In "Islam-based legal language and state governance: democracy, strength of the judiciary and human rights" (Constitutional Political Economy (2020)), Emilia Justyna Powell (University of Notre Dame) and her coauthors test the hypothesis of whether Islamic legal language is associated with lower levels of electoral democracy, fewer liberties, and a weaker judicial system. Based on an … Continue reading Islam and Data Science Roundup
By Terrence George This post is part of the Digital Islamic Law Lab (DILL) series, in which a Harvard student analyzes a primary source of Islamic law, previously workshopped in the DIL Lab. Summary In 1988, the Supreme Court of Malaysia heard the case of Che Omar bin Che Soh v. Public Prosecutor.1 The case arose as … Continue reading Capital Punishment Case Establishes that Sharia Cannot Invalidate Secular Laws in Malaysia
By Zubair Abbasi Ever since Pakistan’s creation as an independent state in 1947, Islam has continued to permeate its constitutional and legal system. From the confines of the personal law of Muslims at the time of independence, Islam has become the grundnorm of Pakistan’s constitutional system. Curiously, the gradual elevation of Islam in the formal … Continue reading Conjoined Twins: Human Rights and Islam in the Constitutional System of Pakistan
By Zubair Abbasi The enthusiasm of the Shariat Benches to judicially Islamize laws is best reflected in the judgment of the Shariat Bench of the Peshawar High Court in Mst. Farishta v Federation of Pakistan. In this judgment, the Shariat Bench reviewed the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 (MFLO). Pakistan’s first military ruler, Ayub Khan … Continue reading Islamic Judicial Review in Practice (3): Sharia and State Law
By Zubair Abbasi The most significant impact of Islamic judicial review is the incorporation of qiṣāṣ and dīyah in the legal system of Pakistan. During the colonial period, the British replaced Islamic criminal law with the Indian Penal Code 1860. There are two important components of Islamic criminal law: ḥudūd and qiṣāṣ. Ḥudūd are fixed … Continue reading Islamic Judicial Review in Practice (2): Strategic Islamization of Laws
By Zubair Abbasi In my previous blog posts, I identified Islamic judicial review as the distinctive feature of Pakistan’s legal system. In my next three posts, I shall scrutinize how Islamic judicial review works in practice through the analysis of a few important judgments related to criminal law and family law. In this first post, … Continue reading Islamic Judicial Review in Practice (1): Decolonization through Islamization of Laws
By Zubair Abbasi Since its beginning in 1979, Islamic judicial review was unlikely to cause major constitutional and legal changes because of its inherent design to maintain the status quo. This can be explained by a number of factors. Firstly, the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) did not have jurisdiction over the provisions of the Constitution. … Continue reading The Impact of Islamic Judicial Review in Pakistan
By Zubair Abbasi Despite assigning a significant role to Islam, the Pakistani constitutional model does not propose a theocratic order. Rather, the theocratic tendencies resulting from the substantial role of Islam in the legal system are checked by a curious synthesis of Islamic constitutionalism and liberal constitutionalism. Instead of assigning the interpretative authority of Islamic … Continue reading Islamic Constitutionalism in Pakistan: Is it Theocratic?
Pakistan came into being through a constitutionally governed election when Muslims in British India voted for an independent state that comprised the Muslim-majority parts of India. It had two wings: East Pakistan (currently Bangladesh) and West Pakistan, geographically separated by more than a thousand kilometers. Since Islam was the only common link between the two … Continue reading Islamic Constitutionalism in Pakistan: Does it Matter?
By Jonathan Korn This post is part of the Digital Islamic Law Lab (DILL) series, in which a Harvard student analyzes a primary source of Islamic law, previously workshopped in the DIL Lab. Case Summary: In 2014, a Malaysian federal court invalidated an Islamic state law criminalizing the public behavior and appearance of transwomen (people … Continue reading Constitutionalizing Transgender Rights in Malaysia