The Impact of Religion and Culture on the Supremacy of the Constitution in Afghanistan


  • Mohd Tahir Nasiri none



Constitution, Supremacy, Religion of Islam, Afghan culture, Tribes and Ethnicity, Loya Jirga


Afghanistan’s social composition demonstrates it to be a pluralist, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and multi-ethnic country. The life and behaviour of its citizens are, for example, governed by more than one source of law, namely those of Islam and Afghan culture. In light of this, the current article attempts to, firstly, explain Islam as a source of law in Afghanistan and its supremacy over that country’s constitution and then, secondly, apply the same logic to culture as rooted in Afghan tribal and ethnic traditions. While many cultural traditions exist in Afghanistan, this article focuses solely on the constitutionally recognised Loya Jirga (Great Assembly). Finally, the study suggests applicable solutions for maintaining the authority of the constitution in the presence of Islam and Afghan custom. This, it is hoped, will help Afghanistan escape its ongoing political instability and avoid the relentless downfall of governments.


Download data is not yet available.


Ahmad, Stephanie and Alexander Benard. An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan. Stanford: Afghanistan Legal Education Project, 2011.

Barfield, Thomas. ‘An Islamic State is a State Run by Good Muslims: Religion as a Way of Life and Not an Ideology in Afghanistan.’ In Remaking Muslim Politics: Pluralism, Contestation, Democratization. Edited by Robert W. Hefner. Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2005.

———. ‘Culture and Custom in Nation-Building: Law in Afghanistan.’ Maine Law Review 60 no.2 (2008): 348-73.

———. ‘Problems in Establishing Legitimacy in Afghanistan.’ Iranian Studies 37 no.2 (2004): 263-93,

Constitution of Afghanistan (2004).

Elphinstone, Mountstuart. An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972.

Kakar, Mohammed Hassan. Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979-1982. Oakland: University of California Press, 1995.

Kamali, Mohammad Hashim. ‘Reference to Islam and Women in the Afghan Constitution.’ Arab Law Quarterly 22 no. 3 (2008): 270-306.

———. Law in Afghanistan. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1985.

Maqbil, Edat Shah et al. Geography Subject (Academic Book) for Class 12th of Schools. Ministry of Education, Kabul Afghanistan, 1975.

‘Members of President Hamid Karzai’s Cabinet,’ Afghanistan Gove Political Page, <

Moschtaghi, Ramin S. ‘Constitutionalism in an Islamic Republic, The Principles of the Afghan Constitution and the Conflict Between Them.’ In Constitutionalism in Islamic: Countries Between Upheaval and Continuity. Edited by Rainer Grote and Tilmann J. Order. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Nasiri, M. Tahir. “Application of the Doctrine of SOPs in the Current Constitution of Afghanistan.’ Unpublished PhD dissertation, International Islamic University Malaysia, 2021.

Nasrullah Stanikzai, ‘Nizami Huqoqi e-Afghanistan Wa Manab’i e An’ Storai Magazine, (no date), 33, 74.

Nawid, Senzil K. Religious Response to Social Change in Afghanistan, 1919-29: King Aman-Allah and the Afghan Ulama. California: Mazda Publishers, 1999.

Newell, Nancy Peabody and Richard S. Newell. The Struggle for Afghanistan. New York: Cornell University Press, 1981.

Poullada, Leon B. Reform and Rebellion in Afghanistan, 1919-1929: King Amanullah’s Failure to Modernize a Tribal Society. New York: Cornell University Press, 1973.

Ralph H. M. and Eden Naby. Afghanistan: Mulla, Marx and Mujahid. Colorado: Westview Press, 2002.

‘The Loya Jirga.’ Afghanistan Gove Political Page, <>.




How to Cite

Nasiri, Mohd Tahir. 2021. “The Impact of Religion and Culture on the Supremacy of the Constitution in Afghanistan”. ICR Journal 12 (2):331-46.