Today's entry is a reply from Dave after I sent him an article about Great Britain granting Shariat courts jurisdiction over Muslims in Great Britain, followed by a London Times editorial saying that "jurisdiction" was going a bit far but that the Shariat courts nevertheless exercise great pressure in the lives of Muslim citizens of Great Britain, such as pressuring Muslim women in one case to withdraw their complaint about not receiving an equal share as their brothers in their inheritance.
In the same letter to Dave, I mentioned that Edward Howard was doing a blog about the most important American comic strips in history. I mentioned that Howard had blogged about Krazy Kat and asked Dave where it was in Cerebus that he had done an homage to Krazy Kat.
His handwritten reply by fax came on September 23, 2008:
--First, we have to figure out if there's a uniformity to Shariat law -- I'd be willing to guess there's a wide variety (Persian, Indonesian, Saudi, Shiite, Sunni, etc.)
--The Koran is very specific on inheritance but perplexing in its specificity (i.e., parents inherit from deceased children in priority over the deceased’s children -- from what I understand, this has been "glossed" in Islam in the same way that the Talmud "glosses" the Torah. If it's a crazy instruction then the entrenched priesthood finds a circuitous crazy argument to get around the specificity and the question is never revisited -- i.e., Shariat law specifies that children inherit from parents in direct contravention of what the Koran specifically says.
--My own view is that crazy instructions (in Christianity "Sell all that thou hast and give the money to the poor", if you would follow the Synoptic Jesus -- in Judaism "Stone to death someone caught gathering sticks on the Sabbath") are YHWH-inspired tests to prove men are evil allowed by God for that reason and that God is winning his point: You can't make men do something wrong over the long term just by telling them it's a direct instruction from God.
[Dave also noted that his Krazy Kat homage was page 122 of Going Home.]
And then Dave included a photocopy of pages 45 and 46 of (presumably) his copy of the Koran, noting: Hi Jeff -- The relevant texts from Sura IV "Women". Dave He bracketed verses 12, 13, 14, and 15.
With regard to your children, God commandeth you to give the male the portion of two females; and if they be females more than two, then they shall have two-thirds of that which their father hath left: but if she be an only daughter, she shall have the half; and the father and mother of the deceased shall each of them have a sixth part of what he hath left, if he have a child; but if he have no child, and his parents be his heirs, then his mother shall have the third: and if he have brethren, his mother shall have the sixth, after paying the bequests he shall have bequeathed, and his debts. As to your fathers, or your children, ye know not which of them is the most advantageous to you. This is the law of God. Verily, God is knowing, wise!
Half of what your wives leave shall be yours, if they have no issue; but if ye have issue, then a fourth of what they leave shall be yours, after paying the bequests they shall bequeath, and debts.
And your wives shall have a fourth part of what ye leave, if ye have no issue; but if ye have issue, then they shall have an eighth part of what ye leave, after paying the bequests ye shall bequeath, and debts.
If a man or a woman make a distant relation their heir, and he or she have a brother of a sister, each of these two shall have a sixth; but if there are more than this, then shall they be sharers in a third, after payment of the bequests he shall have bequeathed, and debts, [and it finishes in verse 16:]
Without loss to any one. This is the ordinance of God, and God is knowing, gracious!