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Published On:29 April 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Dallas Muslim scholar, Dr. Kavakci, reveals misconceptions about Shariah laws


By Dina Malki


Irving-based Radio Azad’s Nikhat Qureshi presented a distinguished radio show on “Islamophobia and defending Shariah law” on Sunday, April 22. One of her guests was the Muslim scholar, Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci, a Dallas prominent scholar-in-residence and Imam at Richardson’s Islamic Association of North Texas, and one of several North American Muslims included in the “500 most influential Muslims in the world.” Dr. Kavakci explained the history of the development and practice of Shariah, Islamic law, in Classical Islam and in the contemporary world, shedding the light on facts and misconceptions about Muslim penal codes, Muslim countries claiming to be practicing Shariah, and the compatibility of Shariah with the American constitution.


Dr. Kavakci was born in 1938 in Turkey. At the age of 9, he completed the memorization of the whole Qur’an. After completing training in Islamic sciences he became a nationally accredited Mufti (ordained and authorized to give Fatwa-religious opinion- and religious verdict in the Islamic field,) and he worked several religious positions like Imam and Waiz (preacher). Dr. Kavakci received a Bachelor degree in Law from the College of Law of Istanbul University and in Islamic Studies from the Institute of Higher Islamic Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Islamic History and Culture from the Faculty of Arts in Istanbul University. He worked as Assistant Professor and Associate Professor in the Institute of Islamic Research at Istanbul University, and helped establish the first College of Islamic Studies in modern Turkey, now part of Ataturk University. He has practiced law in Iraq, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. He has a number of books published in English and is working on several works in progress. For more details about Dr. Kavakci’s works and biography, please visit the IANT website from which this brief introduction was quoted.


Shariah literally means the road, path to water, Dr. Kavakci stated. It includes “the laws, rules and regulations, drawn from the Quran and Hadith (Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and tradition), understood [by Muslim jurists], and made applicable [in human relations pertaining to everyday’s living and worship rituals.]”These laws empower people before life [i.e. rules concerning the rights of a fetus in its mother’s womb], through life, and after death [i.e. burial rites.] Shariah covers moral values, family relations, respect of parents and elders, human transactions, worship, charity, etc…In a nut shell, Shariah “covers all of a human being’s actions and deeds.”


Through this overview of Shariah, Dr. Kavakci has already confronted misconceptions, like the false statement that Shariah is only about penal codes. As a matter of fact, “less than 10 percent of Shariah” is considered penal codes of crimes and offenses, like theft and highway robbery, clearly mentioned in the Quran. The rest of the Shariah laws, over 90 percent, are left to Muslim jurists to analyze and determine their legal rulings. In addition, Dr. Kavakci stated that penal code is only a part of the whole Islamic law, which also includes secular public and civil laws, all of which is left to democracy to handle; democracy here understood as the agreement of Muslim scholars.


As a practicing lawyer, Dr. Kavakci made another outstanding statement: “85 percent of American laws practices, like family laws in Texas, fit Shariah” because they are “done by the people, for the people, despite some discrepancies.” While Dr. Kavakci believes that American laws live in harmony with Shariah laws, he assured that “no country today applies Shariah as it should be applied, including Saudi Arabia.” He blamed resources monopoly and lack of democratic structures to the failures of political structures in the Muslim world and hence to the lack of authentic practice of Shariah thereby. Moreover, those countries claiming to apply Shariah miss the application of human rights in particular. Muslim countries’ constitutions in modern times are the result of the post-colonization modernity movement and institution of the nation state, and thus, are borrowed from European civil codes. For example, Egypt’s civil codes are copied from French civil codes that worked well for the French, but when they were hastily translated into Arabic to be received in Muslim and Arab countries, many words were wrongly translated to a large degree. Dr. Kavakci noted that what Muslims have done with such European laws was to just Islamize terms and words; the civil codes currently used in the Muslim world are Western influence, where Muslim countries picked and chose what to borrow and what to leave out. 


“Muslims don’t know Islamic law,” Dr. Kavakci concluded. Muslims need to first learn their religious tradition and then become good citizens and help everyone, in hopes for fighting hate, phobias, and misunderstanding. “No to ignorance,” he declared. “It is the mother of all evils.” He urged Muslims to seek scholarly knowledge and renew their faith in a brotherly, friendly and knowledgeable practice.


(Courtesy: Examiner)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on April 29, 2012. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on April 29, 2012. Filed under , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

1 comments for "Dallas Muslim scholar, Dr. Kavakci, reveals misconceptions about Shariah laws"

  1. why's the bitch got to lie about it, if sharia law is so fucking great?

    Yeah it looks great with the laws they are implementing in Libya and Egypt. The first thing Libya's transnational 'rebel' leaders did was announce the repealing of laws that gave women extra rights during divorce or inheritance AND that they would be encouraging polygamy.

    Egypt now SAME FUCKING THING - only with those disgusting filthy bastards, it's sex with your dead wife; eliminating women's right to education; and I assume early marriage based on the title of another one of your articles; i've tried not to even READ those articles I get SO PISSED OFF.

    Any set of laws that requires death penalty for non violent crimes or LIMB amputation is SHIT.

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