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Full Access Two Surprising Aspects of Islamic Saudi Liberalism in Public and Private Law

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Two Surprising Aspects of Islamic Saudi Liberalism in Public and Private Law

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Abstract Saudi Arabia is often defined as a country where the rule of law is challenged by archaism with reference to Islamic criminal punishments or by anarchy with reference to its pluralism combining Western and Islamic laws (and sometimes tribal customs). Both opinions are wrong thanks to two fundamental rules of Ḥanbalism (the Kingdom’s Islamic School of Law). The first rule says: “No obedience to a creature in the disobedience of the Creator”, and the second says: “The Rule in profane activities (muʿāmalāt) is lawfulness until one indication from the Sharīʿah Guides [i.e., Qurʾān and the Prophet’s sayings or Ḥadīth] dismisses it from [the application of] this Rule”. Thanks to these rules and the way in which they have been developed in public and private law, we will see that Saudi law finally appears less contradictory than laws in other Arab countries, and therefore less challenging to the rule of law.

Affiliations: 1: Cour d’Appel de Paris Paris II Pantheon Assas Paris France

10.1163/15730255-12341250
/content/journals/10.1163/15730255-12341250
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Abstract Saudi Arabia is often defined as a country where the rule of law is challenged by archaism with reference to Islamic criminal punishments or by anarchy with reference to its pluralism combining Western and Islamic laws (and sometimes tribal customs). Both opinions are wrong thanks to two fundamental rules of Ḥanbalism (the Kingdom’s Islamic School of Law). The first rule says: “No obedience to a creature in the disobedience of the Creator”, and the second says: “The Rule in profane activities (muʿāmalāt) is lawfulness until one indication from the Sharīʿah Guides [i.e., Qurʾān and the Prophet’s sayings or Ḥadīth] dismisses it from [the application of] this Rule”. Thanks to these rules and the way in which they have been developed in public and private law, we will see that Saudi law finally appears less contradictory than laws in other Arab countries, and therefore less challenging to the rule of law.

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2013-01-01
2016-12-06

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