Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Islamic Law Definition:

The law according to the Muslim faith and as interpreted from the Koran.

Related Terms: Sharia Law, Muslim Law, Fiqh, Theocracy, Muslim, Law, Sunnah

The law according to the Muslim faith and as interpreted from the Koran; also known as Sharia law.

Sometimes referred to as Muslim law or even Muhammadan law.

Some Islamic law jurists make a distinction between sharia law and fiqh and conclude that Islamic law includes, inter alia, sharia law first, given its divine origin; and fiqh second, as a body of law which interprets sharia.

Schacht writes:

"The sacred law of Islam is an all-embracing body of religious duties, the totality of Allah's commands that regulate the life of every Muslim in all its aspects."

Islamic law is probably best known for deterrent punishment which is the basis of the Islamic criminal system, and the discrimination against women.

Another important feature of Muslim law is the fact that there is no clear separation of church and state. Under Islamic law, the religion of Islam and the government are one. Islamic law is controlled, ruled and regulated by the Islamic religion; a theocracy.

Islamic law purports to regulate all public and private behavior including personal hygiene, diet, sexual conduct, and child rearing.

Islamic law now prevails in countries all over the Middle East and elsewhere covering 20 per cent of the world's population.

Despite its relative inflexibility, in some ways, Islamic law is superior to other systems of law, such as the preference given to arbitration in civil disputes.


  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Legal Definition of Jihad
  • Schacht, Joseph, An Introduction to Islamic Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), page 1.

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