Majority of Muslims in South Asian nations want a Sharia law: PEW Study


While data for India is not provided, 99 per cent of Afghanistan, 84 per cent of Pakistan and 82 per cent of Bangladesh believes that their nations should have a Sharia law

Data provided by PEW, a US-based research centre suggests that South Asian nations are for the Sharia law. The law, which is the religious law forming part of Islamic tradition, is derived from the Quran – the religious text of the Muslims. India, which has the third largest Muslim population in the world, however, was not taken into consideration during the survey.

In Pakistan, in addition to the support to the Sharia law, there is also the Blasphemy Law, which has seen the assassination of several prominent leaders even before their trial is over. The law provides penalties ranging from fines to death by hanging. In 2011, Salmaan Taseer, the Punjab governor was murdered by his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, for supporting a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who was charged with allegedly desecrating Islam’s holy book, the Quran. Qadri was convicted and sentenced in late 2011, and hanged in February 2016. But he is viewed as a hero by many people who thought Taseer was a blasphemer.

Bangladesh, too, has had a number of liberal bloggers being killed by locals, who have believed that their posts were ‘anti-Islam’. According to a report by the BBC that digs deep into Sharia law, says that ‘even though the death penalty is allowed, forgiveness is preferable. Forgiveness, together with peace, is a predominant Quranic theme.’

India and the Sharia law

Interestingly, there was no data about India regarding that law. However, information suggests that India has had a long-standing debate over the law. Last year, the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board claimed that women feel more secure under the law, while a Muslim Women’s Group called Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality demanded a complete ban on sharia courts over the triple talaq issue, which is still being debated in India.

In 2014, the Supreme Court said that Islamic judges, who interpret religious law, could only rule when individuals submitted voluntarily to them and their decisions, or fatwas, were not legally binding.

The Shariat Application Act that was passed in 1937 with the aim to formulate the Islamic Law Code for Indian Muslims. The act mandates aspects of Muslim social life such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and family relations. The Act lays out that in matters of personal dispute the State shall not interfere.


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