The Dilemma of Islamic Sharia and Freedom of Expression

Often times we hear the rhetoric that Islamic Sharia Law is compatible with Western democracy and constitutions as the United States’. Many Muslim advocates of Sharia try to promote the notion that Islam provides adequate forms of democracy and freedom. However, the more one explore such claims the more disturbing the findings become.

Pakistan for example has a law that calls for the death penalty against anyone who blaspheme against the prophet of Islam. Many innocent people were victimized as a result of this law, often times accused falsely by neighbors or colleagues without any proof. Some as a result have been imprisoned for years losing all forms of freedom.

Few months ago a young Saudi blogger and columnist, Hamza Kashgari, 23, tweeted some comments regarding his opinion of the prophet saying that he liked and disliked certain things about the prophet. His comments were deemed insulting to the person of the prophet and caused an up roar among the religious authorities causing the Saudi government to arrest him via the Interpol and have him extradited from Malaysia to face charges. Today he has been jailed in solitary confinement awaiting his trial which may result in his execution by beheading, despite the fact that he has pulled his tweet back almost immediately and issued a public apology and repentance.

If such backward behaviors by so-called “Religious Police” do not call for an outrage for its clear infringement on one’s freedom, the upcoming initiative, by the Saudi Religious Police to criminalize insulting Islam, should! Unnamed sources close to the matter related to this discussion revealed that within two months the Shura Council {the Islamic consultation committee] will issue the results of its study on the recommended regulations  to combat the criticism of the basic tenets of Islamic Sharia (see

What is so alarming about this proposal is the very fact that it is based on findings by Saudi authority that people have been using social media and networks to express their opinions freely, something apparently that cannot be tolerated, and may even be punishable by death depending on the nature of the criticism.

The so called criticism is specifically aimed towards any expression of opinion about the prophet of Islam, early Muslim figures and clerics. In other words, no one can at all times ask any question pertinent to an event or behavior by the prophet of Islam , such as his marriage of a Nine years old child bride when he was in his early fifties. Nor question any of his companion’s character and odd behavior; as leading prayer while intoxicated; or burning apostates to death. After all, the prophet and his companions are the role model for Muslims to follow as the best and chosen of mankind (Q. 3:100; 9:100), hence, their behavior is paramount in shaping one’s own.

While we are accustomed into hearing through media outlets that Islam is a religion of peace, and that Sharia Law is compatible with the US constitution. In light of these grave declarations, one should expect freedom to be a nonnegotiable and inalienable right within Islam and sharia. Furthermore, one should expect such virtues to be abundant in the birth place of Islam; Saudi Arabia. However, such news concerning an initiative designed to restrict people’s freedom to think; question; and express their own opinion, should be alarming and must be open for scrutiny.

In reality, these types of initiatives do not stem from personal agendas or void foundations; they are based on teachings found in the pages of the Qur’an, the Muslim’s Holy Book. In other words, silencing people and oppressing their ability to think and express are divinely commanded and mandated by a religious book. Such sobering reality can only mean; SHARIA LAW will never be compatible with any constitution, especially those that calls for freedom and respect for human dignity.

For more on the teachings of the Qur’an on freedom, obtain a copy of our book “The Qur’an Dilemma” by visiting us at


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