Shariah courts in Canada, Myth and Reality

Category: Americas, Articles, Politics | Topic: canada, ontario | Views: 8,385 | Comments: 39

At no other time have Ontario courts been as backlogged as today, wrote Ontario’s auditor in his October 2003 report. The sentiment was echoed by Ontario’s chief justices at the 2004 opening session of the provincial court. 

Given the situation, one would expect that anything that may ease the backlog would be welcome. Ironically, recent efforts by the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice to formalize alternative dispute resolution (ADR) have met strong opposition from within and outside the community, at times verging on Islamophobia.

Right wing commentators and news outlets had a field day. “Canadian judges soon will be enforcing Islamic law…such as stoning women caught in adultery,” screamed one headline. Another read “Canada Allowing Sharia Barbaric Laws?” Even the usually sober Globe and Mail got in on it with a front page story titled “Tribunal will apply Islamic Law in Ontario.”

Within the community of more than 650,000, opinions range from embracing it wholeheartedly to opposition for fear that the decisions will be biased against women. In fact, the International Campaign for the Defense of Women’s Rights in Iran held a panel discussion titled, “Sharia tribunals in Canada and women’s rights,” on March 7, 2004. The press release for the event endorsed by about half a dozen women’s rights and humanist groups claim that “this attempt [to set up this tribunal] will make it possible for political Islam to gain legal credibility to attack women’s rights.”

Other communities have successfully implemented ADR procedures with much less fanfare and scrutiny. For instance, rabbinical courts or Beth Din’s dealing with business and matrimonial issues have been functioning for some time in North America. 

The existing Canadian legal framework allows parties to civil, family and religious disputes to opt for ADR and thereby resolve their differences using their own parameters be it religious or otherwise in a more feasible and culturally acceptable manner. This trend toward ADR will greatly benefit the general public by easing the burden on the judicial system and saving tax dollars. 

Muslims would simply be reactivating their rich tradition of arbitration (tahkim); mediation (wasatah); and conciliation (sulh). The tradition, based on different assumptions from the Western model, has continued from the time of the prophet. In fact, R. Jennings in his Kadi Courts and Legal Procedures in the 17th Century Ottoman Keysari, wrote:

Muslihun (those who help negotiate compromise and reconciliation) were regular features of the court. Often, litigants reported to the court that Muslihun had negotiated sulh between them, indicating that a compromise had been accomplished away from the Court.

Indeed, the Quran specifically refers to arbitration in the context of matrimonial disputes:

If you fear a breach between them (man and wife), then appoint an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they desire reconciliation, God will make them of one mind. God is all knowing, all aware. (Quran, C4, V35).

Of course, contrary to the impression left by some misinformed observers, any decision rendered by a tribunal or a panel of mediators would be subject to appeal to the courts and would have to be consistent with the supreme law of the land, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

Critics contend that unfair decisions will come to light very rarely given that women will cave in to social pressure. The concern is valid given the insular nature of the community, but should not undermine the whole initiative. In fact, Islamic dispute resolution already exists and people are abiding by decisions that are often times crude or unfair. Formalizing the process will allow for greater transparency and accountability. As long as there are proper procedures and rules of conduct in place there is nothing preventing the community from instituting a dynamic and less disruptive alternative to the adversarial court system. 

The primary issue of what interpretation of Islamic law will be applied raises legitimate questions. The Shariah is a comprehensive legal, ethical and spiritual guide of conduct to achieve submission to the will of God. The discovery of these rules of conduct is attained through fiqh or jurisprudence. Fiqh is composed of the Usul al Fiqh and the Furu al fiqh. Usul al fiqh is the methodology of jurisprudence, including the philosophy of law, sources of rules, and the principles of legislation, interpretation and application of the Quran and traditions of the prophet Mohamed. Furu al fiqh are the derivates or the legal rules, which are subject to interpretation and evolution. While agreeing on major points of Usul, Muslims have historically tolerated a wide variety of opinions with regards to Furu. 

Compounding the problem is the fact that there is virtually no formal certification process to designate someone as being qualified to interpret Islamic law. As it stands today, anyone can get away with making rulings so long as they have the appearance of piety and a group of followers. There are numerous institutions across the country churning out graduates as alims (scholars), faqihs (jurists) or muftis (Juris-consults) without fully imparting the subtleties of Islamic jurisprudence. Many are unfortunately more influenced by cultural worldviews and clearly take a male centered approach. 

The status quo in Islamic law characterized far too often with abuse of women and minorities is the product of rigid interpretations shaped by tribal and cultural norms. The pure Islamic teachings of equality, justice and freedom must be brought to the fore again by using interpretations which are consistent with the spirit of Islam. Islamic dispute resolution if it is a simple exercise of grafting the western paradigm onto the existing Islamic rules will not be fair or just. This formal ADR initiative provides an opportunity to shed the cultural baggage and revisit some of the patriarchally misinterpreted rulings by refocusing on the Quran’s emphasis on gender equality. 

This is a daunting task. One where arbitrators, mediators and facilitators must be adequately qualified to issue Islamic rulings consistent with the spirit of the Shariah and within the parameters of the Canadian Charter.

Those expending their energy campaigning against this initiative outright would help their cause more by offering constructive input to help set parameters and develop a transparent and just process.


Ahmad Kutty is senior lecturer at the Islamic Institute of Toronto ( His fatwas are available online at

Faisal Kutty is a partner in the law firm of Baksh & Kutty ( He is currently an LL.M. candidate in Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. He is also a columnist with the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs ( He can be reached at


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  1. With the overwhelming examples of the “Tolerance” exhibited by the “Islamic States”; ie: Saudi, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghan.

    No matter how much u try and sugar coat the sharia, it will still be very very bitter.

  2. Salaam brother Adam Ibrahim Muhammad,

    I did not have a chance to finish my comments due to the limited space & my work responsibilities. I work in the IT dept of a Canadian Tecommunications firm and we can often be very busy here. I will email you at your address more details… Take mine in case you need to contact me:

    May Allah bless you!

  3. Salaam brother Adam Ibrahim Muhammad,

    Your apology is accepted…I apologize too if I went little overboard but please understand that I got angry only when you suspected that I was one of US puppets or spies. I hate the US government to the point that I never visited America in my life. I am Moroccan but I am also a Canadian citizen since 1994. I live in Toronto, Ontario since 1990 and I was invited to the US many times but I have lots of Izza bil imaan as a Muslim to step a foot on a doorstep of a polical prostitute named the USA because it is controlled by a ZOG that treat us Muslims like dirt until she repents from her cardinal sins & horrible crimes against humanity & changes her ways then I will consider visiting her. You stated ” All those things you call me with exception of wahabbi (Cos’ one of the names of Allah is Al-wahhabb) are expressions I consider inappropriate to associate with any Muslim.” When I said Wahabbi extremist, I meant a student of a rigid teacher that is Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab & you obviously know it has nothing to do with the attributes of Allah & His glorious & beautiful name: Alwahhab, the Giver of gifts & talents and all beautiful things…

    In short, I do believe that humans have a lot in common & there are lots of good people in this world regardless of their faith… We Muslims just have to practise tolerance & follow the worlds teacher & messenger, Muhammad (pbuh) not just in practise but in METHODOLOGY as well. The biggest lesson for us Muslims to learn is how our messenger dealt with adversity & not just what he exactly did. We have to learn about his flexibility & pragmatism because dogma belongs in the realm of Aquidah (faith) and not really Sharia (jurisprudence) at least for now that we Muslims are politically weak. Remember that Sharia was not established in the Makki phase because Muslims did not have power in Makka & no city state until Medina became their city state then Madani revelations began…


  4. Dear H.(Bart), I totally respect your opinion on religion and state. For this part of the world your statement is well founded. As a Muslim, let’s say I would prefer an Islamic state. Now let’s turn the tables, as a Muslim, would I be happy to live in an Amish state? Not by a long shot. Therefore, I give you full credit for your statement, for the benifit and happiness of all, let’s have religious diversity as a by-product of democracy and out of the affairs of the state. Fair with me, only if referred to this article you are off the topic, mon ami. Like I said before to our compatriot, Steven Verge, check out comment#:21932 by Akbar Khan. In one word this issue is about dealing with Muslim community issues when both parties invoved into domestic ar administrative(not criminal) dispute would use a by-court governed under a shariah censored by either or both, provencial & federal law. Canadian Muslims do not want to impose shariah as a substitute to the Canadian Charter, that’s a very silly and immature thought. This shariah court would opperate like the Judaic and Native courts already in existence. No reason for panick. Your definition of what a Canadian was, moved me to tears, honest. I wish every inhabitant(with no exception) of this great land would share the same opinion. I do. You wish to know better your fellow Canadians of Arab descent, although I am flattered because I am of Arab ancestry, maybe you meant all those of Muslim background. Canadian Muslims of Arab descent are quite in minority, they are in greater majority South of the border. Nonetheless, a certain Arabness is retained in every Muslim, since the Prophet Muhammad,pbuh, was an Arabian. Here up North, the majority of the Muslims are mainly from the Indian subcontinent(Indian, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri-Lankans), followed by Iranis, Afghanistanis, Arabs, Turkish, Somalis, Albanians and a lot of other minorities, in your light, everybody is represented. Isn’t that just great?

  5. This is a great development and it is just another sign that Islam will triumph in the world as Allah said it in the Holy Qur’an. Today the Zionist among their secret circles rule the world today as Prophet Muhammad(SAW) said would happen before the Last Day, but the Messenger of Allah also stated that the Muslims would make a great Jihad against the Jews and they would be defeated. Any Muslim who does not applaud and support Islamic establishments such as the Shareeah Courts in Canada is showing open apostate and support for the kurfs against the Muslims which is haram. Allahuakbar! Islam forever!

  6. Salam Zinedine,

    Apologies for my statements, no harm intended I assure you. Even though, I can’t believe it is my statement “shut up” that warrants your outburst. But your statements like:

    “Let’s pls have a sharia law that serves Muslims in Marriage, divorce etc and not one of Hodood and Jinayat that will get Muslims stoned to death and have their hands cut off until the environment we live in Islaamic and most Muslims Imaan, faith, is high enough and their taqwa is at its zenith and can actually handle drastic hodood and their tragedies.”

    cannot and will never stand in any arguments in Islam. Yes must of us have low level Imaan. But the deen has also been perfected by Allah. So? The laws of Allah are on ne side and the Human inabilities are on the orther. As Iman increases with faith, what we do is to strive to achieving that level that will see us conforming to the tenets of the deen. Not to shelve the hudud cos’ no one can do that except Allah or another messenger of Allah and this is what motivated me asking you the question.

    All those things you call me with exception of wahabbi (Cos’ one of the names of Allah is Al-wahhabb) are expressions I consider inappropriate to associate with any muslim. After all Allah says we should always do good (after Iman)and hold on to the rope of Islam and not divide into groups.

    After this time I will not use the word SHUT-UP to any brother/sister again, in Sha-Allah. I still maintain though that you crosscheck with your teacher whenever you want to put up an opinion(especially in writing).


    An ordinary muslim in search of more knowledge of the deen,

  7. Salaam(Peace), Steven Verge, my compatriot. If you weren’t Canadian, I wouldn’t have bothered to type down your name for the very comment you did. Since we occupy the same space, as Canadians, we might bump in each other and I would hate to know that you share such criminal thoughts toward an ethnic group of Canadian countrymen, the Muslims. I agree, one is tempted to believe that Islam and Muslims were as alien to the Western world as starfruit to the blubber eating Innuit people. Before we proceed, I highly recommend to you to read comment#:21932 from our common Canadian brother Akbar Khan. I couldn’t put it better. If you have any doubts about what shariah we are talking about, ask your American brother Nick Cameron! To my surprise, Nick is on the ball with this article. So much the more my frustration with you! You are my Canadian compatriot! You should know far better than the Americans! Remember, we are the civilized they are the ignorant! Your comment Steven:”This is exaclty why non-Muslims are afraid. The moment the opportunity arises Muslims will attempt to impose their Islamic laws. Muslims escaped to Canada to leave behind the Shariah. Why is it following them here?” Allow me some introductory questions: How old are you? because if you are a teenager, I believe the topics discussed here are far beyond your capabilities of reasoning. You stated that non-Muslim were afraid of Muslims for whatever reason. Funny, my neighbours are a motley gathering of Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Budhists, Seven Day Adventists, Atheists and Toronto Maple Leaf fans(These guys have a religion of their own). Guess what? We all have our differences but we are great neighbours and we all support one another and God have mercy on any intruder that would try something “terroristic” on either of us. We look out for one another! Where do you live Steve? In Fort Erie, Niagara Falls or Sarnia? How I fancied? Your pattern of thinking is not mainland Canada. We ain’t afraid North of 49!

  8. I support the right of the people to believe as they see fit.But I would never stand for , or accept , the intrusion of religion ; any religion; into the affairs of the state .All religions , on paper , espouse lofty ideals of goodness, mercy and compassion.The adherents of religion,however , rarely conduct themselves with tolerance for the rights of others.We on this continent will never allow anything other than the right to “life,liberty,and the pursuit of happiness .”Religion is not the problem ; people are.And every religion has a significant number of people who commit acts of barbarism in the name of their deity.

  9. Wan, who are you addressing?

    Anyways, as I said ADR is usually run by private institutions in the U.S. has a long tradition here. As long as the particular form of ADR (in this case, Sharia-based types) conforms to the laws of our country, then there shouldn’t be a problem allowing it to bind parties who agree to adhere to it.

    Dunno about Indonesia, but that’s the way the law is here. Tidak apa-apa.

  10. Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatul Allah,

    To Mr Know it all Adamo Ibrahim who wants us to shut up & allow him, the self claimed expert, to speak alone. Don’t you know that tolerance is part of Islam’s teaching or did tyranny (Nigerian military style)taught you otherwise..? How can you possibly have the audacity to suspect an honest Muslim of being a puppet or a spy? I know your blame game that you imported from some Wahabis may work with some Muslims namely those traitors that work as CIA agents and are pro-Western Zionists but it does not work with free honest Muslims. I am a free tolerant Muslim & I am not one of your extremists & since you threw that dirty question at me I throw it back at you since you may the one that’s one of KSA. Perhaps, I have to be clearer since I don’t trust your education system & level. When I say one of KSA I mean one of the (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) secret services puppets.

    As far as your dumb question reg whether I believe in prophet Muhammad as the last sermon & messenger of Allah? My answer is: You obviously did not read all my comments with two eyes & an open heart. You read my emails with blind Wahabi eyes; with the mentality of exclusiveness: you are with us or against us (rufiati laklam wa juffati lmasahif). You statements about Ijtihad really made me laugh because it shows how ignorant you are about Sunni Islam & that the doors of Ijtihad were closed in the 4th century Hijri calendar. I was going to advise you to read Shatebi; Dhahabi & Qurtubi books but your knowlegde of Islamic history is below basic besides you are not just ignorant but also arrogant & since Allah said: “Quli l’afw, wa’ mur bil urf wa rid a’ni ljahileen” so forget it. You may be just a nuisance for honest Muslims that want to join this forum; learn more about Islam & those who have an open heart & are tolerant enough to correct Muslims without making them feel inferior. Learn to make you statements without insults because insults beget insults!

  11. Have you ever asked yourselves why it is the Muslims who are imposing their law either tacitly or with deadly force. It cannot be that the application of pure Islam has not been applied. We have seen so many examples of pure Islam. What if Judaic – Christian laws be applied in Saudi Arabia? What if western critical thinking were to be applied in Saudi Arabia ( in substance ) on say THE PROPHET himself and his deed? Will that be tolerated will the Muslims be OUTRAGED OR THROWN INTO BOUTS OF ANGER AND TANDRUMS???

    If you are really a student of law (?), then you MUST be in a position to understand the fundamental jurisprudential principles of law of consistency and objectiveness NOT concepts of subjectivity or arbitrariness of “SPIRITUAL INTERPRETATION” which substantially riddles the fiqh ( or lack thereof ).

    I think “pure Islamic law” or principle is a misnomer as Islam is a theology of form WITHOUT substance. Hence the inability of many Muslim clerics interpreting Islamic law to REASON OR analyze issues save only to put patch works from different sayings, interpretations or rumours into their final decision. I think you guys from the US do not know WHAT really goes on in the Middle East or Asia.

  12. This is exaclty why non-Muslims are afraid. The moment the opportunity arises Muslims will attempt to impose their Islamic laws. Muslims escaped to Canada to leave behind the Shariah. Why is it following them here?

  13. Dino Demars. I wonder what is your dilemma, since you answered your own question. Let me answer your first question, “where, in your opionion, has Sharia been successfully implemented?” My answer is, in the time of Muhammad,pbuh, and most part of the time of the rashideen(the 4 Khalifahs). Your second question:”Sharia isn’t implemented ‘properly’ anywhere” Definitely, shariah must be with respect to the sensitivities of the people’s culture. More often, the culture and tradition wins over religion. As Romesh put it, what if a girl is promised to somebody and the girl doesn’t want him. This is a Hindu custom, not Hindi religion and no part of Islam. Do Muslims practice it? Yes they do. Lawfully? According to what certain comunities call it Shariah, yes. What does the Quran say, which is the measure of the Shariah? “Male and female, has He created them. Equal members of one another.”(Quran). When Ali ibn Abi Talib,raa, asked for Fatimah Zahraa’s hand,raa, prophet Muhammad,pbuh, went to his daughter,raa, and said slowly at her door:”Ali mentions your name.” He waited for a couple of minuts to see whether Fatimah,raa, would close the door(disapprove) or let it open(approve). What shariah are we all talking about? Because if in any Shariah, this is not endorsed(the freedom of the woman to choose her husband), it is not from Quran and it is not from Sunnah. Where from is it, then? Traditions and Customs other than Islamic and such individual-freedom restricting practices are not to be endorsed by the Shariah or by any Law. In one word, if you go to the origin and basis of the Shariah, and you undress all the foreign cultural and traditional makeup, one might have the real thing. As governments are today, none have the shariah of the Prophet,pbuh, no matter what they claim. Your other question, whether the Muslims out there are real Muslims? This goes with everybody. Are there real Christians? Are there real Jews?

  14. Christopher Ward:

    I agree that a country should have a consistent system of laws as opposed to certain laws for certain focus groups. At the same time, I still don’t see why Sharia-based ADR is necessarily a harmful thing. If Canada’s ADR system is like America’s (“if” being the operative word, since I don’t know that it is similar), then it’s just a process that parties to a conflict can agree to participate in as opposed to having a court resolving the dispute. Put another way, people have to agree to settle things a certain way before ADR becomes binding under the law. In a sense, it’s no different from a normal contract between people, because everyone in the dispute must first agree before ADR comes into play. And just like a normal contract, ADR allows people to “have it their way” by agreement. Moreover, ADR has a long tradition in my country and has been accepted by our courts as a legitimate way to resolve disagreements.

    So as long as no one is forced to submit to Sharia ADR arbitrators and people are free to choose, what’s the problem?

  15. AH yes, Sameena the … ABCD (American born confused desi) strikes again with her particular and predictable brand of Islamophobia. There is nothing wrong with Islamic courts, I didnt hear you … when other religious were given their own courts, so why are you so upset now ? Femenists nonsense and propaganda has once again has tarred a clear cut issue.

    Get over yourself you sad recalcitrant.

  16. No one can serve two masters. There is no need for Sharia in any country. Most countries have systems that are just fine. This is one of the oddest articles I have ever seen. The Law is not like Burger King in which “you can have it your way”. What binds a country together is a since of unity. If muslims started having their own law they would be seen even more as outsiders.

  17. Romesh:

    I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing (in America that is, because I can’t speak for Canadians) for Muslims to have Sharia ADR instead of the courts. As long as it adheres to contract law as well as any relevent ADR regulations of a jurisdiction, then it should be fine. Naturally this would exclude some of the more draconian remedies found in the Sharia, but barring that it should be no big deal.

  18. This is the kind of nonsense that generated hatred for Muslims in Britain. We should learn from that experience. This kind of nonsense is not going to be allowed in the US or Canada. Learn to work with the laws of the country you live in instead of trying to enforce your own particular version of what Islamic laws mean.

  19. Here’s a question for the readership – where, in your opionion, has Sharia been successfully implemented?

    I’ve asked this of people before, and I get answers like, ‘Saudi Arabia isn’t really a Muslim country because…’, ‘Pakistan isn’t really a Muslim country because …’, ‘Afghanistan wasn’t really a Mulsim country because …’.

    It seems to me that

    1. Sharia isn’t implemented ‘properly’ anywhere, and

    2. despite what ‘the Zionist Media’ would have you believe, there aren’t any Muslim countries. Depending on who I talk to, it sometimes seems like there aren’t any Muslims either.


  20. To Zinedine, Pls STOP before your comments turn you to something else. Or are you that thing already, may be disguised as one of US if you know what I mean.

    Do you believe that Prophet Muhammad(SAW) is the last Prophet? If you do then you will shut-up and follow the ways of the prophet(SAW) and the salafs. Cos what you are advocating is a new set of rules that have no relation with this deen. And for your information let the whole world(yourself inclusive) reject the Islam of the prophet and the salafs, it will not reduce the deen by an atom weight. The deen has been perfected and completed for us, no human nomatter how powerful on earth can add or remove anything to/from it.

    And who tell you the position of ijtihad has been taken out of Islam by the salafs? This shows how ignorant you are of the deen. You should go back to school and know the meaning of ijtihad first then you can make your comments.

    How do we know the meanings and interpretations of the Holy Quran, if not through the wise sayings of the beloved prophet(SAW) as has been recorded by the sahabas and collected in the six volumes you refered to? Please be careful what you say and how you say it especially if it pertains to Allah and His deen.


  21. Will the ADR decisions of Sharia courts be challenged in Canadian Courts and overruled; if that is the case, then what is the purpose of Sharia Courts. Let us take an example. Suppose, the husband comes to an agreement (and OK’ed by Sharia Court), that you will marry your daughter with my son (not an unusual situation/decision in muslim customs); when the husband goes home and tells wife of the agreement, she refuses to agree (it is her daugher too). What happens to the agreement?. Suppose the wife also agrees, but the daughter refuses, and gets it overruled in Canadian Courts.

    There is only one Koran; hence there is only one Sharia (with some minor variations dependeing on which school of jurisprudence is followed). What happens to Sharia (i.e. Allah’s laws) when Canadian Courts overrule?.

    Can you Candianize Islam? Can you Canadize Sharia?

    I think the whole concept of ADR based on Sharia is insane.

  22. Shaiykh Ahmed Kutty is CORRECT for defending this tribunal…people are so easily being judgemental on this TRIBUNAL for SHARIAH which is being introduced in Canada without knowing even what it consists of…I call that ignorance and fear of hte unknown (basically it’s called gobbledeegook when people tlak about something which they have no idea about).

    Shariah itself means a steady flow, there is no Shariah system in the world which is 100 percent enacted..anyone who says Saudi Arabia, is ignorant.

    1) It is NOT dealing in Criminal matters.

    2)It is subserviant to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    3) It has no authority of criminal matters!

    4) Rabbinical and Aboriginal Tribunals exist, why all of a sudden so much attention on Islamic?

    5) Most importantly, it is VOLUNTARY! If a married couple for example wants to settle a matter and they are not sure of how to go about it, this is where they are supposed to go for something like that.

    People are over reactign over this Tribunal. If there are things which they have overlooked, then please, point out what they have overlooked and allow them to fix their errors. Do you see any place where countries insist that they follow Shariah law, and are actually following it correctly?

    Why is it that the Natives of Canada, and the Jews of Canada are allowed to have their own tribunals without any controversy, but when it comes to Muslims wanting to set up their own tribunal, people start to have a problem with it, even when it is VOLUNTARY, and even when it is subservient to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and has no jurisdiction over criminal matters.

    I believe that this is a step in the right direction, and provides a voice for Canada’s over 800,000 Muslim population…of which 400,000 live in Ontario!

    Rabbinical law is allowed to have a tribunal, but the right Islamic scholars are not. Double standards once again.

  23. As Salaamu Alaikum

    There are two interesting points that are often missed when discussing the “Law” and that is that the interpretation of and implementation of law changes based upon who is invloved in the the process of interpretation and implementation of it. In America as long as blacks where not allowed to participate in the practice the law was interpreted one way but changed when blacks began to participate in the process. The second, there is nothing the history of Islam that says a woman cannot be a judge or cannot interprete it. Before you brothers and some of you sister get upset read your history and you will find women that interpreted the law and made legal decisions. They where also recognised as scholars some even ran schools which were attended by men. This before the systematic removal of women from Islamic Society, so much so that in some “Islamic” countrys people are voting to return to women rights granted by the Qu’ran and the Prophet (PBUH). The problems that Islam and the “Law” poses to outsiders and Muslims that think is that the religon does seem to favor men, and as a thinking Muslim I know this to be untrue. As long as we confine over half of us to the home without education or worse yet only the education we give to them we cannot reach our full potential. I have a friend who complains because his wife has to go to a male doctor but when asked if he would allow his daughter to go to med school he says no. Why not have a female doctor for your wife who is also a Muslim as less likely to prescribe outside of the law.

  24. brother in Islam


    bro.faisal kutty,

    I am very thankful at this critical time , you as a muslim took the initiative to present the real essence of ISLAM to our brothers JEWS and CHRISTIANS who is the people of scriptures , who is misguided about the beauty of real Islam(peace)

    I am cordially from the depth of my heart thanks you.

    MAY ALLAAH swt give you more real knowledge of Islam…




  25. Allahu Akbar! We have difficulties convincing one another on what Shariah is! Zinedine I sympathize with you and I do not totally agree with you Umm Muhammad, with all due respect. It seems like an old dispute between Shiism and Wahabism. Let’s start there that we do not have a revealed book of laws in one volume like the Jews, i.d., Leviticus. Allah knows better. What do we have as basis? I would enumerate three sources: Quran(undisputable), Holy Hadith/Hadith Qudsi(reliable if authenticized) and the Traditional Hadith/Hadith Sunah. Muhammad,pbuh, said:”If any hadith(sunah) contradicts Quran, it is not from me” Shariah was based on these but tailored to suit the warlords, the demagogues, the dictators and the false claimants. Let’s play a little. Supposing Canada would accept Islam as the country’s religion, what do you think it would choose? All those white guys there, what would they choose? Sunni? Shia? Ahmadi? Ismaili? Wahabi? Salafi? As I know Canadians and trust me I know them as my own, they would choose a “Canadian” Islam that would summerize all the liberal aspects of all the divisions I mentioned and would recreate the original Islam! May Allah make it possible! Umm Muhammad, if Islam is not tolerant than the words ar-Rahman ar-Rahim have no meaning, astaghfirallah! Ther is passage in the Quran: “La karaha bi Deen” There is no compulsion in religion. According to this, you cannot force your believes or ways on no one and still be lawfull! Just think about it. Islam will win only through debate, example and tolerance. If Islam would be rigid, I have to approve with Zinedine when she said that Islam would lose its own followers…it happens every day. One child in the family that we wanted to be a simbol of what we are Muslims, just gives up and leaves the family for an indecent life. Why? I have to say again, “there is no compulsion in religion”. On the other hand hundreds are won to Islam every day, because we are intolerant to them?

  26. As Salaam Alaikum,

    I’m for the Shari’ah…against the article:

    I feel Amad Kutty is affirming the stereotypes placed upon Muslim women, and not recognizing their abilities in Western Nations to be strong in the face of their accusor… Perhaps the male rendering the fatwa should not be in the position if he harbors biases towards women. This is the 21st Century, and the Canadians have an oppurunity to set an example, based on modern ethics/morality… and not stale renditions of laws based from closing ijtihad, etc… this is a new chance to get things correct/right for Muslims.

    Ahmad Kutty cannot assume that the introducing the Shari’ah as ‘legal’in Canada would lead to barbaric outcomes… the people/person responsible for the fatwa would have been ’employed’ based on his ‘ability’ to decide/rationalize – he would not be picked to make such decisions if he was not known. I imagine he would come from the larger body of Muslims in the concerned area/region who might just have some ‘say’ on the election of the man judging… though Allah is the Greatest Judge.

    -Dion Peoples

    Senior Student/University of Oregon

    International Studies/Religious Studies

  27. Salaam brothers and sisters,

    To continue from last comments I sent few moments ago:

    We Muslims have enough problems of our own and with others why do we have to turn our own people against us.

    Let’s pls have a sharia law that serves Muslims in Marriage, divorce etc and not one of Hodood and Jinayat that will get Muslims stoned to death and have their hands cut off until the environment we live in Islaamic and most Muslims Imaan, faith, is high enough and their taqwa is at its zenith and can actually handle drastic hodood and their tragedies.

    At this point our imaan is weak and all an old interpretation of sharia law will do is give many non-Muslims the excuse to hate us and turn us into a subject of ridicule and make lots of Muslims run away from Islaam from shame and embarrassement and turn into Humanist Christians.

    May Allah forgive my shortcomings!


  28. Salaam brs and sters,

    In order to have Middle Ages Sharia style with the application of Imaam Ahmad Ibn Taymia’s interpretation in modern day Canada, you need to give the blind eye to the Charter of Rights & Freedoms and you need to ignore the realities of modern day Canadian Muslims and disregard Amnesty International and other organisations outcry never mind the anger of non “Wahabi” Muslims. In order to have sharia the “orthodox style” you need to first turn Toronto into 7th century Madina and Canada into Hijaz. You also have to instill in most Muslims the imaan of sahaba and salaf salih starting with a Makki phase before you can move to the Madani phase. I mean we need to establish the state of Islaam in our heart first before we think about establishing the nation-state of Islaam on earth.

    On another note, we know that Sunni madhahib are four madahib: Hanbali, Shafii, Maliki and Hanafi so which one will be applied in a sharia court and how about Imaam Jaafar Sadiq, the father of all the four mentioned Imaam shall we ignore him as usual? We also know that the Qur’aan explains al’ahadith and at other times al’ahadith explain the Qur’aan so shall we take most of the prophet’s saying from Imaam Ali (kAw) who is the best man after Muhammad (pbuh) or from our forgetful sahabi Abu Huraira? The other thing shall we also ignore Imaan Ali saying: “Do not force new generations to the old ways of the old generations” never mind the generational gap just deal with the fact that most of our Canadian scholars were not born in Canada and are from lands that alien to Canada’s native Muslims.

    We Muslims have enough problems of our own and with others why do we have to turn our own people against us.

    Let’s pls have a sharia law that serves Muslims in Marriage, divorce etc and not one of Hodood and Jinayat that will get Muslims stoned to death and have their hands cut off until the environment we live in Islaamic and most Muslims Imaan, faith, to be continued

  29. Why don’t these women libbers that are so concerned for Muslim womens rights demand that the husband be given a dowry by the wife?

    Financial responsibility of all women in a family falls on the men why don’t they demand that Muslim women that want to stay home be forced to work?


  30. Unlike manmade laws, Islamic law is from Allah (swt) therefore it is perfect. It needs no updating. We humans make mistakes, and are constantly updating and fixing things. We will do this for as long as we inhabit the earth.

    To say that Shariah law needs to be updated is to say that God made a mistake and doesn’tn know his creation! AstaghfirAllah!

    Pure ISLAM without any other culture added to it is SUPERIOR to any other ideology, belief, religion, political system, creed, goverment or philosophy from the past, present or future.

    Reliance, dependance or trust in anything else in whole or in part brings misery, heartache, confusion, and ultimately slavery to many masters.

    If you are not a slave to the creator then you will be a slave to hundreds if not thousands of masters. They will not have to force you to do anything because when you control someones mind all you have to do is sit back and wait. Brainwashed with a mind of a robot.

    All they need to do is input the data.

    The results are predictable.

  31. Salaam again,

    I am trying to continue from where I left off. I would like to also add that a modernised sharia law will be acceptable to most Muslims because it will be Islaamically inspired but not frozen in a specic time and space. I am pretty sure that a sharia law that is outdated, one that is culturally and historically out of touch will be a big failure because it will face fierce opposition from all corners of the world confirming the belief that Islaamic laws are barbaric. When a system of jurisprudence is rigid, it sees the world with a blind eye because it only reads the text in ahistorical and acultural contexts; it ignores the realities of modern life thus qualified to be called Alfiqh ala’war, blind fiqh. It is blind fiqh because it sees the world with one eye only.

  32. Salaam Brs. Faisal & Ahmad Kutty,

    Br. Hudd has a point & I believe it rhymes well with your article. I w like to add that Fiqhul Usul & Fiqhul Furu’ must not just be well understood but also be in conformity with the law of the land namely the Charter of Rights & Freedoms because after all, sharia itself is & still community oriented. It has always developed within cultural & historical context. If we Muslims say that Islaam started to develop with prophet Ibrahim & its message was completed with the last messenger of Allah Mohammad (pbuh) how can some of our “Salafi” dinosaurs say that we must keep all doors of Ijtihad in Islaamic jurisprudence closed in order to be called good Muslims. How can they believe that Islaam cannot evolve without falling into bida”. I believe that they confuse ijtihad with bida” causing Islaam to remain a religion of the dark ages & not all ages as it is meant to be. I bet you, they will keep calling any Mufti or Faqih etc a bulwark if not a puppet of the West when he (especially if it’s a she) attempts to amend i.e.: the stoning to death ruling which is actually an old Jewish tradition usually performed against women. Every educated Muslim that reads the Quraan carefully will not find this ruling in the book of Allah. Educated Muslims also know that the compilation of ahadith took place around 150 to 200 years after the death of the messenger of Allah (pbuh), we are not 100% certain that Muhammad (pbuh) did approve the stoning… And just because a hadith is sahih, authentic it doesn’t mean it is 100% the word of Muhammad (pbuh) otherwise we are inadvertedly putting Imaams Bukhari & Muslim’s books as equals to Allah’s book. I mean we can take & return from these two honorable Imaams to avoid what may be very controversial & may cause more harm than good to the Muslim community. This applies to all six books of hadith. We should not pls those who say take all Islaam or leave it. They seems to be extremists.

    No b con

  33. I completely agree that most of the alims, faqihs, or muftis are influenced by socio-cultural views and they take a male centered approach. Not to mention their political views.

  34. Where as, I agree with the spirit of teh article I disagree with it on a few points.

    The author has said that interpretations should be used which are more consistant with the spirit of Islam, My questions is, what is the spirit of Islam.

    If you want to work with the spirit of Islam than you will have to adhere to the earliest and most orthodox interpretations.

    We must accept that the law of Allah is the supreme law, if it states that

    1. The hand of a thief(Men and Women) must be cut

    2. Adulterers(Men and Women) should be tried for Hudood.

    3. The laws of inheritance should be different for man and woman.

    4. In family laws, man has been given more freedom than woman.

    than so be it.

    Who are we to re-interpret the shariah.

    Ofcourse we can apply science to lead us to decisions, but the decisions should be accourding to the law of Allah.

    We may use DNA testing to find out the adultrous relationship between a man and a woman, but if the result is positive than the punishment should be harsh and according to the shariah so that other people take head and refrain from such actions.

    So we might be modifying the means of presenting evidence but the punishment should be the same as in old times.

    We must not become hostage to Human Rights organizations and thier agendas.

    We must be very clear that only the law of Allah can exist on the earth, and any other law that might be contrary to the law of Allah is unacceptable.

    Our attitudes of appeasing the west will never bear fruit.

    I am from Pakistan, where there is a great effort by the Human Rights organizations to change the laws which might have even a cursory refernce to Islam.

    If the muslims allow such things to happen what will happen next? These organizations will ask Muslim countries to even allow the lifestyle of fagots.

    It is about time that we wake up and stick to the orthodox interpretaions of Shariah.

  35. Alhamdu-lillah, It seems to me that even though we have greater number of reverts in the USA, Canada is holding fast more to the great “Islamic spirit”. This ‘m sure is possible due to the untiring work of people like Mr. Kutty and especially that great scholar and mujahid of our time Dr. Jamal Badawi(RA). Keep the great work gentlemen, right thinking Candians, ‘m sure are with you. But please a point of warning all laws(like stoning adultrer and adultress, wearing of Hijab) thought to be against women and archaic are on the other hand blessings from Allah Himself to the weaklings on earth called Humans. But I know these are issues that would be much appreciated with greater knowledge and aqeedah of this Deen.

    May Allah continue to strengthene His Ummah, Ameen. And may we live long to see to the emerging of the True Islamic Republic of North America, Ameen.

  36. set of rules/guidelines set by quran is unique by virtue of its universal application to achieve peace and to restore human values in terms of acquiring equilibrium between poor /riche,muslim and non muslim folks of tthe state as quran do not discriminate between muslims and non muslims in order to deliever justice eg.amputation of hands for theft crime,do not spare muslims as shariah believes in the control of evil rather then the appeasement of individuel and there are examples in the islamic history when the rulers even not spared his own son when his son dared to break the law.

    the controversy in regard to laws related to adultery has taken shape only due to bias on the part of judges under influence of tribal and the pre islamic mis concepts of jahalat era.

    in case of adultery both the man and women are responsible (excluding the case of rape)as it involves mutual concent and definitely deserve capital punishment.

    but in case of rape man is soleley responsible and deserves capital punishment.

    if we trust in islam we must abide by the law of islam as we are abiding by the law of the land we reside to claim the citizen ship right.

  37. Canada is a fascinating country. We also have ADR programs in the United States, but it seems that Canada’s proposed Sharia-based arbitration will go beyond anything that the U.S. would have.

    For example, an arbitration judgment requiring a death sentence for certain religious crimes (like calling Islam a “false religion”) would never fly in our system. On the other hand, some Canadian Muslims like Syed Mumtaz Ali seem to think that this should be allowed in Canada.

    That’s too archaic for me, so I’m happy to be an American.

  38. This is very article crisp! By Allah, I’m thrilled only to be raised as an alternative…let alone to be implemented. Well, the comments in the Torontonian periodicles, are not at all without basis. Let’s see, on what is western justice based on in fact. Is it Judeo-Christian? Nah, it would stone adulterers and burn at stake free thinkers, decapitate homosexuals and God knows what the Christians did when they implemented their laws in the time of their Golden Age ruled by the Inquisition! What changed that state of affairs? Islam itself did. But Muslims too, reached to abuse the Shariah. Why? The different cultural backgrouds that were more or less intolerant to differences and women in special. There is no place in the Quran where it is stated without ambiguity that an adulterer(man or woman) should be stoned. Since the Quran is a special and unique book from God, we have to understand that because it is given to us for iternity, we have to really read the message as meant for our times and cultural surroundings. You spank a child in order to correct him. You do not do the same with a grown up. If the hand was cut off a thief in the Ottoman Age, in that time and culture it was an accepted delivery of justice. In our times, it doesn’t work. Shariah, if imposed, will mean something different when the sentence of cutting the hand will be pronounced. Like cutting the thieving hand meaning, rehabilitating the culprit in a professional institution or some sort of legal restrain. Shariah is the best law, only we did not update our thinking to it. The western justice is broadly based on old British and Roman Law. It has Judeo-Christian amendments and a whole lot of Islamic influence(which is considered as the fruit of free thinking). The Canadian Charter is not that different or incompatible with the Shariah. Many would claim knowing and being masters of Shariah, that in fact would practise a Law based on Cultural Traditions rather than Quran.