The Duality of Qatar

TheDuality of Qatar

TheGulf region was and is known for its customary legal system. Thismeant that a leader of a certain tribe was the one who served as thearbiter and judged according to the teachings and provisions ofIslam. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, this was replacedby Islamic court systems which followed Hanbali jurisprudence.Following the discovery of oil in the region, Britain became involvedin the country’s legal affairs, and under its foreign acts, it wasgiven extraterritorial validity of the Gulf state. As was likely, thetwo systems did not supplement each other. Instead, they wereparallel. After the country’s independence in 1971, both non-Muslimforeigners and British jurisdiction seized, and once again Shariacourt regained its full jurisdiction in all criminal and civilmatters over everyone. The duality of Qatar was formed to deal withdisputes and backlogs among the country’s citizens and foreigners.


Dualitysystem in Qatar aimed at ensuring that there was no conflict betweenreligion and modernism. The legal balance was achieved by making surethat religion was given what was rightfully hers. This was possiblebecause it clearly stated what was considered religious or hadreligious meaning and it was to be used only to serve its purpose andnothing else. For example, “{T)he criminal laws under Islam specifythat if a Muslim commit certain crimes such as unintentionalhomicide, prostitution, rape and homosexuality, only the Sharia courthas legal jurisdiction over such crimes” Nizar Hamzeh,&nbspQatar:theduality of the legal system,MiddleEastern Studies 79-90 (1994).. In making his judgment, the Judgeusually applies the verdict of God based on his knowledge of theSharia law. It can thus be said that the judge giving God’s peoplethe dignity and respect which they deserve.

BothChristian and Islamic religions state that God demands totalobedience and loyalty from His followers. The Bible for instancequotes in, “I am the Lord your God, there is no other” Isaiah45-5(King James). Additionally, the Bible quotes, it is written, and “Youshall be holy, for I am holy.”Peter 1:16(King James) The above scriptures thus suggest that what belongs toGod is solely His and should not be used to serve other purposes.Those claiming to be His followers should, therefore, not use paganlaws to pass judgment upon themselves and others.

Fornon-Muslim, it is evident that they are not entitled to adhere toIslamic teachings and principles. “{T}heir court systems are basedon a modern Western concept of law which borrows heavily from theRomano-Germanic legal system Patrick Glenn, Legaltraditions of the world(2000). If non-Muslims are convicted of any crime, they have no moralobligations to appear before Islamic courts. Instead, they are takento the Presidium of the Adlai courts where court verdicts are bycivil law. The judges in the thus system are concerned with a generalrule of conduct for the future. Since Qatar is an Islamic state,Sharia courts are the ones that have influenced government policieswhile the Adlia courts and government regulations have affectednon-Muslims.


Dualismhas allowed for effective maintenance of law and order irrespectiveof the religious differences between Qatar inhabitants. Duality inQatar law was necessary because it followed the admonition fromJesus’ teaching that Christians should give to Caesuras whatbelongs to him and God the things that are God. It facilitates thisbecause when a Muslim commits an offense, he or she is judgeddifferently using the Sharia laws which they believe applies theverdict of God while non-Muslims are subjected to Adlia courts whichborrow largely from Romano-Germanic legal systems and is based onmodern western concepts.


NizarHamzeh,&nbspQatar:theduality of the legal system,MiddleEastern Studies 79-90 (1994).

H.Patrick Glenn, Legaltraditions of the world(2000).

TheKing James study Bible, (2002).