Sharia | Islamic Law — Research Resources

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On this page we provide research resources on Sharia — Islamic Law.


  • Sharia’s Sinister Smilesoffsite by Raymond Ibrahim (Middle East and Islam specialist).

    The totalitarian nature of Sharia law can only be grasped when one appreciates how thoroughly it permeates and dictates everything in a believer’s life—including when and to whom a Muslim may smile.

    Popular Islamic TV preacher Sheikh Muhammad Hassan appears in this video clipoffsite asserting that, according to Sharia, it is “not at all permissible” for Muslims to smile at non-Muslims, “except in cases of da’wa.”

    Often translated as “missionary work,” the word da’wa means to “call” or “summon” non-Muslims to Islam. Because it shares the same goals of jihad — empowering and spreading Islam — da’wa is often seen as jihad’s nonviolent counterpart.

  • Terrorizing Muslim Womenoffsite [Contra] by Nonie Darwish, a former Muslim. FrontPage Magazine, July 12, 2010.

    The silence is deafening around the world in regards to the inhumanity and brutality of Sharia towards women. Most of the activism against stoning, flogging and abuse of women under Sharia is heard from former Muslim women, like myself, and a few others in the West who dare to expose the truth.

    Muslim women have no choice but to abide by Sharia, since rejecting it is grounds for the charge of apostasy, punishable by death. Having been exposed to Sharia for centuries, Muslim women have learned convoluted coping mechanisms to avoid Sharia’s wrath. Engaging in their own form of Stockholm Syndrome, most Muslim women publicly defend the very laws that enslave them.

  • The view from inside a Sharia courtoffsite by Dan Bell, BBC, Feb. 11, 2008

    For many people Sharia courts are seen as brutal institutions where zealots in hardline Muslim states pass down draconian punishments.

    But there are already Sharia courts operating throughout Britain in ways that have very little to do with the stereotype.

  • Why Sharia Is Incompatible With Western Lawoffsite [Contra] by David P. Goldman, First Things, May 24, 2010

    To what extent is sharia compatible with Western law? Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Britain’s Supreme Court president Lord Phillips created a stir in 2008 by proposing that British courts might permit the application of Muslim religious law. Numerous American scholars have suggested that sharia might have an application to family law. All the proponents of importing sharia into the West cite the example of Jewish religious law, Halakha, which has coexisted seamlessly with Western law for two thousand years.

    In a “Spengler” essay published today at Asia Times Online, titled “Wife-beating, Sharia,and Western law,” I characterize these proposals as “monstrous.” Sharia, I argue, stems from a radically different, and indeed antithetical, concept of the relation of the individual to the state.


  • Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Lawoffsite [Contra] by Nonie Darwish, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity. Darwish is an Egyptian-American human rights activist, founder of Arabs For Israel, and Director of Former Muslims United. She also wrote Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terroroffsite

    Nonie Darwish presents an insider’s look at Sharia and examines how radical Muslim laws are destroying the Western world from within. Living under Sharia law for the first thirty years of her life,a virtual slave to Islamic law, Darwish never questioned or challenged her rights–or dared to even think about the validity of Sharia laws. She didn’t try to examine what Sharia was, how it came about or why she followed it. “This is Allah’s law,” she was told, and she knew what awaited those who questioned Allah’s law.

    But she doesn’t believe the lies anymore, and now she wants to share her experiences with the Western world. Cruel and Usual Punishment is an insider’s look at how Muslims sacrifice their basic human rights to obey the archaic and brutal laws handed down to their prophet centuries ago. Heed this warning: Sharia Law is attempting to infiltrate Western culture and destroy democracy.
    – Source: Product description as cited by

  • Islam: A Sacred Law : What Every Muslim Should Know About the Shariahoffsite [Pro] by Feisal Abdul Rauf. Raud is the imam of a New York mosque just 12 blocks from the World Trade Center site. He also authored What’s Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the Westoffsite. Islam: A Sacred Law is out of print, but second-hand copies can still be found. It is considered a clear, objective book and relatively easy to read book on the Sharia.
  • Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari’aoffsite [Pro & Contra] by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im.

    What should be the place of Shari‘a—Islamic religious law—in predominantly Muslim societies of the world? In this ambitious and topical book, a Muslim scholar and human rights activist envisions a positive and sustainable role for Shari‘a, based on a profound rethinking of the relationship between religion and the secular state in all societies.

    An-Na‘im argues that the coercive enforcement of Shari‘a by the state betrays the Qur’an’s insistence on voluntary acceptance of Islam. Just as the state should be secure from the misuse of religious authority, Shari‘a should be freed from the control of the state. State policies or legislation must be based on civic reasons accessible to citizens of all religions. Showing that throughout the history of Islam, Islam and the state have normally been separate, An-Na‘im maintains that ideas of human rights and citizenship are more consistent with Islamic principles than with claims of a supposedly Islamic state to enforce Shari‘a. In fact, he suggests, the very idea of an “Islamic state” is based on European ideas of state and law, and not Shari‘a or the Islamic tradition.

    Bold, pragmatic, and deeply rooted in Islamic history and theology, Islam and the Secular State offers a workable future for the place of Shari‘a in Muslim societies.
    – Source: Product description as cited by

    An-Na’im is an independent-minded intellectual who has raised sensitive issues (such as his belief that interpretations of sharia have led to discrimination against non-Muslim minorities in the Arab world) that many Muslims and their advocates would prefer to keep out of public debate…

    The crux of An-Na’im’s Islam and the Secular State is that Muslims should be allowed to practice their faith as they see fit and should comply with sharia, but voluntarily. The call from Islamists to impose sharia with the full power of the state will only lead to totalitarianism, he argues. To bolster his claim, he notes that the Koran never mentions the idea of a state and does not prescribe a particular form of government.
    – Source: Geneive Abdo, Washington Post Book World, as cited by

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias


  • Religion News Blog’s archive of articles on sharia. Other news articles filed in the Islam category may also include information about sharia. Use the Google-powered search engine on the site to find additional material.


  • Shariah: The Threat to Americaoffsite Report by the Center of Security Policy, Sep. 13, 2010

    This study is the result of months of analysis, discussion and drafting by a group of top security policy experts concerned with the preeminent totalitarian threat of our time: the legal-political-military doctrine known within Islam as “shariah.” It is designed to provide a comprehensive and articulate “second opinion” on the official characterizations and assessments of this threat as put forth by the United States government. This study challenges the assumptions underpinning the official line in the conflict with today’s totalitarian threat, which is currently euphemistically described as “violent extremism,” and the policies of co-existence, accommodation and submission that are rooted in those assumptions.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 14, 2013    

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