First, like me on Facebook or subscribe to my Twitter feed, I’m now all in on professional social media. Links lie to the left.
Moving on to the subject at hand, many of you might have heard of the draft Shi’i Personal Status Law approved by the Iraqi cabinet some weeks back and sent over to the legislature to enact into law. Nothing has happened yet and I suspect nothing will, as the draft is far too controversial to make passage likely.
Nevertheless, there has been a fair amount of discussion respecting it, most relating to human rights considerations, and I decided to take a closer look, which is when I realized how appalling it really is. Not in terms of being an affront to human rights, though it is that too, but in terms of being a haphazard, ill considered, sloppy law almost organized at random seemingly by some 25 year old kid in the Ministry of Justice delegated the task and given less than a week to do it. If it is the effort of anyone older than 25, or anyone with more than a week, I would be very surprised.
Specific examples appear in my Jurist piece which I encourage you to look at. Honestly I would have spent more time dissecting it as the dreadful legislative work that it is except that I saw little point once Grand Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi came out and more or less trashed it, making me believe it has to be dead. How can you pass something purported to give the Shi’a the right to live by Islamic rules that the Islamic rulemakers themselves describe as bad?
Suffice it to say for now then that however one feels about the codification of shari’a, nothing is a better metaphor for the sad and slow intellectual decline of the Middle East than that in the lands of the great codifiers Ahmed Cevdet and Abdul Razzaq al-Sanhuri, legislation like this is what we have devolved to. The shame of it.