Islamic Sharia Council
Islam is the second largest religion in the United Kingdom; however, there are still not many mosques in the country and the Muslims are often deprived of their basic rights. There are a great number of Muslims living there in different cities and the number is growing with the passage of time. In such a situation, there is a requirement of an authority or a council that would be responsible for not only giving advice to Muslims regarding their family and financial issues but also impose penalties in case someone goes beyond the ‘hudood’ or boundaries.
There are basically four schools of thought when it comes to implementation of Islamic Sharia. These are also known as Sunni schools of Islamic law or jurisprudence. These include Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafi’i, and Miliki They all have their own rulings regarding matters like divorce and finance etc. However, the basic teachings and the foundations are the same. The Islamic Sharia Council or ISC is a system of providing legal rulings and advice to Muslims living in the UK according to the four schools of thought mentioned above.
Many Muslims living in the UK who have no other access to find advice according to what Islam says regarding financial and family issues turn to ISC for guidance. The council especially exists to grant the Muslim women their legal rights when it comes to the matters of divorce or khula, which means the woman files a petition in the court of law to get divorce from her husband. Since the financial laws in the UK are a bit different from those of Islamic laws, the issue of returning the dowry in case khula happens remains a bone of contention.
There are a total of 16 tribunals held by the Islamic Sharia Council in different cities of the United Kingdom. Some people are of the opinion that the council is just meant for advice and guidance; however, it does not have the authority to execute and penalties. ISC exists for the Muslims of not just England, but also represents and supports those living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In some Muslim countries around the world, an attempt has been made to merge the Islamic law with the Legal law that exists everywhere. However, not much success has been reported since the rulings are quite different and Muslims find themselves confused on what to follow. The topic has now become controversial in the eyes of many religious scholars and they strictly prohibit mixing the two laws together. There is therefore a need to understand clearly the basic teachings of Islam regarding matters of relationships and money according to any school of law out of the four mentioned above that you follow.