From the Hudood Ordinances to the Protection of Women Act: Islamic Critiques of the Hudood Laws of Pakistan

33 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2008 Last revised: 1 Feb 2010

See all articles by Mustafa Abdul Rahman

Mustafa Abdul Rahman

Northern University Bangladesh

Moeen Cheema

ANU College of Law

Date Written: October 17, 2008


This paper is an attempt to present an impartial review of the Islamized laws pertaining to sexual offences in Pakistan and to highlight the major structural and theoretical problems therein, paying particular attention to the perspectives of the modernist Islamists, human rights lawyers as well as traditionalist Islamic scholars. We hope to demonstrate that there is a set of fundamental theoretical disagreements between the modernist and traditional Islamic accounts which preclude the possibility of full agreement on the scope, remit and applicability of these laws. Over the last two decades the Shariat (Islamic) courts, although appearing to be responsive to some of the human rights criticisms and political opposition, have been unable to define the underlying philosophical premises on the basis of which they interpret and apply these laws. The legislature too has failed to resolve the fundamental tensions and recent legislative interventions represent a compromise between the two perspectives, while also accommodating the human rights critique through a number of procedural safeguards. This is typical of recent efforts at law reform in the context of 'de-Islamization' and means that in reality the real debate concerning the nature and scope of Islamic laws regulating sexual conduct is only being deferred.

Keywords: Hudood, Islamic Law, Pakistan

Suggested Citation

Rahman, Mustafa Abdul and Cheema, Moeen H, From the Hudood Ordinances to the Protection of Women Act: Islamic Critiques of the Hudood Laws of Pakistan (October 17, 2008). UCLA Journal of Near Eastern and Islamic Law, 2008-2009; Islamic Law and Law of the Muslim World Paper No. 09-55; ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 09-14. Available at SSRN:

Mustafa Abdul Rahman

Northern University Bangladesh ( email )

Ibat Trust
93 Kazi Nazrul Islam Ave
Dhaka, 1215

Moeen H Cheema (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics