Correcting Disinformation on Shariah from Buzzfeed

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by Christopher Holton

On April 24, the web site Buzzfeed published a commentary piece masquerading as a news story entitled “A Republican Running For Governor In Michigan Is Using Unfounded Conspiracy Theories Against A Muslim American Rival.”

That article focused on the controversy brewing in Michigan between gubernatorial candidates Patrick Colbeck and Abdul El-Sayed.

Politics aside, there is one passage in the Buzzfeed article that simply cannot go unchallenged because it echoes the worst kind of disinformation from the global Jihadist movement:

Sharia — often used as a fear-inducing term associated with anti-Western beliefs — is simply a religious code of conduct, no different than those contained in other Abrahamic religions.

This statement is so incredibly false that there are only two possibilities as to its inclusion in the Buzzfeed article:

  1. The reporters and editors at Buzzfeed are simply ignorant and are just lazily parroting propaganda.
  2. Someone at Buzzfeed knows better, but included this specious passage anyway, indicating the possible presence of the Shariah doctrine of taqiyya, or sacred deception, in the practice of US journalism.

There is no other form of religious law on earth that compares to shariah–also known as Islamic law. From the very basics, shariah is different because it is the only form of religious law that is meant to apply to people of other faiths. Jewish rabbinical law applies to Jews. Catholic canon law applies to Catholics.

Shariah applies to Muslims, Jews, Christians, everyone. Large sections of shariah texts deal exclusively with rules and regulations for kafirs, a derogatory term meaning “non-believer.”

The Basics of Shariah and Why It Isn’t Just A Religious Code of Conduct

Shariah is the detailed system of Islamic law based on the Islamic scriptural trilogy of the Quran, the Hadith (sayings and stories of the life of Muhammed) and the Sira (the biography of Muhammed).

Shariah is considered immutable, indivisible and mandatory to follow in all aspects of life. It encompasses personal ethics and legal issues, church and state, this world and the afterlife. Shariah does not differentiate between rules enforced by individual principle from laws enforced by the state. Because shariah is said to reflect the will of allah, as opposed to the will of humans, it covers all areas of life and not just those of interest to the state or society–such as dress and grooming. Shariah deals with questions of belief and religious practice, criminal and legal matters, and other fields, including finance and war. There is no such thing as a separate secular authority or secular law under shariah, since religion and state are not distinct, but are one.

Shariah regulates the believer’s attitudes and actions on everything.

Shariah covers virtually all aspects of life, whether the aspect at hand is a religious issue or not. Whereas canon law and rabbinical law cover religious issues and ecclesiastical issues primarily, shariah covers issues of criminal punishment, civil justice, economics/finance and war, in addition to purely ecclesiastical matters.

But what is most important for Westerners to know, shariah can be accurately described as reactionary and, in its implementation, barbaric.

Shariah mandates as a religious obligation:

• Violent jihad against non-Muslims to establish Islam’s rule worldwide (known as the caliphate).

• The killing of apostates from Islam.

• The killing of adulterers and homosexuals.

• Severe discrimination against women. This includes persecution of women.

• Barbaric punishment (limb amputations, crucifixion, beheading, whipping, stoning, etc).

• Severe discrimination against, and the subjugation of, non-Muslims.

• For those Muslims who cannot engage in physical jihad using force, shariah mandates that they support jihad financially.

Shariah and its tenets are completely at odds with everything America and Western civilization stand for: freedom, equality, tolerance and justice. The promotion of shariah represents a commitment to the replacement of secular political orders. In other words, shariah sets as its goal the destruction of documents like the US constitution and the basic liberties set out therein.

But don’t take my word for it. There are plenty of scholarly, authoritative works on shariah which detail its many tenets.

Shariah According to the Scholars


Our first scholarly shariah source is Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law.

Reliance of the Traveler is one of the world’s most widely read manuals of Shariah law. It has been endorsed by a variety of Islamic authorities, including Al Azhar University in Cairo, IIIT (International Institute of Islamic Thought) in Herndon, Virginia, the Fiqh Council of North America, the Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Mufti of the Jordanian Armed Forces and the Imam of the Mosque of Darwish Pasha in Damascus, Syria.

These can hardly be termed as those pushing “anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.”

Here are some of the highlights from the 1,232 pages of Reliance of the Traveler:

• Page 59 Female Genital Mutilation:

e4.3 Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. bazr) of the clitoris…(A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.)

Zakat is an obligatory religious tax in Islam mandated by shariah. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as tithing in Western media. Western observers are particularly concerned about zakat because shariah either permits or mandates that it support violent jihad:

• Page 272 Categories of recipients of zakat


h8.17 The seventh category is those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster (O: but who are volunteers for jihad without renumeration). They are given enough to suffice them for the operation, even if affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing, and expenses.

• Pages 595-597 Apostasy from Islam


(O: Leaving Islam is the ugliest form unbelief (kufr) and the worst.

o8.1 When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed.

o8.4 There is no indemnity for killing an apostate (O: or any expiation, since it is killing someone who deserves to die).

Acts that entail leaving Islam

(1) to prostrate to an idol, whether sarcastically, out of mere contrariness, or in actual conviction…

(2) to intend to commit unbelief, even if in the future.

(3) to speak words that imply unbelief such as “Allah is the third of three,” or “I am Allah.”

(4) to revile Allah or His messenger

(5) to deny the existence of Allah

(6) to be sarcastic about Allah’s name

(7) to deny any verse of the Koran or anything which by scholarly consensus belongs to it, or to add a verse that does not belong to it.

(8) to mockingly say, “I do not know what faith is”

(9) to reply to someone who says, “There is no power or strength save through Allah.”

(10) for a tyrant, after an oppressed person says, “This is through the decree of Allah,” to reply, “I act without the decree of Allah.”

(11) to say that a Muslim is an unbeliever (kafir)

(12) when someone asks to be taught the Testification of Faith (There is no god but Allah, Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah) and a Muslim refuses to teach him it

(13) to describe a Muslim or someone who wants to become a Muslim in terms of unbelief (kufr)

(14) to deny the obligatory character of something which by the consensus of Muslims is part of Islam…

(15) to hold that any of Allah’s messengers or prophets are liars, or to deny their being sent

(16) to revile the religion of Islam

(17) to believe that things in themselves or by their own nature have any causal influence independent of the will of Allah

(18) to deny the existence of angels or jinn or the heavens

(19) to be sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred Law

(20) to deny that Allah intended the Prophet’s message to be the religion followed by the entire world.

There are others for the subject is nearly limitless.

• Page 599-602 Jihad

o9.0 JIHAD

(O: Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.

“I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah.”

The Obligatory Character of Jihad

“He who provides the equipment for a soldier in jihad has himself performed jihad”

o9.3 Jihad is also personally obligatory for everyone able to perform it, male or female, old or young, when the enemy has surrounded the Muslims on every side, having entered our territory, even if the land consists of ruins, wilderness, or mountains, for non-Muslim forces entering Muslim lands is a weighty matter that cannot be ignored, but must be met with effort and struggle to repel them by every possible means.

The objectives of Jihad

o9.8 The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians provided he has first invited them to enter the Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya)…


Our next scholarly shariah source is “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” by Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan, published by Al-Maiman Publishing House in Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Fawzan is considered one of the most esteemed Shariah scholars in the entire Islamic world, having received three degrees in Shariah from the University of Imam Muhammad in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He is a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, the Fiqh Committee in Mecca and the Committee for Supervision of the Callers in Hajj. He also heads the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatwas. He is the Imam at the Prince Mut’ib Ibn Abdul-Aziz Mosque, hosts a national radio program in Saudi Arabia and has published 60 books.

Several chapters of Volume 1 are devoted to zakat. Chapter 8 is devoted in its entirety to “Entitled Recipients of Zakat.”

This chapter provides a complete explanation of the 8 categories of recipients of zakat who are entitled to receive it. Of particular interest to those of us in the West is the seventh category. From pages 364-365 of A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence, Volume 1:

 “The seventh category is that spent in the Cause of Allah such as that given to warriors who volunteer in fighting for the Cause of Allah and they do not take salaries from the Public Treasury of Muslims. Generally, the phrase “the Cause of Allah” refers to the war against the enemies of Muslims, as Allah, Exalted be He.”

This passage is particularly important because it defines “the Cause of Allah.”

To conceal or deny that zakat funds warfare is a form of taqiyya (sacred deception).

It is not refutable; zakat funds warriors who volunteer to fight for the Cause of Allah against the enemies of Muslims, but who do not draw a salary. This can only be interpreted to mean irregular combatants–terrorists.

Despite what the braintrust at Buzzfeed may say, there is nothing like this is any other form of religious law.

Volume 1 of A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence also includes an entire chapter devoted to Jihad. From pages 471-472:

Jihad (Fighting in the Cause of Allah)

Allah has ordained jihad (fighting in the Cause of Allah) in order to render His Word the highest, His Religion the victorious, His enemies the defeated, and to test the faith of His true servants.

In Islam, Jihad enjoys great importance, as it is the highest level in religion and one of the best acts of worship to the extent that some scholars consider jihad the sixth pillar of Islam. Jihad is ordained according to the Quran, the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) and consensus of Muslim scholars.

Volume 2 of A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence includes more mundane matters which illustrate further that shariah is anything but “simply a religious code of conduct” such as Buzzfeed claims. Here are some of the topics covered in this work:

•  Page 79: Hawalah

This is the infamous money and asset transfer system that has been used in financing of terrorism and money laundering, as detailed in this Treasury Department report:

• Page 265: Inheritance of Daughters

Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of the two females.

• Page 436: Divorce

The Spoken Forms of Divorce

Direct pronouncement: It includes the word “divorce” or any of its derivatives that indicate that the husband divorces his wife, and it carries no other meaning than divorce, such as saying to one’s wife, “I divorce you,” or, “You are divorced,” or “You have become a divorcee.” In such cases the divorce is valid and effective.

Page 479: Chapter 10 Verifying the Slave Girl’s Non-Pregnancy

No chapter in A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence more vividly illustrates the fact that shariah is incompatible with human rights than this one. Keep in mind that this book was written in 2005. The inclusion of this topic can only be described as troubling in the extreme:

Verifying that the slave girl is not pregnant is achieved by her master abstaining from having sexual intercourse with her for a specified period sufficient to make sure that she has not conceived. Thus, when a slave girl is sold, given as a gift or captured and she is fit to have sexual intercourse, her new master is prohibited to have sexual intercourse with her or even foreplay until making sure that she is not pregnant.

Page 637: Apostasy

If anyone (Muslim) changes his religion (i.e. apostatizes), kill him.


Our final scholarly source is The Hudud: The Hudud are the seven specific crimes in Islamic criminal law and their mandatory punishments

Chances are, this 433-page book contains details all most of what you have heard about the barbaric nature of shariah. It was written by Dr. Muhammad Ata Alsid Sidahmad, who is Professor of Islamic Law at the International Islamic University, Malaysia. He has been teaching shariah since 1986. He holds a LL.B in shariah from the University of Khartoum in Sudan and a Master’s and Ph.D from Temple University in Philadelphia. He was the founding Dean of the Faculty of Law at Bayero University in Nigeria and, since 1984, has been a member of the Islamic Fish Academy of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

This book covers the implementation of shariah criminal law and its punishments. Hudud literally refers to the punishments and prohibitions under shariah. Here are some highlights, which, once again, show that shariah has to resemblance to rabbinical law or canon law and is not just “simply a religious code of conduct” as Buzzfeed reported.

• Page 97

Implementation of the Hudud is Mandatory

• Page 113

Partial implementation of shariah is strictly prohibited

• Page 169

Testimony and Women

The four schools of law, namely the Shafiyyah, the Malikiyyah, the Hanafiyyah and the Hanabilah, out of extreme care, in establishing a hudud crime, are unanimous in rejecting women’s evidence in proof of hudud crimes. They rely on an opinion expressed by Ibn Shihab al Zuhri, a companion of the Prophet, that it was the practice since the time of the Prophet and the two Caliphs after him, that the testimonies of women in hudud crimes not be accepted.

• Page 219

Chapter 9 Types of Hudud Punishments and Their Modes of Execution

Death Penalty

The death penalty can be executed by beheading, crucifixion or stoning.


The Hanafiyyah and the Hanabilah rule that all beheadings should be by the sword.


This is to put to death by nailing or binding the offender’s hands and feet to a cross. It is in one crime only that crucifixion is mentioned as an option, that is hirabah.

The recompense of those who wage war against God and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land are to be…crucified…”


This is to put the convict to death by pelting him with stones until he is dead. It is applicable in one crime only, which is illicit sexual intercourse by a man or a woman.

The Mode of Stoning

The majority opinion among the jurists is that the male convict will be stoned without confining him to a ditch and without tying him up.

But if the convict is a woman, legal authority abounds on the tightening of her clothes securely around her, or her confinement in a ditch up to her chest before she is stoned. The objective is to protect her from getting naked in her strife.

All the upper part of the body including the head, but not the face, can be pelted with stones.


This is cutting off of part of a limb as punishment for certain crimes. In hudud, amputation is ordained in two situations only. First, if all the conditions are satisfied in a crime of theft, such as stealthiness, minimum amount, lawful custody, nature of the stolen item, proved by confession or witnesses.

Stoppage of Bleeding

It is the duty of the state to provide medical facilities to stop bleeding after amputation. In the early days, they used to constrict the damaged blood vessels by immersing the wound in boiling oil. But today, modern medical treatment, such as closing with sutures, tying blood vessels or sealing them by diathermy is permissible.


This is a recognized hudd punishment: beating the convict with a whip, rotan, strap, lash, or the like. These whipping instruments are subject to specifications in terms of size and elasticity so as to deliver the required pain…

The point of illustrating all of these aspects of shariah is to correct the disinformation propagated by Leftist media outlets in the West, such as Buzzfeed, which seek to whitewash the true nature of shariah. It is disheartening that such disinformation has become the norm in such outlets, either due to a lack of intellectual integrity or perhaps the curiosity that is supposed to be a hallmark of responsible journalism.

But there are other sources that have explained the importance of shariah and, in so doing, vividly illustrate the stark contrast between shariah and civilized forms of law, both religious and secular. Those sources are Jihadi leaders who have written and spoken extensively on shariah. Here is what they have said:

Shariah According to the Jihadis

The sharia has forbidden us from taking infidels as confidants, inducting them into our secrets.
• The sharia forbids us from appointing infidels to important posts.
• The sharia forbids us from adopting or praising the beliefs and views of the infidels.
• The sharia forbids us from assisting infidels against Muslims; even the one who is coerced has o excuse to fight under the banner of infidels.
• The sharia commands us to battle infidels—both original infidels and apostates, as well as hypocrites. As for waging jihad against the infidels who have usurped the lands of Islam, this is a duty considered second only to faith, by ulemaic consensus.
• The sharia does not accept the excuses made by hypocrites—that they befriend the infidels because they fear the vicissitudes of time.
• We are duty-bound by the sharia to help Muslims overcome the infidels.

Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al Qaeda leader

Democracy is based on the principle of the power of creatures over other creatures, and rejects the principle of God’s absolute power over all creatures; it is also based on the idea the men’s desires, whatever they may be, replace God absolutely, and on the refusal to obey God’s law. In Islam, when there is a disagreement or a difference of opinion, one refers to God, his Prophet, and the commands of sharia.

Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al Qaeda leader

From the point of view of ideology and sharia, we are required to establish God’s rule over any part of this earth, regardless of particularities and details. This can only happen, however, if the nation adopts this ideology and safeguards it.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah
Leader of Hezbollah

The laws of the shari’a embrace a diverse body of laws and regulations, which amounts to a complete social system. In this system of laws, all the needs of man have been met: his dealings with his neighbors, fellow citizens, and clan, as well as children and relatives; the concerns of private and material life; regulations concerning war and peace and intercourse with other nations; penal and commercial law; and regulations pertaining to trade and agriculture.

Ayatollah Khomeini
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
Of Iran 1979-1989

Reason also dictates that we establish a government in order to be able to ward off aggression and to defend the honor of the Muslims in case of attack. The shari’a, for its part, instructs us to be constantly ready to defend ourselves against those who wish to attack us.

Ayatollah Khomeini
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
Of Iran 1979-1989

It will be the duty of the Muslims to engage in an armed jihad against the ruling group in order to make the policies ruling society and the norms of government conform to the principles and ordinances of Islam.

Ayatollah Khomeini
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
Of Iran 1979-1989

Regarding which shared understandings, exactly, is it possible that we agree with the immoral West?… What commonalities, if our foundations contradict, rendering useless the shared extremities—if they even exist? For practically everything valued by the immoral West is condemned under sharia law. As for this atmosphere of shared understandings, what evidence is there for Muslims to strive for this? What did the Prophet, the Companions after him, and the righteous forebears do? Did they wage jihad against infidels, attacking them all over earth, in order to place them under the suzerainty of Islam in great humility and submission? Or did they send messages to discover “shared understandings” between themselves and the infidels in order that they may reach an understanding whereby universal peace, security, and natural relations would spread—in such a satanic manner as this? The sharia provides a true and just path, securing Muslims, and providing peace to the world.

… Offensive Jihadis (are) an established and basic tenet of this religion. It is a religious duty rejected only by the most deluded. So how can they call off this religious obligation [Offensive Jihad], while imploring the West to understandings and talks “under the umbrella of justice, morality, and rights”? The essence of all this comes from right inside the halls of the United Nations, instead of the Divine foundations that are built upon hating the infidels, repudiating them with tongue and teeth till they embrace Islam or pay the jizya [tribute] with willing submission and humility… Muslims, and especially the learned among them, should spread sharia law to the world—that and nothing else. Not laws under the “umbrella of justice, morality, and rights” as understood by the masses. No, the sharia of Islam is the foundation.

They say that our sharia does not impose our particular beliefs upon others; this is a false assertion. For it is, in fact , part of our religion to impose our particular beliefs upon others.

Thus whoever refuses the principle of terror[ism] against the enemy also refuses the commandment of Allah the Exalted, the Most High, and His sharia.

Osama Bin Laden

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