Islamic Law vs Continental Law

Islamic Law vs Continental Law

Islamic Law and Continental Law represent two distinct legal systems with contrasting principles and foundations. Islamic Law, derived from the Quran and Hadith, focuses on religious principles, morality, and social justice. Continental Law, also known as civil law, is based on legislation and legal codes, emphasising statutes and precedents.

Islamic Law

Origins: Islamic law, also known as Sharia law, is derived from the religious teachings of Islam as found in the Quran (Islamic holy book) and the Hadith (the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad). It developed in the early centuries of Islam and is applied in countries with a majority Muslim population.

Divine revelation: Islamic law is seen as divine revelation and is based on the religious teachings of Islam. It covers various aspects of life, including personal conduct, family matters, contracts, criminal justice, and more. Its ultimate goal is to promote justice and the well-being of individuals and society.

Sources: Islamic law draws its principles from the Quran, the Hadith, scholarly interpretations (ijtihad), and legal opinions of Islamic jurists (fiqh). The interpretation and application of Islamic law can vary among different schools of thought (madhhabs).

Application: Islamic law seeks to govern all aspects of life, providing guidance on personal behaviour, family law, business transactions, criminal law, and more. It is enforced in countries that follow a system based on Islamic principles, often with a parallel legal system operating alongside civil or common law.

Continental Law

Origins: Continental law, also known as civil law, originated in continental Europe and is derived from the legal system of ancient Rome. It has evolved over time and is prevalent in countries such as France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and many others.

Codification: Continental law places a strong emphasis on written legal codes. Legal principles and rules are codified in comprehensive statutes or codes, which serve as the primary source of law. These codes provide a systematic and organised framework for legal proceedings.

Legal categories: Continental law typically classifies legal matters into distinct categories, such as contract law, property law, tort law, and so on. This classification allows for a structured approach to legal analysis and provides a comprehensive legal framework.

Role of judges: In continental law systems, judges have a limited role compared to common law. Their primary responsibility is to apply the law as provided by statutes and codes. Judges focus on interpreting and enforcing existing legal provisions, rather than creating new legal principles through their judgments.

While both Islamic law and continental law have codified legal systems, they differ significantly in their sources, objectives, and underlying principles. Islamic law is rooted in religious teachings and aims to govern all aspects of life based on divine guidance, while continental law is a secular legal system that emphasises the systematic codification of legal principles derived from Roman law.
Back to blog
UOL Case Bank

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.