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A Taliban religious policeman beating Afghan women

Sharia is a type of Islamic legislation based on the Quran and hadiths, which is said to be the infallible word of God. Sharia law includes the forced covering of women's flesh, the outlawing of the consumption of alcohol and pork products, the banning of public contact between women and men, forced daily attendance of Islamic prayers, non-Muslims paying religious taxes so that they could live in Muslim lands, and severe punishments for murder, theft, or any other law. Sharia law was originally implemented in the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century, and has recently been implemented in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Brunei, and other Muslim countries.

History

Countries that adhere to sharia law: green means that sharia is not in the judicial system, yellow refers to sharia in personal lives, blue means full sharia law in public and private life, and orange means that there are regional variations

Sharia law originated in the sayings and teachings of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, who claimed that he was delivering God's word to the people of Medina. His followers eventually seized the Quraysh city of Mecca and destroyed all non-Abrahamic religious items and made the two cities the centers of Islam in the Middle East; after his death in 632, the Rashidun Caliphate went on to invade the Byzantine Empire and Sassanid Empire's lands in the Levant and Middle East. By 711, the Islamic empire had stretched from Afghanistan to Morocco, and the caliphates implemented Islamic law - sharia law - in the regions that they ruled over. The practice of wearing veils was not new, as the Byzantines had already adopted the practice of women wearing headscarves while attending church. The Arabs adopted this, but it became mandatory for women to dress in concealing clothing to preserve their modesty. In addition, men were also told to dress modestly, and in some places it became custom for men to be unshaven and grow out long beards and hair. In reaction to the large amount of Christians and Jews living in Muslim lands, the caliphs decided to extort them if they wanted to keep their religion. Non-Muslims paid a religious tax, jizya, which allowed for them to resume their faiths; in exchange, they would not have to serve in the military or pay the sadiqah charity tax. Sharia law also promised harsh punishments for any violation of the Islamic laws, with thieves being punished by amputations, adulterers and alcoholics being punished with lashes, and murderers being punished with death. In the 1800s, Wahhabism revived Islamic law four centuries after the fall of Islamism, and Saudi Arabia became a center of the new belief. Today, several countries are ruled by Islamic law, with a few countries having certain regions that used Islamic law. Sharia can be complete (both in public and private life) or just in private life, and some regions allow for people to maintain sharia in public, with popular tourist destinations such as the United Arab Emirates outlawing female-male contact and the consumption of alcohol in public while selling alcohol in hotels and being more lenient than Saudi Arabia. In recent years, sharia law has been associated with strict Salafist terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Islamic State, Islamic Front, Ahrar ash-Sham, Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf, and others, which seek to establish Islamic states ruled under strict sharia law. For these reasons, sharia law is typically viewed negatively by non-Muslim countries or secular Muslim countries.

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