Islamic republic is the name given to several states in countries ruled by Islamic laws, including the Islamic Republics of Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mauritania. Pakistan first adopted the title under the constitution of 1956. Mauritania adopted it on 28 November 1958. Iran adopted it after the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty. Afghanistan adopted it after the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban. Despite the similar name the countries differ greatly in their governments and laws.
The term Islamic republic has come to mean several different things, some contradictory to others. To some Muslim religious leaders in the Middle East and Africa who advocate it, an Islamic Republic is a state under a particular Islamicform of government. They see it as a compromise between a purely Islamic Caliphate, and secular nationalism and republicanism. In their conception of the Islamic republic, the penal code of the state is required to be compatible with some or all laws of Sharia, and the state may not be a monarchy as many Middle Eastern states are presently.
Iran's Islamic republic is in contrast to the semi-secular state of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where Islamic laws are technically considered to override laws of the state, though in reality their relative hierarchy is ambiguous. The Islamic Republic of Iran came into existence following the Iranian Revolution and a national referendum held on 9 August 2005.
Pakistan was the first country to adopt the adjective "Islamic" to modify its republican status under its otherwise secular constitution in 1956. Despite this definition the country did not have a state religion until 1973, when a new constitution, more democratic and less secular, was adopted. Pakistan only uses the "Islamic" name on its passports, visas and coins. Although Islamic Republic is specifically mentioned in the Constitution of 1973, all government documents are prepared under the name of the Government of Pakistan. The Constitution of Pakistan, part IX, article 227 says "All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah, in this Part referred to as the Injunctions of Islam, and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such Injunctions". In 1974, Pakistan declared Ahmadis as being outside the pale of Islam through the 2nd Amendment. Since the 1980s under General Zia's dictatorship however Pakistan is said to have taken a definite theocratic color.
Ankerl, Guy (2000). Global communication without universal civilization. INU societal research. Vol.1: Coexisting contemporary civilizations : Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. Geneva: INU Press. ISBN2-88155-004-5.