According to Islamic law, there are only four legal values. Two of these, the prohibited and the permissible, can change with time. In other words, all human actions and decisions, both Muslim and non-Muslim, follow strict Islamic law. The way the law is interpreted by various people varies. Some interpretations clearly state who is a terrorist, who is not, who is free to act, etc. While some interpret the law in a less straightforward manner, making it possible for Muslim and non-Muslim citizens coexist peacefully.
For example, if a man is caught drunk driving, the punishment for him is usually a heavy fine. However, if he is found to be guilty of driving while intoxicated, he will be punished with either a one-year suspended sentence or even a significant jail term. Likewise, if his car is stolen, he will be rewarded with monetary compensation. What is important is that he does not drink and drive again.
What are cultural values in the Islamic law? A Muslim who steals will be punished with either a one-year imprisonment or a heavy monetary compensation. The same rule applies when stealing something or harming someone. Thus, in the same way that an alcoholic is punished, a thief is also rewarded with either a monetary compensation or imprisonment. The same principle applies to religious tolerance, which is expressed through Islamic law as “Islamic law does not tolerate insolence or stubbornness”.
Moreover, there are certain natural elements in the Islamic law which do not contradict the teachings of Islam. Natural law is what all Muslims are guided by, as outlined in the Koran, such as: the presence of Allah, ethics, justice, truth, mercy, and charity. The same elements can also be derived from the universal moral principles laid out by science and reason. Thus, Muslim legal theorists argue that the Koran and Islamic law serve as the common ground for all humans because both contain truth that is relevant to all.
What are the consequences of violating the teachings of Islamic law? In the case of an individual Muslim, the consequences will be worse than breaking any other religious law, such as adultery, for example. According to Islamic law, the punishments will include: a wife’s death, divorce, and even burning in fire for adultery. On the other hand, breaking any western law, such as those regarding wealth or property, will not result in any consequences.
In the case of a country, the legal values and punishments are implemented according to each individual’s laws and social conditioning. For instance, a person who steals will be punished with 100 lashes, while a person who kills another person will be rewarded with a double amount of lashes. A person who assists a suicide by killing another human being will be punished with the death penalty. Thus, it can be concluded that, what are legal values and what are those that are subjected to change, are determined by each individual social conditioning.
What are the effects of what are legal values on a country, and what are the reasons behind changing them? In today’s world, we see that most crimes, including murder, rape, and abuse, are not executed as a punishment for a crime, but rather they are seen as “social justice” that occur when one person suffers in comparison to another. Therefore, in the end, what are legal values are those that are based on universal moral principles, while what are the rewards associated with such? And what are the reasons for people in a country to change them, based on their personal views on justice and what is just?