Muhammad Sa'id al-'Ashmawi (Arabic: محمد سعيد العشماوى, IPA: [mæˈħæmmæd sæˈʕiːd el.ʕæʃˈmæːwi]; born in 1932) is a retired Egyptian Supreme Court justice and former head of the Court of State Security and a specialist in comparative and Islamic law at Cairo University. He has been described as "one of the most influential liberal Islamic thinkers today," who "has had to rely on round-the-clock police protection due to death threats from Egyptian militants."
Born in 1932, Ashmawi graduated from Cairo University's law school in 1954 and became assistant district attorney and then district attorney in Alexandria. He was appointed a judge in 1961 and rose to become chief justice of the High Court, the High Criminal Court and the High Court for State Security. He is trained in usul al-din, sharia and comparative law and did formal legal study at Harvard Law School and elsewhere in the United States in 1978. He retired from the bench in July 1993.
Ashmawi believes Islamism or political Islam is at odds with true Islam or "enlightened Islam"; application of the sharia (tatbiq al-sharia or taqnin al-sharia) are in reality empty slogans, extremely vague in substance; present Egyptian law is consistent with Sharia; civil or madani government is the proper kind of government in Islam; while religious government in Islam has been a disaster in the past.