Friday, September 24

In which countries of the world is Islamic law applied?



In 2010, according to data collected by the Pew Research Center in the project ‘Global Religious Futures‘, there were some 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. In other words, 23% of all people on the globe professed the Islamic faith. In 2020, it is estimated that this percentage amounted to 24,9 %. One in four people is Muslim today.

Most of the followers of Allah are in Asia-Pacific, in countries like Indonesia, Pakistan, Blangladesh or India. In Arab countries, those whose official language is Arabic (Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Islands (Comoros), Dijbuti, Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco , Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen), 90% of the population is Muslim.

However, a country with a Muslim majority does not mean that you adopt Islam as an official religion nor that those who adopt it apply the ‘Sharia‘in your legal system completely.

There are several states that proclaim themselves Islamic in their constitutions, as is the case of Pakistan, Iran, Mauritania, Afghanistan or Libya, but not all of them apply the ‘Sharia’ or, at least, they do not do it completely. In Morocco, for example, a mixed legal system has been adopted, the law of which draws on both islamic law as of the French tradition.

The ‘Sharia‘is the Islamic religious law regulating all public and private aspects of life, and the observance of which is considered to lead to salvation. The truth is that the ‘Sharia’ is not a document or a manuscript that explains point by point what a good Muslim should and should not do. It is not an indisputable dogma, as the Koran, the holy book of Islam, but a set of texts subject to interpretation. Thus, depending on the Islamic legal school that is dedicated to analyzing and deciphering them, the ‘Sharia’ will be applied in one way or another.

Thus, there is a large Muslim majority who believe that Muslim law must be applied within the Islamic community to resolve family or property-related problems. However, there is another part, more extreme, that thinks that the ‘Sharia’ is the ‘land law‘and that, therefore, it must be by which a country is directed.

Those places where Islamic law is applied in its strictest and most severe form are where it is witnessed the most egregious. human rights violations since it includes very severe punishments, ranging from beatings to stoning, through amputations of different parts of the body.

As the director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Law Center to ‘The Guardian’, “more than 50 countries are members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and it can be expected that there will be some form of compliance with the ‘Sharia’, either in people’s personal lives or imposed through the courts by the state. Many states in the Middle East have incorporated more elements of ‘Sharia’ into their state laws.

Countries that apply the ‘Shariah in full

There are countries in which the ‘Sharia” in a complete way, covering matters of personal status and criminal proceedings. Other states apply it partially or jointly in indigenous legal practices. Some of them are:

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s legal system is entirely based on ‘Sharia’. However, the government announced its intention to codify the ‘Sharia’ in 2010 and in 2018 published a manual of legal principles and principles. Today it is still the main source of law, especially in areas such as criminal, family, commercial and contractual law.

Thus, criminal penalties in this country they include stoning, amputations, whipping and public beheadings. Serious crimes, such as murder, rape or robbery, also include others that are not internationally recognized, such as apostasy, witchcraft or adultery.


The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, approved in 1979 and amended in 1989, is a hybrid of theocratic and democratic elements. Thus, Articles 1 and 2 confer the sovereignty to God, but article 6 establishes popular elections for the presidency and parliament or Majiliws.

Article 112 establishes that if a bill of the parliament goes against the principles of the ‘Sharia’ or of the constitution itself, the Guardian Council must meet with the Convenience Council to resolve the legislative deadlock. Furthermore, Article 167 establishes that all court rulings must be based on authoritative Islamic sources.


Yemen’s constitution mentions the ‘Sharia‘and the criminal law provides for the application of certain penas’ Hadd, the harshest within Islamic law, for certain crimes.


Between 1996 and 2001, the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan‘. The Taliban were in power, an Afghan political movement and paramiliatr of ideology Islamic fundamentalist supporter of radically applying the principles of Islam in the legal, political and social spheres.

Thus, during the known as’reign of terror‘, in Afghanistan the’ Sharia ‘was applied very strictly, which led to countless violations human rights, especially women and girls.

Although, with the new conquest of the taliban of the capital, Kabul, it is feared that crimes as terrifying as those that were experienced in the late 90s in the country will occur again, Afghanistan never ceased to be one of the most unsafe countries for women. Afghan law does not contemplate gender equality and organizations that protect human rights, as is the case with Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, have expressed on different occasions their concern for the rights of women and girls in the country.

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security includes Afghanistan among the most unsafe countries for women in its 2019/2020 analysis.

As explained in the Notebook of the Diplomatic School number 48, entitled ‘Islam and Muslims today. International dimension and relations with Spain ‘, published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, other states with a Muslim majority such as Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Chad, Libya, Malaysia, Senegal, Sudan or Tunisia they are not defined as Islamic republics. This indicates that Islamic law, in principle, not the source of the legislation and of the laws that govern the State, but it does not mean that the reference and the application of the ‘Sharia’ are absent in practice. Thus, in the aforementioned Sudan, the 1991 criminal law prescribes punishments They include whipping for drinking alcohol, amputation of the right hand for stealing or stoning for committing adultery.

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