This seminar introduces students to the field of Islamic law. It is designed to give students a firm grounding in the principles, concepts and terminology of Islamic law. Islamic law is one of the oldest and most significant systems of law in the world. We will study the history, theory and the role of Islamic law in comparative jurisprudence. No previous familiarity with the field is necessary and there are no course prerequisites. All readings will be in English.
The course will be divided into two main parts: the first will deal with Islamic law in the classical context while the second will examine the role of Islamic law in the contemporary age. We will begin by considering the question of “Why study Islamic law?” We will then move on to the history and theory of the Islamic legal system with a special emphasis on the development of the various schools of thought in Islamic law. In the second half of the course we will survey Islamic commercial, criminal and family laws and their influence on the modern age. Furthermore, we will examine Islamic public international law, human rights and Islamic law and the Muslim minority in the United States. Attendance and participation are mandatory. Substantial Analytical Writing (SAW) requirement could be fulfilled.