by Syed Mumtaz Ali

June 14, 2004

I have stated publicly, to the media, for instance, that to be a ‘good Muslim’ one must get one’s disputes settled by applying the Divine Muslim law. This is possible in Canada, if Muslims choose to seek recourse with Muslim Courts of Arbitration (Dar-ul-Qada) rather than secular courts. This is a matter of conscience and freedom of religion. If someone decides to ignore the Divine injunctions and chooses to seek recourse from the secular courts of law that’s fine with me and the Muslim community. It is that person’s own choice, using his/her discretion the way he/she likes. In matters of religion, Islam forbids, in absoluteness, any compulsion or pressure of any kind, direct or indirect.

This is a well-known doctrine of Islam that is strictly adhered to and enforced all the time. Therefore, a person who chooses the non-Islamic secular course of action is answerable to no-one but to his/her Creater in the life of the Hereafter on the Day of Judgement when He alone will make the determination whether that individual was or was not a good Muslim and will be rewarded or punished accordingly. Period.

People have assumed and have even asked me at times if I or the Arbitrator is going to determine and declare who is a good Muslim or who is not. Well, for sure, it will not be me!

As a matter of fact, people’s whole life on this earth, according to the Holy Quran, is nothing but a test to determine whether man uses his discretion rightly or wrongly by CHOOSING to believe (faith) in God’s existence and the life of the Hereafter (as well as the Day of Judgement) and the Divine Law or reject it and become an unbeliever (kafir). Let me give you a glimpse of the Quranic commands relating to this fundamental Islamic principle.

To each among you have We prescribed a Law (Shirah) and an open way (minhaj). If God had so willed, He would have made you a single people (community) but His plan is to test you in what He has given you (i.e. he has made you as you are) so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of [all of] you is God (Quran, 5:48).
In another place the Holy Quran (18:29) makes it very clear: 
Say, The Truth is from your Lord: Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject it.” 
Our choice in our limited Free-Will involves a corresponding personal responsibility. We are offered the Truth: again and again it is pressed for our attention. If we reject it, we must take all the terrible consequences which are prefigured in the Fire of Hell. 

In this connection, the most often quoted Quranic verse is (2:56): 

Let there be no compulsion in religion …
Obviously, compulsion is incompatible with religion: because religion depends on faith and will, and these would be meaningless if induced by force and undue pressure, direct or indirect.

Quran 7:3 also lays down the Command: 

Follow (O men!) the revelation (i.e the Quran, the Divine Law) given unto you from your Lord, and follow not as friends or protectors other than Him … 
It is, thus explicitly emphasized that a Muslim must follow only the Shariah (the Divine Law) and no other law.

One concluding point. The Quran also makes it explicitly clear that every action of mankind must be governed by the Divine Law of Shariah. The action of choosing the rules of law with which he would like to settle his disputes is also governed by this Divine injunction.  How can a Muslim then seek to and settle his disputes in accordance with any other law other than the Divine Islamic law?

In this regard, one must realize that those who choose to become or continue to remain Muslim must [also] accept the whole code of law, in toto. That is the deal. You've got to take the whole package. You are not given [the] option to pick and choose. You cannot accept 99.9% of the law and [then] refuse to follow the remaining 0.1%. A Muslim does not have the choice to say, for instance, that he likes to be governed by every Quranic injunction except the Command contained in Chapter 4, Verse 35 which states: 

If you fear a breach between them twain (i.e. husband and wife) appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers; if they wish for peace, God will cause their reconciliation, for God has full knowledge and is acquainted with all things.