From a video made by the Islamic State showing the beheading of a group of Syrian pilots
The threat that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and other Islamist terrorist organizations pose can only be understood in terms of their nihilist ideology that is bent on destroying current civilization.
This nihilism stems from the age-old ideology of the so-called implementation of the “Al-Shari’a,” which is a way of life that rejects everything but itself. It is futile to deal with this Islamist terrorist phenomenon without addressing this ideological problem of sharia law.
At the outset, it needs to be stated that sharia is a gross distortion of Islam, and it is not Islam itself as is commonly held. It is based on the rulings of human Islamic scholars, denoted in the Quran as Ulu Al-Amr. Sharia is therefore a set of man-made laws that govern a specific society at a specific time. It is fallible and should be subject to change through consensus.
Sadly, most Muslims are not aware of these basic facts.
In the name of this sharia, religious establishments demand that the people obey these despotic laws as their “Islamic duty.” This travesty continues to this day in theocratic states like Iran and Saudi Arabia.
This abuse of Islam by the sharia cult is almost as old as Islam itself. It started with the establishment of hereditary monarchism by the Umayyad dynasty approximately 1,400 years ago.
The Ummayads used tyrannical laws they called “sharia” to stifle the democratic spirit of Islam and to turn it into a totalitarian religion so they could keep their hold on power indefinitely. They totally excluded the people from politics, thus depriving them of their liberties and political rights in the name of implementing sharia, falsely presenting it as the divine law of God.
The Quran grants people all their freedoms, while sharia comprehensively denies them such freedoms.
Diabolically, the religious establishment of the Umayyads and the consequent ruling dynasties asserted that sharia was religion itself, practically making the Quran redundant. Unsurprisingly, the proponents of sharia simply cannot tell the difference between freedom and tyranny, and between justice and oppression, for they have their concept of good and evil completely muddled by this false ideology.
It is time that we Muslims become aware of this sad fact in order to do something about it.
Clearly, what the Umayyads did to Islam is yet to be undone. We Muslims urgently need to go back to the Quran to sort out this ideological mess of sharia. Our salvation lies in the Quran and not in sharia and not anywhere else.
We need to liberate the mosque from the shackles of state power and revert to the teachings of the Quran.
We need independent judiciaries who base their judgments on civil law, enslaved neither to sharia nor to royal families and police states.
We need to formulate an ideology of liberation strictly based on monotheism so that human determinations are no longer imbued with divine status. Only God is divine and infallible. This clear separation between the divine and the human is Quranic.
Politically speaking, this clear separation is called secularism. The adoption of secularism will enable us to do away with the theocracy of sharia so that we are all equal, in accordance with the message of the Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon him.
In a Muslim secularist state, the people, as represented by their democratically elected parliament, will be the source of legislation. This arrangement needs to be constitutionally enshrined.
The success of this campaign requires confronting the theocracies of Iran and Saudi Arabia. There can never be democracy, normalization and peace in the Middle East while these two vile regimes spread their theocratic poison among the young.
The Arab world is experiencing an ideological vacuum due to decades of vicious Islamist campaigns portraying democracy as apostasy. This has been staunchly supported by the Muslim Brotherhood and other fundamentalist organizations.
This lack of a political vision threatens to derail the Arab Spring revolutions. The vision that Arabs must adopt is one of democratic secularism, understanding that democracy is impossible without secularism and its freedoms enhance the understanding and study of Islam.
Ahmed Shebani is the founder of the Democratic Party in Libya, the first political party created after the anti-Qaddafi revolution began and the only one that is actively calling for the establishment of secular democracy with international help and explicitly recognizes the state of Israel.
He was an anti-Qaddafi dissident in Misurata and founded the Libyan Freedom & Democracy Campaign that supported the revolution through Internet-based activism. He and his party calls on the Arab world to ban the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat to national security.
You can read Shebani’s previous interview with the Clarion Project here.