Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Over the years I've enjoyed the company of elders. It just so happens that in my family we were 'top heavy'. We had more elders raising children than children around. This infused my teenage years with a ton of unconditional love from wisdom keepers around me. It also meant I got to see death early and often in my tween, teens, 20s, and early 30s.
I like the company of elders because when you sit with them, they will share their life stories. It is often instructional. This has happened to me with family, with elder friends of family and with people from the West, East and anywhere in between.
One such story is a story looking back where my elders were attempting to correct what they currently saw of Shariya law application around them then. My elders have been through four different Shariya Law time periods in their lives. If I count my grandparents now past, it's been five. I come from a scholarly perspective on religion. I look at religion within the context of the geopolitics of the time. Shariyah Law and other forms of organized religion have always been manipulated by states to suit their approval. The tension between religions and how governments have embraced or controlled them is older than the pyramids in Egypt.
In this one instant my elders told a story. This story was from the first and second phase of shariyah law implementation in my country, but we had moved past these phases into the 3rd which was a darker shariyah law moment then (we are currently in a 4th phase that looks pretty different than the other iterations). My elders shared this story.
Growing up there was a man who often would be drunk. One of his neighbors told the judge about him. The town judge in turn gave the family a warning that he would come inspect the house. He didn't come unannounced, but rather instead he did the exact opposite. He tipped the family off that he was coming, and they went to work clearing the house of any traces of alcohol around. The house was sparkly clean and incense was burning to welcome the town judge.
Islam is a dry religion by Shariyah law standards. However, to have a verdict set upon a person who broke the law the judge would need to see for himself the alcohol and would need eye witness accounts confirming not simply that someone was drunk, but that he was seen drinking alcohol specifically. I think the point my family were attempting to communicate then is how gracious the judges were. To apply Shariyah law is often times impossible.
For example, to apply the sex-out-of-wedlock punishment you would need four eye witness accounts of intercourse; something that's impossible to accomplish by most social standards.
I often see this site in the hands of Muslims for ACIM in the future. People who have much Shariyah knowledge and wisdom and can do this topic much more justice than I. I'm a simple laywoman ultimately but I'm sure, others will come and gather and hear the call, to correct what we didn't understand and to come round right to ACIM's message, no sin and has Islam really ever believed in sin? . . . Just something to ponder when we believed Satan had us slip and Shariyah law is often impossible to prove and therefore to apply . . . Again, is sin real?
End Notes: We could easily argue that the punishments (lashings and the like) for these sins are harsh and only advocate for Islam validating the reality of sin. I agree. We can look at religion in a divisive way. All terms are potentially controversial and those who seek controversy will find it (ACIM, C-in.2:1). Islam is as guilty as any other religion of glorifying and worshiping sin. These posts are guided with the thought to teach only love, for that is what you are. (ACIM, T-6.I.13:2). With that in mind we can glorify sin or we can look once again and give ourselves permission to question the rules we were given and see them from an ACIM perspective instead. Forgiving our past, our faith, and finding ways to see Love where ever our glance rests.