This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Republic of Maldives (Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa), based on research produced by the Library of Congress. Under the Maldives’ Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) is the principle source of legislation.
The Maldives is a group of atolls located in South Asia, south of India. The capital of the Maldives is Male. The official language is Dhivehi, which is closely related to Sinhala (spoken in Sri Lanka). The country’s population in 2017 was approximately 392,702. The official religion is Sunnī Islam, and in order to be a citizen of the Maldives, one must be a Sunnī Muslim. Accordingly, the vast majority (over 98%) of the country’s population is Muslim. The Maldives is a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Constitution & Legal Structure
The Maldives gained its independence from Great Britain in 1965. The country adopted its first constitution shortly afterwards, but its current Constitution was ratified in 2008. The Maldives is referred to as a presidential republic. The system of government is based on principles of separation and checks and balances and has three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial.
Constitutional Status of Islamic Law
Islamic law is referenced throughout the Constitution of the Maldives, including . . .