The incorporation of references to Islam and Islamic law in modern constitutions is now a well-recognized phenomenon. More than twenty nations provide that Islam is the religion of the state (which I call the Islamic “establishment clause”), slightly fewer declare that the Islamic Sharia or its principles are a source or even the main source of legislation (which I call the “source of law clause”), even fewer declare that the nation is an “Islamic state” (which I call the “Islamic state clause”), and some make explicit the idea that laws that conflict with Sharia, however that may be interpreted, are invalid (which I call the “repugnancy clause”)1
Kristen Stilt is a professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law and an affiliated faculty member in the History Department. She received her law degree from The University of Texas School of Law and her PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. Her research interests include the historical development of Islamic law and its contemporary manifestations. One of her current projects, for which she was named a Carnegie Scholar, studies the constitutional establishment of Islam as the state religion across the Muslim world. She is the author of Islamic Law in Action: Authority, Discretion, and Everyday Experiences in Mamluk Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2011) and the co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law.