The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Sharia Law-Background

Posted by sarahnics on October 31, 2008

The case of Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow stoning is not an unusual one. There have been many other cases which have caught international recognition, where women have appealed to the Western world for help.

More and more muslim states in Africa are beginning to adopt Islamic law, prompting international pressure to amend these laws.

Sharia Law

Sharia law derives from the teachings of the Koran and from Sunna, which is the practice of the prophet Mohammed.

It is practised in varying degrees in different Islamic countries, ranging from beheadings in Suadi Arabia to the more relaxed practises in Malaysia.

Sharia means “the path to the watering hole,” illustrating that the Islamic way of life is more than just a criminal justice system.

Sharia is a religious code of living, and is adopted by muslims in various degrees as a a matter of personal conscience, it is also used as a law in certain states and is enforced by the courts.

Some of the modes of conduct of living under Sharia law decrees many things from prayers to giving to the poor, also that men and women should dress modestly.

Within Sharia law there is a set of offences know as Hadd offences. These offences carry specific penalties set by the Koran and the Prophet Mohammed.

These include unlawful sexual intercourse, false accusation of umlawful intercourse, drinking alcohol and theft.

Unlawful sexual intercourse carries a penalty of stoning or flogging, while theft is punished with cutting off a hand.

Death by stoning

Other women have had media attention for similar offences, Safiya Huseini was one such person who was sentanced to death by stoning, she was accused of having a child with her married neighbour.

She had her child after her divorce but mantained that the child was her ex husbands, she won her appeal in October 2002, on the grounds that she had sex out of wedlock before Sharia law took effect in her state of Nigeria.

This case was soon followed by another, Amina Lawal was sentanced to death by stoning after she gave birth to a daugther out of wedlock, proof that she did indulge in unlawful sex.

The man who was said to be the father of her daughter did admit to having a relationship with her but denied having sex with her.

All charges against him was dropped as no witnesses came forward.

She tried to appeal her case on the same grounds as that of Safiya Huseini, but it was denied by the courts.


Sarah Nicholas (

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