The Distinguished al-Azhar
Academy for Islamic Research
The Project for an Islamic Constitution
Presented by: General Secretariat of the Academy for Islamic Research
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
1 – The decisions and recommendations of the 8th meeting of the Academy for Islamic Research, which was held in Cairo on Dhu al-Qa’da 1396 h./ October 1977 C. state that the meeting commissions al-Azhar, and particularly the Academy for Islamic Research, to write down an Islamic constitution. This way, it will be available to any country that wishes to model itself after the Islamic shari’a. The meeting also saw fit that the principles laid down in this constitution agree with those shared between the Islamic schools of law to the utmost extent possible.
2 – In order to carry out this request, during a session conducted on 11 Muharram, 1977, the Board of the Academy for Islamic Research decided to entrust the drafting of this constitution to the Academy’s Committee for Islamic Constitutional Research. This was done with the condition that the people who could participate in carrying out this project be invited.
3 – In accordance with this, the Grand Shaykh of al-Azhar, Dr. ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud, the Shaykh of al-Azhar and President of the Academy for Islamic Research assembled a High Committee separate from the membership of the Academy’s Committee for Islamic Constitutional Research. He chose the very best people working in Islamic and constitutional law so that he could delegate this task to them.
4 – When it met under the chairmanship of the Grand Shaykh of al-Azhar, the above-mentioned High Committee decided to assemble a subcommittee to write the studies and papers, and a draft of the Constitution. This draft was to be presented to the High Committee upon its completion.
5 – The subcommittee held weekly meetings on a regular basis until it finished its draft, wrote it down in its final form, and presented it to the High Committee. This draft contained nine sections which are comprised of thirty-nine independent Articles, as follows:
Section 1: The Islamic Community, Four Articles
Section 2: The Foundation of Islamic Society, Thirteen Articles
Section 3: Islamic Economy, Ten Articles
Section 4: Individual Rights and Freedoms, Sixteen Articles
Section 5: The Imam, Seventeen Articles
Section 6: The Judiciary, Twenty-Three Articles
Section 7: Consultation, Monitoring, and Enacting Laws, Two Articles
Section 8: The Government, Two Articles
Section 9: General and Transitional Rules, Seven Articles
The General Secretariat of the Academy for Islamic Research presents this draft before the ninth meeting of the Academy in accordance with the request of the eighth meeting.
The General Secretariat of the Academy for Islamic Research
Dr. al-Husayni ‘Abd al-Majid Hashim
Section 1: The Islamic Community
Article 1: Muslims are one nation.
Article 2: Islamic shari’a is the source of all legislation.
Article 3: It is permitted for there to be more than one country within the Islamic Nation even if the style of government varies among them.
Article 4: The people are in charge of monitoring the Imam, his officials, and the rest of the government. They are in charge of holding them accountable in accordance with the laws of Islamic shari’a.
Section 2: The Foundation of Islamic Society
Article 5: Cooperation and integration are the foundation of society
Article 6: Commanding good and forbidding wrong is obligatory
Article 7: The family is the foundation of society. Religion and morals are the foundation of the family. The state guarantees to support the family, to protect motherhood, to look after children, and to bring about the means to ensure this.
Article 8: [blank space]
with housing, all possible assistance subsidies, honoring married life, and create the means to improve the responsibilities of women to their husbands, service to her children, and to consider attending her family her primary responsibility.
Article 9: It is the responsibility of the state to attend to the welfare of the nation and the well-being of individuals. It is incumbent upon the state to distribute preventative and therapeutic medicine.
Article 10: Education is a religious duty. The state is responsible for education in accordance with the law.
Article 11: Religious upbringing is a basic program in all stages of education.
Article 12: The state is required to teach Muslims the things about which there is religious consensus. Among the things that are required to be taught: the life of the Prophet, the lives of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, comprehensive study throughout the grade levels.
Article 13: The state is required to teach Qur’an memorization to Muslims appropriate to grade levels. Likewise, it will found specialized institutes for Qur’an memorization for those who are not school students. The state will print copies of the Qur’an and facilitate their circulation.
Article 14: Excessive adornment is forbidden and chastity is required. The state will issue laws and decrees in order to defend public sensibilities from vulgarity in accordance with the rules of Islamic shari’a.
Article 15: Arabic is the official language, and the Hijri calendar must be displayed on all official correspondence.
Article 16: Public sovereignty is based on the interest of the citizens, in particular protecting religion, reason, the soul, property, and honor.
Article 17: It is not sufficient for the ends to be legal, but rather at all times the means must be in accordance with Islamic shari’a.
Section 3: Islamic Economy
Article 18: The economy will be based upon the principles of Islamic shari’a which guarantees human dignity and social justice. It requires striving in life through both thought and deed and ensures lawful profit.
Article 19: Free commerce, manufacturing, and agriculture is guaranteed within the framework of Islamic shari’a.
Article 20: The state will lay out plans for economic growth in accordance with Islamic shari’a.
Article 21: The state will fight against monopolization and will not interfere with prices except when necessary.
Article 22: The state will encourage making the desert into arable land and increase the land under cultivation.
Article 23: Taking or receiving usury is not permitted nor is participating in any transaction involved with usury.
Article 24: The state has legal possession of all of the natural resources that are underground, i.e., metals, ores, etc.
Article 25: All possessions that have no owner become the property of the treasury. The law will spell out the way that individuals can take possession of it.
Article 26: The state will hand out the alms-tax which has been given by individuals to the government through public, Islamic banks.
Article 27: Establishing endowments for resources is permitted. The law to establish this will be issued with the agreement of all parties.
Section 4: Individual Rights and Freedoms
Article 28: Justice and equality are the foundation of rule. The rights to a legal defense and to file lawsuits is guaranteed. Infringing upon these rights is not permitted.
Article 29: Freedom of religion and thought, the freedom to work, the freedom to express opinion directly or indirectly, the freedom to found trade union associations and participate in them, personal freedom, and the freedom to move and congregate are all basic, natural rights that are protected within the framework of the Islamic shari’a.
Article 30: Housing, correspondence, and private affairs are inviolable and spying on them is forbidden. The law can spell out ways that the state can restrict this inviolability in cases of high treason or imminent danger. Such restrictions can only occur with permission from the judiciary.
Article 31: The right to move within the country and abroad are recognized. Citizens will not be forbidden from travel abroad nor will they be required to stay in one place instead of another without a court order. The judge must disclose the reasons for it. Expatriating citizens is not permissible.
Article 32: [blank space] regular people by agreements with interested countries.
Article 33: Torturing people is crime. Neither the crime or the punishment become void during the life of the perpetrator. Whoever committed the act and his accomplice are responsible for the crime monetarily. Whosoever helps in the planning or execution or remains silent about it is, legally, a criminal accomplice, and civilly responsible. The government will inquire with him about his involvement.
Article 34: Any government employee who knows of torturing being committed in his department and does not report it to the proper authorities will be punished.
Article 35: In Islam, blood is not shed in vain. The state must compensate: the families of murder victims when the murderer is unknown; the families of those rendered disabled, if the perpetrator is unknown. The state is also responsible for compensation if the perpetrator does not have enough money to pay for the compensation.
Article 36: Everybody has the right to submit a complaint about a crime committed against him or against someone else or about public money being embezzled or squandered.
Article 37:The right to work, earn a profit, and ownership are guaranteed. This cannot be infringed upon unless required by the laws of Islamic shari’a.
Article 38: Women have the right to work within the framework of Islamic shari’a.
Article 39: The state guarantees the freedom of ownership, ownership rights, and the sacredness of this right. Public confiscation is not permissible for any reason. Private confiscation can only occur through a court order.
Article 40: An individual’s ownership rights cannot be taken away unless it is for the public good and he is compensated entirely in accordance with the particular laws that will be instituted for this.
Article 41: The founding of newspapers will be allowed. Freedom of the press will be within the framework of Islamic shari’a
Article 42: Citizens have the right to form labor organizations and trade unions on a clear legal basis. Those which go against the social system, or which secretly have a military character, or which go against any aspect of Islamic shari’a are not allowed.
Article 43: Rights will be practiced in accordance with the aims of the shari’a.
Section 5: The Imam
Article 44: The state will have an Imam. Obedience to him is required even if there is disagreement with him.
Article 45: Obedience to someone who disobeys God is unacceptable. An Imam who disobeys the shari’a with his actions should not be obeyed.
Article 46: The law will clarify the path for elections to choose an Imam. The elections will be carried out under the supervision of the judiciary. The candidate with the required majority of votes will be elected.
Article 47: Candidates for the presidency of the state must be: Muslim, male, past the age of majority, of sound mind, pious, and knowledgeable about the rules of Islamic shari’a.
Article 48: The electing of the Imam will be completed with a pledge of allegiance from all the classes of the nation as the law requires. Women have the right to demand to participate in an election when they meet the requirements and are able to vote.
Article 49: Expressing an opinion about the election of an Imam before its completed is not a crime.
Article 50: The people who hold the rights to the pledge of allegiance can dismiss the Imam when there is reason to do so in a way proscribed by the law.
Article 51: The Imam will defer to the judiciary. He has the right to have an attorney at court.
Article 52: The President of the State enjoys the same rights and responsibilities as do the citizens
Article 53: [blank space] stopping with him, or with one of his relatives four-times removed unless there is a testament specifying to whom the Imam inherits. Likewise, the Imam may not purchase or rent something that the state owns, nor can he sell or lease something that he owns to the state.
Article 54: Giving gifts to the Imam is calamitous, thus all gifts will be donated to the state treasury.
Article 55: The Imam is an example of justice, piety, and good deeds for his subjects. He shares the duty with the other Muslim Imams in looking after everything that effects the Muslim community. Similarly, he will send a delegation every year to participate in the hajj and to participate in both official and unofficial Muslim conferences.
Article 56: The Imam is responsible for guiding his army to engage in jihad against the enemy, protect the borders and the soil of the country, to enforce the hudud1, and to sign treaties once they have been drawn up.
Article 58: The Imam appoints government employees. It is permissible for the law to assign someone else to appoint government employees except at the highest levels.
Article 59: Amnesty for crimes other than hudud-crimes can only be granted by law. The Imam has the power to grant pardon from criminal punishment in particular circumstances with the exception of the hudud and high treason.
Article 60: Upon necessity—if great troubles occur, or something occurs which warns of great troubles, or threatens the state, or warns of civil war, or of war with another country, the Imam has the power to take extraordinary measures. They must be presented to the Parliament a week after they have been enacted. If a Parliament has not yet been elected, then the old Parliament will be convened. These measures are void if these steps are not followed. A law will be issued that clarifies these extraordinary measures, the effects that they have, the reasons why they were taken, and the way in which their effects will be adjusted in case the measures are not affirmed.
Section 6: The Judiciary
Article 61: The judiciary shall rule justly in accordance with the rule of Islamic shari’a.
Article 62: The people are equals before the courts. It is not permissible to discriminate against an individual or group with special rulings.
Article 63: Special courts may not be established nor may any defendant be deprived of having a normal judge.
Article 64: It is not permissible to forbid the judiciary from hearing a claim against the Imam or the ruler.
Article 65: Rulings should be published and implemented in the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Judges are be subject only to the Islamic shari’a in their judgments.
Article 66: The implementation of rulings is the responsibility of the state, and omission or inaction in their implementation [is forbidden].
Article 67: The state guarantees the judiciary’s independence, and compromising its independence is a crime.
Article 68: The state shall select the most qualified men for the judiciary and facilitate the functioning of their work.
Article 69: In hudud crimes, the accused must be presented to the court. A lawyer of his choosing or, should he not have chosen a lawyer, one appointed by the state must attend with him.
Article 70: The Judicial Council should be public. The general populace has the right to attend. It is not permissible to hold court in secret unless legally required.
Article 71: The shari’a penalties for the hudud are applied for the crimes of fornication, false accusation of fornication, theft, highway robbery, drinking alcohol, and apostasy.
Article 72: The law limits the judicial punishments which the judge may prescribe in non-hudud crimes.
Article 73: The law clarifies laws for oaths regarding oaths of innocence in murder cases. It is impermissible for civil liability to exceed blood-money amounts.
Article 74: The law clarifies the conditions of accepting repentance and its rulings.
Article 75: The death penalty is not given for a crime unless the plaintiff declines reconciliation or amnesty.
Article 76: In qisas2 cases, reconciliation is permitted to be more than the blood-money.
Article 77: It is permissible for a woman to stand as equal to a man in terms of blood-money.
Article 78: The conditions of qisas in cases of wounding are exactly similar and the judge is completely aware of such.
Article 79: The whip is the principle punishment in judicial punishments. Imprisonment is forbidden except for a few crimes and for a limited period decided by the judge.
Article 80: It is not permissible to humiliate the imprisoned, force him to work, or insult his dignity.
Article 81: A Supreme Constitutional Court shall be founded, having jurisdiction over the correspondence of laws and regulations to the rulings of Islamic shari’a and the rulings of this Constitution. The law shall delimit its other spheres of authority.
Article 82: A Court for the Redress of Injustice shall be established. The law shall delimit its form, its spheres of authority, and the salaries of its members.
Section 7: Consultation, Monitoring, and Enacting Laws
Article 83: The state shall have a Consultative Assembly exercising the following specific duties:
- Enacting laws such as are not inconsistent with Islamic shari’a.
- Approving the annual budget of the state and its final accounting.
- Monitoring the actions of the executive power.
- Holding those responsible in the ministry accountable for their actions and withdrawing its confidence in them when necessary.
Article 84: The law outlines the conditions of elections, how they shall take place, and the conditions of membership. This will be based on consultation such that any sane person who has reached the age of majority of good reputation is ensured the ability to participate in expressing his opinion. Furthermore, the law outlines treatment of the Council’s members monetarily. The Council shall draft its internal regulations.
Section 8: The Government
Article 85: The government assumes the responsibility of administering the affairs of rule, realizing agreed-upon legitimate interests, and is responsible before the Imam.
Article 86: The law outlines the conditions for appointing ministers, the activities prohibited from them during the undertaking of their positions, and the way to hold them accountable for what they do in carrying out their jobs.
Section 9: General and Transitional Rules
Article 87: The city of (…..) shall be the capital of the country.
Article 88: The law shall clarify the flag of the nation and its motto as well as delineate the particular rules for each of them.
Article 89: The laws are applied from the date of their being put into effect and will not applied retrospectively unless stating so. That requires the agreement of two-thirds of the members of Parliament. There shall be no retrospective action in criminal matters.
Article 90: The laws shall be published in the official newspaper for a period of two weeks from the date of their proclamation. They will have the force of law one month after the date of their publication, unless other dates are specified.
Article 91: Both the Imam and the Parliament may request the amendment of an Article or Articles of the Constitution. The requested amendment must be stated in the request for amendment, along with the reasons calling for such amendment. Should the request come from the Parliament, it must at least be approved by the House.
- In all cases, the House shall discuss the principle of the amendment, and proclaim a resolution on the matter with a two-thirds majority. If the request is refused, then a request for amending the same Article is not permitted until a year after the initial refusal.
- If the Parliament agrees upon the principle of amendment on which discussion occurred, two months from the date of this agreement, the requested Article shall be amended. Then, the agreement of two-thirds of the members of the House on the amendment is presented to the nation for referendum. If the amendment is agreed upon, it is to be considered operative from the date of the announcement of the referendum’s result.
Article 92: All laws and lists of rules resolved before the publication of this Constitution remain valid and operative. However, their repeal or amendment is permitted in agreement with the rules and regulations laid out in this Constitution. If something contradicts the rules of Islamic shari‘a, it shall be repealed and replaced.
Article 93: This Constitution goes into effect from the date of the announcement of the agreement of the nation upon it in a referendum. This plan has been prepared in accordance with this resolution, which states:
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Resolution #11 of the Shaykh of al-Azhar; dated the 25th of Muharram 1398 h./5th of January 1978 C.
Shaykh al-Azhar: After reviewing Law #103 of the year 1961 regarding: the matter of reorganizing al-Azhar, the agencies that comprise it, the amended laws regarding it,
- resolution #250 of the esteemed President of the Republic in the year 1975 regarding the publication of the executive regulation of the law #103 of the year 1961 mentioned above,
- the decisions [blank space]
During the month of Dhu al-Qa‘da, in the year 1397 h./October 1977 C., which contained his first recommendation
regarding the drafting of an Islamic Constitution to be available to any country that wishes to model itself after the Islamic shari‘a, it is resolved:
Article 1: The formation of a High Committee to Draft a Plan for an Islamic Constitution to be available to any state that wishes to model itself after the Islamic shari‘a. Consideration shall be made for the principles agreed upon by the Islamic schools of law to the utmost extent possible.
- It is up to the Committee to form a subcommittee made up of its members
Article 2: The formation of the High Committee mentioned above is as follows:
- His Eminence, the Grand Imam, Doctor ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud (Presiding)
- His Eminence, the Professor Doctor al-Husayni Hashim
- Professor, consultant, the Esteemed ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Hindi
- His Eminence, the Shaykh Husayn Muhammad Makhluf
- His Eminence, Professor Doctor ‘Abd al-Galil Shalabi
- His Eminence, Professor, the Shaykh ‘Abd al-Galil ‘Isa
- Professor, consultant ‘Abd al-Halim al-Gundi (Rapporteur)
- Professor, consultant ‘Abd al-Fattah Nasr
- Professor, consultant, Minister ‘Abd al-Mun‘im ‘Imara
- Professor, consultant ‘Ali ‘Ali Mansur
- His Eminence, Professor Doctor Muhammad Hasan Fayad
- His Eminence, Professor, the Shaykh Muhammad Khatir Muhammad al-Shaykh
- Professor Muhammad ‘Atiyya Khamis, J.D.
- His Eminence, Professor Doctor Mahmud Shawkat al-‘Adawi
- Professor, consultant Mustafa ‘Afifi
- Professor, consultant Doctor Mustafa Kamal Wasfi
- In case of the absence of the head of the Committee, the oldest member in terms of age shall preside.
Article 3: The Executive Secretary of the Academy for Islamic Research shall undertake secretarial duties, and he may be joined by other secretaries should the Shaykh of al-Azhar decide so.
Article 4: Work shall proceed in accordance with this resolution from the date of its proclamation, and it shall supersede any prior resolutions. Its implementation is the duty of the relevant bodies.
The Shaykh of al-Azhar: ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud
Then, the following was added to this resolution:
Resolution #12 of the Shaykh of al-Azhar; dated the 25th of Muharram, 1398 h./5th of January, 1978 C.
The Shaykh of al-Azhar: Having reviewed Law #103 of the year 1961 regarding the matter of reorganizing al-Azhar, the agencies that comprise it, the amended laws regarding it, Resolution #250 of the esteemed President of the Republic of the year 1975 regarding the publication of the executive regulations of the law mentioned above, and our Resolution #11, dated 1/5/1978, regarding the issue of forming a High Committee for Drafting the Islamic Constitution following the recommendation of the conference
Has so resolved: Article 1: the formation of a subcommittee made up of members of the High Committee for Drafting the Islamic Constitution structured as follows:
- His Eminence, Doctor Professor al-Husayni Hashim
- Professor, the consultant Mr. ‘Abd al-’Aziz Hindi (Rapporteur)
- His Eminence, Professor Shaykh Hassanayn Muhammad Makhluf
- Professor, the consultant ‘Abd al-Halim al-Gundi
- Professor, the consultant ‘Abd al-Fattah Nussar
- Professor, the consultant, Minister ‘Abd al-Mun’im ‘Imara
- His Eminence, Professor Shaykh Muhammad Khatir Muhammad al-Shaykh
- Professor Muhammad ‘Atiyya Khamis, J.D.
- Professor, the consultant Mustafa ‘Afifi
- Professor, the consultant Yaqut al-’Ashmawi
- Professor, the consultant Mustafa Kamal Wasfi
- His Eminence, Doctor Muhammad Shawkat al-’Adawi
—The oldest member in terms of age from among those in attendance shall preside over the Committee. In the case of the attendance of His Eminence, the Grand Imam, at Committee meetings, he shall preside.
Article 2: The subcommittee shall present the conclusions of its research and studies regarding the plan for the Islamic Constitution to His Eminence, the Grand Imam, the Shaykh of al-Azhar.
Article 3: It is the duty of the relevant bodies to implement this resolution according to how it applies to them.
Shaykh of al-Azhar: ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud
1“God’s Limits”: crimes in which the Qur’an mandates a specific punishment should the accused be found guilty of the crime.
2Cases of lex talionis, “an eye for an eye.”
Acquired 8 July 2011
Translated by Elias Saba and Thomas Levi Thompson