The constitutions of many Muslim-majority countries contain clauses that declare sharīʿa a source of legislation. These “sharīʿa clauses” may name sharīʿa as “a chief source,” “the chief source,” or “the only source,” among others, of national laws. Though the phrasing of these clauses seems quite similar, some scholars and government officials have ascribed importance to the differences between them. By examining the history of sharīʿa clauses, one can gain an understanding of why they are written and how they are interpreted. Using these insights, it is possible to analyze the ways in which sharīʿa clauses interact with liberal ideas about governance and about the role of religion in law. This post provides a “plain English” review of the following article: Clark B. Lombardi, “Constitutional Provisions Making Sharīʿa ‘A’ or ‘The’ Chief Source of Legislation: Where Did They Come From? What Do They Mean? Do They Matter?,” American University International Law Review 28, 3 (2013), pp. 733–774.
The Danial Latifi illustrates the impact of communal tensions on the Supreme Court’s decision-making process, and the careful lines it attempts to draw in order to promote Muslim women’s gender equity while also limiting its intervention into Islamic personal law to avoid potential backlash.
Noor Zafar, Contributed by Noor Zafar
Alicia Daniel, Contributed by Paul Beran
Islamic law has historically played a role in honoring and pressing for shared commitments to justice and equality under the law on the basis of shared moral principles in mixed Muslim and non-Muslim settings. These values are rooted both in the U.S. Constitution and the moral principles of sharīʿa.
U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Contributed by Clare Duncan
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Contributed by Paul Beran