Designing Islamic constitutions: Past trends and options for a democratic future

By Clark Lombardi

In recent years, a growing number of countries have adopted constitutional provisions requiring that state law be consistent with Islamic law (sharia). This article explores the trends that gave rise to “sharia guarantee clauses” (SGCs) and provides a history of their incorporation into national constitutions. It then surveys a number of the remarkably varied schemes that countries have developed to interpret and enforce their SGCs, and it considers the impact that different schemes have had on society. Finally, building on this background, the article considers what types of SGC enforcement scheme, if any, are consistent with democracy.