Sharia Law is not recognized in Canada.

Attempts to set up Sharia law in Canada in 2005 were abandoned after protests. The Jewish community and the Catholic community did not want Muslims introducing Sharia law in Canada, so they accepted the decision to ban all religious arbitration in Ontario, including their own respective tribunals.

In May 2005, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously supported a motion to block the use of Sharia law in Quebec courts.

This 2008 survey gives results on Canadian Muslims' feelings towards Al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iranian regime.

Sharia Law in Canada - Overview - the Muslim World

Sharia Law in CanadaAll Muslims believe Sharia is God's law, but differ as to what it entails. Modernists, traditionalists and fundamentalists all hold different views of Sharia. Different countries and cultures have varying interpretations of Sharia Law as well.

Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, have largely secular constitutions and laws, with only a few Islamic Law provisions in family law. Turkey has a constitution that is officially strongly secular. India and the Philippines have separate Muslim civil laws, wholly based on Sharia. Most countries of the Middle East and North Africa maintain a dual system of secular courts and religious courts, in which the religious courts mainly regulate marriage and inheritance. Saudi Arabia and Iran maintain religious courts for all aspects of jurisprudence. Laws derived from Sharia are also applied in Afghanistan, Libya and Sudan. Sharia law is officially recognized by the justice system in Israel in matters of personal status of Muslims if they choose a Sharia court (e.g. marriage, divorce, guardianship.) Lebanon incorporates Sharia law for Muslims in family matters.


Sharia Law in Canada - The Source of Sharia Law

Sharia is composed of four parts: the Koran, or holy book of Islam; the Sunnah, which is a record of the habits, sayings and actions of Islam's prophet Mohammed; the Hadith, which are recollections and stories collected by early Islamic scholars about the life of Mohammed; and finally, fiqh and fatwa, which are interpretations of Sharia law and non-binding opinions written by Islamic scholars.

Sharia Law in Canada - The Major Tenets of Sharia Law

Reliance of the Traveller, an English translation of a fourteenth century CE reference written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, organizes Sharia law into the following topics:

  • Purification
    Muslims believe that certain human activities and contact with impure animals and substances cause impurity. Muslims use water for purification in most circumstances, although earth can also be used under certain conditions. Before prayer or other religious rituals, Muslims must clean themselves in a prescribed manner.

  • Prayer
    Muslims are required to pray five times each day. They must turn to face the Kaaba in Mecca when they pray, and they must be purified in order for their prayers to be accepted.

  • The Funeral Prayer
    Muslims are encouraged to visit those among them who are sick and dying. Dying Muslims are reminded of God's mercy, and the value of prayer, by those who visit them. In turn, the visitors are reminded of their mortality, and the transient nature of life. Upon death, the Muslim will be washed and shrouded in clean, white cloth. A special prayer, Janazah, is performed for the deceased, preferably by the assembled Muslim community.

  • The Poor Tax
    All Muslims who live above the subsistence level must pay an annual poor tax, known as zakat. This is not charity, but rather an obligation owed by the Muslim to the poor of the community. The amount is calculated based on the wealth of the Muslim paying the tax, not their income. The base rate of taxation is 2.5 percent, but it varies depending on the type of wealth being assessed. Wealth includes savings, jewellery and land.

  • Fasting
    During the Islamic month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink, sex and tobacco between dawn and sunset.

  • The Pilgrimage
    At least once in each Muslim's lifetime, they must attempt a visit to the holy places of Islam located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The focus of this journey is the Kaaba, a small rectangular building around which The Sacred Mosque, the largest mosque in the world, has been built. This pilgrimage, known as the Hajj, begins two months after Ramadan.

  • Trade
    Islamic law recognizes private and community property. Under Sharia law, however, ownership of all property ultimately rests with God; while individual property rights are upheld, there is a corresponding obligation to share, particularly with those in need. The laws of contract and obligation are also formed around this egalitarian Koranic requirement, prohibiting unequal exchanges or unfair advantage in trade. On this basis, the charging of interest on loans is prohibited, as are other transactions in which risks are borne disproportionately to the potential returns between parties to a transaction. The limits on personal liability afforded by incorporation are seen as a form of usury in this sense, as is insurance.

  • Inheritance
    The rules of inheritance under Sharia law are intricate. A female's portion is generally half the amount a male would receive under the same circumstances.

  • Veiled WomanMarriage

    The man who is not currently a fornicator may marry only a woman who is not currently a fornicatress or a chaste woman from the people of the Book.

    The woman who is not currently a fornicatress may marry only a man who is not currently a fornicator.

    The fornicator may marry only a fornicatress.

    The Muslim woman may marry only a Muslim man.

    Permission for a virgin female to marry must be given by her guardian, usually her father.

    The father, or in some cases the paternal grandfather, may choose a suitable partner for a virgin girl. No other person designated as a girl's guardian may compel her marriage.

    The guardian may not marry the divorced woman or the widow if she did not ask to be married.

    It is obligatory for a man to give gifts to the woman he marries.

    In Sharia law, a Muslim man is permitted up to four wives. All wives are entitled to separate living quarters at the behest of the husband and if possible. All should receive equal attention, support, treatment and inheritance. In modern practice, it is uncommon for a Muslim man to have more than one wife; if he does so, it is often due to the infertility of his first wife. The practice of polygamy has been regulated or abolished in some Muslim states.

  • Divorce
    Men have the right of unilateral divorce under classical Sharia. A Sunni Muslim divorce is effective when the man tells his wife that he is divorcing her, however a Shia divorce also requires four witnesses. Upon divorce, the husband must pay the wife any delayed component of the dower. If a man divorces his wife in this manner three times, he may not re-marry her unless she first marries, and is subsequently divorced from, another man. Only then, and only if the divorce from the second husband is not intended as a means to re-marry her first husband, may the first husband and the woman re-marry.

  • Justice and Penalties
  • Beheading Theft is punished by imprisonment or amputation of hands. This is in accordance with the Koran (5:38) and several hadith (Narrations concerning the words and deeds of the Prophet Mohammed.). The Koran says:

    5:38 Cut off the hands of thieves, whether they are male or female, as punishment for what they have done—a deterrent from God: God is almighty and wise.

    Adultery by married men and women is punished by stoning to death. In accordance with hadith, stoning to death is the penalty for married men and women who commit adultery. The punishment cannot be enforced unless there is a confession of the person, or four male eyewitnesses who each saw the act being committed. All of these must be met under the scrutiny of judicial authority.

    Adultery by unmarried men and women is punished by lashing. For unmarried men and women, the punishment prescribed in the Koran (24:2) and hadith is 100 lashes. The Koran says:

    24:2 The fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. [This punishment is for unmarried persons guilty of the above crime (illegal sex), but if married persons commit it (illegal sex), the punishment is to stone them to death, according to Allah's law]. (Hilali and Khan).]

    Apostasy (renunciation of faith) and Treason are punished by death. In most interpretations of Sharia, conversion by Muslims to other religions, is strictly forbidden. Muslim theology equates apostasy to treason, and in most interpretations of Sharia, the penalty for apostasy is death. Nowadays, many scholars differentiate between treason and apostasy, believing that the punishment for apostasy is not death, while the punishment for treason is death.

    On November 14, 2010 the Canadian Government expressed its concern over reports that a Pakistani woman has been sentenced to death for blasphemy: “Canada is deeply concerned over Asia Bibi’s death sentence for blasphemy, issued by a local court in Pakistan...


    Wife beating is allowed. The Koran says:

    4:34 . . . If you fear high handedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great. (MAS Abdel Haleem, the Koran, Oxford UP, 2004)

    Sharia Law in Canada

    In 1991, Ontario was looking for ways to ease the burdens of a backlogged court system. So the province changed its Arbitration Act to allow "faith-based arbitration" – a system where Muslims, Jews, Catholics and members of other faiths could use the guiding principles of their religions to settle family disputes such as divorce, custody and inheritances outside the court system.

    It was voluntary – both parties (a husband and wife) had to agree to go through the process. But once they did, the decisions rendered by the tribunal were binding.

    The Ontario government, in its review of the Arbitration Act, released a report on December 20, 2004, conducted by former attorney general Marion Boyd. Among her 46 recommendations was that:

    • The Arbitration Act should continue to allow disputes to be arbitrated using religious law, if the safeguards currently prescribed and recommended by this review are observed.

    In her report, Boyd noted that some "participants in the Review fear that the use of arbitration is the beginning of a process whose end goal is a separate political identity for Muslims in Canada, that has not been the experience of other groups who use arbitration." Earlier in the year, the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice said it wanted to set up its own faith-based arbitration panels under the Arbitration Act, based on Sharia law.

    Sharia Law in Canada - Concerns about establishing Sharia law in a Canada.

    The Boyd proposal ran into opposition from women's groups, legal organizations and the Muslim Canadian Congress, which all warned that the 1,400-year-old Sharia law does not view women as equal to men.

    The National Association of Women and the Law, the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, and the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada argued that under Sharia law, men and women are not treated equally. They argued that women fare far worse in divorce, child custody and inheritance matters under Sharia law. For instance, a woman can only inherit half as much as a man can. If a divorced woman remarries, custody of the children from her previous marriage may revert to the children's father.

    Attempts to set up Sharia courts in Canada in 2005 were abandoned after protests. The Jewish community and the Catholic community did not want Muslims introducing Sharia into Canada, so they accepted the decision to ban all religious arbitration in Ontario, including their own respective tribunals.

    In May 2005, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously supported a motion to block the use of Sharia law in Quebec courts.

    Sharia Law in Canada - More Information on Sharia Law in the West

    An Unjust Doctrine of Civil Arbitration: Sharia Courts in Canada and England

    Do we already have Sharia law in the West?

    Top ten reasons why Sharia is bad for all societies


    The Stoning of Soraya M



    A survey (involving phone interviews with 455 Muslims in Ottawa, between May and July 2008, with a margin of error of five percentage points), suggests a large number of Muslims living in Canada will not disown Al-Qaida. The study, conducted by the MacDonald Laurier Institute, found 65% of Muslims questioned said they would “repudiate absolutely” the terrorist organization, while 35% would not do so. “From a security perspective, it is difficult to know if a 65% rate of repudiation (of Al-Qaida) is re-assuring or a 35% failure to repudiate troubling,” wrote study authors Christian Leuprecht, associate professor of the Royal Military College of Canada and Conrad Winn, Carleton University professor and president of COMPAS, a public opinion research firm. “The most radical political views tended to be expressed by relatively secular people, often equipped with higher education in the social sciences, while devout Muslims were sometimes the most articulate advocates for Canada and democracy.” According to the Ottawa based think tank, only a small minority of Muslim newcomers to Canada reject Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Iranian regime. The survey, which was released Tuesday, found 62% wanted some form of Shariah law in Canada, 15% of them saying it should be mandatory for all Muslims. The report also states support for extremism is just as high among Muslims born in Canada, or other Western countries, as it is among those hailing from oppressive dictatorships. The survey involved phone interviews with 455 Muslims in Ottawa, between May and July 2008, with a margin of error of five percentage points. The study was funded by the University of Maryland for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. The institute could not find funding for the study in Canada.

    Find us at Google +



    Canadian Law News

    Lawyer Locator

    Twitter Facebook Google +

    Free Lawyer Listing

    logoModern Law:

    Law Overview









    Appellate Practice

    Dispute Resolution



    Banking Access


    Bankruptcy History

    Clarity Act




    Consumer Protection




    Dating Violence

    Dealing with Lawyers

    Debt Collection


    Elder Law

    Employment & Labour



    Family Violence




    Good Samaritan Laws


    Gun Laws

    Hate Laws

    Health & Medical

    Human/Civil Rights

    Information Technology


    Impaired Driving


    Intellectual Property


    International Trade


    Jury Duty

    Legal Malpractice

    Libel & Slander

    Medical Malpractice




    Personal Injury

    Poverty Law

    Privacy & Access to Information

    Products Liability

    Professional Liability

    Real Estate

    Sharia Law



    Starting a Business

    Steps in a Lawsuit



    Trusts & Estates



    Wills And Probate


    Workers Compensation

    Young Offenders

    Canadian Law Apps

    logoAncient Law to the Present:

    Hammurabi's Code

    10 Commandments

    Ancient Greece

    Ancient Rome

    Christian Influence

    Justinian's Code

    Magna Carta

    Royal Proclamation 1763

    Code Napoleon

    British North America Act

    Constitution Act, 1982

    logoLegal Organizations:

    Bar Associations



    Law Schools

    Law Societies

    Legal Aid


    Business Lawyers

    Criminal Lawyers

    Employment / Wrongful Dismissal Lawyers

    Family / Divorce Lawyers

    Immigration Lawyers

    Impaired Driving Lawyers

    Insolvency Lawyers

    Personal Injury Lawyers

    Real Estate Lawyers

    Wills Estate Lawyers

    List your Law Firm

    Publish your Articles


    Send to a Friend

    Privacy Policy

    About us