Backed up with historical references up to the recent past, this publication opens up Islam’s version of a War on Terror, and shows the reality of the acceptance of Islamic law (Shariah), which turns out to be in stark contradiction with the mass global hysteria against it. Through real-world examples it reveals how – rather than creating terror – one of the very purposes of Shariah is to end terrorism, and how it has historically succeeded in doing so, without the massive imposition of force against innocent civilians. This is what is interesting to note – that while Western secular ideologies and Islam both claim to free the oppressed peoples of the world, there is a serious contrast between how they follow through with actions.
The essay is strengthened by the importance it has given to the voices of non-Muslims throughout the ages, including those who were staunch critics of Islam, and whose lack of religious allegiance to it suggests that their opinions are likely to be unbiased.
In light of what’s going on with the ISIS these days, this publication provides an important context to current events. Less than a century has gone by since a legitimate Islamic Caliphate was dismantled with the help of the world wars. Neither this past century of secularized Muslim states in general, nor the past decade of inexplicable violence after 9/11 can serve as a fair comparison to about a thousand years of general success. Remember that things that are imposed are not sustainable, not even for a few decades, let alone several centuries. So to confine one’s view to the past 100 or so years – that too without considering the context, would be an injustice to humankind.
From 7th Century Arabia, to 8th Century Spain to the European Enlightenment, from case studies of the effects of misinformation during the 11th century Crusades to the rule of the Ottoman Empire, and finally culminating on the current state of affairs – this 72-page essay offers a fresh and reliable perspective on a topic that is otherwise demonized and stereotyped to death. This is not to say that mistakes have not occurred, or that the Caliphate has not seen problems. But in a world riddled with imperfection, the framework does stand out as the most successful protector of the common people.
However, all issues from the 7th Century to-date can obviously not be squeezed into 72 pages. For instance, the essay does not mention how “…As of June 2010… Recent reports (in the UK) indicated that non-Muslims were increasingly turning to Islamic law courts for settling disputes.” – as published on the U.S. state website.
Nevertheless, I would call this a must-read for anyone interested in the human condition, Muslim or not.
A few excerpts worth noting:
In 1420 Rabbi Yitzhak Tsarfati wrote a letter to his persecuted German brothers from the Ottoman Turkish territory (Edirne [Adrianople]) inviting them to join him in prosperous and tolerant Islamic lands:
“Your cries and laments have reached us. We have been told of all the sorrows and persecutions which you suffer in German lands. Listen, my brothers…if you…knew even the tenth of what God has blessed us with in this land, you would give heed to no further difficulties. You would embark at once to us…Here the Jew is not compelled to wear a yellow hat as a badge of shame…You will be free of your enemies. Here you will find peace.”
“The ruin of the empire of the Romans, and, along with it the subversion of all law and order, which happened a few centuries afterwards, produced the entire neglect of that study of the connecting principles of nature, to which leisure and security can alone give occasion. After the fall of those great conquerors and the civilizers of mankind, the empire of the Caliphs seems to have been the first state under which the world enjoyed that degree of tranquility which the cultivation of the sciences requires. It was under the protection of those generous and magnificent princes, that the ancient philosophy and astronomy of the Greeks were restored and established in the East; that tranquility, which their mild, just and religious government diffused over their vast empire, revived the curiosity of mankind, to inquire into the connecting principles of nature.” – Adam Smith (1723-1790), one of the most outstandingly intelligent economists of his time, whose portrait is published on the back of the British £20 note.
Cohen published his research in 1994 and during his research he made some astonishing discoveries, as he himself states:
Cases concerning Jews cover a very wide spectrum of topics. If we bear in mind that the Jews of Jerusalem had their own separate courts, the number of cases brought to Muslim court (which actually meant putting themselves at the mercy of a judge outside the pale of their communal and religious identity) is quite impressive…The Jews went to the Muslim court for a variety of reasons, but the overwhelming fact was their ongoing and almost permanent presence there. This indicates that they went there not only in search of justice, but did so hoping, or rather knowing, that more often than not they would attain redress when wronged…The Jews went to court to resolve much more than their conflicts with Muslim or Christian neighbours. They turned to Shari’a authorities to seek redress with respect to internal differences, and even in matters within their immediate family (intimate relations between husband and wife, nafaqa maintenance payments to divorcees, support of infants etc.).
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