Matt Rowland Hill says why the Law Society’s guidance on sharia-compliant wills was such a shit idea.
British Muslims aren’t a single culture with a monolithic faith, and it’s not up to the Law Society to decide which understanding of “sharia practice” is correct. Instead of producing a neutral description of sharia, it has effectively issued a declamation on behalf of a regressive, reactionary version of Islamic jurisprudence that more liberal-minded Muslims fight bravely against.
For an organisation ostensibly committed to the liberal values enshrined in British law to join the theological fray on the conservative side is a cruel blow to reformist Muslims. (To name just one, Dr Usama Hasan, an astronomer, Islamic scholar and imam, argues there is no necessary conflict between sharia and feminism for those with a less literalistic approach to holy texts than the Law Society.)
What makes the controversy over these guidelines all the more absurd is their utter pointlessness. The Law Society ought simply to remind its members that their job is to provide legal, not religious, advice: clients looking for guidance on what sharia requires should be advised to consult an Islamic authority of their choice.
What I said all along. It’s a job for an imam, not a lawyer.