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An Islamic state (Arabic: دولة إسلامية dawlah islāmiyah) is a type of government primarily based on the application of shari'a (Islamic law), dispensation of justice, maintenance of law and order. From the early years of Islam, numerous governments have been founded as "Islamic".
However, the term "Islamic state" has taken on a more specific connotation since the 20th century. The concept of the modern Islamic state has been articulated and promoted by ideologues such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Israr Ahmed, and Sayyid Qutb. Like the earlier notion of the caliphate, the modern Islamic state is rooted in Islamic law. It is modeled after the rule of Muhammad. However, unlike caliph-led governments which were imperial despotisms or monarchies (Arabic: malik), a modern Islamic state can incorporate modern political institutions such as elections, parliamentary rule, judicial review, and popular sovereignty.
Today, many Muslim countries have incorporated Islamic law, wholly or in part, into their legal systems. Certain Muslim states have declared Islam to be their state religion in their constitutions, but do not apply Islamic law in their courts. Islamic states which are not Islamic monarchies are usually referred to as Islamic republics.
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