13.6 Application of Shariat laws in modern times

13.6 Application of Shariat laws in modern times

The point that must be emphasised is that the modern Shariat laws are basically laws derived from the Hadith literature. The Qur’an has very little part to play in it. In fact, the laws made with reference to the Qur’an, in some cases, are used without proper research of the Arabic text or the context in which they are used. A good example is the punishment for theft (see section 8.1). The law used in other cases, such as the stoning to death for adultery, has its origin in the Hadiths and has nothing to do with the Qur’an (see section 10.3 selection no.1). The sad irony is that many people, including the Talibans in Afghanistan, think that this law comes from the Qur’an. In reality, the Talibans are totally ignorant of the Qur’an and their teaching comes from the Hadiths, and this is why they practice such a barbarous law.

In practice, the effect of a law can be judged by its application. For instance, Sudan has applied their interpretation of Shariat laws and failed. Pakistan is another example where so-called Shariat laws were imposed under army rule. Its political turmoil clearly shows that it too has failed. Saudi Arabia, which is ruled by an autocratic kingship, maintains its grip by a strict interpretation and application of the Shariat laws for its ordinary people, while its vast riches are enjoyed by only a handful of people who squander a lot of their wealth in many un-Islamic activities abroad. We have already stated that the Shariat law of the Saudis is based on the Hanbali School and as such the importance of the Qur’an in its legal system is minimal. Some of the other Muslim states have found that it is almost impossible to apply what they percieve to be Shariat Laws under the present conditions. They have therefore adopted a number of Western codes of law (civil code and criminal code) along with some ‘Islamic’ law. It is not difficult to see that the Shariat law, because of its antiquated and extremely rigid nature, cannot be applied in the present situation with any degree of success. One aspect of such a Shariat is the conflict it creates between the various schools of law when judging cases involving people belonging to these different schools. The jurists are swift to gloss this over by saying that one can belong to any of these schools and still be a Muslim. The fact remains that it has created the very sectarian division of Islam which is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an, as already indicated. The only way to overcome these problems is to base the Shariat laws on the Fundamental Principles of the Qur’an.

This cannot be fully achieved without a true Islamic State. And in the formulation of such laws we should always consider the Qur’anic Principles of fairness and justice first and foremost, if we are to hope to produce a society which is both morally strong and beneficial to those who live in it.


  1. Modernisation of Legal System in Muslim Countries, summary of an introductory address included in ref: no. 9, by Dr. Sobhi Mahmassani. p. 7.

2.Development of Muslim Theology Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory by Duncan B. Macdonald. p. 77, second paragraph. Published by Premier Book House, 4/5 Katchery Road, Lahore, Pakistan. p. 77.

  1. The Principles of Law-making in Islam, by G.A. Parwez. Meezan Publications: 27-B Shahalam Market, Lahore, Pakistan. p. 54.
  2. Ibid., p. 54, 55.
  3. Ibid., p. 55.
  4. Ibid,. p. 55, 56.
  5. Conspiracies against the Qur’an, by Dr. S.A. Wadud. Khalid Publishers, P.O. Box 4190, Lahore – 54600, Pakistan
  6. The Principles of Law-making in Islam, by G.A. Parwez. Meezan Publications: 27-B Shahalam Market, Lahore, Pakistan. p.61.
  7. Ibid,. p. 62, 63.
  8. Ibid,. p. 63.
  9. Ibid,. p. 66.
  10. Ibid,. p. 77.
  11. Ibid,.77-79.
  12. Quranic System of Law, by Allama Enayatullah Mashriqi. Akhuwat Publications, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. p. 10.
  13. Ibid,. p.12.
  14. Ibid,. p.12,13.