Some Muslims defend Sharia by claiming that it creates a just, moral, ethical society. This is important because the quest for utopia is one reason Muslims are so motivated to impose Sharia, and it’s one of the ways they try to sell it to non-Muslims. According to many Muslims, all problems result from not enough Islam, and the cure is always more Islam. Let’s just examine the evidence of their claims.
To begin with, Muslim claims of Sharia utopia are similar to claims of utopia made by adherents of other totalitarian and authoritarian systems: fascists, Nazis, and communists, for example, have all made the claim that their system would produce a paradise on earth, and none of these have ever produced a utopia. All have created massive amounts of misery, not utopia. Communist countries generally have to keep people from escaping, or their populations would be decimated. The failure of other totalitarian schemes should already make us sceptical of the notion of a Sharia utopia.
I recently received a comment from “theveiledtsunami” who said:
”A society existing under judiciously applied Shariah law would have little to no cime, no homeless people, no unwanted abandoned illegitimate children, no rape…”
I asked Tsunami: You give your vision of a country with Sharia utopia. Please give us an example of one Muslim country, out of the 50, which implements the full Sharia and exemplifies this utopia. Saudi Arabia? Iran? Please give us a specific example so the rest of the world can decide if this kind of utopia is for us. Her reply was:
”Unfortuantely (sic), I know of no country that does, to the absolute letter of the Islamic law.”
The Sharia Utopia Is Fantasy-Based
Since there is not a single Muslim country that exemplifies a Sharia utopia, the concept is fantasy-based. In this series, we will be looking at the qualities of Muslims’ utopian dream point by point.
Is the Problem Sharia, Or Its Implementation?
Muslims sometimes claim that any problems with Sharia result from flaws of its implementation, not from Sharia itself. This would be a fair claim–if there were any evidence for it. There are times in which cultural factors do play a role, as in honor killings and female genital mutilation. However, even in these instances, there are foundational Islamic texts that give support to the practices, and the perpetrators generally view their behavior as Islamic. If these practices were antithetical to Islam, why has Islam failed to eliminate them after 1400 years? Why are these practices carried out in various Islamic cultures, not just in one tribal area?
A better argument could be made that some of the most livable Muslim countries owe their positive qualities to the fact that their local culture has survived sufficiently to give them some protection from the worst aspects of Sharia. The best Muslim countries are the ones with the least Sharia.
Sharia has a poor historical record, as well. The Islamic Golden Age is a myth. Historically, as in modern times, life under Muslim rule was best when Islam was weakest and least orthodox, and when Islam failed to smother the positive cultural qualities remaining from pre-Islamic times.
It is true that there can be a distinction between written religious dogma and the actual practice of a religion, but both belong to the religion. The practice of a religion is effectively determined by its followers. If large numbers of Muslims support honor killings and/or female genital mutilation and they say this is Islamic, then for them, it is. There are Christian practices that have no basis, or scanty basis, in the Christian Bible (e.g. Sunday worship, Christmas, Easter, et al), but they are so widely accepted among Christians that for practical purposes, these practices are indeed Christian.