Essay on the Classification on the Basis of Political Inclinations and Economic Policies under Muslim Law

One may also categories the legal systems in the Muslim coun­tries on the basis of their political inclinations and economic policies.

Governments in the Muslim world vary widely in their political outlook and ideological orientation, from Ba’athist socialism in Iraq and Syria or ultra-conservatism in the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia.

In the conservative or right-wing states, free enterprise is favoured and the emphasis is on private ownership and free market economy. As such Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and other smaller Gulf States are part of the world capitalist system.

They encourage private sector development and even aim at the privatisa­tion of some State institutions, e.g., the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic).

The Saudi Arabian government participates as joint venture partner in most of the heavy industrial develop­ments including the petrochemical complexes at Jubail on the Gulf and Yanbu on the Red Sea.

The same is true in the other Gulf States which having grouped themselves together, form the Gulf Co-operation Council. In these countries the States do not interface in the free market unless it is necessary to help, support and rescue the private entrepreneurs.

By contrast in Afghanistan, South Yemen (Aden), Syria, Algeria, Iran and Iraq the state sector (the public sector) is dominating the national economy more or less in the same fashion that one anticipates to be the case in a socialist system.

It is surprising that many lawyers specializing in Islamic law do not deal with all these various differences and concentrate on common features and general patterns. It should be evident that the government policies have a direct impact on the operation of law.

By and large importance is attached to Islam in all the Muslim countries regardless of the nature and form of the government.

Thus while in the formal sense of legislation, the com­ponent of the Islamic Sharia is sometimes small in many of these countries, the overall impact of Islamic law is considerable.

Perhaps these subtle differences and implications are the most important aspect of law in the Muslim world.

The foreign lawyers and businessmen should always take note of these subtle Islamic influences whether they are reflected in formal codes of law or not.