Sharia Law is Unacceptable for Use in American Law

The application of Sharia law in the United States on any level would lead to massive clashes between different divisions of government.

Sharia law, or the legal code prescribed for those of the Islamic religion in the Quran, has been offered by some as a resource for judges when looking for legal precedent as basis and support for their rulings, and as a basis for the justice system in America. Such a system cannot be enforced within the nation however, without running against very basic, founding principles of the country. It would further create conflict between federal, state, and local governments, and could give undue preference to some citizens' rights above those of others.

At the federal level, the use of Sharia law is clearly in violation of the First Amendment. To adopt the moral code of a particular faith as a legal basis flies directly in the face of a prohibition of state-established religion, and is thus directly unconstitutional. However, a much bigger mess comes to light when sorting through the particulars of past uses of Sharia law in the courts of other nations. 

For example, in 2003 a Malaysian court acting under Sharia law ruled that under that law a man could divorce his wife by text message. In the Quran’s book of Haleem, in dealing with thieves, it is suggested to: “Cut off the hands of thieves, whether they are male or female, as punishment for what they have done — a deterrent from God: God is almighty and wise.” Stoning, other forms of amputation, and branding also can be found as punishments offered within the Quran. For a nation where cruel and unusual punishment is outlawed, this is a clearly unacceptable source for legal thought.

On the local level, the institution of Sharia law is equally contrary to American principles. Some would argue that the application of Sharia law is a necessary respect for the religious views of particular Americans, and must at the very least be allowed for localities. This raises a question: How many localities enforce the system of law prescribed in the Jewish religion? The Christian? Any other religion? The answer is none. Within nearly any community, there are going to be people with a variety of religious views, and thus, to institute a rule of life from a religion they consider to be a false one is a poor way to obtain justice. This gives a level of government endorsement of the Islamic religion that is completely unacceptable, and contrary to the rights of followers of other views.

In order to properly follow basic American principles and laws, avoid conflict between federal and local governments, and provide the equal protection of law to all variety of religions, a law based on any one particular religion, especially one with the clear human rights issues found in Sharia law, is clearly unacceptable. 

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