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Zakyi Ibrahim



In his capacity as president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, on 13 April
2009AsifAli Zardari signed an ordinance (Nizam-e-Adl Regulation) imposing
Shari`ah law on the Swat Valley. Although approved by the Pakistani
National Assembly,1 analysts believe this measure will embolden the
Taliban’s already increasing strength in and around that region. Some human
right groups also fear that the Taliban will see this decision as a license to
send the region’s people back to the “Dark Ages" (whatever that may
mean).2 These reactions are not new.
It may be quite tempting to ask why the Shari`ah is so abhorrent to its
opponents and why implementing it is so attractive to those Muslims who
are bent on applying it. Frankly put, although the mere mention of such a
prospect evokes both emotions, to the majority of practicing Muslims even
posing such questions affronts their religious sensibilities. However, is the
current reaction truly about the Shari`ah’s essence and application, or about
what the Taliban will make of it? Yes, the maddening and egregious behavior
of the Taliban and other extremist elements render almost everything
about Islam (especially the Shari`ah) terrifyingly repulsive.
But in this era of information explosion, it is the responsibility of the
world’s “civilized” people, regardless of religion, to inform themselves, in
an honest and sincere manner, about the Shari`ah’s contents (not that doing
so would absolutely guarantee its positive or fair consideration) in order to
avoid any “hair-splitting” whenever its application is proposed.Whose fault
is it if people fail to distinguish between the likes of the Taliban (who are
unable to understand the Shari`ah’s real reasons and wisdom, even if they
have the utmost zeal to apply them) and the actual Shari`ah (which, the
majority ofMuslims believe, exists only to protect and guide people in their
lives and does not impose on them anything beyond their capability)? ...

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