covers crimes such as forgery, gross dishonesty, murder, and any other action that can harm another human being in a fundamental way. Civil law constitutes the other category of law, which pertains to market transactions and family transactions such as property, loans, property rights and claims, torts, and damages. Civil law includes a section in modern states that is administrative in nature regarding state law, and the rights and duties of citizens. Moreover, this category of law ascertains what legal associations are and what kinds of benefits and costs can such associations impose on its members. The role of punishment varies on an idiosyncratic basis, often directly correlating with religious precepts that undergird government structures. Deciding the verdict and consequences for someone who needs to pay back or make good in legal terms is determined as well, ranging from shaming people in public forums to reform by paying money as a contribution to society, paying off debt, and the restoration of social peace (). Ultimately, the law is radically incomplete without a conclusion or verdict that stipulates certain consequences for the individuals or parties involved. All societies have laws in this sense in place, and they have social acceptance systems of conflict resolution whether formal or informal.
Through a simple comparative framework, it is clear that all societies have both substantive and procedural laws to some degree. When studying a legal system, one must look at the quotidian and what laws structure the everyday lives of citizens, ascertaining what constituted a crime and what comprised civil law within a particular legal system or tradition(). Legal scholars who study economics and law render legal efficiency important because it affects the way law impacts economic growth, property, interpersonal interactions, and crime rates. When analyzing legal efficiency and asking the question “is a legal system efficient?”, scholars arrive at two strands of thought: predictability and proportionality. Both criminal and civil law can be evaluated by efficiency, especially negotiability and enforceability in civil cases. Predictability is that criminal law in its operations are more or less predictable, covers the probability of a suspect being let go free or incarcerated. The notion of predictability is significant in the adjudication of civil law because of negotiability, or the ability to negotiate different kinds of assets or resources and ascertain what is enforceable by law or not, that inhere it. Proportionality, or the idea that the punishment fits the crime, constitutes another strand of thought within the concept of legal efficiency. Legal scholars analyzing legal systems around the world ascertain whether the punishment doled out is commensurate with the severity of the crime committed. In criminal law cases, if someone gets convicted of drunk driving or is an aggressor in a malicious fight, there will be certain consequences that more or less will be commensurate with the crime that was committed and the damage done, so there is an expected proportionality in this case. Ultimately, proportionality affects predictability because if the punishment handed out is incommensurate with the crime committed, then the legal renderings become less predictable.

The foundation of Law: Principles and Theories of Justice

The foundations of law are constructed upon principles and theories of justice that underpin legal systems in both eastern and western countries spanning the globe. Moreover, certain legal systems graft in certain religious precepts that relate to morality in order to render a punishment commensurate to the crime committed. Legal systems in East Asian societies are rooted in principles of reconciliation, which focuses on reconciling conflicting parties to bring about social justice and peace to an extent. Such an approach to the adjudication of crime provides balance and focus in both criminal and civil cases. The nomocracy, or the rule of law, is undergird by the legal principle that law superseded arbitrary renderings made by government officials in eastern societies.
In western societies such as the United States and other European countries like Britain and France, along countries that have a sizeable Muslim population. the legal system is governed by notions of restitution, which aims at punishing criminal behavior while rehabilitating those who perpetrated any criminal act or acts. Secular values, social values, and restitution comprise the sources of the western legal system. Western legal societies draw on both secular and sacred values derived from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Thus, western legal systems are not just secular constructions but also influenced by sacred values. In predominately Muslim societies, sharia law governing quotidian life underscores the notion that sacred values shape the quotidian lives and activities in those respective societies. Restitution, or the repayment made to God for their blessings and their sins, as well as to paying back humans in a general sense, which all three major faiths look to. Members of society must pay back humans other humans in the same way that they pay back God both for his blessings and for when humans commit sins. Indeed, religious beliefs have been grafted into modern criminal justice systems. For centuries, monotheism—which the three great religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are—profoundly influenced debt law and issues related to money lending, just versus unjust debt, and usury practices.
PBS's three hour long, six part documentary entitled God in America, which was released in 2010, explores over four centuries of religious history in the U.S. by assessing it through the lens of American exceptionalism, an undergirding philosophy what was unequivocally and steadfastly rooted in religious freedom. At the beginning of the documentary, the narrator waxes poetic that "this is the story of America's struggle old and new" (“God in America). From a teleological point of view that totters on the verge of triumphalism, the documentary cogently traces the trajectory of American religious liberty in politics and society, thereby grafting this exceptional sense of national identity and religious character into the grand narrative. It considers the Anglican institutions firmly in place during the colonial era in which the "iron grip" of outmoded to a more modern and culturally pluralistic society tethered to Jeffersonian ideals of religious liberty. The narrator, Professor Stephen Prothero, articulates the threading thesis in the final installment of the series: "We've had this notion that this is a special place and what makes it special is that we have some kind of special relationship with God; the exact parameters of that have always been up for debate and exactly who is included has always been up for debate" (“God in America”). A host of scholars and film critics, however, decry PBS' sanitized treatment of religious developments in America by omitting key actors and crucial elements that have contributed to reshaping the contours of the grand narrative on role of religion in America’s national identity and political structures since its inception its inception. While some scholars laud this documentary for its presentation of religious liberty and how religion and law intersect, especially during extenuating circumstances such as war, others lament that it elides critical issues related to race and gender in order to proffer a neat account of the trajectory of religious liberty that ignores the dark aspects of American political culture. Nonetheless it is clear that the elision of various factors and the experiences of particular social groups points to a larger pedagogical problem that still persists in America about teaching the intersection of religion and law due to the fact that religion in the west is often viewed as antithetical to modernity and a remnant of an antiquated past that must remain completely separate from the political and legal systems in modern contexts.


In Muslim societies, sharia is a lived form of legal system that is significant in societies through the world, as Islam is considered one of the great monotheistic religions throughout the world. Scholars estimate that there are over a billion Muslims globally, numbers that are commensurate with Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity. The criteria of identity and belief—or makes a person a good Muslim—affects the way that Islam has been woven into politics and how sharia law has developed over the centuries. The Five Pillars of Islam, which provides the framework for Muslim life and marks the criteria of belief and identity of being a Muslim, are crucial to fully understand the intersectionality of religion and politics. The profession of faith, or Shahadah, viewed God as an absolute unity and emphasizes, above all, God’s absolute omniscience and omnipotence, as there are no other gods. Islam indeed represented pure monotheism because no aspects of god, god’s mercy, and virtues existence. Salat, or the five daily prayers Muslim adherents partake in every day. These prayers do not take a protracted period of time to carry out, but according to the Koran, pray functions as the adherent’s direct and personal link to God due to the absence of any intermediary. A strand of this pillar, the Friday Sermon is particularly imbued with significant because it functioned as a site where politics and religion intersected and where men and women attended prayer communally on Friday services is very significant because of the intersection between religion and politics. Imam and clerics usually delivered the Friday sermons and discussing pressing issues, many of which were political in nature. Issues discussed on Fridays were not always political in nature, but when political issues are important they will be addressed both directly and indirectly at these meetings. Thus, the interactions between religion and politics is fundamentally grafted into one of the five pillars of Islam. As such, religion and politics cannot be discursively frames as antithetical corollaries. Rather, the dynamics paint a complex and nuanced narrative about religion in relation to secular politics and law.
Zakat, or the giving of alms, charity, and the redistribution of resources to those in need, represents another pillar based on the notion that all material objects and wealth belong to God, so humans who have access to such resources retained the obligation to support the needy with God’s wealth. Zakat, which translates to “growth” and “purification,” and calls for compulsory or voluntary alms, charity, or tithing. By redistributing wealth and resources to those in need, the material possessions in a sense become purified. While this religious precept is one of the five Pillars of Islam, it still has implications about property, work, and labor. Sawm, or fasting, constitutes the fourth pillar and has no fixed time of year that it is celebrated. Muslims fast often throughout one’s life, but Ramadan refers to one month during the year in which Muslims devote themselves to fasting from sunrise to sunset. Interestingly, Ramadan never takes place on a fixed date in order to accentuate the power of God. Beyond just fasting from dawn to dusk, Muslims also abstain from sexual intercourse, carousing, and eating. Adopting an ascetic lifestyle in which a Muslim person ostracizes themselves from the outside world and the pleasures offered by it, Muslims believe that they will truly be able to empathize and sympathize with Muslims who are less fortunate than they are. Indeed, the seasons and seasonality of the faith are a product of God’s omnipotent, divine power.
The final pillar of Islam is the hajj, or the sacred pilgrimage to Mecca if possible. Some exceptions can be made such as pregnancy, illness, and lacking the funds and resources to make the trip. Nonetheless, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca is an important component of the Muslim faith because Muslim adherents believed that Mecca is holy as a foundation point for all Muslims and one area where all Muslims are equal in the eyes of God. Beyond the intersectionality of politics and religion so evident in the fundamental tenets of Islam, which will be important later on, it is also evident that the Koran legitimates strong property rights and claims to “social justice,” although their vision of social justice starkly contrasts from a western conception of it. The Koran says there is a constant tension between productive property, hard work, legitimacy of doing well materially, and the idea of social justice that retains God’s will. Zakat, or the requirement for almsgiving and charity underscores that tension point in the redistribution of resources to the poor and others who are less fortunate.
Sharia law is a comprehensive system of formalized civil and criminal law rooted in the teachings of the Koran. In practice, sharia law can stand alone or work in parallel with the state (Quuannon). There is a division of labor between administrative/state law and legal institutions, yet sets the foundation of both secular and religious law. Litigants can often choose sharia courts or state courts as a result of division of labor to prosecute a crime or recover a debt prior to making a strategic decision. After World War II, there was an expansion of state courts in Muslim societies, but recently, there has been a resurgence of the religious courts. Sharia law must be perceived as “living law,” or a way of reasoning, of thinking about an issue or situation from a moral point of view, and of conceiving how to live one’s life as a good Muslim, thereby revealing that sharia law was more multifaceted and multi-dimensional, as it did not just refer to the law followed by Muslim adherents. Sharia is a law of lawyers—often clerics and legal scholars called juris consults, Qadi, and Mufti—and these officials often act as judges and sometimes not. Thus, it is best to conceptualize these officials more as lawyers and proffer opinions about resolving legal cases. Sharia law is self-enforcing and self-help. As litigants bring or initiate suits and must enforce verdicts, which includes enforcing criminal verdicts. Thus, Sharia law places costs on litigants. The state law, known as Quanum, the law of the secular ruler, however, deviates from Sharia criminal law where the state can arrest people and enforce verdicts.
Sharia is the primary regulatory claim of Islam in everyday life. Regulatory claim issues on the sacred are resolved by the secular and vice versa. Whether sharia is followed completely or partly, whether it is moral reasoning or a legal one, the constraining the power of secular rulers regarding what they can do to subjects constrain on religion because it is self-enforcing: enforce own verdicts, and litigants brings suits and enforce cases. This legal system governed by sharia law starkly differentiates the legal system built on western legal traditions. Nonetheless, sources of sharia law are nonetheless quite straightforward. Some sharia laws are clearly stated in the text of the Koran itself, which is viewed as a unitary text viewed as the literal word of God. All Korans contain the same writings written in the same Arabic as the literal word of God. Hadiths, or statements made and/or actions taken by the prophet Muhammad that embody legal rules and moral values.
During the age of legal creativity, judges, juris consults and clerics with good reputations could create new legal rules based on the Koran and Hadiths, although over time that tradition stopped, but that does not mean that Sharia did not continue to adapt to epochal contingencies. Sharia adapted to change by applying standards to novel issues, such as the question over whether Muslims should have life insurance. Muslims considered the purchasing of life insurance as gambling because an individual was gambling on the length of a life, and the practice was juxtaposed with usury as abominable behaviors decried in the Koran. Imaams were called on to apply the Hadiths and Koran along with existing rules to resolve this set of issues. This appropriation of Muslim law is also evident in these responses to changes that took place in the family, how the role of women has changed and necessitates sharia law to adapt to epochal contingencies and realities. Imams are charged with the job to adapt sharia law to new contingencies. The Koran is viewed as living law and the primary source for legal opinions known as the fatwa. Fatwas are not legal commands even though they were treated as such. Rather, it is a legal opinion about some issue but only an opinion and thus does not have mandatory force. The Koran, in comparison to the other central texts in other religions, has a lot to say about civil law and how to carry out quotidian economic, social, and political activities.
It is important to remember that clerics, or imams, do not have divine power because they function more like judges or lawyers. Even high clerics who have great reputations do not have the power to enforce their legal opinion. The voice of authority within the context of modernity lays in the power of the clerics and imam who proffer fatwas. American Muslims often go to clerics and ask for a fatwa about some pressing issue in their lives, and these issues are largely political in nature. Moreover, Internet sharia has emerged as a source of opinions for what sharia means in certain cases. Indeed, the advent of the internet represents the modernization of traditional schools and juris consults. The political danger in modern contexts it that the internet has served as an entry point for people who claim to be the voice of Islam such as ISIS/ISIL and then make authoritative claims in sharia now. This scenario poses a is a huge problem especially in Sunni Islam because it is decentralized and lacks a pope-like figure. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that sharia is a highly formalized corpus of rules, texts and models that are activated by a legal opinion or fatwa.
Finally the nuanced concept of jihad is another example Esposito touches on with regards to the future of Islam in relation to war and peace, which jihad provides a fruitful subject for. Jihad. In its original meaning, jihad referred to the struggle against corruption and perversion. However, it has also come to mean “holy war,” and the question over who has the authority to activate a holy war has become a contentious issue in public discourses together that have disseminated and circulated throughout the globe. Ascertaining who had the authority to say and proclaim is sometimes quite obvious. One example is when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, a country that is 99% Muslim. Soviets were openly hostile to religion, so it became a jihad since Afghanistan is 99% Muslim (). The expansion of the term is immensely troubling because it can become the basis for terrorism, as the concept is far more complex than the media allows.
Sharia law in action greatly contrasts with the legal traditions in western societies where the legal systems there are often rooted in Judeo-Christian notions. As mentioned previously, procedural law is inquisitorial in the sense that it is judge-based. If an individual goes to a sharia law court with a criminal or civil issue, the judge will ask a cleric for an opinion prior to the evidence comes out. Ultimately, the judge tries to ascertain the truth. Regarding the evidence of the crime, sharia law courts ascribe a high value to witnesses or eyewitnesses (). Sharia criminal law is quite hard to convict someone because there has to be eyewitnesses to the crime rather than hearsay, forensics and fingerprints. Thus, this system is biased against self incrimination, or pleas of exemption and mitigation. Accused individuals have many ways to avoid a criminal penalty or civil judgment by saying they were coerced and/or not in the right state of mind when the crime was committed. Although the criminal aspects in sharia law courts seem harsh, the harshness is mitigated by how it works in procedural terms (). Clerics retain the role as experts in fatwa and most all regulatory claims of the sacred through their legal opinions.
Substantive law in sharia law courts helps adjudicate criminal offenses such as maiming or murder. Claims of God, or offenses against the public good that include banditry, counterfeiting, rebellion without just cause, and any other that that includes unnecessary disorder are the most common cases that the prosecutor opts to take to sharia law courts. Claims of man demand and require self-enforcement, whether the punishment be exacting a heavy fine if a loved was murdered or execution. The media has inundated viewers with this brand of sharia law, especially in light of the recent events perpetrated by ISIS and ISIL (). If someone gets convicted of murder, the victims’ relatives in theory can either accept a large fine or they can execute the guilty part, but they have to do it themselves because you cannot rely on the state. If this case were taken to the secular courts, the family of the slain victim would not have to execute themselves. Nonetheless, shaming punishments constitute the majority of the sharia law penalties. Civilian law, which pertains to property and family matters, also make up the majority of sharia law, a trend that is not exclusive to sharia law implemented in Muslim countries. Although this legal system has biases in terms of its civil law orientation, it nonetheless retains stable expectations, which is mentioned in the Koran, puts value in labor while frowning down on those who do not, and values active wealth. Finally, sharia is a source of moral reasoning, which is evident through DAWA and the revitalization movements that emanate from below. In the aftermath of World War II, these reform movements appeared similar to the Muslim Brotherhood which had taken place a generation prior. Today, various movements in Islamic societies have germinated, such as those in Pakistan led and largely constituted mostly by women who chafe against the oppressive patriarchy in place and assert a new role for women in Islam that fits within Koranic traditions ().
Sharia law proffers a prime example of how religious politics function within these movements, as it serves as the basis for a litany of reform movement because it can be brought to bear on all kinds of specific political issues. In recent years, the democratization of sharia has taken place in large part due to the constantly evolving internet during the last twenty years. In Islam, Judaism and Christianity, all individuals are responsible before god for their behavior. As a result, it is believed that everyone should have a voice in the discovery of a moral way of living in Islamic terms.
Sharia law is not inherently democratic or inherently not democratic, as it is suspended at the threshold of this binary. This liminality indicates that clerics are not longer the only figures delivering sharia law as the basis for politics, society, and issues related to science (). Implications can be both positive and negative. Sunni Muslims are adapting to a complex global economy, and this increased trend of adaptation appears in new regions that remain tethered to old rules enshrined in sharia law. End of life issues, family life, financial instruments, and democracy continue to figure largely in this discussion. In democracy, people struggle and argue over whether democracy and modern society are compatible with an Islamic society. The answers to such questions are not unequivocal in one way or not. Sharia must adapt even if the rules are relatively fixed. Thus, to reiterate, sharia law functions as a source of moral reasoning and a source for religious politics that continues to grow in the Muslim world. Sharia law is thus more than formal criminal law, as it is a mode of civil law and values. Everyone has an opinion that is valid and equal in value with others, a trend that is both new and troubling. It facilitates the rise of movements as ISIS who can speak with the same authority as clerics do, who have time and again rejected ISIS (). The globalization of terrorist under the veil of sharia law continues to underscore an image of the intersectionality of religion and law as dangerous. This pejorative image can only be deconstructed once people understand how the nexus between the two has devolved into something that justifies nefarious acts inflicted on others under the veil of religion.
Women’s rights continue to be severely curtailed in some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia by a conservative Islamic ideology rooted in sharia law: sex segregation, which is based on the legal sentiment of dar al-fasaad, or the shielding of women from corruption that permeates the public sphere. Moreover, Islamic ideology renders women as lacking in capacity and dexterity, which is why they require male guardians who grant them permission to travel, to undergo certain medical procedures, and to obtain certain permits. The Arabian Peninsula is the ancestral home of patriarchal systems as nomadic tribes. Central to Arabian traditions is the separation of men and women under the concept of namus, or honor. Many Saudi Arabians, however, do not perceive of Islamic principles as the primary impediment to women’s autonomy, agency, and rights (Ahmed 45). Thus, regarding issues that the Koran does not comment on, such as women driving, the clerics always err on the side of caution in accordance with the notion of haram. There are those, however, who lament over the gender gap that persists in Saudi Arabia. They point to Mohammed, whose wives were strong and powerful women, to reify their beliefs that gender norms in Saudi Arabia are outdated and must be fundamentally altered according to historical contingencies and modern realities (134). Moreover, women in other Muslim nations experience far more levels of equality than Saudi women, which reveals the uneven nature of Islamic feminism that is not homogenous in nature.
Women at the grassroots level have chafed against traditional mores and structures in order to move Saudi society more towards an egalitarian one. Grassroots campaigns have sought to introduce physical education in the curriculum of the government girls’ schools, although this move did not meet with much success like other attempts to grant Saudi women equal rights with their male counterparts. Many conservative groups protested in the capital against the westernization of Saudi society, which they viewed would foment an environment conducive with prostitution and adultery. Such social mores, conservatives posit, do not have a place in the sacred land where the Prophet Muhammad was born. Nonetheless, in 2012, two female Saudi athletes were able to participate in the Olympics for the first time in the country’s history. Since 2013, authorities have also granted women licenses to run private sports clubs for females only. Since 2005 when King Abdullah took power, he has carved out a larger role for women in public life. He appointed Norah al-Fetz to be his deputy minister for education in 2009, which became the highest post a woman has attained in the Saudi government. Finally, for the first time in Saudi history, women are able to stand in municipal elections and vote. Women in the private arena have also made some gas, as more women are running their own businesses and working, although female unemployment is still hovering around 32%. Law firms run by women have opened for the first time this year after authorities finally gutted the ban which prevented women who graduated from law school from practicing it. Women have also become increasingly more visible in the streets, especially in the capital, despite the fact that Wahhabist ideology is firmly embedded in urban like and social attitudes. Women have also found their own voice, becoming renowned authors while also becoming the primary subjects of films. Overall, women continue to push for change in a country that continues to be governed by Sharia law, which is heavily imposed by courts comprised of all men. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of equality for women in a country dominated by tradition. The guardianship rule has persisted, was women are required to procure permission from a male relative before going anywhere or doing anything (Montago 65-80). Until that role is gutted, many Saudi activists believe, they render the other reforms illusory and nominal in nature.
Debate has continued over the best method to combat and dismantle patriarchy within Muslim societies in which it is firmly entrenched. Fundamentalists tout that the hierarchical structures stems from a purely western concept and thus cannot be applied to Islam. Secularists, on the other hand, embrace an epistemology that postulates that both fundamentalist and secular forces have muted oppressed women by transposing their antithetical views and conflicts onto women’s sexualities, sartorial consumption, and corporeality for strategic reasons. As a result, a male-dominated hierarchy continues to be perpetuated. Indeed, feminist rhetoric even is exploited in order to reify this male-dominated social and political order which pits the West against the Muslim World. Women, their bodies, and their sexualities time and again became a lynchpin of the antagonism that inhere the East/West divide, or between the barbaric Orientals in the language of cultural critic Edward Said, and the civilized West. This narrative has become central to the foreign policies in both the East and the West. The Koran underscores this intrinsic culture difference when it states that “women should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what.appears thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’, their sons.” (Koran). Female corporeality is thus imbued with political meanings in public that has emerged as a significant site of contestation in the current Muslim feminist movement.
In the context of Saudi Arabia, women have gradually gained more political clout at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Although the status of women in the Middle East has slowly changed in recent decades, they remains a plethora of Saudi women and men who do not advocate for traditional gender roles and restrictions to be loosened because they view Saudi Arabia as the “closest thing to an ideal and pure Islamic nation” in the face of encroaching Western hegemony seeking to import its foreign values, Saudi society deploys Sharia law, or Islamic law, in order to proscribe its gender roles. Such laws are based on the hadiths and Koran teachings. Sharia law practiced in Saudi Arabia is interpreted in a strict manner along Sunni ideology called the way of the Shalaf, or righteous predecessors. Many refer to this as Wahhabism. Because the law is largely unwritten, judges exercise discretionary power that often favors antiquated tribal customs, which has often resulted in bitter controversies. Pro-movement women has recently gone under a lot public scrutiny and what even makes even harder for the pro-movement. It takes a lot of self-effort and self teaching for women in Saudi Arabia to attain consciousness that would make them criticize the environment their in and start/be part of the movement. The internet has facilitated this process vis-à-vis societal tropes deploy on social media websites such as twitter and facebook.


During the 2000s, sharia law was a functioning legal system marked by an Islamic division of labor with sharia law on one side and Quanon as the secular rule. In the Iran Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, it is a functioning legal system where people would go there to solve basic legal issues such as inheritance, illicit marriage. Pakistan currently has in place a constitution based on sharia law (). To some extent, in all Muslim majority societies, their constitutions are affected by sharia law. Sharia law is always evident in Muslim-majority societies, even in cases where it is less pronounced the source of legal and constitutional principles. In some countries such as Afghanistan, sharia law functions as a default legal system when the state broke down after the Soviet Union invaded it. Sharia often provides a low cost and fairly predictable and low corruption legal system in default of the state. Beyond legalities, sharia also provides a source of moral values such as purity, honesty, and trust thought to teach people how to lead a moral life. Indeed, ninety nine virtues of the Koran are embedded through the Koran and the sharia tradition. As a mode of reasoning, sharia is not formally legal rules and institutions but also a source of moral values—Islamic morality—and a mode of reasoning for how to deal with issues, the tears and the joys of the quotidian, as well as how to people treat each other. Asking Muslims to give up sharia law is like asking them to give up their faith, which cannot be done. This quandary has evolved into a big issue in Europe, but Muslims cannot give up sharia because sharia is a source of moral value and basis for their reasoning

Works Cited

Ahmed L. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven, CT : Yale Univ.Press, 1992. Print.
Bracey, Christopher Alan. Saviors or Sellouts: The Promise and Peril of Black Conservatism, From Booker T. Washington to Condoleezza Rice. Boston: Beacon Press, 2008.
Charrad, Mounira M. "Gender in the Middle East: Islam, State, Agency." Annual Review of Sociology 37(2011): 417-437. Print.
Froese, Paul, and Christopher D Bader. "God in America: Why Theology Is Not Simply the Concern of Philosophers." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 46, no. 4 (2007): 465-481.
God in America. Boston: WGBH and Frontline Video, 2010.
Montago, C. "Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector in Saudi Arabia." Middle East Journal, 64.1(2010): 67-83. Print.
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