Full List of Countries that Follow Sharia Law

Sharia law, also known as Islamic law, is a system of laws derived from the Quran and the Hadith (sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad). It serves as a comprehensive guide for Muslims in matters of personal conduct, family affairs, business dealings, and governance. While many countries incorporate elements of Sharia law into their legal systems, there are several nations where Sharia law is the primary legal framework.

Here is the full list of countries that follow Sharia law, and we also explore the various ways in which it is implemented:

Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia is perhaps the most well-known example of a country where Sharia law plays a central role in the legal system. The kingdom adheres to a strict interpretation of Islamic law, with the Quran serving as the ultimate authority. Sharia courts handle both criminal and civil cases, and punishments can include flogging, amputation, and even capital punishment for serious offenses.


Iran is another country where Sharia law holds significant influence. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has implemented a legal system based on the principles of Islam, with the Supreme Leader serving as the highest authority. Sharia courts operate alongside civil courts, handling matters such as family law, inheritance, and morality crimes.


Following the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, Afghanistan adopted a new constitution that enshrined Islam as the state religion and made Sharia law the foundation of its legal system. Sharia courts play a prominent role in resolving disputes, particularly in rural areas where traditional tribal customs also hold sway.


Pakistan, with its large Muslim population, has a legal system that incorporates elements of both Islamic law and British common law. Sharia courts, known as Qadis courts, handle matters such as family law, inheritance, and religious offenses. However, the extent to which Sharia law is implemented varies across different regions of the country.


Sudan has a long history of Islamic law, dating back to the 19th century when it was part of the Ottoman Empire. Sharia law was formally introduced in Sudan in 1983, and it continues to influence the country’s legal system today. Sharia courts operate alongside civil courts, handling matters such as family law and criminal cases involving hudud offenses (crimes against God).


Yemen is another country where Sharia law holds sway, particularly in matters of personal status such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Sharia courts coexist with civil courts, and judges often have discretion in applying Islamic law based on their interpretation of religious texts.


Brunei, a small Southeast Asian nation, implemented Sharia law in 2014, making it one of the few countries to do so in modern times. The legal system in Brunei is based on a strict interpretation of Islam, with Sharia courts handling both civil and criminal cases. Punishments under Sharia law in Brunei can be severe, including stoning for adultery and amputation for theft.


Qatar’s legal system is based on a combination of Islamic law and civil law principles. Sharia courts handle matters such as family law, inheritance, and some criminal cases. However, the country has also made efforts to modernize its legal system in recent years, leading to some reforms in areas such as labor and commercial law.

United Arab Emirates (UAE):

The UAE has a dual legal system consisting of Sharia law and civil law. Sharia courts handle personal status matters for Muslims, while civil courts deal with commercial and criminal cases. In recent years, the UAE has introduced legal reforms aimed at modernizing its legal system while still respecting Islamic principles.


In Nigeria, Sharia law is implemented primarily in the northern states, where the majority of the population is Muslim. Sharia courts coexist with secular courts, and they handle matters such as family law and Islamic finance. However, the application of Sharia law in Nigeria has been controversial, leading to tensions between Muslims and Christians in some regions.


Sharia law plays a significant role in the legal systems of several countries around the world, shaping everything from personal conduct to criminal justice. While the extent of its influence varies from one country to another, Sharia law continues to be a defining feature of many nations, guiding their laws and customs in accordance with Islamic principles. Understanding the implementation of Sharia law in these countries provides valuable insights into the intersection of religion, culture, and governance on a global scale.

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