Before I really dwelved into my studies of Islam, "Shariah" was a big bad word that meant oppression and authoritarian regime. In reality, "Shariah" is much simpler and much more peaceful: it stands for "path" or "way". In short it is the way of life of Muslims . For example, prayers are Sharia, as in they are part of the path to God.
Anyone who has studied Islam to any extend, including those who have read this blog, know that Islam is much more than simple belief but is definitely a way of life. But again, so are most faiths in one way or another. I think an important variant to keep in mind is the difference between God's word versus people's interpretation. I'm all for following the Qu'ran and living by the examples set by the Prophets (Moses, Jesus and Mohammad- peace be upon them- just to name a few are my main examples). However, I don't think that I can, or anyone can, as falible human beings, interpret the Qu'ran or any other sacred text, without any doubt or without any potential for error. I mean there is some pretty straight forward stuff (e.g. "Do not kill") but there are some blurry lines in there (e.g. the lines about taking the traditional head veil and using it to cover your chest - hijab mandatory or simply not showing your breasts mandatory?) So how can one interpretation of the Qu'ran be the ultimate best, when interpreted by failible human beings?
Even IF we were able to give a perfect interpretation of the Qu'ran (I am not saying that we can), who the heck are we to impose it onto others? If God, Himself, has given us free will to behave as we would, then perhaps we should not question that too much. Am I saying that countries should not be governed by any rules? In a perfect world, where everyone is respectful of one another and live their lives in ways that do not affect others negatively, sure! Until that happens, give me a few laws, thanksies! Laws that commend common sense and social order. I have always said, common sense was the least common of all sense, but sometimes, it just seems like some people are pushing their luck. So ask yourself this, does the law of your country really go against the Muslim way of life? For example, your country does not allow you to stone your wife to death for adultery. Well, does the Qu'ran ever mention at any point that you SHOULDN'T KILL?! Oh yeah, that's right, it does! Your country makes laws in an unbiased way to allow everyone to live peacefully following the religion/belief system they chose. Does the Qu'ran ever state that there should be no compulsion in religion? YES IT DOES!!!!
Applying Shariah should be an individual choice and involve the individual ONLY. No you cannot kill someone because your interpretation of Shariah says you can, sucks to be you, but that involves Shariah applying to someone else, and that's just not right. If two people agree on an interpretation of Shariah, let's say the division of inheritance or belongings in a divorce; then sure, go right to town with splitting it 1/3 to a son, 1/6 for a daughter and what the heck else! Have fun! but don't kill, hurt, injure, abuse, denigrate or insult someone else based on your interpretation of the Qu'ranic message.
I'm going to go even further with this and say this: if, for some unbeknownst reason, you and an individual both agree that his or her actions are worthy of death, do NOT take it upon yourselves to solve the matter. God really is the only one worthy of creating or taking away life. So have that person who you believe and who believes deserve death ask God to bring about death whenever He judges it to be the rightful time. If somehow God wills that person to live, pray that the individual becomes a better person and if it is you, work towards becoming a better person. That is all you should do. Islamically speaking, forgiveness is much better than retribution.
So please, live your lives with God in mind. Follow Shariah at the best of your ability, but for the love of God and humanity, please let it only affect yourself! Thank you!