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Islamic Law

Islamic law or sharia law is an advancing area of the law in the United States. Due to the influx of Islamic immigrants, Islamic law has grown prominence in law practitioners in the country. Islamic law is derived from the Quran, considered by the Muslims as the word of God, and the "Sunnah" or the teachings of Mohammad as prophet. Aside from the Quran and the Sunnah, Islamic law is also derived from religious edicts and legal decisions interpreting the law. Sharia law is a special kind of law in that it only applies to people who are practicing the Islam religion. This law governs all areas of the Islamic life, including marriage, crime, property, business and banking. Islamic law is governs both the personal and public practice of Islam as religion. In countries where Islamic law is widely recognized, there is a set of judges who interprets and makes decisions on disputes arising from Islamic law. In the United States, there are no different set of judges who makes decisions based on Islamic law. Rather, judges in the American legal system are the ones who are tasked in interpreting Islamic law vis-à-vis American laws.

The pervasive issue with Islamic law is its conflict with American civil law. Adaptation of sharia law in the United States vary in each state. Numerous states have adapted Islamic law in their legislation to accommodate Islamic practices, which are often different from American practices, but a few states have limited the application of Islamic laws. There is an increasing number of cases that question the constitutionality of certain laws and liberties as they often exclude Islamic practices, are seen insensitive to Islamic feelings, or are contrary to the Islamic beliefs. Because personal Islamic beliefs and feelings are sensitive, American courts are careful in deciding cases revolving around these issues.

One of the common application of Islamic law in the United States is in cases of divorce. Typically, judges will recognize the validity of marriage under Islamic law from a Muslim country in order to issue a divorce decree. The issue of marriage under Islamic law is an area of continuous debate in the United States as American family law prohibits polygamy or the marriage of one man to two or more women or the marriage of one women to two or more men.

Banking in the Islamic law, however, is a different matter to American courts. In order to attract investors from the Middle East and other Islamic countries, American banks and businesses have complied with requirements under the sharia law. Islamic banking law requires the company to donate a percentage of its annual profits to Islamic organizations designated by their Sharia-compliance advisors.

Legal issues arising from Islamic law is a sensitive matter in the United States and should be left handled by practitioners of both Islamic and American law. An expert Islamic law attorney would know how to be compliant with Islamic laws and reconcile both Islamic and American law for the client's best interest.

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