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Monday, 24 October 2016


Sharia for the North Caucasus

2012-04-27 12:51

Offer of the lawyer Dagir Hasavov to legalize Sharia all over Russia caused an uproar. But even if we only talk about the North Caucasus, where, according to a lawyer, Sharia court is successfully operating, regional Islamic law can't fit into the Russian legal system. Even if you change it, the introduction of Sharia law would take many years, a lot of money and most importantly - willingness of the North Caucasian society, which has long got out of the habit of Islamic law - Sharia law, and the traditional law - adat, adhering to them only in domestic matters.


Caucasians prefer to deal with domestic problems without the participation of government agencies. But they are not always guided by the Shariah. Before Islam, mountain-dwellers had their own tradition, from which the local legal code "adat", which in some ways matched and in some ways was contrary to Sharia, emerged. Now, many opponents of the Islamisation of the North Caucasus insist that the region does not need laws, brought from other countries, that kill ethnic identity. But, according to Ahmed Yarlykapova, senior fellow of the Center for Ethnopolitical Research, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, "the problem of controversy between Shariah and adat was resolved in the 19th - early 20th centuries, when most provisions of the adat were brought

into compliance with the Shariah".

"Today there is no collision of Shariah and adat, but there are contradictions between the understanding of Sharia and adat by different groups of Muslims, he explained to GTimes. "Islamization did not lead to the loss of identity of the peoples who embraced Islam. During the years of Soviet power "customary law" was greatly transformed and largely forgotten. Thus today, we are seeing in the North Caucasus an active construction of it (customary law - Ed.); in particular, it is happening in Circassian regions with habze, traditional moral and ethical code".

Another expert, the head of the Caucasus Center for the Study of Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Volga-Ural region, Institute of Oriental Studies, Vladimir Bobrovnikov, points to the inconsistency of certain provisions of Sharia and adat. "According to Sharia, all stupefying substances are banned, and you cannot show your knees. In the Caucasus, women of some peoples began wearing wide trousers only in 1820's, prior to this they dressed not according to Sharia", expert told GTimes. "Adat is translated as "custom". In some cases, Sharia recommends to apply standards of local customs, adat".

Nowadays, Muslims of the North Caucasus solve many issues according to Sharia. But only if it does not conflict with federal laws. "Shariah law (which applies mainly in the east of the North Caucasus), is limited by the issues of personal status, without intruding into the sphere of criminal law. We must understand that Sharia law exist in the life of a Muslim to some extent, because it is the religious right, and it also regulates the religious practice", Ahmet Yarlykapov stressed.

Sharia law was legalized in the North Caucasus, and not only in Chechnya, in Dudayev times. Ruslan Aushev, being the head of Ingushetia, gave the local law the legal force. "But it conflicted with federal law, and it was canceled", Vladimir Bobrovnikov recalled us.

At the same time, Bobrovnikov believes that "there's nothing wrong in Sharia". Such punishments as stoning for adultery are very rare. In addition, in some European countries such as Holland and Greece, the Muslim minority has the right to Shariah under the constitution. But he believes that the introduction of Sharia law would take a lot of money.

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