There is no compulsion in religion and people are allowed to practise their own religions. It is mentioned in the Quran: “To you be your Way, and to me mine” (Surah Al Kafiroon: 109:6).
“Sharia” simply means “ordained” -i.e.: ordained law of Islam. This is a very broad topic and can cover all sorts of things from forbidding the consumption of alcohol to not allowing interest, when applied to state law /the laws governing a country. This is not something that is to be forced on to others. I am not specialised in this area but you can get an idea of the sources of these laws from here:
“Sharia” law often receives negative media coverage as it is seen to be extremely harsh Including the use of a death penalty for murder and /or adultery and chopping off a thief’s hand. However, this is used as a deterrent to discourage people from committing crimes and these are the punishments for the “most extreme” cases. There have been many cases where families have forgiven people so the full punishment was not given. Speaking from personal experience, I have lived and traveled in Saudi Arabia for many years and have never seen anyone whose hands have been chopped off due to theft and I can guarantee that if you ever come to the country you will hardly find anyone whose hand has been chopped off.
While “Sharia” Law might sound harsh and that it is based on religious law, some people conducted a social experiment where they quoted sections from the “Quran” to people so they commented on how harsh Islamic laws are but then later they were shocked to find that the book that was being quoted from was actually the Bible disguised as the Quran! You can watch a video of this here:
Throughout history people have used all sorts of harsh punishments that are much more harsh than the above mentioned such as in Medieval Europe. Even today, various places such as many US states have the death penalty. Some of the death penalties are much harsher than those in many Muslim countries such as death by electric chair or lethal injection, which can take up to 20 minutes to cause death and is very painful.
Sometimes harsh punishments need to be given to deter people from committing further crimes. As an example, as of 2018 there was a high profile case in India of Asifa, an 8 year old girl who was kidnapped, drugged, gang raped inside a temple and was murdered -this was done over a period of about 7 days. Imagine that (God forbid) such a thing happened to your mother, sister, daughter or any other female relative and you were made the judge over the criminals. Would you give them a light punishment or feel that they should be given less punishment because their victims were over the age of 18? Also, if people can see that the criminals receive a very harsh punishment do you think that perhaps someone will think twice before committing a similar crime themselves?
Nowadays, countries have their own national laws governing things such as national holidays that are often based around religious celebrations such as Christmas but under that, people have their own regional or local law, such as with their own local councils. The national laws are applied to people of all religions and ethnicities. Similarly, if Sharia law is applied to a country, people still have freedom to follow their own rules within the confines of their homes, such as those who are not Muslim and they have their own celebrations. None Muslims are not obliged to pray like Muslims and /or follow the Islamic rituals in worship such as fasting during the month of Ramadan.
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