Archbishop Burke on Canon Law and Shari’a pt 2

Archbishop Burke laid out the following for understanding the context for understanding of Shari’a, the Muslim concept of sacred law:

1. Every aspect of religious and civil life is covered, so there is no autonomy of the temporal order as we saw in the Catholic approach to canon law.
2. The issues surrounding the relationship and over all coherence of positive law and moral law do not emerge; Islam is nomocratic, issues are decided by law, not theology or philosophy.
3. The Moslem awaits a time in history for the sovereignty of their rule and its law to be accomplished in this world.
4. The law lacks certainty because of the various sources for the law and the various authorities who interpret it

Archbishop Burke used the following texts for these remarks:

Wael B Hallaq, An Introduction to Islamic Law (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009)
Samir Kahlil Samir, SJ 111 Questions on Islam (Ignatius Press, 2008)
Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam (Modern Library 2003)

“The comparison of the two laws underlines a fundamental difference of understanding the world,” the Archbishop concludes. Indeed, it was Bernard Lewis who pointed out that the difference is great “in the attitudes of these two religions, and of their authorized exponents, to the relations between government, religion and society.” (Crisis of Islam, pp. 5-6)

As the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Archbishop Burke is well positioned to provided such a clear account of canon law, and the various scholars of Islamic law he cites simply highlight the distinctiveness of the Catholic religion..

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