Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 May 2021
In postcolonial Muslim-majority contexts, particularly in areas struggling with political violence, achieving the ideal of the rule of law is straightforward neither in theory nor in practice. Plural and overlapping legal orders – derived from Islamic principles, from the traditions of indigenous communities, and from the laws and institutions imported by colonial administrators or foreign aid workers and managed by postcolonial state leaders – shape how citizens come to understand different values associated with legal order. In these states, common ideals and shared visions of what law is and how it should work are scarce. Litigants may shop around among different legal systems (each one derived from an amalgam of traditions) for a desired outcome of their disputes, as they are pulled in one direction or another by family members, religious and community leaders, and lawyers.