Will Taliban impose Sharia law in Afghanistan: Afghan women fear the return of the dark period

Almost 20 years heretofore, Sharia Law was imposed on Afghan nationals. As the insurgent group is all set to re-establish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Jagran Josh takes a look at the Islamic penal code and the expected dreads of the natives.
Created On: Aug 16, 2021 21:45 IST
Modified On: Aug 17, 2021 09:01 IST
Taliban to impose Sharia Law in Afghanistan: Why Afghan females fear a return to dark period?
Taliban to impose Sharia Law in Afghanistan: Why Afghan females fear a return to dark period?

Public executions, stonings, whippings and other brutal tactics to enforce religious dictatorship-- a few of the many atrocities of the Taliban's five-year regime in Afghanistan and not the description of a film portraying the medieval era. 

Almost 20 years heretofore, when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan before they were ousted by a US-led invasion, Sharia Law was imposed on Afghan nationals. 

As the insurgent group is all set to re-establish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Jagran Josh takes a look at the Islamic penal code and the expected dreads of the natives. 

What is Sharia Law?

It is the legal system of Islam that finds its roots in the Quran, Hadiths, and Fatwas. The literal definition of Sharia is 'the clear, well-trodden path to water'.

The law lays down governing principles for spiritual, mental, and physical behaviour that all Muslims should adhere to, and is often regarded as Allah's command for believers. 

The law categorizes the acts of followers of Islam into five categories-- obligatory, recommended, permitted, discouraged, and forbidden. For instance, the giving and receiving of interest, gambling, prostitution, consumption of alcohol, and extremely risky investments are prohibited in Islam.

There are five different schools of Sharia Law. There are four Sunni doctrines-- Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanafi, and one Shia doctrine, Shia Jaafari. These doctrines differ in how these schools interpret the texts from which Sharia law is derived.

Extreme punishments under the Sharia Law 

The punishments for certain crimes under Sharia Law are extremely severe and violates human rights. We have listed some of them here. 

1- People involved in adultery or fornication must be lashed 100 times. If unmarried, they must be exiled for a year and if married, must be stoned to death.

2- Amputations of hands of those found guilty of theft. 

3- Apostasy is a grave crime in Islam and the law prescribe the death penalty for apostates.

4- 40-80 lashes upon the consumption of alcohol. 

It is to be noted that Hudud is the only form of punishment under Sharia Law. It ranges from public lashing to stoning to death, amputation of hands and crucifixion. 

How the lives of women were affected during the Taliban regime?

During its five year regime from 1996-2001, the Taliban imposed Sharia Law forbidding women of certain activities. Some of these are mentioned below:

1- Women were allowed to venture out of their homes, provided they covered their faces and were accompanied by a male relative. 

2- Women were barred from having their pictures taken, filmed or displayed in newspapers, books, stores or even at their own homes. 

3- All the windows on the ground and first floors of residential buildings were either painted over or covered with a screen to avoid women from being seen from the street. They were not allowed to roam on their balconies. 

4- High-heeled sandals were banned since ghair mahrams must not hear a woman's footsteps. 

5- A ghair mahram must not hear a woman's voice when she is talking in public. 

6- Women were restrained from appearing on radio, television, or in any public gathering. 

7- The Taliban also drafted lists of females between 12-45 years in a door-to-door campaign who were later forced to marry insurgents.

8- Women and girls were prohibited from entering schools, universities, and workplaces. 

9- Women were not allowed to wear clothes of their choice and were even executed for wearing tight clothes. 

10- The penalty for homosexuality is execution under their regime. 

Brutal Punishments by Taliban

The Taliban led government exacted brutal punishments such as humiliation, execution, whipping, and stoning on women who broke the laws. Some real-life examples are as follows:

1- In October 1996, a woman's tip of her thumb was chopped off as she was wearing nail polish. 

2- In December 1996, around 225 women were detained and whipped for violating the sharia code of dress. 

3- In May 1997, the Taliban's religious police forced five CARE International employees from their vehicle. The women were harassed and insulted publicly before being whipped with a 1.5-meter-long metal and leather whip. 

4- To set an example for other girls in the village, Bibi Aisha's ears and nose were severed and was left to bleed to death, but survived. Married off to another family through the tribal dispute-resolution process, the Afghan girl was punished for escaping the violence she suffered in the family. 

Source: Amnesty International, The Guardian

Additionally, the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for publicly advocating education for females. As the insurgent group gained control of Afghanistan, the Nobel laureate is deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates and called for an urgent intervention from the world leaders.

Writer and feminist Taslima Nasreen took a jibe at the Taliban's statement saying that there is no women's and minorities rights and freedom of expression within Sharia law. Take a look at her tweet below. 

Keeping in mind the atrocities that Afghan nationals faced towards the end of the 20th century, particularly women, the Taliban's promise of an open and inclusive Islamic government in the country seems unrealistic.

Read: Who is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar? All about Mullah Omar Confidant and Co-founder of Taliban

Also Read: Who are the Taliban? Know all about the Islamist militant group here

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