“Islamic law is the source of legislation in Libya,” stated the General National Congress in a statement released shortly after the vote was held. “All state institutions need to comply with this,” it said.

The process by which the new sharia law system would be implemented was not immediately clear, but a special committee will review all existing laws to ensure their compliance with Islamic law, according to Reuters. The move came shortly before a separate vote to establish a 60-person committee which will be responsible for drafting the country’s new constitution. 

Sharia law – the moral code and religious law of Islam –  is dissimilar to Western ‘codified’ law in that its moral and legal guidelines are looser. Its rulings are based on the Koran, the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad and Muslim traditions. In its strictest form, it is perceived to be the divine will of God.