JJUA55249U  Introduction to Islamic Law

Volume 2018/2019
Content

Offered jointly by the Faculties of Law and Cross Cultural Studies, this course provides an accessible and systematic introduction to the study of Islamic law. Reflecting its traditional strengths in private law, this course focuses on Islamic family, commercial and contract law, treating Islamic public law only in passing. These also happen to be those areas most relevant to legal practitioners, as courts in Western legal systems often have to resolve private law matters with reference to Islamic legal principles. Those interested in constitutional law and Muslim governance more broadly should consider “Comparative Public Law in an Islamic Context” taught at the Law Faculty by the same instructor.

This course examines the nature and development of Islamic law from three distinct but related angles: as dogma centred around the interpretation of authoritative texts; as practice centred around the observation of the way its norms are actually observed by human beings; and as contingency centred around the recognition of the diverse historical, social and cultural forms it can take.

This course is aimed at graduate students in law, oriental studies, political science, and related disciplines. There are no linguistic or disciplinary prerequisites, all material is in English, necessary terms will be explained in class and a glossary provided. Given the complexities of its historical and dogmatic genesis, the study of Islamic law can be a forbidding prospect for those setting out to enter this field. The inherent intricacies of the subject are confounded by an increasingly polarised political and scholarly debate surrounding political Islam, in which demands for religious law often take central stage.

Learning Outcome

Knowledge:

  • Know the basic contours of the historical development of Islamic law
  • Know the main protagonists
  • Know the main difference between shari’a, ta’zir, siyasa.
  • Know the key doctrinal differences between Sunni and Shi’i law and dogma
  • Know the orthodox Legal School, their geographical distribution and historical significance
  • Know key substantive norms regarding marriage, guardianship, inheritance, and maintenance
  • Know key substantive norms regarding interest, risk, capital accumulation, and lending
  • Know key substantive norms regarding contracts, testimony, court proceeding, and evidence
  • Know major divergences between the Legal Schools
  • Know key areas of modern legal reform in family law
  • Know key characteristics of Islamic banking

 

Skills:

  • Read translations of key doctrinal texts
  • Identify major dogmatic debates, both historical and contemporary
  • Identify ‘lines of parentage’ of key concepts and ideological positions
  • Differentiate between private and public law
  • Identify and evaluate major legal and bureaucratic institutions
  • Identify social pressures for legal change
  • Carry out independent interdisciplinary research
  • Assess the feasibility of competing ideological positions
  • Distinguish between dogmatic ideal and practical reality
  • Communicate academic findings to an interdisciplinary audience
  • Analyse the role of law in complex socio-political phenomena in current events
  • Communicate these insights effectively

 

Competencies:

  • Conduct independent interdisciplinary research
  • Critically examine the validity and reliability of dogmatic claims
  • Disaggregate complex phenomena in the Islamic world
  • Give basic legal advice on Islamic private law
  • Distinguish legal from related argumentation
  • Critically assess claims about cultural and legal immutability

- Wael Hallaq, Sharia: Theory, Practice, Transformations, Cambridge: CUP, 2012

- Werner Menski, Islamic Family Law, London: IB Tauris, 2012

- Ann Black, et al., Modern Perspectives on Islamic Law, London: Edward Elgar, 2013

- Frank Vogel and Samuel Hayes, Islamic Law and Finance: Religion, Risk and Return, The Hague: Brill, 1998

- Chibli Mallat, Islamic Law and Finance, London: Graham and Trotman, 1988

Lectures and Socratic method
Structured group discussions
Case analysis of landmark decisions
Method training and application, both in general hermeneutics and (very basic) usul al-fiqh
Oral
Individual
Collective
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Credit
15 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Individual written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

The exam takes place at the Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies. Please see the course description HMØK0005EU  ISL, Islamisk jura (E18) for  exam dates.

Re-exam

The exam takes place at the Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies. Please see the course description HMØK0005EU  ISL, Islamisk jura (E18) for  exam dates.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • Total
  • 412,5