U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Islamic Law in Saudi Arabia: A Responsive View

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 16 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1992) Pages: 43-56
M Jones
Date Published
14 pages
The administration of Islamic law, or Shari'a, in Saudi Arabia is discussed in terms of the model put forth by Nonet and Selznick, in which they define three evolutionary stages of a society's legal system. The first two stages, repressive and autonomous law, eventually give way to responsive law, where rules are subordinated to principle and the legitimacy of law is based on substantive justice rather than on procedural fairness or social defense.
The first section of the article provides an overview of Saudi justice administration; it reviews the philosophical foundations of the Saudi Arabian government, the sociopolitical roots of the law, and the criminal law. Using research findings of Western and Arab writers, Muslim and non- Muslim authorities, and Saudi government documents, the author compares the attributes of Saudi Arabia's system of law with those of the responsive model, including ends of the law, legitimacy, rules, reasoning, discretion, coercion, morality, politics, expectations of obedience, and participation. While the author finds that the Saudi model does not fit exactly the responsive model, and is more responsive toward males than toward females and non-Muslims, he nonetheless argues that it comes closer to the ideal than many Westerners would initially presume. 1 table, 3 notes, and 17 references


No download available