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A comparative survey of the status and application of Islamic Law in the legal system of Malaysia and Nigeria

Mokhtar, Khairil Azmin and Oba, Abdulmumini A (2011) A comparative survey of the status and application of Islamic Law in the legal system of Malaysia and Nigeria. In: International Conference on Islam in Africa , 19-21 July 2011, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Kuala Lumpur Campus . (Unpublished)

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The experiences of Malaysia and Northern Nigeria of British colonialism and its impact of Islamic law are parallel in many respects. Before the advent of British colonization, Islamic Law was the Lex loci (Law of the Land) of the Malay States (that later became Malaysia) and that of the Sokoto and Kanem-Bornu Caliphates in what became Northern Nigeria. The Shariah Courts and local laws based on Shariah had been in existence in the Malaccan Sultanate and the northern Nigeria since in the fifteenth century respectively. In both the Malay states and northern Nigeria, attempts were made to modify local customs to conform to Islam and to adopt Islamic law; the process can be seen in the various versions of the Malacca [code] and in the Islamic reform movements (jihad) in northern Nigeria. Although the treaties between the British and the Malay rulers and between the British and Emirs in Northern Nigeria respectively required the British to refrain from any intervention in matters of custom and Islamic law, the British did not fully honour these promises. With the advent of British colonialism began a gradual reduction of the influence of Islamic law and the expansion of the British common law and statutes that eventually constituted the State law in the colonial era and even in the post colonial period in both countries. The reduction of the jurisdiction of Islamic law went together the gradual control of the administration of Islamic law by common law courts. British common law judges were often called upon to administer Islamic law as a matter of personal law and did so rather willingly. The colonial common law courts gave themselves the power to admit or refuse evidence of Islamic law and local customs when adjudicating cases involving such matters. In during the colonial period, Muslims in Malaysia and Nigeria resisted the adverse changes that the British authorities made to Islamic law and its administration but in many instances, the British eventually had their way. The era of independence witnessed in both countries strong attempts to purge Islamic law and its administration of these negative changes. However, there are many constraints arising from the racial/ethnic pluralism, the multi-religious nature of these countries, and the demands modern nationhood. The paper seeks to trace the development of Islamic Law in Nigeria and Malaysia since their independence. It also attempts to compare the status and application of Islamic Law in both countries.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Full Paper)
Additional Information: 1650/16706
Uncontrolled Keywords: Islamic legal system, Malaysia, Nigeria
Subjects: K Law > KBP Islamic Law
K Law > KPG Malaysia
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws > Department of Civil Law
Depositing User: Assoc Prof Khairil Azmin Datuk Mokhtar
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2012 09:20
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2012 09:20
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/16706

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