|2.||History dating to the origin of Islamic Law in Hindustan|
|3.||Sources of The Islamic Laws Propagated All over the Nation|
|4.||Features of The Indian Islamic Laws – The Unity in Diversity|
Secularism is embedded in the roots of the Hindustani Soil since Ancient History. Whereas Sanatan Dharma is believed to trace its origin in the Indian Nation, Islam was prevalent in the country by the late 8th century after the invasion of Mohd Bin Qasim.
With building Muslim invasions and the Emerging Delhi Sultanate, Islam became an integral part of Indian Society. The evolution of societies took place with Khalijis, Tughlaqs, Lodhis and Mughals ruling India for over 700 years. The ethnic culture shifts and dictatorial rule of the Muslim Invaders were very prevalent reasons for the spread of Islam in the Country. Where History saw rulers like Akbar and Iltutmish stand up for secularism and give equal respect to all religions, hundreds plundered the temples and disrespected the religion.
Hindus and Muslims, the two majorly populated religions of India have been at continuous trifle and violent upsurge throughout the years. With the British ruling India for over 200 years and implementing their ‘Divide and Rule Policy’, it never got better for the people of both communities. At some point, it was the lawmakers and the cognitive Individuals from the Indian democracy who felt the need to bring in some special laws for the Muslims, to respect their religious practices and avoid the futuristic feuds.
Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937, is just not another set of laws that enforce legality and order in our system, but also an identity that Muslims have owned for the past 8 decades. The detailed analysis stated below aims to bring out the various sources which have had a major role in shaping Islamic Laws. The sub-topics also feature the detailed History of Islamic Laws in India and their current situation in the Constitution.
History dating to the origin of Islamic Law in Hindustan
Islamic law has a long and rich history in India. The presence of Islam in India can be traced back to the 7th century when Arab traders started visiting the Indian subcontinent. Over time, Islam spread in India, and Muslim rulers established their kingdoms, which had a significant impact on the development of Islamic law in the country. You would have read it in the books of history or seen it in the movies about the laws like jazia, etc. Well, these were the foundations of Islamic Law.
- Pre-Mughal Period
Before the arrival of the Mughals, Islamic law in India was largely based on the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah. Islamic scholars in India studied and interpreted the Quranic principles and developed a legal system that was specific to India. This system was known as Fiqh, and it was based on the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence. During this period, the Indian subcontinent was ruled by various Muslim dynasties, including the Delhi Sultanate and the Bahmani Sultanate. These dynasties had their legal systems, which were based on Islamic principles.
- Mughal Period
The Mughal period in India (1526-1858) was significant in the history of Islamic law in India. The Mughal emperors were patrons of Islamic scholarship, and they encouraged the development of Islamic law in the country.
During this period, Islamic scholars in India studied and interpreted the Quranic principles and developed a legal system that was specific to India. This system was known as Fatawa Alamgiri, and it was based on the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence. Fatawa Alamgiri was a compilation of legal opinions on various aspects of Islamic law, including marriage, divorce, inheritance, and succession.
- British Period
The arrival of the British in India in the 18th century had a significant impact on Islamic law in the country. The British colonial government introduced secular laws that applied to all citizens, regardless of their religion. However, Muslims in India continued to follow their laws, which were based on Islamic principles.
The British government enacted the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act in 1937, which provided for the application of Islamic law to Muslims in India. The act recognized the rights of Muslim women to seek divorce and inherit property under certain conditions.
- Post-Independence Period:
After India gained independence in 1947, the Indian government continued to recognize the importance of Islamic law in the lives of Muslims in the country. The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act continues to be in force, and Personal Laws continue to govern personal matters for Muslims in India.
In conclusion, the history of Indian Islamic laws is a long and rich one, dating back to the pre-Mughal period. Islamic law in India has been shaped by Islamic scholars over several centuries and is based on the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah. The Mughal period was significant in the development of Islamic law in India, and the British period had a significant impact on the recognition of Islamic law in the country
Sources of The Islamic Laws Propagated All over the Nation
Islam is a comprehensive religion that guides its followers in every aspect of their lives. The sources of Islamic law, also known as Sharia, are the primary sources from which Muslims derive their religious guidance. The sources of these laws are dated back to the early 7th Century and are credible according to the followers of Islam. The apostles of this Religion have carried through these sources and a lot of them have been incarnated in the Laws that represent them. These sources include the Quran, the Sunnah, Ijma, and Qiyas.
- The Quran
The Quran is the primary and most important source of Islamic law. It is the holy book of Muslims that contains the teachings and guidance of Allah (SWT). The Quran is the word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through the angel Gabriel. It consists of 114 chapters or Surahs, each containing verses or Ayahs that provide guidance and direction to Muslims. The Quran covers a wide range of topics, including theology, ethics, morality, social norms, and legal matters. Muslims believe that the Quran is the final and complete revelation from God to mankind, and it is free from any error or contradiction. Quranic verses that deal with legal matters are known as Ahkam, and they provide the basis for Islamic jurisprudence.
- The Sunnah
The Sunnah refers to the sayings, actions, and approvals of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is the second most important source of Islamic law. The Sunnah is recorded in the Hadith, which is a collection of narrations about the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Hadith contains the words of the Prophet (PBUH) as well as his actions and behaviour. Muslims consider the Sunnah to be a practical application of the Quranic teachings, and it provides a detailed explanation of the Quranic injunctions. The Sunnah is considered the primary source of Islamic law after the Quran.
Ijma is the consensus of Islamic scholars on a particular issue. It refers to the collective agreement of the Muslim community on a particular matter. Ijma is considered the third most important source of Islamic law. It is based on the principle that the collective wisdom of the Muslim community is superior to that of an individual. Ijma is based on the Hadith that states: “My community will never agree on an error.” Therefore, when the Muslim community agrees on a particular issue, it becomes binding on all Muslims.
Qiyas refers to analogical reasoning in Islamic jurisprudence. It is the process of deducing the ruling on a particular matter based on a similar ruling in another matter. Qiyas is considered the fourth most important source of Islamic law. It is used when the Quran and Sunnah do not provide a direct ruling on a particular issue. Qiyas is based on the Hadith that states: “The likeness of things is the same as the likeness of what resembles it.“
The sources of Islamic law provide guidance and direction to Muslims in every aspect of their lives. The Quran and Sunnah are the primary sources of Islamic law, while Ijma and Qiyas are considered secondary sources. Islamic scholars use these sources to derive rulings on various issues, and they must ensure that these rulings are consistent with the teachings of Islam.
Features of The Indian Islamic Laws – The Unity in Diversity
Islamic law, also known as Sharia, is an integral part of the Indian legal system. Muslims in India are subject to Sharia laws, which govern various aspects of their lives. These laws have been shaped by Islamic scholars over several centuries and are based on the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah. In this article, we will discuss the features of Indian Islamic laws in detail.
- Personal Laws
Islamic laws in India govern personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and succession. These laws are known as Personal Laws and apply only to Muslims. Personal laws are based on the Quran and the Sunnah and are enforced by Sharia courts. Muslims in India have the right to opt for Personal Laws over the secular laws of the country, but they cannot opt for both. Section 2 and Section 4 of The Muslim Personal Law (Sharia) Application Act, 1937 deal with the personal Laws of Islamic Natives.
Article 44 of the Indian Constitution provides for a uniform civil code for all citizens, regardless of their religion. However, the Indian government has not yet implemented a uniform civil code, and Personal Laws continue to govern personal matters for Muslims.
Marriage is an important aspect of Islamic law, and it is considered a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Islamic law recognizes marriage as a contract between the two parties, and it is subject to certain conditions. The Quran states that marriage should be based on mutual love and respect, and it should be a means of finding peace and tranquillity in life. The age of marriage for girls is fixed at 18 years, and for boys, it is 21 years. Polygamy is allowed in Islam but is subject to certain conditions.
Section 3 of the Muslim Marriages Registration Act 1981, governs marriage and divorce for Muslims in India. The act provides for the registration of marriages and divorces and recognizes the right of Muslim women to seek divorce under certain conditions.
Divorce is allowed in Islam, but it is considered a last resort. Islamic law recognizes several types of divorce, including Talaq, Khula, and Mubarak. Talaq is the most common type of divorce, and it is initiated by the husband. The Quran prescribes certain conditions for the validity of Talaq, and it also provides for the reconciliation of the parties before the divorce becomes final.
Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, provides for the regulation of Talaq, Khula, and Mubarak. The act also recognizes the right of Muslim women to seek divorce under certain conditions, such as cruelty, desertion, and impotence.
Inheritance is governed by Islamic law, and it is based on the Quranic principles of equity and justice. Islamic law recognizes the rights of all heirs, and it provides for the distribution of property according to a fixed formula. The Quranic formula for the distribution of property is based on the concept of shares, and it ensures that each heir receives a fair and just share of the property.
The provisions of the Indian Succession Act 1925 provide for the regulation of inheritance for Muslims in India. The act recognizes the rights of all heirs and provides for the distribution of property according to the Quranic formula.
In conclusion, Islamic law plays an important role in the lives of Muslims in India. Personal Laws govern personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and succession for Muslims. These laws are based on the Quranic principles of equity and justice and are enforced by Sharia courts.
The Muslim Personal Law (Sharia) Application Act, 1937, provides for the regulation of these matters and recognizes the rights of Muslim women to seek divorce and inherit property under certain conditions.
Befitting Conclusion to the Topic
Islamic Laws have been an integral part of the Indian Constitution since its very inception. The books of history have always shown us, the hostility that has prevailed between the people of the two prominent communities in India and how it has affected the Nation. The Kolkata riots of the 1930s and 1946, The Partition Riots of 1947, The Gujarat Riots of 2004 and many more have routed the Nation even after the existence of special laws for both communities.
This can signify that there has been some ambiguity on the side of the public to comprehend these laws. After being drafted by the British, The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, of 1937 has been amended time after time to bring out the necessary changes which were required. The abrogation and criminalisation of ‘Triple Talaq’ have been one of those key Legal Amendments that have proved that the Legal authorities stand for Humanity and not for the upliftment of cruel practices of any religion. Despite challenges and controversies, Islamic law continues to be an important part of the legal system in India, and it continues to evolve and adapt to changing social and cultural contexts. Overall, the sources and features of Islamic law in India reflect a complex interplay of history, tradition, and modernity.
In conclusion, this article sheds light on the diverse and complex sources and features of Islamic law in India. A comprehensive overview of the primary sources of Islamic law, their interpretation, and the role of Islamic law in the Indian legal system has been provided. The interplay of tradition and modernity in the evolution of Islamic law in India, which continues to be a significant aspect of the country’s legal system, has been analysed by this Article. All we can hope for is, a legal system that could keep a check on the disparities between the two religious communities and bring out the Unity and Integration, the world has been talking about for centuries now.
- Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, Act No. 26 of 1937 (India)
- Constitution of India, art. 44
- Muslim Marriages Registration Act, 1981, § 3 (India)
- Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, Act No. VIII of 1939 (India)
- Indian Succession Act, 1925
This article is authored by Rishaan Gupta, a 1st year Student at National Law University, Delhi.