Wednesday, June 14, 2017

  • Wednesday, June 14, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Linda Sarsour has been taking a new tack lately to defend Islamic laws: by saying that they are exactly the same as Jewish laws.

Sarsour is very wrong.

Unlike Christianity which is faith-based, normative Judaism and Islam are above all legal systems. What people are and aren't allowed to do is determined using a loose, mostly decentralized judicial system. Every aspect of both Jewish and Muslim lives, for believers, is determined by legal rulings. Both systems have personal laws that look bizarre and arcane to outsiders.

But halacha developed in the Jewish Diaspora. The bulk of Jewish laws concern the day to day lives of Jews with the implicit assumption that they are living under non-Jewish rule. While halacha can deal with matters of Jewish sovereignty, those discussions are for the most part theoretical. (Just as halacha can address theoretical questions about how to pray in the Space Shuttle or on the moon.)

Sharia, however, developed in countries that were majority Muslim. This marks the biggest practical difference between Islamic law and Jewish law; Islamic law is meant to apply not only to Muslims as individuals but to Muslims as a nation (umma.)

This is why so many Westerners get Islam wrong. Sure, it is a religion, but it is also a political philosophy (or, actually, a set of several related philosophies.)

As a political philosophy, Islam is objectively awful compared to modern political philosophies in terms of human rights and modern liberalism. But people are afraid to criticize it because they have been brainwashed to believe that it is purely a belief system and not a political worldview.

Sarsour pretends that sharia is only personal, like halacha almost always is, but then she is forced to ignore the Quranic-based laws and punishments that exist, today, in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan.

She is forced to ignore how Palestinians are arrested during Ramadan for publicly eating - and that goes for Christians, too.

Poster seen in the UK
And many Muslims do not limit their demands for sharia to only Muslim majority countries. As the graphic at the top of this article shows, sometimes they demand sharia for Western countries as well, or in areas where they are predominant:

And that brings up the next difference between sharia and halacha: Societies based on sharia law, loosely or strictly, force non-Muslims to adhere to that law as well. The constitutions of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Iran and other countries specifically say that Sharia or Koranic law are major parts of their legal system.

Oh, and so does the constitution of "Palestine". Article 4, paragraph 2, says "The principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be the main source of legislation."

Israel does not base its legal system on halacha. And very few people want it to, at least before the Messiah's arrival. But Sharia is not merely a personal legal system; it is meant to be enforced on a national or pan-Muslim basis.

At least.

When Muslims like Sarsour insist that American law of course supercedes Islamic law in the US, they are adding an implicit "for now." Because Islam's legal based system includes the political constructs of Dar al Harb, where  (according to many but not all Muslims) the Western nations are places to be attacked or conquered.

There are fatwas that support killing Americans, suicide bombing Israelis, beating wives, and any number of major human rights violations. One can argue that these fatwas are not universally accepted, but they are based on Muslim religious sources and have a level of support. One cannot easily dismiss them without showing a Sharia-based argument that they are wrong - which is not always so easy, since Islamic law has not really evolved over time.

Which is perhaps the most important difference between sharia and halacha.

Halacha evolves - slowly, to be sure, but it does.It finds loopholes - solidly based in Jewish sources, of course, but they are loopholes - to allow things that would be forbidden in the strict halachic sense. The community interest can and does steer halacha away from things that would look bad or unfair or unpleasant. The concepts of "deracheha darchei noam" and "darchei shalom" and "kovod habriut"  and "sha’at ha-dehak" and other meta-concepts are sometimes invoked to modify strict interpretations of halacha - or to accept previously rejected minority opinions -  to make Jewish law more in line with general community sensibilities or to avoid a clearly undesirable outcome.There is a sanity check that great rabbinic decisors can, sparingly, impose on the halachic process.

In other words, halacha has a built-in mechanism to modify (i.e., modernize*)  itself when necessary. It is invoked reluctantly, just as adding an amendment to the Constitution is deliberately made difficult under American law, but the ability to evolve is part of the halachic process.

Sharia, as far as I know, does not have this self-modifying property that can be used to modernize Islamic law.

So, for example, slavery is allowed in strict halacha. In reality, nowadays it is prohibited. You will not find a rabbi nowadays that says that it is permitted to own slaves for various reasons that are halachically based. But sharia has no such loophole to prohibit slavery, and slavery is still practiced in some Muslim countries, according to sharia.

As far as I can tell, a Muslim cannot say that something that was allowed in the Quran is prohibited today. They can say that they choose not to own slaves, of course, but they cannot say that it is prohibited.

These are just a few of the differences between halacha and sharia. Anyone who tries to say they are the same thing is simply not telling the truth.

* The College Rabbi suggests that "moderate" is more accurate than "modernize" and I tend to agree.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

Support EoZ by shopping!

search eoz



follow me

Follow by Email


Share on Whatsapp


For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!



The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs


Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent coexistence Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive