'What the Taliban are doing is not legitimate'

‘What the Taliban are doing is not legitimate’

The Taliban say they want to rule Afghanistan within strict Sharia rules. what does that mean? We asked two experts. Laila Zweini and Anne Quackenboss.

Laila Al-Zwaini is a lawyer and Arabist and served as the head of the United Nations Rule of Law Mission in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2009. Anne Quackenboss is a gender, peace and security expert at Corded Relief.

God’s will

Sharia are the rules that you must follow to live as a good Muslim. “Every Muslim must follow the will of God, which is first found in the Qur’an and Hadith. Laila Al-Zwaini said: “It describes the sayings and customs of the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace.”

But these rules are interpreted in different ways in different regions, within a certain bandwidth. So Sharia does not exist in the strict sense of the word. The form of the Taliban is considered very strict, and according to many Muslims, their strict rules are no longer subject to Sharia.

The origin of Sharia

“Over the centuries, scholars have formulated new and derived legal rules by discussing the interpretation of the Qur’an and hadith,” explains Al-Zwaini. These jurists spread to various regions of the former Islamic world. They took into account both local laws and customary law, which gave rise to various legal schools.”

After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the last empire in the Islamic world, some rules of Sharia were enshrined in law for the first time in history. “This is why Sharia is applied differently in countries like Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco,” says Al-Zwaini.

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Al-Zwaini says the Taliban’s ideology is also a mixture of general Islamic law and local customary law. In this ideology, for example, women have far fewer rights than the other variants of Sharia. This is because it is mixed with common law, and Pashtunwali, of the Afghan/Pakistani Pashtun group, where there are many restrictions on women.

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