One of the bounties bestowed on Muslims by Allah (SWT) is the Shari’ah: the Divine guidance and code of conduct, necessary to achieve success in this world and the world hereafter. For the colonists who subjugated Muslim lands it appeared necessary therefore to first deprive Muslims of their source of sustenance and symbol of identity. The first target of their attack was the Shari’ah; every aspect of which was ridiculed, belittled or truncated. It is difficult to improve upon Isma’il Raji al Faruqi‘s graphic description of this onslaught. He who wrote:
- By the colonialists directly, or by their native stooges, everything Islamic fell under attack. The integrity of the Qur’anic text, the genuineness of the Prophet (SAAS), the veracity of his Sunnah,
the perfection of the Shariah the glories of Muslim achievements in culture and civilization - none of them was spared. The purpose was to inject doubt in the Muslim’s confidence in himself . . .
to subvert his Islamic personality . . . lacking the spiritual stamina necessary for resistance . . . the Muslim was turned into something neither Islamic nor Western, a cultural monstrosity of modem
In India, the British colonialists deprived the Muslims of their sense of identity by substituting a good part of the Sharitzh with English law and systematically mutiliated the rest of it into a hybrid legal system they started calling with the meaningless name of “Muhammadan Law“.
With a view to analyze the colonization of the Shari’ah in India during the last century and to determine’the extent of damage it suffered in the past and continues to endure to this day, this paper makes the following submissions:
- That the law to govern Muslims anywhere in the world including India should be the Sharibh;
- That the “Muhammadan law” (or Muslim Personal Law) which is applicable to Muslims in India materially differs from the Shari’ah;
- That the ill-effects of continued application of this law are serious and need certain corrective measures; and
4. That a complete re-appraisal of the Islamic legal education in the century is necessary to ensure proper understanding and judicial implementation of the Shari’ah in India.