human rights and sharia: Saudi Arabia

Human rights and Sharia Law as Sources Of Current Jurisprudence


Saudi Arabia is a Muslim state whose legal system recognizes the reign of divine sovereignty. A conflict between the mosque and the state that can be labeled of non-Islamic countries’ history is absent in the Saudi Arabia world historically. The Saudi Judiciary applies the principles of Sharia jurisprudence and constitutional laws to its suits unless both conflict with the Islamic Sharia. We examine why Sharia has become the symbol of the Muslim nation, whether Human Rights Law has a place in the legal system and its impact on the current Saudi Arabia Jurisprudence since the line amongst religious, materialistic responsibilities and certainly, a shared compromise that there is a necessity for such a distinction is not as engrained in the Muslim sphere as it’s in the West.
In 1948, Saudi Arabia declined to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a source of Human Rights law on the view that sharia law had already set out male and female rights (“Universal Declaration of Human Rights Main”, 2016). Upon the United Nations commencing a debate on human rights in the Islamic world, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam was adopted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 1990 serve as a directory for associate nationals on human rights matters. The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights translates the Qur’an teachings as all men being equal in relation to basic human dignity, responsibilities, and duties, regardless of race, color, belief, sex, affiliation, religion, social status or any supplementary concerns.

Sharia on the other hand, which also in Arabic means “path”, directs all sides of Muslim existence, from everyday practices, domestic, religious commitments and economic transactions. Sharia is derivative of the Quran and the Sunna, that is, Prophet Mohammed’s proverbs, observations, and education primarily. Though the Qur’an is the plain source of Islamic jurisprudence, it is not envisioned as a legislative text. Since 220 and 500 is projected the number of verses dealing specifically with legal issues, the bulk of the Qur’an’s 6,239 verses are figurative, symbolic, and ancient passages, and so are the declarations of moral code and religious orders. Even where the Cairo Declaration is seen as a momentous human rights breakthrough for Islamic nations, it is averted by sharia law because it states that all rights and freedoms stipulated therein are subject to Islamic Sharia (“Islam: Governing Under Sharia”, 2016). In addition to the Qur’an mentions, the Cairo Declaration also sites prophetic instructions and Islamic legal custom. It is prudent to note Sharia, as Human Rights, is not an immutable and rigid law of God founded on static texts transcribed in the middle Ages. If understood and properly practiced, sharia is imminently flexible and fully compatible with the current human rights structures as a dynamic jurisprudence.

The issue of human rights has impacted Saudi Arabia Jurisprudence since the end of the Gulf War, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States of America and the Cold War. The country has gradually participated and engaged the human rights front, more aggressively, opening herself up for global interventions. The country has permitted Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups visits, ratified universal human rights legal instruments like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (“Emran Qureshi – Heba Raouf Ezzat: Are Sharia Laws and Human Rights Compatible? –”, 2016). We analyze the impact of Human Rights and sharia using most complained of violated rights to include Freedom of Expression, Association, and Belief, Criminal Justice, Women’s and Girl’s Rights, Migrant Worker Rights

In regards to retribution and equality under Sharia, Marriage and divorce are the most noteworthy aspects of sharia, despite the fact that criminal law is the utmost controversial. There are categories of offenses in sharia prescribing precise punishment in the Quran, known as hard punishments, those determined by a retaliatory ration and those that fall in a judge’s preference. There are five had crimes: illegitimate sexual intercourse, a false allegation of illegal sexual interaction, highway mugging, wine drinking, and theft. The Punishments for had offenses that get a significant amount of media attention when they occur are spanking, stoning, amputation, outcast, or even execution. Though not often prescribed, in reality, however, Saudi Arab like most Muslim countries does not use old-style traditional Islamic punishments. In the current jurisprudence, people quote the spiritual principle of tajdid, a notion of renewal instructing Islamic society to be renewed continuously to preserve it in its cleanest practice, as they seek to modify at least or eliminate these notorious practices.
Freedom of Association is expressed in Sharia global Islamic financial assets and the modern economies fuelled by demand for Islamic bonds by corporations and the government, and banks developing Islamic banking divisions e.g. Standard Chartered. Assets have risen from $ 5.25 trillion in 2007 to $1.3 trillion in 2012, a level of expansion entrenched in consumer request for religious codes products. This is because Sharia docile financial don’t pay or save interest, Islamic investments less association with Muslim prohibitions like alcohol, pork and gambling, pornography and exclusion of extortion. Islamic finance surged in recent decades by introducing products that mimic credit cards, savings accounts, and mortgages while avoiding interest.

Governance is also a key problem in the Muslim world including Saudi Arabia. Human Rights Watch in the 2016 report states Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of religion of Islam and Prophet Muhammad, denies inhabitants the right to serene congress, free association and expression, cruelty on persons arrested, and the proven structure of legal custody denies women the simple rights of access to justice, educational choices, travel, and health care. Sharia does not legitimize an authoritarian approach to governance by alluding to numerous concepts basic to democracy and indisputably recommends that the governance matters of the nation be based on consultation (shura) (“The facts — and a few myths — about Saudi Arabia and human rights”, 2016). The government of Saudi Arabia can claim, misleadingly, that the Guardian Council of religious scholars in the service of the regime works this consultative task.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights observers Women’s Rights, legal rights and privileges the Islamic world, in general, does not afford women as men. In Saudi Arabia, neither are women are allowed to appear in public short of the company of a male relative or a veil or, nor do women possess the right to drive or leave the state without the consent of a male relative. The Saudis validate such practices as laws as requirements of sharia though according to the Qur’an, both man and woman were made from the same soul(naps) for companionship. The Application of the traditional tools of sharia, either from a current or customary viewpoint, ends up convincingly to the prerequisite of equality amongst man and women. The actuality is that much of the deplorable dealings against women in the state today have their roots in barbaric jurisprudence that distorted Islamic law to warrant a return to the old norms of pre-Islamic Arab culture not in Islam itself.

The Naturalization Law requires that applicants attest to their religious affiliation and requires applicants to get a certificate endorsed by their local cleric. Freedom of religious assembly is severely limited because the government condones persons to openly assemble centered on religious association. In 2010, February 10,, a Shiite blog, testified that the government called a number of noticeable Shia, in al-Khobar to inform them that they were no longer permitted to worship in Sunni mosques (“Reclaiming Tradition: Islamic Law in a Modern World | International Affairs Review”, 2016). Currently however, Improvements are noticeable such as the enactment of a totally new syllabus in three grades and sustained teacher preparation, better security of the right to own and use private religious resources, increased media reporting and disapproval of the CPVPV, better power and capacity for certified human rights bodies to operate, and processes to fight radical ideology.

The Saudi Government should support the rationalization and consolidation of Islamic law under the national courts. It’s without exception that Saudi Islamic law has been advanced and compelled by local jurists or by quasi-governmental experts performing on their own initiative. Nevertheless, the constitutionalization of Islamic law has enabled the Muslim popular courts of the state to instigate developing precise jurisprudence through lucid tools subject to criticism and elimination. The two government-affiliated human rights organizations set up and the growth of Saudi awareness about the rights of migrant workers is a sign of progress in the current jurisprudence.
In conclusion, Saudi regime officials often take part in global visitor programs to encourage tolerance and interfaith dialogue. The strict use of Islamic law and a lack of checks and balances have a very adverse consequence on human rights in Saudi Arabia. Previous participants in these programs have continued to commend the openness and tolerance especially on Human Rights they witnessed on their trips to these global events.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Main. (2016). Retrieved 25 July 2016, from
Islam: Governing Under Sharia. (2016). Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 25 July 2016, from
Emran Qureshi – Heba Raouf Ezzat: Are Sharia Laws and Human Rights Compatible? – (2016). – Dialogue with the Islamic World. Retrieved 25 July 2016, from
The facts — and a few myths — about Saudi Arabia and human rights. (2016). Washington Post. Retrieved 25 July 2016, from
Reclaiming Tradition: Islamic Law in a Modern World | International Affairs Review. (2016). Retrieved 25 July 2016, from

The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, Article 24


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