Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Islamic law is a significant element in crime, justice, and punishment in the twenty-first century. The discussion of Islamic law is complicated because, contrary to popular belief, Islam is not a monolithic religion with a uniform legal code that applies everywhere to all Muslims. There are at least three major religious divisions within Islam—Sunni, Shi'ite, and Sufi—that utilize different legal/punitive codes. Within these three divisions, there are various schools of legal thought, including four Sunni, two Shi'ite, and multiple Sufi paths. Thus, any discussion of Islamic crime and punishment must specify the legal code being examined and consider its applicability to the other schools of thought. Although most Muslim nations have codified modern laws, many also use some form of Islamic (Shari'a) law in formal civil, criminal and/or administrative matters. This reliance on both secular and Islamic law suggests a key feature of Islamic law—it is an intricate system of ...