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Overview Of Afghanistan Legal System: prior to the Taliban Regime

Prologue
Afghanistan is a landlocked, war-torn and aid-dependent economy. 652864 square kilometres is the total area of the country and 30 million is the populace of the country out of which 78% are living in the rural territories and it is an agrarian economy (75% of populace; World Bank). Afghanistan's economy is moulded by fragility and aid dependence.

The private sector is narrow; with employment moved in low-profitability agriculture (44% of the labour force works in agribusiness and 60 percent of families earn from farming). Establishments and property rights that are weak restrict monetary inclusion and access to finance in Afghanistan, where the private sector has a share of three percent of GDP.

The country has a structural trade deficit dependent on grant inflows. 75% of public spending is dependent on grants and security expenditures (national security and police) are 28% of GDP in 2019 and the public expenditure was 57% of GDP. A significant portion of production, exports, and employment, and includes opium production, smuggling, and illicit mining accounts for the illicit economy.

The legal system of a country will make a critical contribution to providing legal protection for commercial issues in general, and trademark issues in particular. The legal system of Afghanistan, as an Islamic country, has been shaped by a variety of factors stemming from Islamic, social and cultural values. From a justice perspective, from 1880 to 1964, Afghanistan had a dual judicial system comprising religious or Sharia courts on the one hand, and state or government courts on the other.

One of the most important legal issues in this period was the promulgation of the country's first constitution in 1923. One key issue is that this constitution accepted the regulatory role of the state or positive laws on the condition that the positive laws are not contrary to Sharia values.Generally, among the Islamic jurists, there are two schools of thought regarding the protection and non-protection of intellectual property rights, with some scholars supporting the notion of protection of IP and others adopting a contrary stance.

However, current Islamic jurists encourage modern governments to regulate intellectual property affairs by enacting laws and regulations. Likewise, Afghanistan's legal system has been affected by the civil law legal system. Commercial law in Afghanistan mainly stems from positive law and, to a lesser degree, from customary law.

Historically, the legal protection of trademarks in Afghanistan began in 1955 with the enactment of the Afghan Commercial Code (ACOMC). Subsequently, in 1960, a special Trademark Registration Law (TMRL) was approved by the government. Finally, the latest Afghan Trademark Law (ATML) was enacted in 2009. This law defines a trademark as follows:
Trade Marks include (one or more) names, words, signatures, letters, figures, drawings, symbols, titles, seals, pictures, inscriptions, packs or any other mark or a combination thereof.[2].

To protect a trademark from infringement, and to protect the right of the owner from misuse, virtually all countries provide some administrative and legal authority to provide trademark owners with the necessary legal and administrative protection. In Afghanistan, the Central Business Registration (CBR) office is the core administrative authority for registering and protecting trademarks.

Disputes in commercial issues about trademarks are resolved in two different ways. On the one hand, there are the formal approaches via interventions by the Commercial Court and other governmental institutions for settling commercial disputes. On the other hand, non-governmental legal entities can handle disputes using an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) approach.

Afghanistan, a civil law legal system[3], has a mixed legal system. The formation of this legal system dates back to the 19th century. In 1885, Afghanistan's first Code of State Procedure and Ethics called Asas al-quzat (Fundamental Manual for Judges), was adopted. The purpose of this Code was to provide a guideline and instruction for judges based on the Hanafi School of Islamic jurisprudence[4]. However, the modernization of Afghanistan's legal system started with the adoption of the 1930 constitution.

The constitution was based on Islamic values; however, it also recommended some specific laws and regulations that should be codified. Following the adoption of the 1930 constitution, new laws dealing with "administrative issues of government, as well as criminal, commercial and civil" issues were enacted. During the codification of these laws, Afghanistan drew inspiration from the laws of Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, Egypt and France[5].

Religious values and national traditions "co-exist with positive law"[6]. Therefore, Afghanistan's legal system is referred to as "legal pluralism"[7]. In addition to the formal written or positive laws and Islamic law (Sharia), customary law is another component of the legal system of Afghanistan. The term "legal system" implies "an operating set of legal institutions, procedures and rules"[8]. The legal system can also be termed "legal tradition", which refers to the historical nature of law, the rule of law, the function of the legal system and its related organizations[9].

Historical development of the legal system of Afghanistan
The legal history of Afghanistan started in 1880 during the reign of King Adur Rahman Khan and has continued until now. He started to centralize the government and to enhance his power and authority over the whole country. Therefore, he initiated the codification of laws and the establishment of a justice system. One of the fundamental achievements in the context of the latter was the creation of Asas al-quiet[10], a judge's manual for harmonizing legal procedures in the justice system. Moreover, the King put Justice Boxes (standup-e- Adalat) in each district for residents to deposit their complaints in, which were then transferred to the King's office.[11]

From a justice perspective, from 1880 to 1964, Afghanistan had a dual judicial system comprising both religious (or Sharia) and state (or government) courts. Sharia courts heard criminal, family and personal issues such as inheritance, divorce, endowment and property cases, while the state courts handled commerce, taxation, civil service and other government-related matters.[12]

In 1920, Amir Amanullah Khan intensified the legal reforms and enacted codified laws that were implemented by a centralized government. One of the most important legal issues was the promulgation of the first constitution in 1923 which accepted the regulatory role of the state and positive laws on the condition that the positive laws are not contrary to Sharia values.[13] One of those reforms was the establishment of a court hierarchy.

King Amanullah established four kinds of courts:
A pre-judgment court called the Reconciliation Court (Mahama-e-islaheya); the Court of First Instance (Mahama-eibtedaya); the Provincial Court (make-e-media); the Court of Cassation (Mahama-e-tamiz). In 1925, as a result of religious and local group demands, the constitution was amended to incorporate provisions concerning the role of religion.[14] Therefore, the 1923 constitution recognized two sources of law: Sharia or Islamic law, and state or statutory/positive law. In 1924-25, the codification of a Criminal Code based on Hanafi jurisprudence was one significant reform in the legal system of Afghanistan.[15]

In 1930, Nader Shah took power and enacted a new constitution which was mostly based on Hanafi jurisprudence. According to this constitution, the courts were required to make a decision or resolve the case following the Hanafi School of thought. The establishment of a legislative body, or National Assembly, was a significant step in the development of the Afghan legal system.

The legislative body was composed of two houses, the upper house (Majlis-e-aiyan) and the lower house(Majlis-e- awam). Members of the upper house were appointed by the King, while the members of the lower house were elected by the people for three-year terms. However, it should be noted that the National Assembly had no officially binding legislative power. They could propose a law to the King through their endorsement.[16]

In 1933, Zahir Shah (son of Nader Shah) became King of Afghanistan and reigned until 1973. During this period, reform of the legal system continued.[17] For instance, in 1955, in the field of commerce and business law, the first comprehensive Commercial Code was enacted. In 1963 the Law of Commercial Procedure was also enacted. Both of these codes were based on a "European model" with particularly close adherence to the Swiss approach. [18]

In 1964, the new constitution was adopted, establishing a unified and independent judicial system alongside the legislative and executive branches. In 1967, a new law on the Jurisdiction and Organization of the Courts was enacted. This law recognized the four-tier court system comprising Primary Courts, Provincial Courts, Appellate Courts and the Supreme Court. Within these courts,specialized departments were dealing with criminal, civil, personal, commercial and public law.[19]One main attribute of the 1964 constitution was the acceptance of the supremacy of statutory law over Sharia law (Article 99).

According to this supremacy, the courts are required to first define and resolve a case based on the statutory laws. If the statutory law is silent or lacks clear provisions, the court shall refer to Sharia law. Moreover, in this period of time, the court system was united and the previously divided state and Sharia courts merged to form so-called State Courts[20].

The successor of Zahir Shah, Mohammad Daoud, took power in 1973. He proclaimed Afghanistan as a republic and abolished the monarchy. Mohammad Daoud continued the legal reforms and adopted a new constitution in 1977. At the same time, 1976 saw the enactment of the first and rather comprehensive Penal Code, still in force today, which followed European principles of criminal law.[21] In 1977, the first Civil Code was enacted and was derived from Sharia law. It is worth mentioning that the Civil Code has remained valid and enforceable up until the present.[22]

In 1978, a new pro-communist regime took power and, in 1980, declared a new provisional constitution. In this era, the role of religion was weakened, and the provisional constitution was the only constitution in the history of Afghanistan that did not recognize Islam as the official religion in the country.

The unified court system was maintained and there was no change in the structure of the court system, and the courts continue to apply Sharia law in cases where there were gaps in the law (Article 56). Later on, in 1987 and 1990, the constitution was amended and Islam was again recognized as the official religion of the country.[23] In this period, the "Soviet-backed" regime undertook some unsuccessful efforts to introduce and implement a Soviet Union-style legal system.[24]

From 1992 up to 2001, the Mujahedin and Taliban regimes came to power, respectively. During the Mujahedin period, a draft constitution was prepared but not implemented as the country was in a state of civil war. In this period, the laws that had been enacted during the Communist regime and which were supposed of being contrary to Islamic values were abolished.

The legal system was composed of state and Sharia laws, but the Sharia laws were stronger than statutory law. In 1996, the Taliban took control of the government and established an Islamic Emirate or state under "radical interpretation of Sharia law".[25] In the Taliban era, all courts became Sharia courts and applied Sharia laws.

They also repealed most statutory laws and replaced them with Sharia law. Customary law also was banned by the Taliban regime.[26] According to Thomas Barfield, the Taliban used government authority to "impose a rigid legal system with foreign roots that ignored the country's traditions and values. Taliban imposed strict Salafist interpretation of Islamic law after seizing power".[27] Therefore, the legal situation from 1992 to 2001 was not stable.

Following the establishment of a new government in 2001, the new constitution of 2004 was adopted. The role of Islam is reflected in Article 1, which states that Afghanistan is an Islamic republic and that Islam is the official religion of Afghanistan. It also guarantees freedom of religion for non-Muslim people. Article 3 of the constitution stipulates that no single law is permitted to contradict Islamic provisions.[28]

The 2004 Afghan constitution stipulates three equal branches of government - executive, legislative and judiciary.[29] In addition, the constitution recognizes the supremacy of Islam.[30] However, Article 130 of the constitution states that the court shall first seek to apply the provisions of the constitution and other related positive laws. If the laws are silent on an issue, the case will be resolved following Hanafi School jurisprudence.[31] Therefore, Sharia legal doctrine plays a "complementary" and secondary role in the statutory laws and is applicable in cases in which the statutory law is silent or lacks provisions for defining and resolving the issue at hand.[32]

The structure and sources of the legal system of Afghanistan
The Afghan legal system is known as an example of legal pluralism. In the context of Afghanistan, legal pluralism implies the "equivalent existence and application of state law, Islamic law and customary law".[33] Therefore, historically speaking, the legal system of Afghanistan is composed of three main components:
  1. state legal codes or statutory laws,
  2. Islamic laws of Sharia, and
  3. local customary laws.
The influence and power of each component depend on the specific subject and the circumstances. As presented in the previous section, in some periods religion predominated, while in others state laws were prioritized. Likewise, in some places and concerning some issues, the customary branch has more influence and power than the other sources, as is discussed in the following sections.[34]

State or statutory law
State laws are sets of rules that are passed by the National Assembly, signed by the President and subsequently published in the Official Gazette (OG).[35] The development of statutory law in Afghanistan can be divided into four stages. The first stage is referred to as the pre-Nizamnama period, which was before 1919.

In this period, there was no difference between statutory regulations and Sharia provisions. One example of this type of statutory law was Asas al-quzat, which was enacted by Amir Abdur Rahman Khan in late 1880.[36] The second phase is termed the Nizamnama period, spanning the years from 1919 to 1929 during the reign of King Amanullah.

It began with the enactment of the first Afghan constitution in 1923, called Nizamnama-e asasi. In terms of hierarchy and authority, the 1923 constitution was inferior to Sharia law. In this phase, there were differences between the statutory laws and Sharia provisions. The third phase is called the Usulnama period, which started with the enactment of the 1931 Afghan constitution, termed Usulnama-e asasi.

This period saw the establishment of a legislative body that was authorized to enact laws and regulations in conformity with the Sharia provisions. Finally, the fourth stage is the "Canun period", or "law period", which began with the enactment of the 1964 constitution. This Constitution was called Canun-e asasi.

This period has continued up until today, and all statutory laws are called Canun.[37] The Canun, or law, is defined in the 2004 Afghan constitution as "what both Houses of the National Assembly approve and the President endorses unless this Constitution states otherwise".[38] These attributes were not foreseen in the Nizamnama and Usulnama periods, in which laws were drafted by a pre-assigned council and endorsed by the King.[39]

State laws and regulations draw their power from the legal authority of government and apply throughout the whole country to all people and all cases. The process for enacting statutory law was enhanced after 1978, and at that time the government (albeit unsuccessfully) attempted to remove or at least reduce the religious influence in the codification system.[40] In the meantime, various laws and regulations have been enacted in different fields, such as commercial, criminal, family, labour, inheritance, public affairs and civil law, among others.

Islamic or Sharia law
Besides statutory law, Islamic law constitutes another significant pillar of the Afghan legal system. Since the establishment of Afghanistan in 1747, the state has been ruled under Islamic law. Therefore, Afghanistan's legal system has been directly affected by Islamic law, which still plays a significant role in the formation and development of the Afghan legal system today. Islamic laws have been integrated as part of the statutory law of the country.

Almost all Afghan constitutions have acknowledged and accepted the role of Islamic law.[41] For example, the new 2004 constitution accepts the supremacy of Islamic law in the context of legal codification in Afghanistan, stating: "in Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the sacred religion of Islam and the values of this constitution"[42].Islamic law, or Sharia, has two kinds of sources - primary and secondary. The primary source of Sharia is the Quran and the Sunnah.

They are "everlasting principle, and no derogation from them is permitted." The Quran is the basic "source of the rules followed by the Sunnah of the Prophet".[43] Sunnah is a Normative practice or an established course of conduct of the Prophet. From the scholars' (ulama) points of view, "Sunnah refers to a source of the Sharia and a legal proof next to the Quran".[44] In other words, Sunnah is the "statement and deed of Prophet Mohammad".[45] Sunnah is the second primary source of Sharia and derives its authority from the Quran. It has a complementary role for issues on which the Quran is silent. As the Quran is the primary source of legislation, Sunnah "should not conflict with or change the rules contained in the Quran".[46]

Islamic law also has secondary sources. Under certain circumstances, if the Quran and Sunnah do not define and/or provide an explicit solution for an issue, it will be resolved or defined by referring to the secondary sources, which are: consensus or Ijma, "unanimous agreement" of Islamic scholars or jurists; Qiyas, "analogical reasoning"[47]Urf, the Islamic customs or traditions; and MaslahaMursalah, "the public interest".

All of these secondary sources are considered supplementary sources of rules in Sharia. The rationale behind having these various sources of law is to find the solution to a case in one of them that is under Islamic rules and provisions.[48] The different sources of Sharia are construed by the Islamic scholars (ulama), who may also act as judges in the state courts.[49] Consequently, Sharia, with different sources of rules, has played a significant role in the formation of the Afghan legal system.

Customary law, Urf
The third source of the Afghan legal system, in addition to positive law and Islamic Sharia, is customary law. Since 1880, efforts have been made to centralise the legal system of Afghanistan, but state laws still do not respond to the current needs in Afghan society. In reality, Afghanistan has never had a comprehensive and powerful state justice system.[50] Therefore, there is enough space for customary law in Afghanistan.

There will be instances where the courts find no solution, neither in-state nor in Sharia law. In such cases, the court may refer to and rely on customary law, provided the custom and tradition is not in conflict with Islamic values and state law provisions.[51] Particularly, this issue is more applicable for commercial issues. Thus, Sharia recognizes that people have customs and habits in their daily lives. Therefore, from an Islamic point of view, customs that do not conflict with the principles of Sharia are "valid and authoritative" and shall be examined and "upheld by a court of law".[52]

Customary law became widespread and more comprehensive in Afghan society as a result of the non-functioning of government institutions and a lack of rule of law over the past three decades of war in the country. Therefore, almost 80 percent of legal disputes in rural areas are resolved through customary law or informal justice.

Since customary law is less expensive and "faster and more accessible" to the public, the people frequently resort to it.[53] People in rural areas mostly prefer customary law over statutory law. There are three main rationales for resorting to customary law in Afghanistan: first, its concentration is on the substantive aspects of a dispute rather than on procedure. Second, the objective of customary law is "compensation and reconciliation rather than reprimand." Finally, customary law is based on the unanimous agreement between the parties.[54] Customary law has its base in a "common culture and ethical code."

It is an oral tradition that refers to community members.[55] Customary law, which is based on Jirga or Shura practices, mostly relies on "reconciliation and making peace among disputants." Therefore, unlike the "state justice system, which creates losers and winners, customary law is based on the community and community elders' decisions and their objective is to enhance 'restorative justice." Therefore, customary law will return peace and "dignity among" the members of a community.[56]

Though the Afghan constitution of 2004 does not state that customary law is an official source of the Afghan legal system, in practice, it is one of its main pillars. For instance, the Afghan Commercial Code (ACOMC) and the Afghan Civil Code (ACC) recognize custom as a viable source for the Afghan legal system.[57] Article 2 of the ACOMC states that commercial disputes will be resolved by referring to a valid and mutual contract. If there is no valid contract, the dispute will be resolved by reference to Afghan commercial laws.

According to the ACOMC, commercial customs shall be the next source for resolving commercial disputes.

"In the absence of a law, local and special customs (those that are commonly recognized, consented to, and used) are applied".[58] Hence, according to the ACOMC, custom, or Urf, is one of the main sources for commercial dispute resolution. Similarly, Article 2 of the ACC stipulates the hierarchy of sources for a civil dispute as follows:
Where neither provisions of law exist, nor any ruling is found among principles of Hanafi jurisprudence of Islamic Sharia, courts shall decide according to common custom, provided that the customer does not contradict provisions of law or principles of justice.[59]

As a consequence, the Urf is considered as a source for commercial and civil issues and the Commercial and Civil Codes have recognized the Urf as a source for commercial dispute resolution.

Accordingly, almost all Islamic countries, including Afghanistan, have adopted and applied secular laws to regulate commerce, administration and tax issues.[60] While the Islamic legal system does not expressly provide legal protection for intellectual property rights, one can nonetheless conclude from the main principles and sources of the Islamic law that Sharia, in general, does indeed provide support for the protection of intellectual property rights.[61]

At the beginning of this discussion, to examine the extent to which Islamic law makes provision for intellectual property rights, it would be useful to shed some light on the sources of Islamic law and their hierarchy. As stated in the previous section, Islamic law has primary sources (Quran and Sunnah) and secondary sources (consensus (Ijma), analogy (Qiyas), custom (Urf) and public interest (MasalahaMursalah)).

These sources are not examined in detail here, since they are not the primary subject matter of this research. Notwithstanding, understanding the sources of Islamic law overall will help the reader to understand the position of Islamic law on the legal protection of intellectual property rights in particular. In the following, the sources of Islamic law are examined briefly

Primary sources
The primary or basic sources of Islamic law or Sharia are the Quran and Sunnah.

Quran
The Quran is the main source of Islamic law or Sharia.[62] The Quran is the most authoritative source of Islamic Law.[63] Indeed, the Quran "is the highest source of Islamic law." Therefore, "any rule that is traced back to the Quran cannot be contradicted or even modified by rules derived from any other source of Sharia".[64] Of the 6666[65] verses, 500 relate to legal issues. As a consequence, the Quran is the first and most important source for an Islamic legal system.[66]

Sunnah
Sunnah is the second primary source of Islamic Law. Sunnah is a collection of Prophet Mohammad's sayings, his behaviour or deeds. Sunnah takes its authority directly from the holy Quran. The Sunnah, as a complementary source, sets the rules and principles for those issues on which the Quran is silent.[67] As-Sunnah is the second source in the Sharia legislation, it should not be contrary to the Quranic verses, and it has no authority to change the values and rules that have been legislated therein.[68]

Secondary sources
In addition to these primary sources, there are secondary or supplementary sources of Islamic law. The purpose of these supplementary sources is to fill the gaps whenever the two primary sources are silent on an issue. The secondary sources of Islamic law are consensus (Ijma), analogy (Qiyas), public interest (MaslahaMursalah) and custom (Urf).

Consensus (Ijma)
Ijma has been defined as "the unanimous agreement of the mujtahid [Islamic scholars] of the Muslim community of any period following the demise of the Prophet Mohammad on any matter". Ijma has two meanings: the first is "to determine and to agree upon something." The second meaning is "unanimous agreement on something. Ijma applies to all judicial, intellectual, agriculture, commercial, political and administrative issues.[69] Ijma can be traced back to the Quran and Sunnah. In the Ijma, qualified Islamic scholars are allowed to articulate rules for regulating the daily affairs for which the Quran and Sunnah provide no solution.[70]

Analogy (Qiyas)
Linguistically speaking, Qiyas means "measuring or ascertaining the length, weight or quality of something". It also means "comparison, to suggest equality or similarity between two things".[71] The authority and power of Qiyas are traced back to the Quran and Sunnah sources. The rationale behind accepting a Qiyas is to find a solution for an issue. When a judge is faced with a situation that has not been defined or resolved by the Quran, Sunnah and Ijma - for example, the protection of intellectual property rights - analogy or reason is used to resolve the case. In Qiyas, the current and existing rules will be applied to a new situation or case, provided that the new situation is similar to a previous situation.[72]

Public interest (MasalahaMursalah)
Musalaha means benefit or interest. It relates to the unlimited public interest and secures an interest or prevents harm to the public. The main objective of Islamic legislation is "to secure the welfare of the people by promoting their benefit or by protecting them against harm".[73] The rationale for Masalaha is that, when there is a new case or situation that has not previously been addressed in the mentioned sources, such as Quran, Sunnah, Ijma and Qiyas, it is permitted to refer to Masalaha, or the public interest, as a "supplementary source of rules in Sharia" to define and settle the issue.

According to Islamic scholars, there are five basic purposes of Islamic law or Sharia, which are: "safeguarding and promoting the individual's faith, life, intellect, posterity and wealth". Therefore, when a question relates to one of these issues and there is no clear and decisive provision to define them in such circumstances, these purposes need to be articulated based on the public interest, unless there is an existing rule.[74]

Customs (Urf)
Islamic law recognizes custom, or Urf, as a source of law. Urf refers to "recurring practices that are acceptable to people of sound nature". Therefore, a custom must be "sound and reasonable" to be valid. An Urf shall be valid and authoritative when it is not in opposition to the basic principles of Sharia.[75] It should be noted that all secondary articulated sources must conform with the Quran and Sunnah values.[76]

It should be noted that Islamic law has yet to directly address the legal protection of intellectual property rights in its jurisprudence. Like with other issues, such as criminal, commercial and administrative law, regulating intellectual property rights is the responsibility of the government. This governmental authority is bestowed by the secondary sources of Islamic law.[77]

However, concerning the legal protection of intellectual property rights, Islamic scholars are divided into those who oppose such protection and those who are in favour of it. The former hold the perception that, in the Sharia, ownership of property is limited to "tangible objects not […] intangible" objects.

They also claim that there is no precedent in the Quran, Sunnah, and Islamic jurist's points of view that intangible property, such as intellectual property, be regarded as a form of private property and be eligible for selling and purchasing. In addition, according to this notion, knowledge in Sharia does not belong to one person, and no one can prevent others from acquiring it as that would lead to a monopolization of knowledge that Islam does not recognize or approve.[78]

Furthermore, there is another perception, namely that:
Sharia does not accept IP as it is a tool imposed by the West, which would be no benefit to the Muslim community.

Furthermore, the opponents of intellectual property claim that the primary sources of Sharia (Quran and Sunnah) do not provide for the legal protection of intangible things.[79] They also claim that intellectual property rights are:
Against Sharia as long as the laws permit the owner to restrict the end-user after selling the item containing the intellectual creation.[80]

Likewise, other scholars argue that protecting intellectual property impedes other people from benefiting from knowledge. According to them, this impediment stands in opposition to the Sunnah.[81] Prophet Mohammad said that "the one who conceals knowledge would appear on the day of resurrection as reined in a bridle of fire". This Hadith is directly related to a rejection of copyright protection.[82]

The proponents of protecting intellectual property rights argue that:
There is nothing in Sharia that enjoins or contravenes protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights and the Muslims should abide by their contracts and laws applied in their countries.[83]

In addition, there are certain arguments in Islamic jurisprudence which justify the protection of intellectual property rights. Islamic scholars, byreferring to the Islamic sources, recognize intellectual property rights as a concept involving personal rights, money/wealth rights and property rights.

By and large, Sharia acknowledges the right of a person to:
Accumulate and generate wealth and the right of ownership and possession. It has been recognized that a person has the right "to reap the fruit of his labour and effort".

Therefore, intellectual property is considered a legal personal right.[84] Property is sacred under Islamic law. Moreover, Islamic law recognizes private property and ownership. Accordingly, a person who owns intellectual property deserves to collect and receive the benefits from that property.

Likewise, Islam has adopted the right of a person to have money and wealth as parts of his property or assets, and people have the right to collect such money and wealth by legal means. Therefore, intellectual property, as a form of wealth, is eligible for protection. Resorting to illegal means for collecting wealth is strongly prohibited in Islam.[85]

Most importantly, intellectual property is considered a type of property. According to Islamic law, all kinds of property originally belonged to God, but have been granted to people. Therefore, the Quran recognizes the rights of private ownership, and trespassing against another's property is thus considered a violation of Sharia.[86]

It is noteworthy that two main religious opinions, or Fatwa, concerning the protection of intellectual property rights have recently come from the Council of the Islamic Fiqh Academy[87] and the Fatwa Committee of Al-Azhar University.[88] The Council of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, regarding the protection of intellectual property, issued the following opinion (Fatwa), which is an important source for the modern governments to issue statutory laws and regulations for the protection of intellectual property rights and trademarks.

The Fatwa states:
Business name, corporate name, trademark, literary production, invention or discovery, are rights belonging to their holders and have, in contemporary times, the financial value which can be traded. These rights are recognized by Sharia and should not be infringed".

The Fatwa also recognizes intellectual property rights as financial rights: "It is permitted to sell a business name, trademark for a price in the absence of any fraud, swindling or forgery, since it has become a financial right". Regarding copyrights and patents and their owners, the Council of Islamic Fiqh states the following: "Copyrights and patent rights are protected by Sharia. Their holders are entitled to freely dispose of them. These rights should not be violated".[89] This Fatwa shows that Islamic law indeed recognizes and seeks to protect all forms of rights about intellectual property.

At the same time, the Fatwa Committee of Al-Azhar University issued an opinion in 2000 and 2001, which states that "Islam gives the owner the freedom to dispense of the property owned thereby as he wishes; no other person may dispose of, copy, enjoy, use or attribute such property thereto without the prior consent of the owner, whether for compensation or not".[90] This Fatwa shows that intellectual property is considered property and that its owner has sole authority and rights to benefit from it.

Conclusion:
According to Islamic principles, intellectual property rights, as part of the property, do not relate to or depend on "the entity of the owner or his religious beliefs". Consequently, the property rights equally apply to Muslim and non-Muslim owners of the property.[91]

While Sharia does not explicitly and recognize and protect intellectual property rights, referring to different sources of Islamic law reveals that the notion of protecting intellectual property has been acknowledged by Islamic scholars. In reality, there are no explicit provisions in the main sources of Sharia that limit the ownership of the property to tangible assets.

Therefore, in Sharia, the word "property" has a broader meaning encompassing both tangible and intangible objects. Moreover, different sources of Sharia law (Sunnah, Ijma, Qiyas, Maslahah, and Urf) authorise the state to enact laws and regulations for the protection of property in general, and intellectual property in particular.[92]

End-Notes:
  1. Ministry of Justice, Afghanistan Trademark Law, Official Gazette, (OG) Issue No 995, (2009). [Hereinafter ATML] Art. 4
  2. Almost more than 137 years ago from now (2017), in 1880, the civil law legal system was integrated into the legal system of Afghanistan. To centralize the country and establish a unified government in Afghanistan, it was necessary to enact laws and regulations to achieve these objectives. Unfortunately, there are no clear documents to prove the process of how civil law came to be integrated into the legal system of Afghanistan. However, it is known that the centralization and codification process started under Amir Abdur Rahman Khan (1880-1901) and then continued during the leadership of King Amanullah (1919-1929), King Zahir Shah (1930-1973) and President Daud Khan (1973-1978) up until today. See: Nafay Choudhury, Pluralism in Legal Education at the American University of Afghanistan, Suffolk Transnational Law Review, Vol. 37:2, (2014) p. 252. Available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2507855 (last accessed on January 3, 2017).
  3. Carol Wang, Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Enabling a Constitutional Framework for Local Accountability Harvard International Journal, Vol. 55, (2014), p. 217. [hereinafter Carol Wang, Rule of Law in Afghanistan].
  4. For instance, the family and inheritance issues were inspired by Egypt, and commercial issues drew inspiration from Turkey and France. Abdul SatarSirat, The Modern Legal System of Afghanistan An Introduction to the Study of Comparative Law (1968), American Journal of Comparative Law, 563, (1968), p. 106. [hereinafter Abdul SatarSirat. Modern Legal System of Afghanistan].
  5. Abdul SatarSirat, The Modern Legal System of Afghanistan An Introduction to the Study of Comparative Law (1968), American Journal of Comparative Law, 563, (1968), p. 106. [hereinafter Abdul SatarSirat. Modern Legal System of Afghanistan].
  6. In the context of Afghanistan, "legal pluralism" means that the legal system is composed of three main elements or pillars: customary law, statutory law and Islamic law. Esther Meininghaus, Legal Pluralism in Afghanistan, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, serious 33 (2007), p. 2. [hereinafter Esther Meininghaus, Legal Pluralism in Afghanistan].
  7. USA, State Department, The Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Legal Traditions and the Afghan Model, The United States Department of State Bureau of International and Law Enforcement Affairs Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan, (2014), p. 1. [hereinafter The Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Legal Tradition] Available at: http://touchpointidg.com/wpcontent/uploads/2015/01/2.5-Legal-Traditions-and-the-Afghan-Model_FEB_2014.pdf. (last visited: July 4,2016).
  8. The Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Legal Traditions . p. 1
  9. It had 136 provisions for court procedures and decision-making. Asas al-quzat was composed of three sections. The first section was about the code of conduct for judges and their behavior towards the parties. The second section concerned the preparation of legal documents, and the final section addressed the duties and authorities of the "market inspector", ormuhtasi. See. Alexander K. Benard, Jason T. Berg, Benjmin G. Joseloff, Anne Stephens and Eli Surgraman, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan, Stanford Law School, third edition, (2009), p. 6-7. [hereinafter Alexander K. Benard et al, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan].
  10. Alexander K. Benard and others, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan, p. 6-7
  11. P.G. Jangamlung Richard, Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan: The Socio-Legal Perspective, PhD thesis, Jawaharlal Nehru University (2009), p. 66. [hereinafter P. G. Jangamlung Richard, Women in Post-Taliban].
  12. Naafy Choudhary, Reconceptualizing Legal Pluralism in Afghanistan, Selected Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Canadian Law Student Conference, Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues in Association with the Windsor Faculty of Law (2010), p. 33. [hereinafter Naafy Choudhary, Reconcpetualizing Legal Pluralism in Afghanistan]. Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1627693
  13. Alexander K. Benard. et al, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan, p. 10l.
  14. The United State Department of State Bureau of International and Law Enforcement Affairs Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan, The Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Chapter 2.5, Legal Traditions and the Afghan Model, 2014, p. 11. Available at: http://touchpointidg.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2.5-Legal-Traditions-and-the-Afghan-Model_FEB_2014.pdf [hereinafter USA State Department, the Rule of Law in Afghanistan].
  15. Alexander K. Benard and others, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan, p 11.
  16. USA, State Department, The Rule of Law in Afghanistan, p. 11.
  17. Eli Sugarman, Ann Stephens, Raaja Narayan, Max Rettig, An Introduction to Commercial Law of Afghanistan, 2nd ed, ALEP, Stanford University (2011), p. 40. [hereinafter Eli Sugarman and others, An Introduction to Commercial Law of Afghanistan].
  18. USA, State Department, The Rule of Law in Afghanistan, p. 12.
  19. Alexander K. Benard et al, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan, p. 14.
  20. USA. State Department, The Rule of Law in Afghanistan, p. 13.
  21. Esther Meininghaus, Legal Pluralism in Afghanistan, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, series 33 (2007), p. 13. [hereinafter Esther Meininghaus, Legal Pluralism in Afghanistan].
  22. Alexander K. Benard and others, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan, p. 20.
  23. P.G. Jangamlung Richard, Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan, p. 66.
  24. Alexander K. Benard et al, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan, p. 22.
  25. USA, State Department, The Rule of Law in Afghanistan, p. 13.
  26. Esther Meininghaus, Legal Pluralism in Afghanistan, p. 14.
  27. Ministry of Justice, Afghanistan 2004 Constitution, Official Gazette, Issue No. 818 (2004), Art. 1, 2 and 3. [hereinafter Afghanistan 2004 Constitution].
  28. Alexander K. Benard and others, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan, p. 25.
  29. Article 3 states that: "In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam"
  30. Article 130 of the Constitution states: "(1) While processing the cases, the courts apply the provisions of this Constitution and other laws. (2) When there is no provision in the Constitution or other laws regarding ruling on an issue, the courts' decisions shall be within the limits of this Constitution in accord with the Hanafi jurisprudence and in a way to serve justice in the best possible manner.
  31. Said Mahmoudi, The Sharia in the New Constitution of Afghanistan: Contradiction or Compliment, Max-Planck-Institute für ausländischesöffentlichesRecht und Völkerrecht, ZaöRV, 64, (2004), p. 871. [hereinafter Said Mahmoudi, The Sharia in the New Constitution of Afghanistan]. Available at: http://www.zaoerv.de/64_2004/64_2004_4_a_867_880.pdf
  32. Esther Meininghaus, Legal Pluralism in Afghanistan, p. 3.
  33. Thomas Barfield, Culture and Custom in Nation-Building, p. 351.
  34. Alexander K. Benard et al, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan, p. 42. Afghanistan 2004 Constitution, Art 94
  35. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Law in Afghanistan, Leiden E. J. Brill (1985), p. 35. [hereinafter Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Law in Afghanistan].
  36. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Law in Afghanistan, p. 36
  37. Afghanistan 2004 Constitution, Art. 94 (1)
  38. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Law in Afghanistan, p. 37.
  39. Thomas Barfield, Culture and Custom in National Building, p. 353.
  40. P.G. Jangamlung Richard, Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan, p. 72.
  41. Afghan 2004 Constitution, Art. 3.
  42. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property- the Example of Egypt, IDEA- The Intellectual Property Law Review, Vol.47 (2007), p. 505. [hereinafter Heba A. Raslan, Sharia and the Protection of Intellectual Property]. Available at: http://www.albalagh.net/qa/copyright.shtml.
  43. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, 3rd ed, Islamic Text Society (2003), p. 58- 61. [hereinafter Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence].
  44. P.G. Jangamlung, Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan, p. 73.
  45. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 506
  46. P.G. Jangamlung, Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan, p. 73.
  47. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 510.
  48. P.G. Jangamlung, Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan, p. 73.
  49. Naafy Choudhary, Reconceptualizing Legal Pluralism in Afghanistan, p. 35.
  50. P.G. Jangamlung, Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan, p. 75
  51. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, p. 370.
  52. P.G. Jangamlung Richard, Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan, p. 75.
  53. Naafy Choudhary, Reconcpetualizing Legal Pluralism in Afghanistan, p. 35
  54. Thomas Barfield, Culture and Custom in Nation-Building, p. 352
  55. Ali Wardak, State and Non-State Justice Systems in Afghanistan: the Need for Synergy, Vol. 32, Issue 5, Journal of International Law ( 2011), p. 1315. [hereinafter Ali Wardak, State and Non- State Justice in Afghanistan]. Available at: http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/jil/vol32/iss5/5
  56. Article 1 and 2 of the Afghan Civil Code addressed the issues as follows: Article 1 states: "(2) In case the law has no provision, the court shall issue a verdict in accordance with the fundamental principles of Hanafi jurisprudence of Islamic Sharia to secure justice in the best possible way." At the same time Article 2 recognizes the value and role of customs for resolving civil disputes. It states: "Where neither provisions of law exist, nor any ruling is found among principles of Hanafi Jurisprudence of Islamic Sharia, courts shall decide according to common custom, provided that the custom does not contradict provisions of law or principles of justice." Likewise, Article 2 of the Commercial Code describes the hierarchy of sources of law regarding a commercial dispute: "Commercial disputes shall be settled in accordance with legally binding agreements and, in their absence, by reference to explicit or implicit meaning of commercial laws. If the dispute may not be settled in the said way, commercial customs and practices shall apply. Local and special customs and practices shall be preferred to general customs and practices. In the absence of customs and practices, provisions of other laws to which attribution is made shall apply." According to this Article, the commercial custom is the third option for resolving commercial disputes.
  57. Ministry of Justice, Afghanistan Civil Code, Official Gazette, Issue No 353, 1975, Article 2. (hereinafter ACC).
  58. ACC, Art. 2
  59. Heba A. Raslan, Sharia and The Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 498.
  60. Amir H. Khoury, Ancient and Islamic Sources of Intellectual Property Protection in the Middle East: A Focus on Trademark. IDEA, The Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 43 (2003), p. 202. [hereinafter Amir H. Khoury, Ancient and Islamic Sources of Intellectual Property Protection in the Middle East].
  61. Sharia represents the body of rules derived from the Quran and the Sunnah and the Ijma, the Qiyas and other supplementary sources". Heba A. Raslan. Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 501. See also Amir H. Khoury. Ancient and Islamic Sources of Intellectual Property Protection in the Middle East, p. 202. The terms Islamic law and Sharia are used interchangeably
  62. Javaid Iqbal Kahn, Naveed Ahmad Lone and Fayaz A Sheikh, Intellectual Property Rights in Islam: A Perspective, International Journal of Research in Social Sciences, IJRSS, Vol. 3, Issue 1,(2013), p. 159. [hereinafter Javaid Iqbal et al, Intellectual Property Right in Islam]. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/4535433/Intellectual_Property_Rights_in_Islam_A_Perspective?auto=download
  63. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 506
  64. Among the scholars there is no consensus about the number of verses or ayat in the Quran.
  65. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 506.
  66. Amir H. Khoury, Ancient and Islamic Sources of Intellectual Property Protection in the Middle East, p. 160.
  67. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 506
  68. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, p. 230.
  69. There are three main stipulations for Ijma: 1- the Islamic scholars or Mujtahidun who participate in Ijma must be qualified. 2-"The constituents of Ijma are clear of pernicious innovation and heresy". 3-"The constituents of Ijma are qualified to carry out ijtehad when the issue requires specialized knowledge in particular areas of Shari'ah". For more information see: Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, p. 234.
  70. Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, p. 264.
  71. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 509
  72. Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, p. 351-2
  73. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 511.
  74. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, p. 369-70.
  75. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 509.
  76. Steven D. Jamar, The Protection of Intellectual Property Under Islamic Law, 21 Capital University Law Review, 1079 (1992), p. 1094. [hereinafter Steven D. Jamar, The Protection of Intellectual Property Under Islamic Law].
  77. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 502.
  78. Ezieddin Mustafa Elmahjub, Protection of Intellectual Property in Islamic Shari'a and the Development of the Libyan Intellectual Property System. PhD thesis. Queensland University of Technology (2014), p. 65. [hereinafter Eziddin Mustafa, Protection of Intellectual Property in Islamic Sahria]. Available at: https://www.google.com.af/?gws_rd=cr,ssl&ei=hkuSVuj7A4f8swG_lbnQAw#q=protection+of+intellectual+property:+Its+re ality+and+Its+Shari%27a+Rule
  79. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 502
  80. Ezieddin Mustafa Elmahjub, Protection of Intellectual Property in Islamic Shari'a, p. 65
  81. Ibid
  82. Heba A. Raslan, Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 502.
  83. Amir H. Khoury, Ancient and Islamic Sources of Intellectual Property Protection in the Middle East, p. 164.
  84. Javaid Iqbal and others, Intellectual Property Rights in Islam, p. 160
  85. Amir H. Khoury. Ancient and Islamic Sources of Intellectual Property Protection in the Middle East, p. 166.
  86. Arabic link: http://www.iifa-aifi.org/
  87. http://www.islamopediaonline.org/websites-institutions/al-azhar-university-fatwa-committee-cairo-egypt
  88. Islamic Fiqh Academy. Resolutions and Recommendations of the Council of the Islamic Fiqh Academy 1985-2000, First edition, 2000, p. 89. Available at: https://uaelaws.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/resolutions-and-recommendations-of-thecouncil-of-the-islamic-fiqh-academy.pdf
  89. Heba A. Raslan. Shari'a and the Protection of Intellectual Property, p. 503
  90. Amir H. Khoury, Ancient and Islamic Sources of Intellectual Property Protection in the Middle East, p. 166.
  91. Bashar H Malkwai, Intellectual Property Protection from a Shari'a Perspective, Southern Cross University Law Review, Vol. 16 (2013), p. 94. [hereinafter Bashar H Malkwai, Intellectual Property Protection from Sharia Prospective].
Written By: Sayed Qudrathashimy, Student of LLM (International Law), Department of Studies in Law, University of Mysore
e-mail: [email protected]

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