A Comparison between Islamic and Secular Law

It was not novelty in human life or the desire to establish justice or order that prompted man to make laws and rules and coin ways of living and organizing, because these were already in existence. The real cause was man's own selfish interest and the desire to enslave his fellow- beings that made him to turn away from Allah's Law, or to have any consideration for it.

Ever since the dawn of history, the tyrants and oppressors have ceaselessly tried to rebel against the will of truth and justice in this world, regarding themselves as gods or god-heads to be worshipped, and their idols to be sanctified in the altar of despotism and tyranny.

Tracing the history of the origin of the laws which govern the life of society in its controlling positivity, we find that they all speak of the will of the ruler and express only his aims and interests in life. They are far from being in the people`s real interests, and the principles of right and justice. This is because the Secular Laws in their reality express nothing, but the desire to enslave mankind, to serve the will of the oppressor and subdue humanity to the whims of the deviated rulers who either intentionally or unintentionally consider themselves as powerful gods or god-heads. Actually the desires of the rulers which have been coined as laws and rules thus tightening the grip on the people and their lives.

Whereas, on the other hand, it was the contrary in respect to the role of the Islamic Legislation, which sought to establish truth and justice, and to liberate man from oppression, be kind to him, and protect his interests in life, as is evident from the following verse of the glorious Qur'an;

“الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الْأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِنْدَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنْجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالْأَغْلَالَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِهِ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَاتَّبَعُوا النُّورَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ مَعَهُ ۙ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ “

[7:157] Those who follow the Messenger-Prophet, the Ummi, whom they find written down with them in the Taurat and the Injeel (who) enjoins them good and forbids them evil, and makes lawful to them the good things and makes unlawful to them impure things, and removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them; so (as for) those who believe in him and honor him and help him, and follow the light which has been sent down with him, these it is that are the successful.

“وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ “

[21:107] And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.

By studying these two verses one may easily recognize that the aims and goals of Islam defined by the Qur'an are: liberation of man, delivering him from darkness into the light, and guiding him towards the horizons of truth and happiness.

If we try a fair, conscious and rational assessment of the Islamic Laws and the Secular Laws in their diverse forms and philosophies, such as Capitalism, Socialism, Communism and the like, which are offshoots of ignorant thinking, we realize the most important differences which distinguish Islamic or Divine Laws from Secular or man-made Laws, and which define their respective identities and features are as follows:

1. Criterion of truth and justice.

2. Objectivity.

3. Clarity of Vision.

4. The Ethics of the Islamic Law.

5. Capacity and Universality.

6. Harmony and Non-contradiction.

7. Humanitarianism.

8. Everlastingness.

Criterion of truth and justice

1. The Islamic Canon is based on the criterion of Truth and Justice, the two constant values of life by which legislation and law-making are judged, and on whose basis their natures, values, effects, goals and coincidence with the great objective of existence, are estimated.

These two concepts are the foundation on which the entire Islamic Legislation is based. There is not a single law which is not backed by these two principles, as are the other facts of the universe.

By getting to know the meaning of Truth and Justice from the Islamic point of view, we are apt to discover the secret of their being the bases on which the Islamic laws are built:-

a. When a thing is true, it deserves a legitimate place in the life of society, as falsehood has neither place nor originality in Islam and is regarded as transient, unstable, an unjustified futility, and a worthless nothingness. Actually, falsehood is the inconsistent and negative course practiced by man against the idea of Truth. For this reason the Qur'an rejects it as passing and vanishing, unable to occupy the place of truth or remain constant in the world of reality:

“لَا تَرْكُضُوا وَارْجِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَا أُتْرِفْتُمْ فِيهِ وَمَسَاكِنِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُسْأَلُونَ “

[21:13] Do not fly (now) and come back to what you were made to lead easy lives in and to your dwellings, haply you will be questioned.

“وَقُلْ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ ۚ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا “

[17:81] And say: The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing).

Who is best suited to judge other than the Creator of the world and all beings whose knowledge encompasses everything, whether a thing be it a canon or a subject has the merit of coming into existence and occupying a space however small in this world.

Consequently, the Secular Law knowing no ‘Truthful’ or natural base proves to be false, transient, haphazard, accepting no noble values, irrationally formed, admitting no estimation, having no constancy, futile, and showing no justification for existence, except the will and desire of its maker.

So, the human legislator knows nothing about the status, value and effects of the law he is asked to legislate, as far as the facts and the objectives of existence are concerned.

Therefore, the glorious Qur'an describes this procedure on the part of man as confusion, going astray, ignorance and forgery, and condemns this act of the ignorant man who undertakes the responsibility of law-making.

“وَلَا تَلْبِسُوا الْحَقَّ بِالْبَاطِلِ وَتَكْتُمُوا الْحَقَّ وَأَنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ “

[2:42] And do not mix up the truth with the falsehood, nor hide the truth while you know (it).

“أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا النَّارُ ۖ وَحَبِطَ مَا صَنَعُوا فِيهَا وَبَاطِلٌ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ “

[11:16] These are they for whom there is nothing but fire in the hereafter, and what they wrought in it shall go for nothing, and vain is what they do.

“أَفَمَنْ كَانَ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّهِ وَيَتْلُوهُ شَاهِدٌ مِنْهُ وَمِنْ قَبْلِهِ كِتَابُ مُوسَىٰ إِمَامًا وَرَحْمَةً ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ ۚ وَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِهِ مِنَ الْأَحْزَابِ فَالنَّارُ مَوْعِدُهُ ۚ فَلَا تَكُ فِي مِرْيَةٍ مِنْهُ ۚ إِنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكَ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ“

[11:17] Is he then who has with him clear proof from his Lord, and a witness from Him recites it and before it (is) the Book of Musa, a guide and a mercy? These believe in it; and whoever of the (different) parties disbelieves in it, the Fire will be their promised meeting-place. Be not then in doubt thereon: surely it is the truth from your Lord, but most men do not believe.

Then the Qur'an further stresses the objective of the Divine Law and its role in defining truth and dismissing the scheming of the straying human soul which intrudes on the truth a false and vain course and law:

“لِيُحِقَّ الْحَقَّ وَيُبْطِلَ الْبَاطِلَ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُجْرِمُونَ “

[8:8] That He may manifest the truth of what was true and show the falsehood of what was false, though the guilty disliked.

“وَبِالْحَقِّ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ وَبِالْحَقِّ نَزَلَ ۗ وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا مُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا “

[17:105] And with truth have We revealed it, and with truth did it come; and We have not sent you but as the giver of good news and as a warner.

b. The second criterion, on which the Islamic Legislation is based, is Justice. It is the balance by which everything is weighed, and evaluated. Justice is to put everything in its proper place, and to give to everybody his due or what he deserves.

Islam says that it is just to implement whatever is true, and it is unjust and transgressive not to do so.

Justice is Allah's sacred attribute which puts its initials on His acts and is a sign of His mercy, including the Law which He sent down to all humanity. Therefore, the concept of Justice in the Qur'an is the basic principle behind all of Allah's deeds, whether creative or legislative.

The glorious Qur'an refers to this principle of the Islamic Legislation in different terms, such as: the balance, equity, justice, straight criterion, etc.

Allah the Almighty says:

“إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ “

[16:90] Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion; He admonishes you that you may be mindful.

“إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تُؤَدُّوا الْأَمَانَاتِ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهَا وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَنْ تَحْكُمُوا بِالْعَدْلِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُمْ بِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا “

[4:58] Surely Allah commands you to make over trusts to their owners and that when you judge between people you judge with justice; surely Allah admonishes you with what is excellent; surely Allah is Seeing, Hearing.

“وَإِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً قَالُوا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهَا آبَاءَنَا وَاللَّهُ أَمَرَنَا بِهَا ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَأْمُرُ بِالْفَحْشَاءِ ۖ أَتَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ “

[7:28] And when they commit an indecency they say: We found our fathers doing this, and Allah has enjoined it on us. Say: Surely Allah does not enjoin indecency; do you say against Allah what you do not know?

“قُلْ أَمَرَ رَبِّي بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَأَقِيمُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ ۚ كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ “

[7:29] Say: My Lord has enjoined justice, and set upright your faces at every time of prayer and call on Him, being sincere to Him in obedience; as He brought you forth in the beginning, so shall you also return.

“وَنَضَعُ الْمَوَازِينَ الْقِسْطَ لِيَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ فَلَا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌ شَيْئًا ۖ وَإِنْ كَانَ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ أَتَيْنَا بِهَا ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِنَا حَاسِبِينَ “

[21:47] And We will set up a just balance on the day of resurrection, so no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least; and though there be the weight of a grain of mustard seed, (yet) will We bring it, and sufficient are We to take account.

The Qur'an not only lays stress on justice but it also condemns injustice and resents it in several verses, attacking the wrong-doers and threatening them with torture and curse as is clear from the examples given below:

“إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَانْتَصَرُوا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا ظُلِمُوا ۗ وَسَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنْقَلَبٍ يَنْقَلِبُونَ “

[26:227] Except those who believe and do good and remember Allah much, and defend themselves after they are oppressed; and they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back.

“يَوْمَ لَا يَنْفَعُ الظَّالِمِينَ مَعْذِرَتُهُمْ ۖ وَلَهُمُ اللَّعْنَةُ وَلَهُمْ سُوءُ الدَّارِ “

[40:52] The day on which their excuse shall not benefit the unjust, and for them is curse and for them is the evil abode.

Islam thus, regards justice as the foundation on which everything in life should be based. No action and no law is right unless is based on the idea of justice. Justice gives the subject of the law its value and regard, showing its rightful position in respect to other things and events. Divine Legislation is therefore exact and balanced, with no loss and no injustice.

The Secular Laws sadly lack such noble values and criterions (Truth and Justice) in their objective form and teal nature. This is because they do not have a constant distinct and real idea about the concept of Justice.

It looks at it with a look subjected to the nature of the situations and the subjective human estimations. Thus, the concept of Truth and Justice was merely turned into a human consideration, under the mercy of the law-gives desires and whims. Consequently, Secular Law is deprived of the most important bases and criterions.

Objectivity

The objectivity of the Islamic Legislation is concentrated in its being free from the intrusion of personal interests of desires and the subconscious factors, which may quite possibly, knowingly or unknowingly affect the human lawmaker and participate in the making of his decisions, and his laws. Human knowledge and faculties are influenced by factors of environment, like reality and personal characteristics, as has been proved by psychological and Social studies.

This fact has also been discovered by all those who subjected the Secular Laws and man-made canons to analytical studies. It was obvious that they had been influenced by the environment, circumstances, psychological and social situations and the law-maker’s personal interests and emotions. Thus, as a matter of fact, such laws carry the symptoms of the diseases prevalent in the society, and actually express the will of the rulers, as these laws can easily be affected by the legislator's desires and inclinations.

The Islamic Canon, on the other hand, is scientific, objective, honest and far from being under the influence of the motives and factors which determine man-made laws. The true law-giver, here, is Allah, the Exalted, Who is glorified from all those inclinations and impressions from which man can never completely and absolutely, be free. This is the secret of the construction of the Divine Law, which is based on Truth and Justice, and its aim is only the welfare of humanity and its noble objectives in life.

Clarity of Vision

The Islamic Law or the Islamic Canon, which is Divinely revealed has a clear objective, and a defined goal, that charts out man's course in life, and shows him his aim, and man realizes that the goal of the Divine Law is to have him serve his Creator, and be liberated from all servitude and submission to human beings. Consequently, his lawful actions which he practices during his life entitle him to a lair reward in the Hereafter, unlike the Secular Law, under whose shadow man would feel heinous tied with the letters of the ruling authority which has no obvious objective except that which serves the interests of the governing clan and its ambitions, a state which should urge man to fight such laws and get rid of them.

Man, under such laws, suffers from the anguish of confusion and without any distinct goal in life. He finds no sense in adhering to a law but only to an extent which affords him a limited and spontaneous objective, or spares him the penalty imposed by the government on those who dis-obey its laws. Such laws cannot cope with the needs of the human soul, nor can they express his lawful ambitions in life.

That is why the individual under the grip of this law does not respect its regulations sincerely and tries to break through its bonds whenever opportunity affords him the chance, the eye of the authority's watchman dozes off, or when he realizes the triviality of the law which does not deserve to be obeyed.

This fact is supported by the statistics issued by the quarters concerned with criminology and instances of law breaking. They say that the figures for crimes are ever increasing, and the number of those who break the law is growing every year, proving the fact that the Secular Law is incapable of solving man's problems and inspiring respect and obedience from him.

On the other hand the Islamic Law encourages man to apply it sincerely and defend the will of the law and its objectives.

This is because the individual under the shelter of the Islamic Law feels that the law protects his interests and cares for his objectives both in this world and in the Hereafter.

Faith inspires the faithful Muslim that he is responsible before his Creator for enacting the will of the law and carry out its decisions sincerely.

Thus, judging from this ideological and rational point, the Islamic Law acquires a spiritual power and a moral drive enabling it to be applicable and its aims to be attainable more than if it depended on force and compulsion.

The Ethics of the Islamic Law

The Islamic Law is based on its respect for morals, safeguarding them and maintaining close ties with them, contrary to the Secular Law, which does not adhere to morality, nor cares for it. Secular Law, so neglects the ethical argument and turns away from it that the human civilization is thrown at a terrible tragedy which drags man down the precipice or degradation and lawlessness.

This irrational theory of separation between morals and law gave birth to different materialistic cultures of diverse ideological trends and courses, such as Marxism, Communism, Existentialism, Freudianism, Capitalism, Socialism and other philosophies and social opinions.

Capitalism, for example, regards morals as a personal behavior connected to the individual's freedom, and that the law or the state has no right to meddle in personal affairs, nor enact laws protecting morals, unless a personal behavior may endanger the freedom of the others, or falls within the scope of the criminal law based on the general philosophy of the capitalist concept. Thus Capitalism not only believes in irresponsible freedom or permissiveness but actually builds all human activity on it.

Communism regards morals (as stated in the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels) as bourgeois deception which must be abolished. It says: Religion, constitution and morals are but a bourgeois deception.

So, morals, according to Marxism, is a social phenomenon imposed by the bourgeois systems to protect themselves, by deceiving the people and convincing them of such ethical concepts as mercy, truth, duty, right, kindness, disdain, shame, etc. Therefore, it is necessary for the Marxist Revolution to destroy morals and exterminate them, according to the communists.

Now on comparing these ignorant Western and Eastern concepts with the Divine Islamic Religion, we find the Messenger of Islam, Muhammad (SAW) saying:

"I have been sent to complete the noblest of morals”, and "The one who is the best in morals is the most complete in faith. In light of these statements we discover that Islam dignifies the human-being and bases life on firm moral foundations which distinguish the Islamic Law and Society from other laws and societies.”

That is why the Islamic Law flows with the spirit of morality and undertakes to implant and protect ethics in all aspects of life.

The Islamic Law in contrast to the Secular is based on moral imperatives, which regulates human conduct.

Thus the Messenger of Islam, Muhammad (S.A.W) did not simply transmit these Laws, but implemented them in the life of a socio-political order, showing their eternal practicability.

Capacity and Universality

One of the major differences between the Secular Law and the Islamic Law is the latter's capacity and universality. The Islamic Law leaves no part of the human activity, big or small, without having it organized in one way or another, through well-defined laws, rules and regulations. It deals with man as an objective and complete unit of different individual and social activities, organizing it, controlling its behavior and subjecting it to an exact legal discipline, which covers every part of its actions like eating, drinking, behavior and relations with the family, neighbors and friends, as well as caring for the body, the clothes, etc.

It prohibits all actions which are harmful such as gambling, drinking wine, adultery, wantonness, and the like. It also handles the individual within a wide scope of social organization, through organizing economy, politics, war, peace, judicature, finance, work, commerce, etc.

As to the Secular Law, it miserably lacks all these characteristics, since it suffers from the narrowness and limits of its horizon and is incapable of organizing the different aspects of the human behavior, as the Islamic Law does.

A considerable part of the human activity is neglected by the Secular Law on the pretext that it concerns the individual conduct which has nothing to do with the law, and thus, it falls short of defining the all-embracing unity of human activity, leaving wide spaces of life suffering from negligence and confusion. This, as a matter of fact, causes unbridgeable gaps in social discipline in adjusting man's behavior, and in turn makes it a paralyzed law, incapable of guaranteeing justice peace and security.

Harmony and Non-contradiction

The Islamic Law forms a perfect responsive and objective unit. Each part of it supports the other and helps it to be applicable. The prohibition of alcoholic drinks, for example, closes the possibility of yet another related crime, which is also punishable by Islam.

Islam's prohibition of performing the prayers on a usurped property helps to protect people`s rights and to respect private possession.

In this way Islam fixes the connection among all its laws and rules, unlike the Secular Law which stifles from divisions and lacks cohesive unity, because most of its laws are often self- contradictory.

The Secular Constitutions, likewise, stiller from similar contradiction and discord, despite the fact that constitutions are the origins from which laws are derived. This grave deficiency forces the legislative authorities, according to the circumstances to establish Constitutional Tribunals to tackle and solve such contradictions in many instances.

Examples reflecting these conflicts and contradictions come from man. In some countries the Mercantile Law contradicts the Economic or Administrative Law, or all these laws taken together may contradict the spirit of the political constitution itself. In the Socialist regimes, for example, where the wealth is in the hands of the State and where there is no private possession, the laws, nevertheless, allow the government to conclude contracts with individual contractors. Or with large monopolizing companies! Or, they may allow alcoholic drinks, but at the same time, may punish those who commit some crime because of intoxication. Weird indeed, the law itself paves the way for them to be caught in its trap and vet it punishes them!

Thus, the Secular Law falls in a state of contradiction and conflict because of the multiplicity of law-makers with certainly different motives and deficient knowledge which make them fall short of realizing the truth and the need.

Humanitarianism

One of the most important differences between the Secular Law and the Islamic Law is the fact that the Islamic Law is humanitarian, Regionalism, racialism, class-discrimination, opportunism and egoism are not found in the text and spirit of the Islamic Law as the call of Islam is addressed to the human race as a whole. Its message is a universal one. Its laws are general and not legislated for the sake of a particular group. The glorious Qur'an says to the Messenger:

“وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ “

[21:107] And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.

The contrary is the case concerning the Secular Law. It reflects the legislator's understanding and his personal inclination. It is full of anti-human concepts causing it to revolve within narrow limits, such as regionalism, racialism, class-difference, individual selfishness and the like. All these result in injustice, deprivation and suppression for those who are compelled to abide by this law which only expresses the legislator's understanding of the matter and his aggressive, anti- humanistic trend.

Everlastingness

The biggest characteristic distinguishing the Islamic Canon from other laws is the fact that it is everlasting. Islam alone enjoys this attribute which gives it the power throughout the ages and it remains with the generations as a leader, director and pioneer on the road of virtue, guidance and sound cultural construction.

Islam's everlastingness is due to the following factors:

a. Islam represents the eternal logic of truth and justice in life, since it expresses the eternal will and wisdom of Allah in existence, Allah, the Exalted, says:

“إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ “

[16:90] Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion; He admonishes you that you may be mindful.

“قُلْ أَمَرَ رَبِّي بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَأَقِيمُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ ۚ كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ “

[7:29] Say: My Lord has enjoined justice, and set upright your faces at every time of prayer and call on Him, being sincere to Him in obedience; as He brought you forth in the beginning, so shall you also return.

“وَبِالْحَقِّ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ وَبِالْحَقِّ نَزَلَ ۗ وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا مُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا “

[17:105] And with truth have We revealed it, and with truth did it come; and We have not sent you but as the giver of good news and as a warner.

b. Islam expresses the universal legislative form of the eternal human rules in man himself, whether physical, psychological, intellectual or spiritual.

Islam is not the off-spring of particular social circumstances, nor is it the product of human thinking under certain limits of time, place and thought. In fact, it is the legislative formulation of the nature of human life, and a complete disclosure of its rules and systems.

c. Islam does not impose a rigid form of application and enactment. Actually, it is open and flexible concerning the methods and ways of application, which man may device in every generation to suit his purpose for the enactment of his obligations, provided he keeps to the spirit of the Divine Law, and sincerely carries out its decisions.

d. The open doors of ‘Ijtihad’1 i.e. legislative and rational decisions, based on the principles, concerning different matters which may arise due to changing circumstances, is acceptable to Islam.

The Secular Law avails of no such merits. It revolves within the limits of the will of its maker and his social conscience, which would inevitably be reflected through the spirit of legislation, stamping it with deficiency and incapability. This, of course, would result in laws far from being in harmony with the natural rules of life, or failing to meet the requirements for a sound development of a human being.

Actually, there are ample chances for interference in these laws and turning them into loose verbal forms twistable in accordance with the desires and the drives of rulers who coin them, change them, or cancel them whenever these do not suit their purpose.

Such people are described in the Qur’an as:

“إِنَّمَا النَّسِيءُ زِيَادَةٌ فِي الْكُفْرِ ۖ يُضَلُّ بِهِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُحِلُّونَهُ عَامًا وَيُحَرِّمُونَهُ عَامًا لِيُوَاطِئُوا عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ فَيُحِلُّوا مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ ۚ زُيِّنَ لَهُمْ سُوءُ أَعْمَالِهِمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ “

[9:37] Postponing (of the sacred month) is only an addition in unbelief, wherewith those who disbelieve are led astray, violating it one year and keeping it sacred another, that they may agree in the number (of months) that Allah has made sacred, and thus violate what Allah has made sacred; the evil of their doings is made fairseeming to them; and Allah does not guide the unbelieving people.

So, they assume the powers to confirm or change laws, as if there were no reality for truth, justice and the natural law established in the world of existence, save that which cares for their own interests:

“وَلَوِ اتَّبَعَ الْحَقُّ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ لَفَسَدَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ ۚ بَلْ أَتَيْنَاهُمْ بِذِكْرِهِمْ فَهُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِهِمْ مُعْرِضُونَ “

[23:71] And should the truth follow their low desires, surely the heavens and the earth and all those who are therein would have perished. Nay! We have brought to them their reminder, but from their reminder they turn aside.

In short, the Secular Law represents only the will of its makers and expresses only their ideology, desires and interests, away from the logic of truth and justice in their true objectivity. Truth, in the eyes of such laws, is but what is agreeable to the law-makers, and justice, to them, is but what follows the whims of the law-makers and protects their authority and interests.

  • 1. Ijtihad: The process of arriving at a personal opinion by an Islamic jurisprudent through inference, induction and analogy.