Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Presented at the 7th Cornell Inter-University Graduate Student Conference, April 2011.


In November 2010, a proposal was passed to amend Section 1 of Article VII of the Oklahoma State Constitution to prevent considering Sharia Law in making judicial decisions as well as international law. This amendment is being challenged in the court by Muslims and a temporary restraining order has been granted. In this paper, I will show, in contrast to what Oklahoma legislators wanted to enact, how Islamic law of 1400 years ago provided freedom of application of personal law for religious minorities more than any other legal system. Although other legal systems provide one type of freedom or another, no other legal system extends the freedom to the criminal law sphere. Moreover, one of the unique features of Islamic law is to allow religious minorities to establish their informal legal courts.

In the first part of this paper, I will provide a brief introduction regarding how Islamic law treats the personal law of religious minorities in an Islamic country. In the second part, I will summarize how Islamic law treats religious minorities' family law including marriage, divorce and custody. In the third part, I will show how Islamic law treats religious minorities' inheritance law. In the fourth part, I will show how Islamic law deals with religious minorities' wills. In the fifth part, I will present how Islamic law exempts religious minorities from punishment for religious-related acts even when those acts are crimes in regard to Muslim citizens. Although I will present the prevailing opinions among Islamic jurisprudential schools, I will also mention any disagreement, if any, in order to reflect the true picture of Islamic law.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Sharia, Oklahoma SQ 755, Islamic law, Religious minorities

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Religion Law Commons