ISLAMIC LAW is one of three major legal systems in the world along with common and civil law. It’s also the most controversial and misrepresented legal system in the West because:

    • most people who speak for Sharia are hostile to Islam or not legal authorities
    • Muslims number a quarter of the earth’s population and are projected to become a third by 2050
    • Sharia may replace common and civil law in Muslim countries, which were imposed by colonists
    • Although Western countries resist Sharia, they might end up adopting it like Muslim countries that also initially resisted it

In fact, Sharia is the easiest of the three legal systems to automate, since it’s based on a scheme of measurements and proportions that is consistent in all its branches. Examples are charity, trade, evidence, blood money, inheritance and the lunar calendar, which the section below, entitled Islamic Code of Law, elaborates. Sharia is thus better described as a mathematical system than a verbal one. Its first principle is the divine axiom, from which its other principles, known as the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh) derive in a deductive and hierarchical fashion. These include the harm principle (la dharar wa la dhirar) certainty (yaqin) like-for-like (qiyas) and measure for measure (mizan) as the section below, entitled Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, elaborates. This makes Sharia the only scientific legal system. In fact, it makes it the only truly legal system.

Birth of Islam

Who are Muslims, where do they come from and what is their relation to biblical law and history?

Islam is based on two prophecies:

    • that Ishmael (the father of Adnanite Arabs) would be the father of 12 princes (caliphs) and a great nation (Genesis 17:20 and Muslim 33:8)
    • that there would be an apostle to gentiles (non-Jews) (Isaiah 42:6) which is the basis of Paul’s claim in Romans 11:13

In 629 CE, the Roman Emperor Heraclius took over Jerusalem after massacring the Jewish population, desecrating the temple and declaring his intent to kill all the ‘circumcised people’ (Arabs and Jews). See Bukhari 1:7 and Walter Kaegi, Heraclius, Emperor of Byzantium (UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003) at 194.

During this time, Muhammad rose as the ‘leader of the circumcised people’ and established the first caliphate in Medina, which was inhabited by Arabs and Jews. In 636 CE, the second caliph, ‘Umar I, recaptured Jerusalem from the Romans. Islam subsequently expanded into friendly regions, who opposed Rome, and hostile ones, who supported it.

Islam is a Christian movement that is (1) anti-papist, (2) anti-trinitarian and (3) pro-nomianist. It basically sees Paul as the False Prophet and the papacy as the antichrist.

What is Sharia?

Islamic law is called Sharia, which means ‘the way’ like Halakha, which is Jewish law. Jewish law is the set of biblical laws that apply to the Jewish people. Sharia is the set of biblical laws that apply to all people, which also known as Noahide law. The Seven Laws of Noah comprise seven of the Ten Commandments (see clip below) on which all Western legal systems are based. For instance, you may be surprised to know that America is officially a Sharia state (see H. J. Res. 104)! There is no law in Sharia for which there isn’t a precedent in the bible or oral law. The Qur’an is in Arabic because it is the language of Noah and Ishmaelites.

The Ten Commandments

Sharia isn’t a violent system of law compared to common and civil law. For instance, common and civil law traditionally recognize hundreds of capital offences. See e.g., the Bloody Code and the Reign of Terror. Sharia, by contrast, only recognizes three; namely, murder, adultery and high treason (cp. Abu Dawud 40:3 and Sanhedrin 56a) and even these offences can be pardoned.

Like common and civil law, Sharia evolves and adapts to different social situations. Substitutionary penalties are possible. For instance:

    • corporal punishment can be substituted by a term of imprisonment
    • stoning can be substituted with the option of prison for life or exile
    • the legal age of marriage depends on the age of consent and childbearing
    • polygyny may be outlawed if the number of bachelorettes doesn’t exceed the number of bachelors
    • etc.

Of course, some aspects of Sharia can’t change without compromising its core principles and values.

The sources of Sharia are the Qur’an and Hadith, as interpreted by legal authorities. The Qur’an and Hadith are the ‘show and tell’ of Sharia. The Qur’an tells the law and the Prophet shows it.

The Sunni/Shia Divide

All sects of Islam agree on the authoritative version of the Qur’an. Historians generally agree the Prophet dictated the Qur’an to his scribes.

Sects differ which Hadith are authentic. The two major sects are Sunni, which comprises roughly 90% of the global Muslim population, and Shia, which comprises roughly the other 10%.

Sunnis and Shias differ concerning legal authorities. Shias believe the Prophet’s cousin Eli is his successor and has an infallible line of succession. Sunnis, on the other hand, believe only God is infallible, but in principle agree that the Prophet’s successor should be a member of his family, Quraysh (Bukhari 61:11) preferably from the house of Husayn (Tirmidhi 49:4144).

What’s the difference between Shia and Sunni Islam?



Sunni Hadith

The main Sunni collections of Hadith, known as the Sound Six, are the following:

Other major collections include:

Shia Hadith

The main Shia collections of Hadith, known as the Four Books, are the following:

Legal Authorities

The “Two Weights” in Sharia are the Qur’an and the Prophet’s family and successor. The Prophet’s family generally refers to his tribe: Quraysh (v. 42:23 & Bukhari 65:4818). More specifically, it refers to:

1. the Sons of Hashem, aka Hashemites: the Prophet’s clan (Riyad as-Salihin 1:346)

2. the house of Eli; that is, his daughter Fatima, her husband Eli (the Prophet’s cousin) and their sons Hasan and Husayn (Ibn Majah 1:150, Tirmidhi 49:4244, 49:4098 & al-Adab al-Mufrad 19:3)

3. the house of Hasan (Bukhari 53:14, 77:10178:178, Abu Dawud 34:112 & 42:67 & Shama’il Muhammadiyah 56:409)

The caliph (lit. successor) is the chief of Quraysh and the Prophet’s successor (Genesis 17:20, Bukhari 61:11 & 93:82). Quraysh are the people of the Qur’an, who are also known as Ahl al-Bayt, although this term more specifically refers to Hashemites, who inherit the Ka’ba (the house of God) and descend directly from Ishmael, who belongs to the house of Abraham (v. 2:125). Four Hashemite houses specifically inherit the Qur’an, as one of the Two Weights; namely, those of Eli, ‘Aqil, Ja’far and ‘Abbas (Riyad as-Salihin 1:346). The Prophet compares Eli to Aaron (Bukhari 64:438) and Hasan and Husayn to Ishmael and Isaac (Abu Dawud 42:142). This indicates that Hasan inherits temporal authority and Husayn inherits spiritual authority.

As Muhammad Hamidullah notes at p. 10 of The Prophet’s Establishing a State and his Succession (1988) Sunnis and Shias are unanimous that Alids are the Prophet’s spiritual successors. However, they differ whether Alids are his only temporal successors. In other words, the priesthood of Alids is uncontested. Only the caliphate is contested by other Qurayshis. However, the matter of temporal succession is a moot debate today, since Sunnis and Shias are unanimous that the next caliph will be the Mahdi and that his successors will belong to the house of Hasan.

In short, only a person with the following attributes can speak as a legal authority in Sharia:

1. excellent character, as it is written: “And you have most excellent character” (v. 68:4)

2. knowledge, as it is written: “Are they equal who know and who don’t?” (v. 39:9)

3. belongs to Ahl al-Bayt, as it is written: “We have given the house of Abraham scripture and wisdom” (vv. 4:5440:53)

While Alids, like Hasan, have the authority to interpret the Qur’an, he never did so based on his opinion, without proof (Abu Dawud 42:31 & 26:12).

Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh)

Sharia is natural law, which are the laws of physics that lead to life and joy or death and misery. As Proverbs 10:16 puts it: “The wages of the righteous is life, / but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.” Or, as Abraham argues with Nimrod:

Said Abraham: “My Lord gives life and death.” Said he: “I give life and death!” Answered Abraham: “God makes the sun rise from the east. Make it rise from the west.” So the liar was confounded. God does not guide the unjust (v. 2:258).

Al-Jalalayn comment that “God does not guide the unjust” means it does not guide them to rational argumentation. Since Sharia is natural law, it makes no distinction between law and morality or laws of nature and natural law. Sharia isn’t based on the opinions of ignorant people or politicians, but the knowledge of prophets and scientists who can predict the future (vv. 6:116, 53:28, 23:71 & 30:21).

Alas, our knowledge and wisdom are imperfect, so we can’t always divine the law of nature in any situation. Sharia is therefore always an attempt to infer the law of nature–the law that will bring us felicity and won’t destroy us (v. 1:7)–in any situation, which is why every judgment begins in the name of God (bismillah) and concludes that God knows best (allahu a’lam). Sometimes we make mistakes and learn the hard way, which is why we pray that God will forgive our errors or ignorance (v. 2:286). Some laws of nature are obvious, like “don’t stick your finger in your eye, or you’ll blind it.” Others aren’t so obvious, like whether it’s imperative to attack an enemy or negotiate a truce. That’s why Sharia requires as much knowledge, wisdom, experience and trust in God as possible (vv. 20:114, 3:137, 2:269 & 2 Chronicles 1:10-12) and why the greatest Muslim jurists are the most pious and accomplished polymaths, commanders and bibliophiles. This isn’t an accident but a condition for being a jurist in Islam (Riyad as-Salihin 13:1388).

Two types of inference may be distinguished, which can be called monotonic and non-monotonic. A monotonic inference is a necessary conclusion that must be derived from a given set of information. A non-monotonic inference is a possible or probable conclusion or set of conclusions than can be derived from a given set of information. Non-monotonicity corresponds to discretionary judgment (ta’zir) such as penal sanctions up to 10 stripes (Bukhari 86:73). It also corresponds to deliberative judgment (ijtihad) and collective judgment (ijma’). The rule is to judge according to scripture; if not, according to the Prophet’s example; if not, according to the example of righteous individuals; if not, to exercise discretion, although it is better not to pass judgment in such a case (an-Nasa’i 49:21 & Bulugh al-Maram 16:1468). Judging is discouraged and one shouldn’t seek to judge. God only helps a judge or a ruler who is compelled to judge or rule and does not solicit the office of a judge or ruler (Bukhari 61:6, Abu Dawud 25:8 & Tirmidhi 15:5).

The Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh) are rules of interpretation of Sharia to help guide jurists to make sound inferences. There are seven basic rules, which are listed in the table below, along with a brief explanation and commentaries. See Al-Qawaa’id wal-Usool al-Jaami’ah by Sheikh ‘Abdur Rahman (d. 1956).

The Seven Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence

Principle Explanation
1. Harm principle “The legislator orders only that which is a purely beneficial or predominately beneficial. The legislator forbids only that which is purely evil or predominately evil, giving precedence to warding off the evil.” Commentary: Canadian jurisprudence rejects the harm principle in favour of a legalistic interpretation of crime. See R v Malmo‑Levine; R v Caine, [2003] 3 SCR 571.
2. Proportionality “The means take on the same rulings as their aims.” Commentary: This is comparable to the Oakes test and s. 718.2 of the Criminal Code in Canadian law that restricts any exercise of legislative power that violates the first section of the Charter.
3. Relief “Hardship brings ease, and all the permits and dispensations of Sharia and the lessening in the degrees of rulings branch from this foundation.” Commentary: In other words, the law is supposed to make things easier for people, not harder. It is meant to relieve them of their burdens, not add to them.
4. Ought implies can “Obligation is dependent upon ability. There is no obligation with inability, and nothing is forbidden without necessity.”
5. Good faith “Sharia is based on two principles, sincerity to God, the one who deserves to be served alone, and following the Prophet.”
6. Everything which is not forbidden is allowed “The initial condition concerning worship is prohibition; nothing is permitted except that which God and his Prophet legislated. The initial condition concerning transactions and traditions is permissibility, except that which God and his Prophet made forbidden.” Commentary: This connects to the primordial permission to “eat of it (the garden) as you please” (v. 2:35).
7. Capacity and consent “Legal maturity is a condition for the obligation of acts of worship, and the age of discernment is a condition for the validity of acts of worship, except for pilgrimage and visitation of the House, which are valid from someone who has not reached the age of discernment. In transactions, intellectual maturity is a condition. In donations, possession is a condition.” Commentary: This connects to the primordial prohibition: “do not approach this tree” (v. 2:35) like the commandment “do not approach fornication” (17:32) which corrupts the family tree. The forbidden fruit symbolizes wine or intoxicants, which suspend divine reason, resulting in loss of the garden or felicity.
Islamic Code of Law


Two incidents illustrate key differences between Sharia and Western law. I once asked a colleague, at a conference, a question concerning the jurisprudence of mental health law. “Please don’t ask me about jurisprudence!” she said, flustered. Her reaction didn’t surprise me. In fact, it’s perfectly understandable and normal among practitioners of common law. The common law is a notorious muddle. Most practicing lawyers just want to extract a rule from a judgment and ask no philosophical questions. Before becoming a lawyer, I asked a law professor what she thinks is the difference between legal and logical reasoning, to which she simply (and correctly) replied: “It’s a hierarchy.” In short, whereas philosophy and history are insignificant to common and civil law, they are the essence of Sharia.

Unlike Sharia, common and civil law are written as codes and judgments that enable one to learn law without learning about its history or philosophy. It’s no surprise, therefore, that most common and civil law jurists–including the greatest–have no education besides law, if only in subjects like music or arts, like many Supreme Court judges today. The greatest experts in Sharia, by contrast, are polymaths with accomplished careers and many publications as surgeons, astronomers, botanists, engineers, philosophers, historians, politicians, etc. Unlike common and civil law, Sharia is written in such a way that it’s impossible to learn law without learning its history and philosophy. The Qur’an, which is the word of God, consists of chapters and verses–literally images (suwar) and signs (ayat)–that discuss history, prophecy, law and wisdom–i.e., the story, the lesson and the prediction–in the same narrative. The Hadith, which is the example of the Prophet, flesh out the Qur’an. In Arabic, they’re elegant anecdotes and aphorisms that are symbolically structured as ‘gates’ (abwab) like the “Gate of Charity,” the “Gate of Knowledge,” etc. Unfortunately, poor English translations don’t reflect this. The architecture and beauty of the Qur’an and Hadith are comparable to a palace or garden, which has enabled many Muslim scholars to memorize them, although a single collection of Hadith–and there are many–can fill the shelf of a library.

The Prophet, whom the Hadith describe, is the model of Sharia. He represents the “law and prophets” (Matthew 7:12) and demonstrates all things permissible (al-Adab al-Mufrad 14:308 & v. 33:21). His life and character combine the teachings and attributes of all the prophets before him, which is why he’s called the Magnanimous Man (al-insan al-kamil) and the Seal of Prophets (khatim al-anbiya’). For instance, he models monogamy and polygyny, war and peace, exile and statehood. Moreover, his house unites the house of Abraham, especially the tribes of Quraysh and Amram. What would Muhammad do is the question and answer to every legal issue in Sharia. Civil law, by contrast, focuses entirely on positive law (the rules) whereas common law focuses on legal reasoning.

Sharia can, however, be put in the form of a code, since it includes rules. It can also be adjudicated like common law, which is comparable to the tradition of responsa (fatawa). Hadith can also be compared to caselaw to the extent that they form a body of precedent. However, they’re more like vignettes and exemplars than disposable opinions or judgments. Most Hadith are pithy–not prolix like caselaw–as the Prophet is famously endowed with laconic speech (jawami’ al-kalam) (Tirmidhi 21:7). While an Islamic Code of Law may make Sharia more accessible to Western readers–or easier for them to look up the ‘rules’–Sharia is greatly impoverished by this format. To study Sharia properly, one has to study the scriptures and Hadith and understand their context and deeper meaning, as well as their purpose and design. The knowledge of Sharia is passed on from teacher to student and father to son. It fundamentally stems from a tree of Alids who inherit the Qur’an and Sunna, these being the Two Weights of Islam (Riyad as-Salihin 1:346). As the Prophet says of Eli: “I am the city of knowledge and Eli is its gate” (al-Mustadrak). What bears no close connection to this genealogy and its origin has nothing to do with Islam or is bastardized Islam. Learning Sharia also involves moral discipline. For instance, some rules are impossible to understand or perfect unless they’re put into practice. Also, some knowledge or wisdom, and consequently some areas of law, are only accessible to individuals of a certain moral or intellectual capacity or inclination. A person’s limits in this regard may become immediately apparent to the sages, as a result of which no one will take that person’s opinions seriously. (Melchizedek, for instance, immediately saw that Moses couldn’t be patient with him: vv. 18:67-68 et seq.)

In short, the traditional method of learning Sharia cannot be replaced. Sharia is a unique system of law with an ancient and illustrious history and a unique pedagogy and practice. It isn’t just about retrieving rules, like civil law, or finding the right caselaw, like common law. It’s about inferring the proper judgement–ideally God’s judgement: the natural law–from science and the wisdom of prophets, sages and princes. A wrong judgment in Sharia isn’t a mere error of law. It’s a “gate” to hell–that is, to destruction and misery–or a “piece of fire” as the Prophet calls it (Tirmidhi 15:19). Conversely, a correct judgment is a “gate” to paradise; that is, to life and joy. Our knowledge is always imperfect, so our judgment can never be perfect. Nonetheless, Sharia aims at perfection–that is, for moral and scientific truth or natural law–which is what it means to be Muslim.

Part of the reason for making Sharia more accessible to the Western reader is for it to appreciate two things. First, that Muslims today don’t follow Sharia, and that what they call Sharia has no basis in history, law or sound authority. Second, that from a moral aspect Sharia is light years ahead of common and civil law. Remember that Sharia was written centuries before Beowulf, which reflects the state of Europe at the time. The wildly varying penal sanctions, unpredictable damages and flimsy to nonexistent consumer and privacy protections of common and civil law still fall far behind Sharia. Common and civil law are colonial systems of law that change from time to time and originate from pagan Rome, which Sharia regards as the Antichrist.

Hierarchy (al-Malik wal-Mamlooka)

1. What are not similar in form or function are not equal (v. 11:24 & 3:36).

2. Hierarchy proceeds in the following order, from superior to inferior:

(1) the caliph rules sultans

(2) the sultan rules the nation, which consists of tribes (v. 49:13)

(3) the tribal chief rules clans

(4) the clan chief rules houses

(5) the husband rules his house; that is, his wives, children and servants (Ibn Majah 12:2379, al-Adab al-Mufrad 30:53, Tirmidhi 12:14 & 2:210)

(6) the wife rules her children and servants (Tirmidhi 49:3966)

(7) the servant rules what its principal puts under its charge (Abu Dawud 20:1)

3. There is a relationship of dependence between the different echelons of the hierarchy. In any relationship of dependence, the supporter receives a double portion of the supported. For instance, a husband receives the double portion of a wife, who receives the double portion of a child (v. 4:34, Abu Dawud 20:1Ibn Majah 33:5).

Commentary: Hierarchy plays an essential role in Sharia. It represents a natural order of dependence, where everything is in its place and in the right balance or proportion. Misplacing things or blowing them out of proportion leads to chaos and destruction, like putting a fish out of water or too much salt in the water. For instance, the blood money, inheritance and credibility of a woman is half that of a man because she is a dependant (v. 4:34 & Abu Dawud 20:1). The supporter receives twice the share of its dependent in order to support itself and its dependent. In other words, men get a double portion compared to women because they owe them a double duty. Men support women so that women can support children. Whereas men build, fight and provide for women, women don’t do the same for men. This also applies to building nations, since woman’s interest is to wed the biggest pouch (the ‘snake’ or ‘shining one’) not the most righteous man (Ezekiel 23). In doing so, she thinks she’s wise (Genesis 3:6). Man’s interest, by contrast, is to marry the most righteous woman, who will raise his family and won’t cheat him. The double portion implies the husband and wife have equal shares, since the Prophet says a man must dress, lodge and feed his wife like himself and treat her kindly (Abu Dawud 12:98). Every child correspondingly owes twice the duty to its mother as its father (Ibn Majah 33:5).

Sharia implements hierarchy as a rigid framework by ascribing a double portion to every male, regardless of whether he fulfills his duty to support a wife. Similarly, it ascribes a half portion to every female, including one who supports her husband. The theory behind this is the same for the categorical prohibition of intoxicants, idolatry and gambling (irrational behaviour) which is the primordial law (vv. 7:19, 5:90 & Ibn Majah 30:3500). Whatever intoxicates in a large quantity is forbidden in a small quantity (Ibn Majah 30:3517). The preparation, trade, delivery and consumption of alcohol is forbidden (Malik 42:1554). This way, the production and consumption of alcohol will eventually be eliminated, and society will stabilize along the lines of the law.

4. A ruler is meant to be obeyed, unless it commands something illegal (an-Nasa’i 11:47 & Ibn Majah 24:2969).

Commentary: The model of following the leader is prayer. As long as the Imam acts legally, he must be followed.

5. The ruler’s failure to fulfill it’s obligations toward the ruled does not excuse the ruled from fulfilling its obligations toward the ruler (Ibn Majah 24:2974 & Riyad as-Salihin 1:669).

6. In addition to the above hierarchy, a relationship of superiority exists between the following:

(1) Abrahamic people (Ahl al-Bayt) are superior to gentiles (vv. 11:73, 28:12, 33:33, 3:33)

(2) Arabs are superior to non-Arabs (Bulugh al-Maram 8:1002, Bukhari 49:27, Tirmidhi 49:3966, vv. 6:84-90 & 3:33)

(3) a believer is superior to an unbeliever (v. 32:18)

(4) a free person is superior to a slave (v. 16:75)

Commentary: Arabs are superior to non-Arabs because they include the houses of Amram and Muhammad. Abrahamic people are superior to gentiles because they aren’t children of fornication (abna’ az-zina) or idolaters (Abu Dawud 31:38, Bukhari 60:14 & vv. 71:26-28). Rather, they are children of God and wedlock. Sharia presumes gentiles are children of fornication and idolaters, which is why they belong in the same category as slaves, being ‘freed slaves’ (mawali) (Bulugh al-Maram 8:1002, Tirmidhi 47:3512, Abu Dawud 43:385 & v. 33:5). This doesn’t mean they receive harsher treatment. On the contrary, they’re treated more leniently. For instance, a slave isn’t stoned for adultery, nor is its hand cut off for stealing (Ibn Majah 20:268720:2663). Yet, the Prophet stoned Israelites for committing adultery and cut off the hand of an Ishmaelite for stealing (Bukhari 86:48 & an-Nasa’i 46:22). While gentiles receive more lenient treatment, they can’t rule superiors (Ibn Majah 5:1134). Unlike gentiles, Abrahamic people are considered to be free, even if they’re sold into slavery like Joseph (Bukhari 49:27).

Blood Money (Diyya)

The Law of Talion

1. Retaliation is in kind: “free person for free person, slave for slave, woman for woman” (vv. 2:178, 5:45 & Leviticus 24:19-21). Consequently:

– an inferior can demand blood money from a superior but cannot retaliate (Malik 43:1596)

– a superior can retaliate against an inferior, but not vice versa (Malik 43:1596)

– the blood money for a woman is the same as a man up to a third of the blood money. Her finger is like his finger, her tooth is like his tooth, and her injury that exposes bone or an internal organ is like his (Malik 43:1561)

Commentary: See the section on Hierarchy above re inferiors and superiors. Women and slaves can’t retaliate against free men because they aren’t the same. The same law applies to commercial transactions: only like can be traded for like. Even gold can’t be traded for gold, unless it’s of the same weight and purity; otherwise the transaction is usurious (Ibn Majah 1:18).

2. There is no retaliation against a pregnant woman until she gives birth (Malik 43:1566).

3. Retaliation is estopped by its fulfillment against a guilty party. For instance, if a murderer is killed or dies, the victim’s heirs cannot retaliate, but only forgive the murderer’s heirs or demand blood money (Malik 43:1596).


4. Death or injury is presumed to be intentional if it is caused by imprudent behaviour, such as:

– tossing pebbles (an-Nasa’i 45:109)

– flailing a whip (Bukhari 78:244)

– hitting the face (Muslim 45:152)

– handling a naked sword (Tirmidhi 18:274)

– getting drunk (Malik 43:1596)

5. Damage caused by a child is presumed to be unintentional (Tirmidhi 2:260).

6. If the death or injury was intentional, the victim or its heirs can either:

(1) retaliate,

(2) forgive or

(3) demand any amount of compensation (Tirmidhi 16:2 & Bukhari 87:20)

7. If the death or injury was unintentional, blood money (diyya) must be paid by:

(1) the guilty party

(2) the guilty party’s kinsmen if

a. the kinsman accepts to pay (Malik 43:1584)

b. the death or injury was not self-inflicted (Malik 43:1587)

c. the guilty party pays at least a third of the blood money (Malik 43:1587)

(3) the owner or emancipator of a guilty slave (Abu Dawud 41:8, Bukhari 54:14 & Malik 43:1592)

(4) the caliph out of pocket or from the quint (khumus) or public treasury (bait al-mal) if the guilty party cannot afford it (Bukhari 87:37).

Joint Liability

8. If a person is killed or injured in a fight and the guilty party is unknown, the victim’s opponents are jointly liable. If the victim is a third party, the other parties are jointly liable (Malik 43:1592).

9. If the victim is killed or injured because it was held by a party and beaten by another:

(1) both parties are guilty of murder if it was intentional

(2) if accidental, the party who beat the victim is guilty of murder and the party who held it shall be given a hundred lashes and imprisoned for a year (Malik 43:1592)


10. There is no blood money for death or injury as a result of:

(1) breaching the victim’s privacy (an-Nasa’i 45:155)

(2) assaulting the victim (an-Nasa’i 45:60)

(3) any harm that comes to a person who slanders the Prophet and thus rejects the caliph’s protection (Abu Dawud 40:11)

Fixed Ratios

11. Blood money is paid in the currency the heirs of the victim use (Ibn Majah 21:2732). For instance, it is paid in camels to bedouins who trade in camels, or gold or silver for people who trade in gold or silver (Malik 43:1556).

12. Blood money is evaluated per capita and pro rata, since the net worth of a person and the value of currency vary (an-Nasa’i 45:96).

13. The blood money of a slave is evaluated on the day of its death or injury (Malik 43:1587).

14. Full blood money is due for murder or manslaughter and is evaluated based on the blood money of a free Muslim man as follows:

(1) free Muslim man:

a. 1,000 dinars, or 400-800 in the case of manslaughter

b. 12,000 dirhams, or 8,000 in the case of manslaughter

c. 100 camels:

a. 20 yearling cows (bint makhad) 20 two-year-old bulls (ibn makhad) 20 two-year-old cows (bint laboon) 20 four-year-old bulls (jadha’a) 20 five-year-old cows (hiqqa) (Tirmidhi 16:1 & Ibn Majah 21:2731) or

b. 30 four-year-old bulls (jadha’a) 30 five-year-old cows (hiqqa) and 40 pregnant cows or

c. 30 yearling cows (bint makhad) 30 two-year-old cows (bint laboon) 30 three-year-old cows and 10 two-year-old bulls (ibn makhad)

d. 200 cows

e. 2,000 sheep

f. 200 garments (Abu Dawud 41:49)

(2) woman: half the blood money of a man, ceteris paribus

(3) fetus or infant: a fetus may be stillborn or born alive, which is signalled by its crying at birth:

a. if it is stillborn, a tenth of blood money of the mother or a slave of the same sex (Bukhari 96:48 & Malik 43:1566)

b. if it cries at birth, then full blood money (Malik 43:1566)

(4) non-Muslim: half the blood money of a Muslim, ceteris paribus

(5) slave: a tenth of blood money of a free person, ceteris paribus

15. Partial blood money is due for partial loss or impairment at the following rates:

(1) sensoria: Full blood money (Malik 33:4). Sensoria (atraf) refers to organs that occur in pairs, such as eyebrows, eyes, breasts, genitals, lips, the tongue, nose, ears, backbone and eyes (Malik 43:1568).

(2) arm or leg: Half the blood money (Malik 33:4)

(3) injury exposing an internal organ: A third of blood money (Malik 33:4)

(4) fracture: Three twentieths of blood money (Malik 33:4)

(5) finger or toe: A tenth of blood money, as follows:

a. one finger or toe: 10 camels

b. two fingers or toes: 20 camels

c. more than two fingers or toes: a fifth of blood money, which is the blood money of a hand

d. a phalange: a third of blood money for a finger (Malik 43:1574Ibn Majah 21:2755)

(5) tooth or injury exposing bone: a twentieth of blood money (Ibn Majah 21:2753an-Nasa’i 45:148)

Method and Timing of Payment

16. If the guilty party cannot afford to pay blood money it becomes a debt (Malik 43:1587).

17. Blood money is not paid until the victim recovers from the injury:

(1) if it heals, there is no blood money

(2) if there is permanent loss or impairment:

a. the blood money is either prescribed or discretionary

b. blood money is paid in proportion to the loss or impairment (Malik 43:15) for instance, half the blood money is paid for an organ that retains half its function, including its appearance, ceteris paribus (Malik 43:1574)

18. Blood money belongs to the victim’s estate, which belongs to the victim’s heirs (an-Nasa’i 45:96).

19. The victim’s heir claims blood money by swearing the same fraction of 50 oaths (qasama) as its share of inheritance. For instance, an heir to half the blood money must swear “My blood is against so and so” 25 times. If there is only one heir, it must swear 50 oaths (Malik 44:1600).

20. Blood money can be paid in instalments over the course of up to three years (Malik 43:1556). However, the quantum and deadlines must be specified in a contract (Bukhari 35:1Malik 31:1373).


21. A father is not guilty for its child (Malik 43:1587 & Deuteronomy 24:16).

22. If a child and an adult are guilty of manslaughter, each of them must pay half of the blood money (Malik 43:1560).

23. If an adult orders a child to climb down a well or up a palm tree, it is liable for any resulting death or injury to the child (Malik 43:1592).


24. If a person murders its spouse, it cannot inherit its blood money or wealth. If guilty of manslaughter, it cannot inherit its blood money (Ibn Majah 23:2841).

25. If a woman who owes blood money dies, her husband and issue inherit her property and her kinsmen may pay her debt (Bukhari 85:17).

26. The legacy of a woman’s freed slave belongs to her or her heirs, even if they are not her kinsmen. However, only her kinsmen can pay for any blood money her freed slave owes (Malik 43:1563).

27. A woman’s children and husband can inherit from her and do not have to pay blood money on her behalf if they are not her kinsmen (Malik 43:1563).

28. If a pregnant woman is a victim of manslaughter, the guilty party does not have to pay blood money for the fetus (Malik 43:1566).

Concubines (Umm Walad)

29. If a concubine injures another party, her owner must pay its blood money up to her fair market value (Malik 40:8).

30. A concubine cannot be remitted as payment. The owner’s paying blood money up to her fair market value substitutes for her remittance (Malik 40:8).

Commentary: Concubinage is marriage to a slave. A concubine differs from a free wife in terms of proprietary rights, like the right to seed in intercourse (Ibn Majah 9:2003).

Indentured Servants (Mukatib)

31. A Mukatib is a slave who has a contract for his release, called a Kitaba, that specifies the price and deadline (Abu Dawud 31:13).

32. Blood money owing to a Mukatib is paid to its master and goes to the Kitaba (Malik 39:6).

33. The master of a Mukatib can inherit from it, and the Mukatib can pay blood money, to the extent it is emancipated (Abu Dawud 41:89).

34. In order of priority, the price of a Mukatib is used to:

(1) pay its debts

(2) pay its master’s debts

(3) manumit it (Malik 40:1502)

Commentary: Suppose a man dies and leaves a Mukatib worth 150 dinars. The Mukatib owes 50 dinars in blood money and its master has a debt of 50 dinars. First, the blood money is paid from the price of the Mukatib, then the master’s debt. The remaining third of the price goes to the Kitaba (the masters’ heirs) and the other two thirds belong to the master’s heirs (Malik 40:1502).


35. If a person kills an animal, it owes a hundredth of blood money to the owner or in charity (Malik 20:243).

36. If a person kills the egg of an animal, it owes a tenth of the blood money of its mother to the owner or in charity (Malik 20:243).

37. If an animal is injured, the guilty party pays blood money equal to the reduction of its value to the owner or in charity (Malik 43:1592).

38. The person who controls the animal is liable for any damages it causes, unless the animal acts uncontrollably by its own initiative, without provocation (Malik 43:1592).

39. If a person builds a well next to a road or ties an animal illegally, he is liable for any damages it causes. There are no damages if he does so legally (Malik 43:1592).

40. If a person accidentally drags another person into a well and they both die, the tribe of the guilty party must pay the blood money (Malik 43:1592).

Non-Muslims (Kuffar)

41. The blood money of a non-Muslim is equal to half that of a Muslim (Abu Dawud 41:49an-Nasa’i 45:101, 102) unless it has a covenant with the caliph (Tirmidhi 16:20).

Commentary: Non-Muslims are protectees in an Islamic state, who are dependents. Hence, they receive half the blood money of free Muslim men for the same reason as free Muslim women; namely, because free Muslim men support themselves and their dependents, which includes protectees and women (Abu Dawud 20:1).

42. The heirs of a non-Muslim victim cannot exact retribution from a Muslim, unless it was killed or injured by way of deception (Malik 43:1582).

Commentary: This is because while the caliph protects the blood and property of non-Muslim protectees, it doesn’t insure them, like Muslims’ (Abu Dawud 15:164).

43. The blood money of a Muslim who lives among non-Muslims and is accidentally killed by Muslims during war is reduced by half (Tirmidhi 21:67).

Inheritance ('Ilm al-Fara'id)


1. The right of inheritance is inalienable and cannot be sold or donated (Ibn Majah 23:2852).

2. A Muslim who owns property cannot spend two nights or three days without a Will (Bukhari 55:1 & Ibn Majah 22:2808).

3. Shares of inheritance (mirath) are prescribed by law (Qur’an 2:180 & 33:36).

Executors (wali)

4. There are two types of executor:

(1) an heir

(2) a non-heir, such as a guardian of orphans (Bukhari 55:22)

Heirs (dhawul-fara’id)

5. A non-Muslim (kafir) cannot inherit from a Muslim and a Muslim cannot inherit from a non-Muslim (Ibn Majah 23:2833).

6. Only legitimate relatives can inherit. Illegitimate and adopted children cannot inherit (Ibn Majah 23:2850).

7. A person who is guilty of murder or manslaughter cannot inherit the victim’s property or blood money (Malik 43:1591).

8. The legacy of a freed slave belongs to the master who freed it (Malik 27:9).

Order of Distribution

9. The estate is distributed in the following order are as the following sections detail:

1. Debts

2. Bequests

3. Prescribed shares

4. Residue

1. Debts (Dain)

10. Payment of debts is the first priority (Ibn Majah 22:2819 & Qur’an 4:12).

11. Debts include:

– unfulfilled religious obligations, such as pilgrimage, fasting, prayer and charity

– medical expenses

– funeral expenses

– legal and administrative fees

12. Unfulfilled religious obligations (debts to God) have priority over other debts (Muslim 13:199).

Commentary: Getting into debt is dangerous. Debt forces a person to lie and break its promise (Muslim 5:163). The Will of a person in debt is invalid and there is no funeral prayer until the debt is paid (Bukhari 39:6). The soul of a debtor is clings to its debt until it is paid (Riyad as-Salihin 7:943). Sin is equal to debt (Bukhari 43:13) and debt is equal to heresy (an-Nasa’i 50:46). Obligatory charity cannot be collected from a person in debt (Malik 17:598). All the sins of a martyr are forgiven except debt (Muslim 33:179).

13. The caliph or Muslims should use the public treasury or their personal property to pay the debts of Muslims (Bukhari 39:9 & 85:8) if they acquired them for the sake of God (Ibn Majah 15:2501).

14. Rich Muslims are responsible for poor Muslims (Abu Dawud 23:20).

15. The debt of a bankrupt or insolvent Muslim is pardoned (Tirmidhi 14:112 & Ibn Majah 13:49).

Commentary: The Prophet wished Mount Uhud was made of gold, so he could give it in charity, except for a dinar he would keep to repay his debts (Muslim 12:39). Only two persons should be envied: a knowledgeable person who teaches and a rich person who is charitable (Bukhari 24:13). While interest (increasing debt) is forbidden (Qur’an 2:275) the Prophet always handsomely repaid a debt (Muslim 22:151 & Bukhari 43:10).

2. Bequests (Wasiyya)

16. A testator cannot bequest more than a third of its estate (Ibn Majah 22:2812).

17. Any property right, such as a life tenancy, can be bequeathed (Abu Dawud 24:136).

18. The estate does not have to be liquidated in order to be distributed, but this can be done to avoid conflict.

19. A bequest should not favour an heir unless other heirs consent (An-Nasa’i 30:31 & Ibn Majah 22:2817) .

20. Heirs cannot revoke their consent to an unfair bequest when the testator is ill (Malik 37:4).

3. Prescribed Shares (Mirath)

21. Prescribed shares must be respected as long as no unnecessary harm is involved (Qur’an 4:12 in fine).

22. The following shares are prescribed for the deceased’s relatives (Qur’an 4:11-12, 176).

(1) If there are ascendants only:

a. its mother inherits a third of the estate and its father inherits two thirds

b. its husband inherits half the estate or its wives inherit a quarter

c. if there are siblings, its mother inherits a sixth of the estate

(2) If there are descendants:

a. each parent inherits a sixth of the estate

b. its husband inherits a quarter of the estate or its wives inherit an eighth

c. if there are brothers and sisters, the brothers inherit twice the sisters’ share

d. if there is a daughter only, she inherits half the estate

e. if there are two or more daughters, they inherit two thirds of the estate

(3) If there are no ascendants or descendants:

a. if there are brothers and sisters, the brothers inherit twice the sisters’ share

b. if there is a brother only, he inherits the estate

c. if there is a sister only, she inherits half the estate

d. if there are two or more sisters, they inherit two thirds of the estate

See the Islamic Inheritance Calculator.

Commentary: Islamic succession law is agnatic, which means the closest agnate or kinsman (‘asib) in the male kinship group (‘asaba) inherits. Proximity is defined by order (ta’sib) and class. For instance, sons and daughters belong to the same class, whereas fathers and sons belong to different orders. Each class is divided into men and women. Men inherit twice the share of women (Qur’an 4:11). This is because men support women (Qur’an 4:34) who support children. Thus, men receive twice the share of women, who receive twice the share of children (Ibn Majah 33:5). The double portion thus signifies a relationship of support in Sharia.

The order of succession goes from vertical (i.e., sons and parents) to horizontal (i.e., brothers and nephews) as the Table below shows.

7. Grandfather
12. Uncle 4. Father 13. Father’s half brother
5. Brother 1. Testator and spouse 6. Half brother
8. Brother’s son 2. Son 9. Half brother’s son
10. Brother’s grandson 3. Grandson 11. Half brother’s grandson

4. Residue (ar-Radd)

23. The residue of the estate belongs to the next of kin or escheats to the public treasury (bait al-mal) (Ibn Majah 23:2845).

24. A coronary (kalaalah) is a person without ascendants or descendants (Qur’an 4:176). Its next of kin proceed in the following order:

(1) Half brother

(2) Grandfather

(3) Brother’s son

(4) Half brother’s son

(5) Brother’s grandson

(6) Half brother’s grandson

(7) Uncle

(8) Father’s half brother

(9) Uncle’s son

(10) Father’s half brother’s son

(11) Uncle’s grandson

(12) Father’s half brother’s grandson

(13) Uncle’s great grandson

(14) Father’s half brother’s great grandson

(15) Emancipator

(16) Emancipator’s agnates

Commentary: A person without ascendants or descendants is called a coronary because, like a crown, there is nothing above or below it (see Ibn Kathir’s commentary on v. 4:176).

Sharia in Muslim Majority Countries (MMCs)


Below are tables that list all the MMCs, the percentage of Muslims in them and links to their laws. Also included is an essay I wrote in 2020 that discusses three factors for critical analysis of developments in Sharia in MMCs from an Islamic perspective.

Three Factors for Critical Analysis of Developments in Sharia in MMCs From an Islamic Legal Perspective


This short essay will discuss three main factors to critically analyze developments in Sharia in MMCs from an Islamic perspective. These factors are (1) ethnic division, (2) caliphal states and (3) sectarianism, or Sunnis vs. Shias. This essay will explain these factors using historical and contemporary examples up to the year 2020.

1. Ethnic Division

The geographical distribution of MMCs makes it apparent why Western countries don’t get along with them. Consider the connotations of the words Moor (like Morocco and Mauritania) nigger (like Niger or Nigeria) and Indian (which Europeans call all indigenous people). Europeans also denigrate white Muslims by naming turkeys after Turks and Palestinians after Philistines, who are Canaanites the bible curses (Genesis 9:25). In English, ‘philistine’ means an ignoramus. Europeans call Ishmaelites Saracens, which means ‘without Sarah.’ An ‘Ishmael’ in English is an outcast.

This makes it obvious that the division between Islam and Europe isn’t so much ideological as it is racial. As proof: Europeans used to confirm this explicitly before expressions of racial bias became illegal in the 80s. However, racial bias in the West is still expressed in racist laws and culture, persistent colonialism, alternative media, systemic racism, the evident lack of diversity and abundance of hate crimes. Historically, Western laws–which considered almost every crime a capital offence and still allow torture, genocide and rape–are far more draconian than Sharia. This proves that legal differences–or differences in ‘values’–between Islam and the West aren’t really the issue.

While northern Europeans try to conceal their racism behind a veneer of Roman secularism or Christianity, the truth is they aren’t any more semitic–let alone Abrahamic–people than subsaharan Africans. Nor are they any more Romans than the same. Abrahamic people are semites–not Japhetites like Europeans, or Hamites like bedouins and subsaharan Africans. Abrahamic people are indigenous to the Promised Land, although they’re present in major centres of Islamic civilization across the Mediterranean Basin, aka the land of semites. For instance, Abrahamic people have an ancient presence in Iberia, which the bible calls Sepharad, as well as the Barbary Coast, which the Midrash says is the extent of the deluge (Genesis Rabba 23). The Qur’an and Hadith make no secret of their objective to dismantle the evil Persian and Roman Empires and resist the global invasion of Gog and Magog. For this, Islam is painted as a “violent religion” by Persian and Roman imperialists, as well as Magogites Rome assimilated. Rome is an ancient occupier of the Mediterranean and northern Europe. Magogites, for their part, have invaded every country on the planet. Their evil character is beyond question. The Caucasian and Pyrenean Gates in eastern and western Iberia mark the ancient frontiers between the Mediterranean and northern Europe. Beyond these mountain ‘gates’ are the lands of Gog and Magog, whom even the Romans call barbarian invaders.

This should help to understand why Muslim and Western countries are ethnically divided–not just religiously divided. While most Western countries are colonies that are mostly occupied by Europeans who wiped out the natives, Muslims are overwhelmingly native to their countries, which says a lot about these different paradigms. It is also true, as the development of Muslim countries shows, that the more they become Muslim and adopt Sharia as their law and way of life, the more they develop into indigenous nation-states that correspond to their Noahide lineage and legacy, which are two of the five pillars of Sharia.

Muslim countries’ adoption of Sharia leads to the rise of ethnocracies (sultanates) which are ruled by ethnarchs (sultans) who represent the purest of their race. In fact, the word ‘sultan’ literally means a legitimate authority or sovereign, which refers to a sovereign individual or nation. While Muslim nations inherit different territories, their common human and divine origin, and the natural law they follow, unites them as one ‘earth’ or ‘humanity.’ That is the meaning of Adam, who encompasses all the “families” or “nations of the earth” (Genesis 12:3). As a result, Muslims only traditionally distinguish between sultanates that comprise the ‘lands of Islam’ (Dar al-Islam) versus the lands of its enemies (Dar al-‘Harb).

The borders of contemporary Muslim countries were drawn by European imperialists over the last century to serve their geopolitical objectives. These borders are meant to divide and conquer, amalgamate, control, confuse or create conflict in the Muslim world. Far from being the source of all the problems in the Muslim world–as imperialists allege, who want to destroy it–Sharia is the solution, as it will dissolve artificial borders and restore natural divisions between Muslim nations, and thereby restore their power and that of the Muslim nation. That is why Western imperialists are hellbent on getting rid of Sharia, which is the greatest nightmare of genocidal colonialists. Ironically, Sharia may be their dream come true when they start to perish because of their evil works, like many nations that embraced Sharia before.

2. Caliphal States

Two sets of MMCs belong to historical caliphates. These may be called ‘caliphal states.’ The first set combines the north of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco (the Barbary States) which used to be part of the Caliphate of Cordoba and constitute the southern part of Andalusia that continues to resist Roman invasion. The second set consists of Syria and Iraq–the Promised Land–where the caliphates in Damascus and Baghdad were established. The Promised Land is the seat of the caliphate, the fatherland of Ishmaelites and the heartland of Islam (Ahmad 1935). The Caliphate of Cordoba was created by a blood alliance between western Arabs and Imazighen to take back Iberia and North Africa from the Vandals, and the caliphate in Damascus from the Abbasid usurpers. While they ruled in Damascus, the families that became western Arabs helped the Imazighen to reconquer their homeland in Iberia and North Africa from the Vandals, who had captured these territories from Roman invaders.

Caliphal states are especially significant to monitor Sharia, and can signal the next development to expect. As the Prophet says: “If the people of the Promised Land become corrupt, there is no good in you” (Tirmidhi 33:35). For instance, western Arabs will elect another prince, as they elected Emir Abdelkader, as soon as they get the chance. They’ll also take back the Promised Land if they find an opportunity, as this has been their plan for centuries. This could even happen before they reconquer Iberia from the Spanish, who are Roman invaders. For instance, two of the most important Arab dynasties are western; namely, Alids and Umayyads. These families include the first caliphs and the publishers and heirs of the Qur’an. The Abbasids illegally overthrew them in the 8th c. and hunted them out of the Promised Land in order to seize power. The Abbasids remained in power until the 16th c., when it was finally their turn to be exiled from the Promised Land, which Turks and other gentiles took over.

In short, until Arabs occupy and control their share of the Promised Land (i.e., Greater Syria or Arabia) and establish a legitimate caliphate in it, there is no Sharia or Islamic state–just rogue states who bear no allegiance to the Prophet’s family and successor and make up their own ‘Sharia.’ Just as Israel is an excuse for a European invasion, not a legitimate movement to restore the kingdom of David, so is ISIS not a legitimate movement to restore the caliphate. An obvious reason is that ISIS isn’t a movement by Arabs under the direction of Quraysh. Rather, it’s a movement by unknown and lawless gentile invaders whom Arabs–especially Quraysh–don’t support, but vigorously oppose.

3. Sunnis vs. Shias

Tensions between Sunnis and Shias have always been an issue of Persians opposing Arabs. Shia Imams–who are led by Persians, like the Grand Ayatollah–do this by pretending to be Alids, so they can claim to be caliphs or Imams, make up their own theology and call it Islam. Shias harbour a religious hatred of Quraysh and Arabs. Plus, pretty much all of their leaders and followers are Indians, Phoenicians and Persians. This is simply because Arabs and Quraysh don’t recognize their authority or legitimacy. If Shias could have their way, they would conquer Arabia and rule Arabs and Muslims, instead of sticking to their own countries and making up their own laws and narratives other people can follow if they want.

Sharia in Iran is a model of ‘Shia Sharia.’ Iran adopted its own ‘code’ of Sharia during the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in the hopes that it would be perceived as a leader in the Muslim world, which Arabs and other Muslims would follow. But they didn’t follow. Instead, conflicts erupted between Iran and Arab countries–such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen–along with conflicts between Sunnis and Shias throughout the Middle-East. Many of these conflicts were instigated by Western powers, like the invasion of Iraq, and have degenerated to such an extent that Shias’ acrimony toward Sunni Arabs may be greater than Israel’s and America’s combined. This is why as Iran matures, its laws and policies–or ‘Sharia’–will probably align with Israeli and American interests. From a theological standpoint, it’s likely the False Messiah of Israel will anoint the Shia Mahdi or ‘Prince of Persia’ as the ‘true’ prince of Ishmaelites, and that they’ll join forces against Arabs.


The usefulness of the three main factors this essay discusses to critically analyze developments in Sharia in MMCs may be summarized thus. First, ethnic division explains the geographical distribution and spread of Islam, as well as its barriers and limitations. For instance, the factor of ethnic division can help to unveil the subtext of racist policies and legislation where it isn’t explicit. One need only examine the factors that inhibit a race from accessing another region or position. Caliphal states, on the other hand, are the epicentres of Sharia, which can and should in principle have an impact on other MMCs. It is therefore important to follow the progress of Sharia in these states. The progress of Sharia in caliphal states can be compared to how other states adopt or adapt its rules or make up their own, which reveals the extent to which they are leaders, followers or independent. For instance, it’s obvious that most MMCs follow the example of Western legislation more than they do the Qur’an and Hadith, yet no one in the West thinks to blame their misery for this.

Finally, sectarianism plays an important role in the Muslim world. Like the cartoon character Iznogoud, sectaries or ‘ISISnogood’s vie to establish or control the ‘caliphate;’ that is, “to be caliph instead of the caliph,” to borrow Iznogoud’s catchphrase. For any system of law to work, it has to have adequate support and be able to manage these upstarts, lest it succumb to ‘death by a thousand upstarts’ or totalitarianism like most MMCs today. Indeed, the failure to establish a legitimate caliphate is the failure to implement Sharia in any meaningful way. Criticism of Sharia based on the failures of MMCs thus misses the point. Their failures don’t show that Sharia is failing them, since there isn’t a caliphate to start. If they successfully implemented Sharia, there would at least be a caliphate. Since MMCs are almost all civil law systems, their persistent failures would be more rationally blamed on that, if not colonialism, which explains why they have civil law systems to begin. They did very well under Sharia before that.

Middle-East and North Africa

Country Official Form of Government Legal Resources Percent of Muslim Population
Algeria Democratic People’s Republic Algerian Law Guide: An introduction to the Algerian legal and political system.

Constitution, 2016 and a brief history.

Lexalgeria, Le Secrétariat Général du Gouvernement and Portail du droit algérien give access to Algerian laws online. Sharia mostly comes into play in family law.

99: almost entirely Sunni, see Islam in Algeria
Bahrain 73: about 50/50 Shia/Sunni according to the last census to include sectarian identification in 1941
Egypt 92
Iraq 95
Jordan 97
Kuwait 74
Lebanon 57
Libya 97
Morocco 95
Oman 83
Palestine 97
Qatar 77
Saudi Arabia 97
Syria 93
Tunisia 99
Turkey 99
United Arab Emirates 76
Yemen 99


Albania, 58

Bosnia and Herzegovina, 50

Kosovo, 95

Central Asia

Afghanistan, 99

Azerbaijan, 96

Iran, 99

Kazakhstan, 70

Kyrgyzstan, 80

Turkmenistan, 93

Tajikistan, 96

Uzbekistan, 96

Southeast Asia

Bangladesh, 90

Brunei, 78

Indonesia, 87

Malaysia, 61

Maldives, 100

Pakistan, 96

Central Africa

Burkina Faso, 61

Chad, 58

Cocos Islands, 80

Comoros, 98

Djibouti, 97

Eritrea, 43

Gambia, 95

Guinea, 89

Mali, 95

Mauritania, 100

Niger, 98

Nigeria, 50

Mayotte, 97

Somalia, 99

Sudan, 97

Senegal, 96

Sierra Leone, 78

Western Sahara, 99