I received an important and sincere letter in regards to a Sharia-law based government. I would like to take this opportunity to share my opinion on this topic, as I believe its misinterpretation is going to cause much distress and suffering to those who waste their limited energy and resources on it.
The letter reads:
“Salam be upon you dear master. My letter is long but please read it through. I am a young man who has been following your work for many years and trying to comprehend certain truths through your aid. But I find that I am a little confused and indecisive about certain topics. In your book ‘The Essence of Man” you talk about how there is no need for a government based on Sharia law. I don’t understand why you say this when even right now there are thousands of Muslims being killed around the world and there is not a single powerful Islamic government to stop this. I believe it is important for us to fight in the way of Allah. You say Islam is a system which has come to the people not to a government but if the government under which a person lives does not apply the laws of Allah how can we even talk about Islam? Of course, what matters most is our faith. But why should we suffice with just our faith when we can live and practice Islam on a greater scale? I for example can’t even preach Islam for I am immediately labeled as a backward minded, sharia-oriented person. Yes, I am Sharia oriented, I do not deny this, I believe in the law of Sharia and feel responsible about its application. But I also want those who do not know it, to learn about it. Does not this writing of yours go against the command, “Fight until the religion of Allah prevails”? Will it not confuse those who try to practice this truth? If there were no need for an Islamic government why did the Rasul of Allah (saw) establish one? They could have practiced Islam under their already existing government too. And Allah would not have revealed the laws of Islam. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. May the salam of Allah be upon you...”
Should there be an Islamic Sharia-based government? How can such a government work? Is there an example of such a government on earth? Who will govern this government of Sharia?
Let me share my own story with you... When I was 18, I was just beginning to immerse myself in these topics. Taking every hadith and verse I read literally and feeling an overwhelming amount of love and enthusiasm I was methodically applying what I read in such verbal terms that forget shaking hands with a female, I wasn’t even looking at a woman. I would actually stick my head out the window and yell out to my female neighbors to cover their heads! I grew a beard, wore a skullcap and looked down upon anyone who wore a hat!
With that frenzied spirit and passionate keenness, I wrote for a newspaper called ‘Yeni Istiklal (New Independence)’ advocating the importance of why Sharia must be applied, under different names.
Then I started reading the works of Sufi scholars such as Imam Ghazali, Abdulqadir Jilani, Ibrahim Haqqi Erzurumi, Imam Jafar Sadiq, and Haji Bektash Wali. These were works that examined and probed the intellectual aspect of Islam. I began to realize and appreciate the importance of an intellectual approach rather than one based on memorization. Another facet of Islam had opened up to me through Sufism.
That is when I discovered the actual purpose of Islam. All my applications and practices began to change. I was experiencing many new insights... My point of view was completely transformed, and at the age of 20 I wrote my book ‘Reflections’, depicting my understanding at that age and time, and I can comfortably say, my point of view has not changed since!