State Law and Islamic Law

At no point in the past or the present has there been a single enforcement authority for Islamic law as there is in the case of national systems of law. Or as there was to a mixed degree in the case of English law well before the advent of the modern state (brought about by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648). Furthermore the historical examples of communities observing Islamic law are pre-modern; they pre-dated the advent of the modern state system of which national law is a product (and a constitutive part). Therefore the notion of an Islamic state in the pre-modern period is either an anachronism (transporting back in time a modern form of political community — the modern state) or an equivocation on the notion of the state. In either case the development of a local or a transnational Islamic law of commerce and finance is independent of any single jurisdiction in the past.

Islamic financial and commercial law is also independent, as the choice of the law of a secular country where Muslims are a minority (the United Kingdom), of claims made in modern states such as Saudi Arabia or Iran to rule by Islamic law or the enforcement of Islamic law as the law of the state or a source or basis of such laws.