Splitting the Atom of Sovereignty: How Shari‘a Law and Natural Law Impact Law and Politics

As both religion and constitutionalism gain prominence across the globe, a question that emerges is how non-state sources of law make their way into the constitutions, laws, and judicial decisions of particular nations. By comparing Shari‘a law with natural law, various mechanisms of influence for higher law become clear. Shari‘a’s influence on law and politics is direct and concrete. Natural law’s influence, taking place through fewer mechanisms, is more indirect and abstract. These different manners of influence are a product of the different, though facially similar, nature, scope, and content of the two laws. These differences are, in turn, a product of how the two laws handle the question of sovereignty. The varying ways in which these two higher laws address God’s sovereignty determine the different content and structure of the laws and therefore the manner in which they make their way into law and politics, presenting helpful insights in resolving the emerging clash of orders.