Introduction to Islamic law
The module addresses first the religious and historical foundations of Islamic law before going on to address its application in contemporary jurisdictions.
- Introduction. Islamic law in the modern age. Influence and extent. Importance as a source of law. Meaning of Shari ‘a.
- Historical basis. Pre-Islamic Arabia. Tribal law. The life of Muhammed and his family and tribe (the Quraysh). The Arrashidun caliphs. The Ummayyads and the Abbasids. The ahl-ra’y and the ahl alhadith.
- The sources of Islamic law. The Quran as a law text. The Sunna of the Prophet. Hadith material. The controversy of authentication (Schacht’s and Coulson’s approach). Subsidiary sources or methods of law: ijma, qiyas, istihsan, istislah, istishab, ra’y.
- The development of the schools of law. Sunni versus Shi’i. The Shi’i schools: Ithna Ashari’s, Ismaili’s, Zaydi’s. The Sunni Schools: Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali, Shafi’i.
- The courts and procedure. The Qadi’s court and Islamic rules of procedure and evidence. The oaths and witnesses.
- Criminal law. The Hadd offences. The Ta’azir offences. The Qisas offences - Homicide: the blood feud and blood money. Pakistan’s Huddood Ordinances.
- International law. Rules on laws of war. Treatment of prisoners. Treaty making powers. Dealings with non-Muslims (Dimmi’s).
- Civil law. Contracts, Islamic Law of Finance, Tort.
- Family law. Marriage. Guardianship. Legitimacy. Custody. Maintenance. Dissolution of marriage in traditional and modern law.
If you complete the module successfully you should be able to:
- Describe the origins, sources, methods and principles of Islamic law
- Describe the history of Islamic law and appreciate its role in the contemporary world
- Explain the main features of the administration of Islamic justice including: the role and function of Islamic courts, role of judges, evidence and proof
- Compare and contrast the operation of Islamic law in relation to matters concerning crime, contract, tort, family and succession
- Critically evaluate questions on Islamic law producing reasoned and evidenced responses
- Employ accurate legal terminology relevant to this area of law.
4hr 15 mins unseen examination.
- Coulson, N. A history of Islamic law. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994, reprinted 2007) [ISBN 9780748605149].
- Kamali, M.H. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 2003) 3rd edition [ISBN 9780946621828].
- Baderin, M.A. Islamic law: a very short introduction. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021) [ISBN 9780199665594].
- Abd al Ati, H. The Family Structure in Islam. (The American Trust Publications, 1995) 4th edition [ISBN 9780892590049].
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