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Protection of Languages and Self-Expressions under Islamic Law

62 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2009 Last revised: 16 Sep 2010

Ali Khan

Washburn University /Legal Scholar Academy

Date Written: February 11, 2009


The Islamic law of speech diversity recognizes two distinct divine rights, one applying to speech communities and the other to individuals. The divine right to language allows each speech community to preserve and celebrate its native language free of coercion and disrespect from other speech communities. Native languages are the assets of speech communities. The Islamic law prohibits coercive degradation of native languages but at the same time it interposes no barriers in learning other languages. Closely related to the right to language is the divine right to individual self-expression or self-determination. Each human being is unique because God, the Master-Artist, shapes each human being with special attention. Social, economic, and legal barriers that refuse to recognize special talents or refuse to accommodate disabilities are incompatible with the divine plan. When individuals are given the maximum liberty allowed under Islam to pursue sciences, arts, knowledge, sports, and spirituality, Muslim communities will prosper. The study recommends that Muslim states recognize linguistic diversity and the right to personal self-determination in their positive law, including national constitutions.

Keywords: Islamic law, divine right to language, divine right to self-determination, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey

Suggested Citation

Khan, Ali, Protection of Languages and Self-Expressions under Islamic Law (February 11, 2009). Journal of Transnational Law & Policy, Vol. 19, No. 1, p. 61, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Ali Khan (Contact Author)

Washburn University /Legal Scholar Academy ( email )

Topeka, KS 66610
United States
7856701671 (Phone)


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