Application of sharia law by country
The following is a summary of the application of sharia by country.
Since the early Islamic states of the eighth and ninth centuries, sharia always existed alongside other normative systems. Most Muslim-majority countries adopt various aspects of sharia. According to BBC, some countries adopt only a few aspects of Sharia, others apply the entire code.
Within Sharia law, some crimes known as the hudud crimes, for which there are specific penalties specified by Islam. For example, fornication is punished by stoning, the consumption of alcohol by lashing, and theft by the amputation of limbs. Many predominantly Muslim countries have not adopted hudud penalties in their criminal justice systems. Ali Mazrui stated that "most Muslim countries do not use traditional classical Islamic punishments". The harshest penalties are enforced with varying levels of consistency. The use of flogging is more common compared to punishments like amputations.
The adoption and demand for sharia in the legal system of nations with significant Muslim-minorities is an active topic of international debate, and an active goal of Islamist movements globally. Attempts to introduce or expand sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and even warfare. Most countries of the world do not recognize sharia; however, some countries in Asia, Africa and Europe recognize sharia and use it as the basis for divorce, inheritance and other personal affairs of their Islamic population.
Definition and scope
Sharia law in this article means the moral code and religious law of Islam. It includes criminal, civil, personal, economic and all aspects of law as revealed in Quran and Hadiths; in its strictest and most historically coherent definition, sharia is considered the infallible law of Allah. The primary sources of sharia are the precepts set forth in the Quranic verses (ayahs), and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. The scope of sharia law includes Islamic law as interpreted by Islamic judges (qadis) with varying responsibilities for the religious leaders. For questions not directly addressed in the primary sources, sharia law includes consensus of the religious scholars (ulama) thought to embody the consensus of the Muslim Community (ijma).
The legal systems of Muslim countries may be grouped in three: mixed systems, classical sharia systems and secular systems.
Classical sharia systems
Classical sharia systems are those where sharia plays dominant role and is present in most areas of a nation's legal system. Saudi Arabia and Iran are examples of classical sharia system.
Secular systems are those where sharia plays no role in the nation's legal system. Turkey is an example of a Muslim-majority nation with a secular system.
Mixed systems are those where sharia is not dominant, but plays a significant role in one or more areas of the nation's legal system. This is observed in majority of Muslim nations.
Sharia in the world
- Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation where sharia plays no role in the judicial system. Muslims are a minority in some OIC nations.
- personal status issues (such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody).Countries where Sharia applies in
- Regional variations in the application of sharia
|Algeria||Article 222 of the Family Code of 1984 specifies sharia as the residuary source of laws. The Sharia-derived family code treats women as minors under the legal guardianship of a husband or male relative. In criminal cases the testimony of two women are equal to the testimony of one male witness.|
|Benin||It has a civil law system with influences from customary law.|
|Burkina Faso||It has a civil law system.|
|Cameroon||It has a mixed legal system of English common law, French civil law, and customary law.|
|Chad||After gaining independence from France, Chad has retained the French legal system.|
|Comoros||The legal system is based on Sharia. According to the article 229-7 of the Penal Code, any Muslim who makes use of products forbidden by Islamic law can be punished by imprisonment of up to six months.|
|Cote d'Ivoire||It has a civil law system.|
|Djibouti||The Family Code is mainly derived from Islamic law and regulates personal status matters such as marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. Sharia does not apply to criminal law.|
|Egypt||Article 2 of Egypt's 2014 Constitution declares the principles of Islamic Sharia to be the main source of legislation. Egypt's law and enforcement system are in flux since its 2011 Revolution; however, the declaration of Sharia's primacy in Article 2 is a potential ground for unconstitutionality of any secular laws in Egyptian legal code. Sharia courts and qadis are run and licensed by the Ministry of Justice. The personal status law that regulates matters such as marriage, divorce and child custody is governed by Sharia. In a family court, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s testimony.|
|Eritrea||Sharia courts entertain cases dealing with marriage, inheritance and family of Muslims.|
|Ethiopia||Sharia courts have jurisdiction on cases regaring marriage, divorce, maintenance, guardianship of minors (only if both parties are Muslims). Also included are cases concerning waqfs, gifts, succession, or wills, provided that donor is a Muslim or deceased was a Muslim at time of death.|
|Gabon||It has a mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law.|
|Gambia||Article 7 of the constitution identifies sharia as source of law in matters of personal status and inheritance among members of communities to which it applies.|
|Ghana||Islamic law is applied by customary or traditional courts as part of customary law.|
|Guinea-Bissau||It has a mixed legal system of civil law and customary law.|
|Guinea||It has a civil law system.|
|Kenya||Islamic law is applied by Kadhis' Courts where "all the parties profess the Muslim religion". Under article 170, section 5 of the constitution, the jurisdiction of Kadhis’ court is limited to matters relating to "personal status, marriage, divorce or inheritance in proceedings in which all the parties profess the Muslim religion and submit to the jurisdiction of the Kadhi’s courts".|
|Libya||Qaddafi merged civil and sharia courts in 1973. Civil courts now employ sharia judges who sit in regular courts of appeal and specialise in sharia appellate cases. The personal status laws are derived from Islamic law.|
|Mali||It has a civil law system influenced by customary law. In urban areas, positive law is common. In rural areas the customary law usually dominates. Local rural versions of sharia are the predominant sources for customary law. Article 25 in Title II of Mali's constitution declares it to be a secular state.|
|Mauritania||The Penal Code contains Sharia crimes such heresy, apostasy, atheism, refusal to pray, adultery and alcoholism. Punishments include lapidation, amputation and flagellation.|
|Morocco||In 1956, a Code of Personal Status (Mudawana) was issued, based on dominant Maliki school of Sharia jurisprudence. Regional Sharia courts also hear personal status cases on appeal. In matters of family law, a woman’s testimony is worth only half of that of a man. With 2003 reforms of its criminal law, Article 222 of its new criminal code is derived from Islamic law; Articles 220-221, 268-272 of its criminal law similarly codify those activities as crimes that are prohibited under Sharia. Morocco adopted a new constitution in 2011; Article 41 of this constitution granted sole power to the Superior Council of the Ulemas to guide its laws through Fatwas from principles, precepts and designs of Islam.|
|Mozambique||Paula Rainha states that, "Mozambique’s legal system can be considered civil law based (at least the formal legal system) and legislation is the primary source of law."|
|Niger||It has not adopted any elements of Islamic law.|
|Senegal||The legal system of Senegal is based on French civil law. The 1972 Family Code (Code de la famille) is secular in nature. Islamic law is allowed by article 571 of the Family Code only in the case of intestate successions, and only if the person had demonstrated in life a wish that his succession would be regulated by Islamic law. Most succession cases are decided under this provision. There has been growing political attempts to introduce more sharia regulations.|
|Sierra Leone||It has a common law system influenced by customary law.|
|Somalia||Sharia was adopted in 2009. Article 2 of Somali 2012 Constitution states no law can be enacted that is not compliant with the general principles and objectives of Sharia. Sharia currently influences all aspects of Xeer as well as Somalia's formal legal system.|
|Sudan||Sharia has been declared the chief source of all legislation in Sudan's 1968, 1973 and 1998 Constitutions. In 2005, Sudan adopted an interim national constitution; it removed some references to Sharia, but included Sharia-drived criminal, civil and personal legal codes, as well as Sharia-mandated hudud punishments. The Criminal Act of 1991 prescribes punishments which include forty lashes for drinking alcohol, amputation of the right hand for theft of a certain value and stoning for adultery.|
|Tanzania||Islamic law is applicable to Muslims under the Judicature and Applications of Laws Act, empowering courts to apply Islamic law to matters of succession in communities that generally follow Islamic law in matters of personal status and inheritance. Unlike mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar retains Islamic courts.|
|Togo||It has a customary law system.|
|Tunisia||The Law of Personal Status was inspired by unofficial draft codes of Maliki and Hanafi family law, but it bans polygamy and extrajudicial divorce. Sharia courts were abolished in 1956.|
|Uganda||Article 129 (1) (d) of the constitution allows the parliament to establish by law "Qadhi’s courts for marriage, divorce, inheritance of property and guardianship".|
|Guyana||The country has a common law system.|
|Suriname||The country has a civil law system.|
|Afghanistan||Criminal law in Afghanistan continues to be governed in large part by Islamic law. The Criminal Law of September 1976 codifies sharia, and retains punishments such as the stoning to death of adulterers. However virtually all courts, including the Supreme Court of Afghanistan, rely on Islamic law directly.|
|Azerbaijan||The government is declared to be secular in the constitution.|
|Bahrain||Article 2 of Bahrain's 2002 Constitution as originally adopted, as well as after February 2012 amendment, declares Islamic Sharia is a chief source of legislation. Four tiers of ordinary courts have jurisdiction over cases related to civil, administrative and criminal matters, with Court of Cassation the highest civil court in Bahrain; in all matters, the judges are required to resort to Sharia in case legislation is silent or unclear. Sharia courts handle personal status laws. A personal status law was codified in 2009 to regulate personal status matters. It applies only to Sunni Muslims; there is no codified personal status law for Shiites. In a Shari’a court a Muslim woman's testimony is worth half of that of a Muslim man.|
|Bangladesh||Marriage, divorce, alimony and property inheritance are regulated by Sharia for Muslims. The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 (XXVI of 1937) applies to Muslims in all matters relating to Family Affairs. Islamic family law is applied through the regular court system. There are no limitations on interfaith marriages.|
|Brunei||Sharia courts decide personal status cases or cases relating to religious offences. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah declared in 2011 his wish to establish Islamic criminal law as soon as possible. A new penal code enacted in May 2014 will eventually prescribe sharia punishments, including the severing of limbs for property crimes and death by stoning for adultery and homosexuality.|
|Gaza Strip||The Egyptian personal status law of 1954 is applied. The personal status law is based on Islamic law and regulates matters related to inheritance, marriage, divorce and child custody. Shari’a courts hear cases related to personal status. The testimony of a woman is worth only half of that of a man in cases related to marriage, divorce and child custody.|
|India||The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937 directs the application of Muslim Personal Law to Muslims in a number of different areas, mainly related to family law.|
|Iran||Article 167 of the constitution states that all judicial rulings must be based upon "authoritative Islamic sources and authentic fatwa". Book 2 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran is entirely devoted to hudud punishments, including flogging and stoning for adultery, and execution for men who have sex with men.|
|Iraq||Article 1 of Civil Code identifies Islamic law as a main source of legislation. The 1958 Code, made polygamy extremely difficult, granted child custody to the mother in case of divorce, prohibited repudiation and marriage under the age of 16. In 1995, Iraq introduced Sharia punishment for certain types of criminal offenses. Iraq's legal system is based on French civil law as well as Sunni and Jafari (Shi’ite) interpretations of Sharia. Article 41 of the constitution allows for personal status matters (such as marriage, divorce and inheritance) to be governed by the rules of each religious group. The article has not yet been put into effect, and a unified personal status law remains in place that builds on the 1959 personal status code.|
|Israel||Sharia law is one of the sources of legislation for Muslim citizens. Islamic law is binding on personal law issues for Muslim citizens.|
|Jordan||Jordan has Sharia courts and civil courts. Sharia courts have jurisdiction over personal status laws, cases concerning Diya (blood money in cases of crime where both parties are Muslims, or one is and both the Muslim and non-Muslim consent to Sharia court's jurisdiction), and matters pertaining to Islamic Waqfs. The Family Law in force is the Personal Status Law of 1976, which is based on Sharia law. In Sharia courts, the testimony of two women is equal to that of one man.|
|Kazakhstan||Islamic law was in force up until early 1920. The 1995 constitution is not based on sharia.|
|Kuwait||Article 2 of Kuwait's constitution identifies Islamic Sharia as a main source of legislation. According to the United Nations, Kuwait's legal system is a mix of British common law, French civil law, Egyptian civil law and Islamic law. The sharia-based personal status law for Sunnis is based on the Maliki fiqh and for Shiites, their own school of Islam regulates personal status. Before a family court the testimony of a woman is worth half of that of a man. Kuwait blocks internet content prohibited by Sharia.|
|Kyrgyzstan||It has a civil law system.|
|Lebanon||Lebanon's legal system is based on a combination of Civil Law, Sharia law and Ottoman laws. There are seventeen official religions in Lebanon, each with its own family law and religious courts. For the application of personal status laws, there are three separate sections: Sunni, Shia and non-Muslim. The Law of 16 July 1962 declares that Sharia law governs personal status laws of Muslims, with Sunni and Ja'afari Shia jurisdiction of Sharia law. In a Muslim family court, the testimony of a woman is worth half of that of a man.|
|Malaysia||Schedule 9 of Malaysian constitution recognizes Islamic law as a state subject; in other words, the states of Malaysia have the power to enact and enforce sharia. Islamic criminal law statutes have been passed at the state level in Terengganu, Kelantan and Perlis,[page needed] but as of 2014 none of these laws have been implemented, as they contravene the Federal Constitution. In 2007, in a legal case of Lina Joy who converted from Islam to Christianity, after a 10 year court process, Malaysia's Federal court ruled that apostasy matter lay "within the exclusive jurisdiction of Sharia Courts". Malaysian Muslims can be sentenced to caning for such offences as drinking beer, and adultery. Several sharia crimes, such as khalwat (close proximity of unmarried man and woman) are punishable only in Sharia courts of Malaysia. Publishing an Islamic book that is different from official Malaysian version, without permission, is a crime in some states. Other sharia-based criminal laws were enacted with "Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territory) Act of 1997". Muslims are bound by Sharia on personal matters, while members of other faiths follow civil law. Muslims are required to follow Islamic law in family, property and religious matters. In 1988 the constitution was amended to state that civil courts cannot hear matters that fall within the jurisdiction of Sharia courts.|
|Maldives||Article 15 of the Act Number 1/81 (Penal Code) allows for hudud punishments. Article 156 of the constitution states that law includes the norms and provisions of sharia.|
|Oman||Islamic Sharia is the basis for legislation in Oman per Article 2 of its Constitution, and promulgated as Sultani Decree 101/1996. The Personal Statute (Family) Law issued by Royal Decree 97/32 codified provisions of Sharia. Sharia Court Departments within the civil court system are responsible for personal status matters. A 2008 law stipulates that the testimonies of men and women before a court are equal. Oman's criminal law is based on a combination of Sharia and English common law. Omani commercial law is largely based on Sharia; Article 5 of its Law of Commerce defaults to primacy of Sharia in cases of confusion, silence or conflict.|
|Pakistan||Until 1978 Islamic law was largely restricted to personal status issues. Zia ul Haq introduced Sharia courts and made far reaching changes in the criminal justice system. Articles 203a to 203j of the constitution establish a sharia court with the power to judge any law or government actions to be against Islam, and to review court cases for adherence to Islamic law. The penal code includes elements of sharia. Under article 5, section 2 of the Ordinance No. VII of 1979, whoever is guilty of zina, "if he or she is a muhsan, be stoned to death at a public place; or if he or she is not a mushan, be punished, at a public place, with whipping numbering one hundred stripes". Under a 2006 law, rape cases can be heard under civil as well as Islamic law.|
|Qatar||Sharia law is the main source of Qatari legislation according to Qatar's Constitution. Sharia law is applied to laws pertaining to family law, inheritance, and several criminal acts (including adultery, robbery and murder). In some cases in Sharia-based family courts, a female's testimony is worth half a man's and in some cases a female witness is not accepted at all. Flogging is used in Qatar as a punishment for alcohol consumption or illicit sexual relations. Article 88 of Qatar's criminal code declares the punishment for adultery is 100 lashes. Adultery is punishable by death when a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man are involved. In 2006, a Filipino woman was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery. In 2012, six expatriates were sentenced to floggings of either 40 or 100 lashes. More recently in April 2013, a Muslim expatriate was sentenced to 40 lashes for alcohol consumption. In June 2014, a Muslim expatriate was sentenced to 40 lashes for consuming alcohol and driving under the influence. Judicial corporal punishment is common in Qatar due to the Hanbali interpretation of Sharia Law. Article 1 of the Law No. 11 Of 2004 (Penal Code) allows for the application of "Sharia provisions" for the crimes of theft, adultery, defamation, drinking alcohol and apostasy if either the suspect or the victim is a Muslim.|
|Saudi Arabia||Saudi criminal law is based totally on sharia. No codified personal status law exists, which means that judges in courts rule based on their own interpretations of sharia. See Legal system of Saudi Arabia|
|Singapore||Sharia courts may hear and determine actions in which all parties are Muslims or in which parties involved were married under Muslim law. Court has jurisdiction over cases related to marriage, divorce, betrothal, nullity of marriage, judicial separation, division of property on divorce, payment of dowry, maintenance, and muta.|
|Sri Lanka||Private matters of Muslims are governed by Muslim Law, including marriage, divorce custody and maintenance. Muslim law principles have been codified in the Act No. 13 of 1951 Marriage and Divorce (Muslim) Act; Act No. 10 of 1931 Muslim Intestate Succession Ordinance and Act No. 51 of 1956 Muslim Mosques and Charitable Trusts or Wakfs Act.|
|Syria||Article 3 of the 1973 Syrian constitution declares Islamic jurisprudence one of Syria's main sources of legislation. The Personal Status Law 59 of 1953 (amended by Law 34 of 1975) is essentially a codified Sharia law. The Code of Personal Status is applied to Muslims by Sharia courts. In Sharia courts, a woman's testimony is worth only half of a man's.|
|Tajikistan||The government is declared to be secular in the constitution.|
|Turkmenistan||Article 11 of the constitution declares that religious groups are separate from the state and the state educational system.|
|Uzbekistan||It has a civil law system.|
|West Bank||The Jordanian personal status law of 1976 is applied. The personal status law is based on Islamic law and regulates matters related to inheritance, marriage, divorce and child custody. Sharia courts hear cases related to personal status. The testimony of a woman is worth only half of that of a man in cases related to marriage, divorce and child custody.|
|Yemen||Law 20/1992 regulates personal status. The constitution mentions sharia. Penal law provides for application of hadd penalties for certain crimes, although the extent of implementation is unclear. Article 263 of the 1994 penal code states that "the adulterer and adulteress without suspicion or coercion are punished with whipping by one hundred strokes as a penalty if not married. [...] If the adulterer or the adulteress are married, they are punished by stoning them to death."|
|Albania||It has a civil law system, except in the northern rural areas where the Code of Leke prevails.|
|Bosnia||It has a civil law system.|
|Kosovo||It has an evolving legal system; a mixture of applicable Kosovo law, UNMIK laws and regulations, and laws of former Yugoslavia.|
|Turkey||As part of Atatürk's Reforms, sharia was abolished in April 1924, with the Law Regarding the Abolition of Islamic Law Courts and Amendments Regarding the Court Organization.|
|Indonesia||Aceh||Aceh is the only part of Indonesia to apply Sharia in full. Islamic courts in Aceh had long handled cases of marriage, divorce and inheritance. After special autonomy legislation was passed in 2001, the reach of courts extend to criminal justice. Under a 2009 law, married people convicted of adultery can be sentenced to death by stoning, while unmarried people can be sentenced to 100 lashes. Offences such as being alone with an unrelated member of the opposite gender, gambling and breaking Islamic dress rules can be punished with a public caning. In 2014, the provincial government of Aceh extended sharia's reach, enacting and enforcing sharia to apply it to non-Muslims as well.|
|Rest of Indonesia||In other parts of Indonesia, religious courts have jurisdiction over civil cases between Muslim spouses on matters concerning marriage, divorce, reconciliation, and alimony. The competence of religious courts is not exclusive, and parties can apply to District Courts for adjudication on basis of Roman Dutch law or local adat.[dated info] Suharto’s New Order expanded the reach of Islamic law, first with the 1974 Marriage Act, which assigned jurisdiction over the marriage and divorce of Muslims to the Islamic courts (Indonesian: peradilan agama), and with the 1989 Religious Judicature Act, which elevated Islamic courts by making them a parallel legal system, equal to state courts and gave them jurisdiction over inheritance (wasiyyah), gifts (hibah) and religious endowments. Muslim litigants could originally choose whether to have inheritance questions decided by the Islamic courts or by the civil courts, but a 2006 amendment eliminated this possibility; the same amendment gave Islamic courts new jurisdiction over property disputes, including financial and economic matters. Muslims seeking a divorce must also file their claim in Islamic courts. The Compilation of Islamic Law 1991 (Indonesian: Kompilasi Hukum Islam) regulates marriage, inheritance, and charitable trusts (wakaf). Islamic law falls outside the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court. Since 2006, a number of districts have issued local ordinances based on sharia.|
|Nigeria (article)||Sharia states||Until 1999, Islamic law applied primarily to civil matters, but twelve of Nigeria’s thirty-six states have since extended Sharia to criminal matters. Sharia courts can order amputations, and a few have been carried out. The twelve sharia states are Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto and Yobe.|
|Borno, Gombe and Yobe||Borno, Gombe and Yobe have not yet begun to apply their Sharia Penal Codes.|
|Rest of Nigeria||The rest of Nigeria has a mixed legal system of English common law and traditional law.|
|Philippines||Mindanao||There are sharia trial and circuit trial courts in Mindanao. Sharia District Courts (SDCs) and Sharia Circuit Courts (SCCs) were created in 1977 through Presidential Decree 1083, which is also known as the Code of Muslim Personal Laws.|
|Rest of the Philippines||The rest of the Philippines has a mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law.|
|Thailand||Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani and Songkhla||In Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani and Songkhla provinces, Islamic law is allowed for settling family and inheritance issues under a 1946 law.|
|Rest of Thailand||The remaining provinces of Thailand have a civil law system with common law influences.|
|United Arab Emirates (article)||Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah||Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah are not part of the federal judicial system.|
|Rest of the UAE||The court system comprises Sharia courts and civil courts. Judicial corporal punishment is a legal form of punishment in UAE due to the Sharia courts. Flogging is used in UAE as a punishment for criminal offences such as adultery, premarital sex and prostitution. In most emirates, floggings of Muslims are frequent, especially for adultery, prostitution and drunkenness, with sentences ranging from 80 to 200 lashes. Between 2007 and 2013, many people were sentenced to 100 lashes. Moreover in 2010 and 2012, several Muslims were sentenced to 80 lashes for alcohol consumption. Under UAE law, premarital sex is punishable by 100 lashes. Stoning is a legal form of judicial punishment in UAE. In 2006, an expatriate was sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery. Between 2009 and 2013, several people were sentenced to death by stoning. In May 2014, an Asian housemaid was sentenced to death by stoning in Abu Dhabi. Sharia law dictates the personal status law, which regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and child custody. The Sharia-based personal status law is applied to Muslims and sometimes non-Muslims. Non-Muslim expatriates are liable to Sharia rulings on marriage, divorce and child custody. Sharia courts have exclusive jurisdiction to hear family disputes, including matters involving divorce, inheritances, child custody, child abuse and guardianship of minors. Sharia courts may also hear appeals of certain criminal cases including rape, robbery, and related crimes. Apostasy is a crime punishable by death in the UAE. UAE incorporates hudud crimes of Sharia into its Penal Code - apostasy being one of them. Article 1 and Article 66 of UAE's Penal Code requires hudud crimes to be punished with the death penalty, therefore apostasy is punishable by death in the UAE. Emirati women must receive permission from male guardian to remarry. The requirement is derived from Sharia, and has been federal law since 2005. In all emirates, it is illegal for Muslim women to marry non-Muslims. In the UAE, a marriage union between a Muslim woman and non-Muslim man is punishable by law, since it is considered a form of "fornication".|
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