The Status of Islamic Law in Sri Lanka

Emory University has a brief outline of the Sri Lankan legal system and its relationship to Islamic Law.

The article gives a historical overview and a description of the current state of this strange relationship between a supposedly secular legal system and Islamic Law. Note that the article in question is a draft.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the author, this article also gives some insight into the matter and  points out that the Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum (MWRAF) has in fact attempted to reform the existing system (to some extent).

MWRAF strives to empower women to realize their full potential, locating itself in the local as well as the larger socio-political context, challenging given ‘codes and norms’, while addressing emerging issues that directly affect people’s lives.

Its a start 🙂

An excellent overview of how the legal system of Sri Lanka functions can be found here. The role of Islamic Law is touched upon in brief. This is great reading if you need a quick primer on the components of the legal system and how the system works.


This is a response to those of you who requested a little more information on the establishment of  58 Qazi courts in Sri Lanka and the questions posed on the rise of wahabism in the island.


4 Responses to The Status of Islamic Law in Sri Lanka

  1. Whacko says:

    sorry, im on mobile so couldnt click any of ur links. The quazi courts have been around for ages. They mostly only handle family and marriage issues. The recent publicity was because they were expanding the network by a few cnew courts and establishing neutral buildings as court offices.

    As for wahabbism, well thats a whole different story

    • PravNJ says:

      Thanks. Yes if I remember my social studies lessons well (and I do) the courts have been around for ages 🙂 read the previous post on the same issue, I acknowledge this somewhere in the comment section, ok maybe not completely…apologies

      The article at Emory acknowledges this. Have a look.

      Also read the paper by the MWRF its discusses the deficiencies of the current system.

      These are all details. Having two judicial systems is tantamount to having two separate states. You can argue otherwise of course but thats what it looks like to me. Do I have a problem with it? no not really but it sets a precedent and its a little odd. Perhaps the Muslim’s deserve their own state within Sri Lanka? I don’t know.

      If the current system “works” then there should be no problem. As far as the verdicts go they don’t seem brutal (or archaic) in comparison to some of the verdicts passed in Saudi courts for example.

      However the paper which calls for the reform of the local qazi system does highlight some troubling issues. The rise of whabbism is also a cause for concern as you point out.

      I’m still gathering all the facts prior to analysis. Just hope that more people will join the discussion and enlighten me.

      • Whacko says:

        sounds interesting! Will check that paper and get back to you

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