I’m not a big fan of theocracy and as Islam is often presented as a pro-theocracy religion that has, unsurprisingly, coloured my perception of Islam. But I got to wondering this evening: how many Islamic majority countries are actually theocratic?

So, here’s what I’ve determined so far. As far as I can ascertain, there are 48 countires where Islam is the majority religion, these being: Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Syria, Kazakhstan, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Tunisia, Guinea, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Sierra Leone, Libya, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Chad, Lebanon, Kuwait, Albania, Mauritania, Oman, Kosovo, The Gambia, Bahrain, Comoros, Qatar, Djibouti, Brunei, the Maldives (and Gaza, if we could include that).

So then I looked into how many countries practice strict Sharia Law. As far as I can ascertain there are 9 that proscribe death for blasphemy, these being: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Gaza. And another 12 that proscribe imprisonment for blasphemy, these being: Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Somalia, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates. That’s 21 that have state-enforced blasphemy laws, a bit less than half.

Then there’s another 13 that have some level of Sharia, these being: Indonesia, Turkey, Brunei, Jordan, Eritrea, Syria, Djibouti, Chechnya, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Gambia and Qatar. But I’m not sure if these count or not, given many Western countries have Christian influenced law without being theocratic per se. Maybe others could add some insight here? Good articles seem hard to come by. It’s a question I’d like to persue further.

7 thoughts on “How many Muslim countries are actually theocratic?

  1. In a recent documentary about Westerners living in Dubai a comment was made that whilst Sharia law is strictly applied in general, there are certain areas and instances where a blind eye is applied to some behaviour such as serving and drinking alcohol in hotels for Westerners, more relaxed dress restrictions for females, “for economic reasons”. The doco presented footage of weekly booze-up parties by hedonistic Westerners “letting their hair down”, scantily clad women and men in various Western cultural hubs who described “a blind eye approach to rich Westerners” due to their spending capacities, but a much sterner and more legalistic approach to their lower classes.


  2. What I was indicating in my previous post was that some Sharia countries like the UAE can be quite “selective” when it comes to applying their Sharia laws evenly for various reasons.


  3. Until God reign is actualised “in person” it is not theocratic rule, but human-religious rule.
    No human apart from Christ can fulfil or administer the theocratic ruler and governance role, either practically, or ethically, or compassionately, or justly.
    Many human Kings in history have tried to. But all have failed, including all the ones in the Bible. (That is, apart from Jesus Christ – both God and man – whose messianic reign is progressively breaking into human history).


  4. Jesus Christ is in the UAE… just not acknowledged or fully followed, much like everywhere else 😉
    In fact, I am making contact with some of Jesus’ followers there and would like to visit them before too long…
    QANTAS now flies to Europe via Dubai


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