The Emergence of Islamic Sharia and the Legal Structure of the Muslim Community in South Africa
Main Article Content
Every society needs law and for various reasons, the legal rules of countries are more or less different from each other. For comparative studies and comparison between the laws of countries with each other, it is not enough to measure the laws and legal regulations of those countries, but the legal systems should be studied and examined. The last religious legal system, which influenced other legal systems of the world and was welcomed by all nations, is the Islamic legal system. This article, after explaining the concept of "legal system" and its classification, briefly introduces the Islamic legal system. The article is devoted to the history of the spread of Islam in the world, in particular the appearance of Islam at the Cape of Good Hope starting from the 17th century, and subsequently received powerful development throughout South Africa. The article examines in detail the structure of the Muslim community of South Africa, consisting mainly of the so-called Malays, immigrants from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, beginning from the 17th century; Indians, immigrants from Gujarat, India, starting from the 19th century; Zanzibarians, starting from the 19th century; and other Africans. All Muslims here are Sunnis. The main religious schools in South Africa are represented mainly by the Shafiites (90%) and the Hanafites (about 10%), and a few Shiites. Islam in South Africa emerged during the expansion of the Dutch East India Company, when exiled Muslim prisoners began to be brought from the shores of the Malay Archipelago to the southern coast of Africa. Therefore, here came the hitherto unknown Muslim culture. A little later, Indian Muslim traders began to arrive in South Africa. Freed Muslim slaves were brought from Zanzibar. At first, Islam existed in South Africa in the form of Sufism, that is, Muslim institutions were created around prominent personalities revered by the people. Then, with the growth of urban culture and the release of prisoners and slaves, mosques and madrassas began to be built, and thus Islam from Sufism smoothly flowed into the “book form”, that is, the form of urban communities. Certain religious schools in South Africa established themselves; Muslim literature appeared, first in Malay, then in Afrikaans, and subsequently in other languages. Today in South Africa there are up to 1 million Muslims, a large number of mosques have been built, the Muslim community lives a full-fledged cultural, economic and political life.