In Nigeria, a nominal democracy of 130 million people, they don’t just steal sheep. Some people also drink alcohol, engage in prostitution, commit adultery and go outside after midnight.
People dress in short sleeves, too, and ride in taxis that aren’t segregated by sex.
And double up on motorbikes, even though that may involve a woman sitting with, touching, holding onto, a man who is not her husband.
For Nigeria’s 50 million Christians, there are no criminal penalties for such behavior. But there are penalties for many of its 65 million Muslims, particularly those who live in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim northern states.
This is because of sharia, which, to Muslims, is a God-given code for how a life ought to be lived. Used in varying degrees, for most Muslims it is a guide to such individual activities as prayer, fasting and donating to the poor. Beyond that, many Muslim countries have adopted sharia as their civil law, governing such things as marriage and inheritance. And then there are the countries that use sharia as their criminal law, applying its judgments and penalties to such offenses as theft and adultery, which are known in sharia as Hadd offenses.