Of Neocolonialism, Common Law and Uncodifiable Shari’a: A Reply to Professor An-Na’im

Document Type



2 Journal of Comparative Law 61 (2007).


In an earlier article -- Robinson et al., Codifying Shari'a: International Norms, Legality & the Freedom to Invent New Forms, http://ssrn.com/abstract=941443 -- the authors report the challenges and opportunities that arose during their commission by the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of the Maldives to produce the first modern comprehensive criminal code based upon Shari'a.

In this brief essay they respond to published criticisms of that project, which asserted, among other things, that Shari'a cannot be codified, that it should not be codified, that the project was a shameful exercise in neocolonialism, that the project was an act of oppression in complicity with an insufficiently democratic government, and that the project was done badly because it got Shari'a wrong, because it sometimes did not follow Shari'a, or because it was insufficiently sensitive to the methodology and process inherent in Shari'a.

Available for download at http://ssrn.com/abstract=982855

Date of Authorship for this Version

April 2007


Islamic Model Penal Code, Shari'a, United Nations Development Program, Republic of the Maldives, codified penal law, sentencing guidelines, international norms, Muslim, drafting