January 2014 marks the tenth anniversary of the current constitution of Afghanistan. Issues have arisen since then over textual ambiguities in the constitution as well as the locus of authority that can address and clarify them. Ambiguities are not unexpected with a new constitution.

The question is whether the constitution itself, and the institution it creates, are able to resolve and clarify the ambiguities in the way that fortifies the constitution and the rule of law.

Following the publication of the paper, Dr Kamali gave an interview expanding on his analysis and reflections. An edited extract of the interview can be found at (http://www.usip.org/olivebranch/afghanistans-prospective-unity-government-test-the-constitution). The full length transcript of the interview will be included in a forthcoming revised version of this paper.


Download full length publication from;



Also available in: Dari and Pashto.

This article advances an enquiry into President Hamid Karzai’s (r. 2001-2014) constitutional legacy with special reference to relations between the executive and legislature during his presidency. Before engaging in that enquiry, a brief account is given in the introduction of the developments during the months following Karzai’s exit from office. What happened during this period tends to accentuate the unresolved issues of Karzai’s presidency and put Afghanistan’s commitment to constitutionalism to the test. The events of the past six months also point to the need for clarity regarding the status of constitutional interpretation and judicial review, two necessary ingredients of constitutionalism that ensure the conformity of laws and government action with the constitution. Dysfunctional executive-legislature relations and ambiguities over matters of interpretation have often meant that disagreement over issues did not find prompt and effective solutions.

This article is structured with an introduction and six sections. The introduction takes a look, as already mentioned, at the developments after Karzai left office. The first section discusses the presidential system Afghanistan has adopted under the 2004 Constitution, and the succeeding two sections address constitutional interpretation and the question as to who has the power to interpret the Constitution. Sections four and five are devoted to a discussion of judicial review, and the conflict of jurisdiction over who has the power of judicial review in Afghanistan respectively. The
last section looks into the parliamentary powers with special reference to the use of the noconfidence vote by the Wolesi Jirga. This article concludes with a brief reflection back on the post-Karzai developments, the hitherto unmet challenges over constitutional issues Afghanistan is faced with, and the way forward toward solutions.

............ Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

Available in three languages; 1. English 2. Dari, 3. Pashto

The plan for a “unity government” in Afghanistan that includes both of the top presidential candidates will test the integrity of the country’s constitution, according to a legal scholar who was chairman of the commission that conducted public consultations for the final 2004 constitution. USIP Program Officer Lillian Dang interviews Mohammad Hashim Kamali, an influential expert on Islam and legal issues and a United Nations advisor on constitutional reform................Read the full interview at: United States Institute of Peace

What makes the Muslim leader

Monday, 31 May 2010 15:38
Published in Publications


"LEADERSHIP challenges for the new era" was the subject of a plenary session at the sixth world Islamic Economic Forum in Kuala Lumpur. The topic generated a lively discussion among a panel of eminent speakers. Surin Pitsuwan, secretary-general of Asean, moderated and referred in his opening remarks to the Quranic phrase ulil-amr (those in charge of affairs, Q.4:59), raising the question as to who were the ulil-amr of today, who could usher us into the new era.


This article was published in The New Straits Times on 31 May 2010

'Bai'ah' according to Islamic jurisprudence

Friday, 10 July 2009 15:35
Published in Publications


The current debate over oath-taking and its combination with divorce and pledge of political allegiance (bai'ah) has caused concern among Muslims to know Islam's own viewpoint on the issue.


This article was published in The New Straits Times on 19 November 2009.


This is a somewhat revised version of a paper presented at the International Conference on Islamic Criminal Judicial Prodecure organized by the Centre of Islamic Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies. University of London, 22-23 October 1998.

Understanding Political Islam Post-September 11

Thursday, 14 November 2013 13:32
Published in Book Chapters

This book is a revised version of the proceeding of the Conference on "Islam in Southeast Asia: Political, Social, and Strategic Challenges for the 21st Century" held at the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies, Singapore on 2-3 September 2002.


Excerpt from "Islam in Southeast Asia: Political, Social, and Strategic Challenges for the 21st Century".

Edited by K.S. Nathan and Mohammad Hashim Kamali

ISBN 981-230-283-2

Institute of Southeast Asia Studies


The conclusion offers some perspectives on the challenges and prospects for islamic doctrine and practice in the context of Southeast Asia.




Excerpt from a book entitled Islam in Southeast Asia: Political, social and strategic challenges for the 21st century

Edited by K.S. Nathan and Mohammad Hashim Kamali

ISBN 981-230-283-2

Institute of Southeast Asia Studies


This presentation begins with an introductory section on the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS), how it began and the reasons for which it was established. Then it proceeds to discuss, in a section each, the etymology and meaning of Islam Hadhari, followed by a brief discussion of its various themes and principles.


By Mohammad Hashim Kamali
Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia, 2008. pp.vi + 98 (revised 2nd ed 2009)
ISBN: 9-789673-231416

For further information please contact: (03) 7956 9188

An Analysis of Haqq (Right) in Islamic Law

Monday, 13 December 1993 12:56
Published in Articles

This essay looks into the definition of haqq and ascertains, on a selective basis, some aspects that have engendered controversy and debate. It also discusses the tendency in Islamic law to place a greater emphasis on obligations than on rights........... Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)


 The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 10 (1993), pp 338-367.

Freedom of Expression in Islam (2nd revised and enhanced edn.)

Wednesday, 30 December 1998 12:51
Published in Books

by the Islamic Texts Society in Cambridge, pp. 349. Reprint by Ilmiah Publishers, KL, Malaysia, 1998.

Fiqh and Adaptation to Social Reality

Monday, 30 December 1996 12:11
Published in Articles

In addition to attempting a general survey of fiqh, this essay formulate a response to the basic question whether Islamic law has the capability and resources, and if so of what kind, to accommodate social change.The essay is presented in eight parts. The initial two sections address the definition of fiqh and shari'ah and delineate the salient differences between
them. The third section briefly looks into the history of fiqh and this is followed by a description of the major themes and subject matter of this discipline. Section five addresses the methodology and sources of fiqh and the formulae that are devised for the deduction of the rules of fiqh from their sources. The next section develops the theme that the textual sources of fiqh namely Qur'an and Sunnah, integrate a certain degree of flexibillity whithin the fabric of their laws and remain open to the possibilities of interpretation and ijtihad (independent reasoning). Section seven discusses recent developments and measures that are taken to facilitate easy access to the source materials of fiqh; it also describes recent reforms, introduced in many  Muslim countries, that represent new development of fiqh. The last section attempts a brief discussion of ijtihad in the context of modern statutory legislation and explores the ways as to how the resources of fiqh and ijtihad could more effectively be utilized in the on-going efforts at legal reconstruction and reform............. Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)


The Muslim World LXXXVI, (1996), pp 62-85.

Characteristics of the Islamic State

Thursday, 30 December 1993 11:41
Published in Articles

Occasional Paper 3, Islamic Research Institute, Islamabad 1993, pp. 24.

The Citizen and State in Islamic Law

Tuesday, 30 December 1986 11:40
Published in Articles

Syariah Law Journal no. 3 (Kuala Lumpur, April 1986), 15-47.

The Limits of Power in an Islamic State

Monday, 13 February 2012 11:39
Published in Articles

There exists a difference of perspective between Muslim scholars and their Western counterparts on the nature and characteristics of Islamic Government. According to the former, Islam advocates a limited and responsible system of government, whereas the latter, on the whole, maintain that it is patently autocratic and totalitarian. The sharp difference of opinion can be partially explained by the different frames of reference with wich each side tends to substantiate its views.



Islamic Studies, Vol. 28 (1989), 323-353.

Siyasah Shariyyah or the Policies of Islamic Government

Monday, 13 February 2012 11:38
Published in Articles

Siyasah shar'iyah is a broad doctrine of Islamic Law which authorizes the ruler to determine the manner in which the Shari'ah should be administered. The ruler may accordingly take discreationary measure, enact rules and initiate policies as he deems are in the interest of good government, provided that no substantive principle of the Shari'ah is violated thereby.


The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Vol. 6, (1989), 59-81.

The Islamic State and Its Constitution

Friday, 30 December 1994 11:35
Published in Articles

in edn. Norani Othman, Sharicah Law and the Modern Nation State, Kuala Lumpur: SIS Forum, 1994, pp 45-69.

Civilian and Democratic Dimensions of Governance in Islam

Monday, 13 February 2012 11:33
Published in Articles


Classical Islamic political thought contains ideas and principles comparable to modern day tenets of democracy and pluralism. Islamic thought is derived mainly from the guidelines of the Qur’an and Sunnah on consultation, equality, justice, human dignity and so forth, which bear substantive harmony with the principles of democracy and human rights. Modern writers have further developed the democratic substance of these guidelines and have to some extent adjusted the medievalist overtones of the earlier interpretations. We submit that Islamic political order remains open to development and reform without negating its own religious and ideological heritage.


Al-Shajarah 9 (2004), 125-145.

Siyasah Shar'iyyah or shari'ah oriented policy is generally seen as an instrument of flexibility and pragmatism. It is designed to serve the cause of justice and good government, especially when the rules of shari'ah fall short of addressing a certain situation or development.


Beyond the Shariah: Siyasah Sharʿiyyah and its Application in Malaysia, Al-Shajarah, Vol. 10 No: 2 (2005), pp 169-191.

This chapter begins with an introductory section which sets out some of the uncertainties concerning the concept and definition of an Islamic State, a brief history of developments, and a literature review. The remaining part of the discussion focuses on the salient attributes of an Islamic state: whether the Islamic state proposes a limited as opposed to a totalitarian  government, whether it can be characterized as a civili state as opposed to a theocracy, and whether it would be justified to characterize the Islamic state as a qulified democracy. The last section of this paper briefly addreses the lslamist demand for the establishment of Islamic state, and some comments on recent developments in Malaysia. What is attempted here is a selective account of some of the characteristic features of an Islamic state and does not claim to be exhaustive. 

in ed. K.S. Nathan & Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Islam in Southeast Asia: Political, Social and Strategic Challenges for the 21st Century, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2005, pp 278-298.

Constitutionalism and Democracy

Wednesday, 13 October 2010 11:27
Published in Articles

Constitutionalism and Democracy: An Islamic Perspective,” Islam and Civilisational Renewal, Vol. 2, No: 1 (October 2010), 18-45.

Freedom, Equality and Justice in Islam

Tuesday, 31 December 2002 15:50
Published in Books

This book presents the reader with an analysis of the three concepts of freedom, equality and justice from an Islamic point of view, and their manifestations in the religious, social, legal and political fields. The author discussed the evidence found in the Quran and Sunna and reviews the interpretation of the earlier school of law. The work also looks at more recent contributions by Muslim jurists who have advanced fresh interpretations of freedom, equality and justice in light of changing realities of contemporary Muslim societies.



By Mohammad Hashim Kamali

ISBN 983-2092-03-5

Kuala Lumpur Ilmiah Publishers, 1999, and the Islamic Texts Society, pp 236. Second revised edn. Cambridge: the Islamic Texts Society, 2002.

Civilisational Renewal: Revisiting the Islam Hadhari Approach

Wednesday, 31 December 2008 15:31
Published in Books


The basic theme of this presentation is to advance an understanding of Islam Hadhari, not only in its Malaysian context,... but also in the Muslim world generally. Notwithstanding many reservations expressed about Islam Hadhari here in Malaysia and elsewhere, the subject seems to have captured the Muslim imagination, especially since the electoral succes of the Hamas adn the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine and Egypt in 2006, respectively, preceeded by similar developments in many other Muslim countries.


By Mohammad Hashim Kamali

ISBN 978-967-323-140-9

Civilisational Renewal: Revisiting the Islam Hadhari Approach, Kuala Lumpur: Arah Publications, 2008. (Revised 2nd ed 2009), pp xv + 96.

Shariah Law: An Introduction

Tuesday, 30 December 2008 22:34
Published in Books

Providing a comprehensive and accessible examination of Shari’ah Law, this concise introduction examines the sources, characteristic features, and schools of thought of a system often stereotyped for its severity in the West.


Oxford: ONEWORLD, 2008. pp. x + 342
ISBN: 978-1-85168-565-3


For further information please visit: www.oneworl-publications.com

Copyright by HashimKamali 2012-2021. All rights reserved.