07 Jul Why do so many people see Shariah as scary?
Why do so many people see Shariah as scary?
How come Westerners see Sharia as such a terrible and scary thing?
This is very interesting question, because I don’t think it is just “Westerners” who see Shariah as a terrible and scary thing.
The reality is that Western non-Muslims are presented a picture of Shariah as stoning people, killing women, and cutting off hands. This is their only exposure to Shariah and it has become a by-word for all things that are ostensibly “bad” and wrong within Muslim countries.
What makes matters worse is that both Western non-Muslims and native informants have combined to create a discourse on Shariah that is cloaked in disingenuous intellectual language. This process is exacerbated by the interests related towards Shariah vis-a-vis class.
What do I mean? Shariah is consistently linked with conservative social positions, mostly by scared elite classes who are disconnected from the larger population. In this regard, the elite classes share the same fears of Shariah that “Westerners” do. However, to the larger population, the term “Shariah” is a by-word for judicial consistency, a discursive framework that ensures that they are involved and engaged, and that they have a standard and a set of expectations for their leaders to conform to and be judged according by.
This massive disconnect is at the root of the issue, and so when large populations of Muslim countries clamor for Shariah, people think it is the “blood-thirsty masses” coming up in the Apocalypse predicated by elites in the country, when it is simply people demanding that the law of the state is upheld, and that they believe that Islamic Law will be the legal framework that they want and that will be adhered to by the population.
However, what kind of Shariah is put into place, to what extent, and in what way, is not really explained, mostly because intellectuals and elites have distanced themselves from this discourse on Shariah, to the point that they are as ignorant of Shariah as the “illiterate masses” who they now scapegoat.
This isn’t helped by the fact that the average Muslim has very little understanding of what Shariah is, how it works, and what does it actually say.
So, it’s really a crisis of information, but unlike other issues related to Islam and Muslims, Muslims are as woefully unaware of the issue as non-Muslims, which is something I hope to change, insha Allah.
I hope this answered your question, insha Allah.
I pray this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.