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(2). "In the Shari'a, morality is as important as law." Discuss.

The Shari'a, or Islamic law, is incapable of distinguishing morality from law. Nor does the Shari'a intend to do such a thing. For devout Muslims, morality is not codified by law: morality isùor should beùlaw itself. The Shari'a, derived from the Qur'an, is likewise the word of Allah, and as such, there is no distinction whatsoever that need be drawn between legitimate jurisprudence and religious ethics; they are one and the same, each bound up irrevocably in divinity. Thus, in Muslim society, political leaders are expected to embody both political and moral authority. This creates fodder for controversy as the debate over secularization rages in diplomatic circles and within extremist groups.

In the 21st century, as Western ideologues in the United States and Great Britain wage a War on Terror against fundamentalist Muslim foes, we will do well to consider the fiercely ideological Shari'a when we assess the moral obligations and rigid loyalties that drive these Muslim 'fanatics' to oppose us. Islam has thus become a very potent diplomatic tool, one upon which the policy-making processùfor the Western World as well as the Islamic Worldùwill likely depend. The existence of the Shari'a in Islam challenges the most fundamental Western approach to morality and law by calling attention to the chasm that exists between these conceptions in the Western mind. The Shari'a, in enforcing the idea that this chasm need not exist, exemplifies a deep philosophical tension that currently plagues the modern world.

Islam does not recognize any distinction between mosque and state, theology and politics; this creates many diplomatic challenges for modern Muslim states grappling to find and maintain a distinct cultural identity in an increasingly globalized world (Nelan 62). Internal diplomatic disputes are intensified as external fundamentalist zealots attempt t...

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