Sacred law in a Secular land: To What Extent Should Sharīʻa Law be Followed in Australia?
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Muslims are obliged to follow the Shari'a law wherever they live. However, in Australia?as in other Western, secular countries?the extent to which Shari'a should be followed is debatable. In these countries, some Muslims appeal for partial application of Shari'a in personal, financial and family matters; others hope for full Shari'a implementation. The sentiment among the wider non-Muslim community is typically pejorative leading to outright rejection of Shari'a law, regardless of any ensuing benefit. However, the practice of Shari'a is dependent on a number of factors, not the least of which is the country in which a Muslim lives?the 'abode'. This article examines classical and contemporary juristic discourse on the extent to which a Muslim is obliged to follow Shari'a in non-Muslim countries. It presents a holistic understanding of the meaning and intent of Shari'a, and describes the conditions under which these laws should be followed. Importantly, relying on the views of leading classical and contemporary scholars, the article demonstrates that in non-Muslim lands Muslims are only obliged to follow certain aspects of personal status law.
Griffith Law Review
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