What is sharia law?

By December 9, 2022

Afghanistan (MNN) — Most Muslims have some concept of sharia, the idea that God has provided guidance for how to live their lives. For many, it is a private practice. The word sharia means “The correct path” in Arabic.

Muslims interpret sharia based on the Quran and other writings attributed to the Prophet Muhammed. Muslims consider Muhammed’s life an example of how to live their lives.

The Taliban

But in Afghanistan, the Taliban recently mandated a harsh interpretation of sharia. Some crimes come with archaic punishments like amputation or public stoning.

Like most extremist groups, the Taliban leaders have little or no training to interpret sharia well.

Nehemiah with FMI says the laws in Afghanistan are some of the harshest in the world today. “When we look at Saudi Arabia, they have sharia law there, of course. But they don’t do public executions. They do executions, and they behead people, but not really in public. So it varies from country to country, people to people, and political party to political party.”

Under these laws, women cannot leave the house without a male companion, and they cannot attend school. The Taliban enforced these same laws when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

The Taliban’s interpretation of sharia also views certain kinds of technology in a negative light. Nehemiah says, “Haibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan, has not been filmed or photographed in public since the Taliban returned to power in August last year. Because according to sharia law, cameras, mobile phones, photographs, and films are banned.”

“You cannot take photos because they think it’s against sharia law.”

This harsh interpretation of sharia leaves no room for Christians. Yet pockets of believers live in Afghanistan. Ask God to give them wisdom and strength.

Pray the love of Jesus would soften the Taliban.



The header photo shows a member of the Taliban beating a woman publicly. (Photo courtesy of RAWA, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

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