Ethics and World Religions Interpretations Term Paper

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Moreover the 'diyya' or blood money stipulated for killing or mutilating of a man was stopped. However, whipping as a punishment for theft and added offences remained in its applicability in local courts. (Pitaszewicz, 87)

Hence till 1960, the Alkali Courts applied the Sharia also in penal cases fulfilling the changes and bans launched by the British. Prior to the declaration of independence, the British signed a negotiation with Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Prime Minister of Northern Nigeria that resulted in approving of the Penal Code that continues to be valid today also. A catalogue of 20 criminal actions and its corresponding sanctions were created. It covered actions recognized by the Sharia as penalties imposed with particularly serious punishments. Punishments that lack humanitarian aspects such as limb amputation for theft, stoning to death for adultery, decapitation for killings and others have been changed with the sanctions from the British Penal Code. Hence, following earning its independence, the rules of the Sharia has mostly been applicable in cases of the civil laws. The Muslim Law or the common law in this system was made applicable by the Native Authority that had its independent police and prisons. Since the past four decades since October 1, 1960, the Penal Code has been enforced and was even recognized by the Constitution of 1999. (Pitaszewicz, 88)

Muslim law was reinstated in the years 2000 and 2001 which meant that it is applicable even in penal cases imposed with draconian approvals. The outcome of implementation of Sharia in Northern Nigeria was not without problems. Reinstatement of Sharia with the penal code resulted in acute disturbances in the social, political and economic life of the nation. When the religious laws were initiated, numerous people encountered with the issue of survival when they had shut down the places in which they worked, i.e. In bars vending alcohol, hotels and casinos or business of dubious distinction. In the State of Sokoto even prior to the execution of Muslim religious law, licenses for maintaining hotels and bars were revoked and the places were required to be shut down in the space of 48 hours. The worsening effect was that the implementation of the Sharia in northern states made Nigeria fragmented on religious lines. The Middle Belt, that for a lot of years continued to be under the political control of the North where Christian population lived and also the followers of conventional religions, happened to be the place in which vehement protests came towards the Hausa-Fulani drive. (Pitaszewicz, 90)

3) Difference in the interpretations of adultery in Sharia and mainstream Islamic law:

Presently, honor killings are pervasive among the Muslim populations. Analysing the nature of these crimes form the cornerstone of the interpretational difference between adultery in Sharia and mainstream Islam. In Islam, there is a distinction between two kinds of honor viz. sharaf and ird. Sharaf refers to the honor of a social unit, as also the individuals where it can go up or down. The lack of success by an individual to adhere to what is defined as adequate moral behavior weakens the social position of the family. The sharaf of the family might be raised by the model behavior like hospitality, generosity, courage in battle etc. Sharaf is the western counterpart of dignity. As against this, ird is related to the honor of women and its value can only go down. Likewise, it translates approximately as the Western equivalent of chastity or purity. Similar to chastity or purity, commendable moral behavior is unable to raise a women's ird, but misconduct lowers it. (Feldner, 28)

Crimes under Islam can be broken into three leading categories which are Hadd, Tazir, Quesas. Of these Hadd crimes are of the most serious types under the Islamic law and Tazir constitutes the ones with the least seriousness. Some of the Western writers apply the felony analogy for Hadd crimes and misdemeanor markings for Tazir crimes. The parallel is correct to some extent, but not true in its entirety. Common law has no comparable form of Quesa crime. Adultery comprises Hadd crime and along with it is included theft and defamation. Besides, there are false accusations of adultery or fornication i.e. robbery, alcohol and other intoxicants. Koran prescribes specific punishment for adultery. However some more liberal Islamic judges do not take into account apostasy from Islam or drinking wine as Hadd crimes. The more liberal Islamic do not regard apostasy from Islam or wine drinking as Hadd crimes. The more liberal Islamic states view these crimes as Tazir or a lesser crime. (Islamic Law - Myths and realities)

It is a fact that Hadd crimes have fixed punishments as they are fixed by God and find place in the Koran. Hadd Crimes happen to be crimes against God's law and Tazir crimes and crimes against the society. Some safeguards are there for Hadd crimes which go unnoticed in the media. A judge is only able to impose the Hadd punishment at the time when the individual confesses to the crime or there are sufficient witnesses to the scene of the crime. The normal number is two; however in situations of adultery four witnesses are needed. The media leaves the public with the idea that the all are punished with baseless evidence or less proof. Islamic law possesses an extremely high degree of proof for the most severe crimes and punishments. In cases where there is doubt as regards the responsibility of a Hadd crime, the judge must consider the crime as a lesser one i.e. Tazir crime. In case there is no confession to a crime or there are no sufficient witnesses to the crime, Islamic law needs the Hadd crime to be penalized as a Tazir crime. As regards Tazir crime, Islamic Society has transformed a great deal from the period of Prophet Mohammed. (Islamic Law - Myths and realities)

Shariah Law has been encoded in written form and its applicability is statutory in nature. The Islamic concepts of justice debate that a person must be aware regarding the crime and also its possible punishment. For instance, in Egypt, they have a parliamentary process having a formal penal code recorded and based on the principles of Islamic Law, but Saudi Arabia permits the judge to fix the Tazir crimes and punishments. Modern Islamic law identifies a lot of variations between these two nations. Besides, it permits a lot of flexibility as regards the punishment is meted out to an offender. The major myth of several people remains that judges in Islamic countries have fixed punishments in case of all crimes. In fact, the judges possess increased degree of flexibility compared to judges under the common law. (Islamic Law - Myths and realities)

4) Reaction of law codes, religious codes, and human rights documents to the Case adultery & other differences:

With the mounting of international pressure on the trial of Amina Lawal, Minister for State for Foreign Affairs issued a communique in which he stated that the latest stream of remarks and interest within the International Community on the trial of Amina Lawal involves completely the interest of the Nigerian government. He assured that henceforth nobody would be demeaned by stoning to death in Nigeria. Amina Lawal was not subjected to abuse of rights and the Nigerian govt went ahead to protect their rights. The federal govt intervened and ensured that no one will be dehumanized. Nevertheless, it is not apparent that what action the federal govt. took beyond these announcements and the govt officials were unsuccessful in their agreeing that the very trials of these women for adultery and also death sentences that were pending on them were dehumanizing in its form. (the Federal government's position on Sharia)

At the global forum also, the introduction of Sharia in 2000 unexpectedly placed Nigeria into the limelight. The death sentences by stoning imposed on Amina Lawal were at the heart of hitherto unseen intensity of public attention which instigated reactions of wrath among the women's organization, human rights organization and parliamentarians, Christians bodies as also members of the general public in a lot of nations. Their cases were the target of a massive public complaint, appeals and petitions from across the world. Some of the Western governments and intergovernmental establishments especially the EU even raised the matter of Sharia with the Nigerian govt at the private and public forum. Their diplomatic approaches could thus be less challenging as regards Sharia compared to other patterns of human rights violations in Nigeria, particularly as their criticisms would not be seen as directly implicating federal government authorities and agencies, apart from the terms of their lack of success to face the matter. (International Reactions to Sharia in Nigeria) as states of northern Nigeria began to introduce new Sharia penal codes in 1999, the crimes of adultery are punishable by stoning to death. Zina is also the crime of premarital consensual sexual relations for which the punishment is…[continue]


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