The concept of Islamic law (shari'ah or shari'a) is an all-encompassing law that governs all aspects of the public, private, economic, religious, social, and political life of every Muslim. Islamic canon law deals with rituals and such matters as property, commercial activities, marriage, divorce, inheritance, personal conduct and hygiene, and diet. It prescribes penalties for crimes, felonies, and offenses.

Most Muslim states today, however, have secular legal and penal codes based on Western legal systems. Only a few countries, such as Saudi Arabia, apply penalties provided for in the Islamic canon law. For instance, judges can punish adultery by stoning to death. Likewise, the punishment for theft, if the accused cannot be qualified as “needy,” is amputation of the hand. Islamic canon law also covers political ...

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