Shari’a or the sacred law of Islam is the will of God revealed to the prophet Muhammad and eventually taken down in the text of the Quran. The Quran together with the Sunna, the normative precedents of the prophet and his followers, written down in the form of Traditions (hadith), form the two main sources of the Shari’a. The legal scholars of the science of Shari’a (fiqh) developed methodologies and constructed an elaborate legal system, discussing cases and exercising legal reasoning on the basis of consensus (ijma’) and on analogy (qiyas). There are four pre-eminent schools of law: the Shafi’i, Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali school. The Shari’a prescribes in detail how a Muslim must behave in all aspects of life, that is, in the religious, moral and legal sphere and represents an eternally valid ideal to which society must aspire. The main legal areas treated are family, inheritance, commercial, contract, criminal and evidence law. Justice is being administered by Islamic judges (qadi’s). The legal areas not covered by Islamic law belong to the discretionary power of the ruler, called siyasa. This double administration of justice, one religious and the other secular prevails until this day. The reception of Western political ideas and the formation of states in particular changed the natural environment of the Shari’a. Modern theories differ widely about the possibility of an Islamic state and about the Shari’a as a basis for legislation or human rights.
This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on Islamic Law. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's systematic classification → Oriental countries, Islamic law and subject heading (keyword) Islamic Law are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.
- Baderin, M.A. (ed.), Islamic Law, Farnham, Surrey, Ashgate , 2014.
- Coulson, N.J., A History of Islamic Law, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1978.
- al-Fatlāwī, S.H, Mawsūʿat al-qānūn al-duwalī al-Islāmī, ʻAmmān, Dār al-Ṯaqāfa li-al-Našr wa-al-Tawzīʻ, 2014.
- Hallaq, W.B., Shari'a: Theory, Practice, Transformations, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009.
- Navaid, M.I., Legal System in Islam, New Delhi, Discovery Publishing House, 2010.
- Peters, R. and P. Bearman (eds.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Islamic Law, Farnham; Burlington, Ashgate, 2014.
- Schacht, J., An Introduction to Islamic Law, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982.
- Abdurrahman Bewley, A. (transl.), al-Muwatta of Imam Malik ibn Anas: the First Formulation of Islamic Law, London, Kegan Paul International, 1989.
- Al-Dawoody, A., The Islamic Law of War : Justifications and Regulations, New York, NY., Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
- Baderin, M.A., International Law and Islamic Law, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008.
- Bassiouni, M. Cherif, The Sharia and Islamic Criminal Justice in Time of War and Peace, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2014.
- Bechor, G., The Sanhuri Code, and the Emergence of Modern Arab Civil Law (1932 to 1949), Leiden, Brill, 2007.
- Berger, M.S. (ed.), Applying Shari’a in the West : Facts, Fears and the Future of Islamic Rules on Family Relations in the West, Leiden, Leiden University Press, 2013.
- Emon, A.M., M.S. Ellis and B. Glahn (eds.), Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law: Searching for Common Ground?, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Espositio, J.L. and Emad El-Din, S. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2013.
- M.-L. Frick and A. Th. Müller (eds.), Islam and International Law : Engaging Self-Centrism from a Plurality of Perspectives, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2013.
- Hasan, Zulkifli, Shari'ah Governance in Islamic Banks, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2012.
- Jahel, S., La place de la chari’a dans les systèmes juridiques des pays arabes, Paris, Éditions Panthéon-Assas, 2012.
- Mayer, A.E., Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics, Boulder, CO, Westview Press, 2013.
- Otto, J.M. (ed.), Sharia Incorporated : a Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present, Leiden, Leiden University Press, 2010.
- Peters, R., Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005.
- Picken, G.N. (ed.), Islamic Law / London [etc.] : Routledge, 2011.
- Rohe, M., Islamic Law in Past and Present , Leiden, Brill, 2015.
- Abou El Fadl, Kh., “The Islamic Legal Tradition”, The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Law, Cambridge [etc.], Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 295-312.
- Berger, M., "Islamic Views on International Law", in P.W. Meerts (ed.), Culture and International Law, The Hague, Hague Academic Press, 2008, pp. 105-117.
- Charfi, M., "L'influence de la religion dans le droit international privé des pays musulmans", in 203 Recueil des cours (1987-III), pp. 321-454.
- Kelly, M.J., "Islam and International Criminal Law: a Brief (In)compatibility Study", Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, 14 (2008-2009), pp. 3-25.
- Khasawneh, A.S. al-, “Islam and International Law”, Islam and International Law, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2013, pp. 29-42.
- Mahmassani, S., "The Principles of International Law in the Light of Islamic Doctrine", in 117 Recueil des cours (1966-I), pp. 201-328.
Full Text Articles
- Grant,P., "Islamic Law, International Law, and Non-International Armed Conflict in Syria”, Boston University International Law Journal, 35 (2017), No.1, pp.2-37. [PDF]
- Altawyan, A.A., "Sharia as Law in International Commerce: Challenges in Attracting International Investors to Saudi Arabia and Achieving a Major Goal of Vision 2030" (April 2017), International Journal of Business and Management Studies, 6 (2017), No.1, pp. 323-333.
Periodicals, serial publications
- Arab Law Quarterly
- Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law
- The Encyclopaedia of Islam
- Encyclopaedia of Islamic Law
- Encyclopedia of Islamic Law : a Compendium of the Views of the Major Schools
- Göttinger Forum für Arabistik
- Harvard Studies in Islamic Law
- Islamic and Comparative Law Review
- Islamic Law and Society
- Islamic Law Journal
- Istanbul Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesi Mecmuasi
- Journal of Islamic Law & Culture
- Journal of Islamic State Practices in International Law
- Mağallat Kulliyyat al-Qānūn al-Kuwaytiyya al-ʿĀlamiyya = Kuwait International Law School Journal
- Palestine Yearbook of International Law
- Recht van de Islam
- Revue algérienne des sciences juridiques, politiques et économiques
- Revue libanaise de l'arbitrage arabe et international
- Studies in Islamic Law and Society
- UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law
- Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law
- Lohlker, R., Bibliographie des islamischen Rechts, Hamburg, Verlag Dr. Kovač, 2005.
- Makdisi, J. and M. Makdisi, "Islamic Law Bibliography: Revised and Updated List of Secondary Sources", Law Library Journal, 87 (1995), pp. 69-191.
- Zwaini, L. al- and R. Peters, A Bibliography of Islamic Law, 1980-1993, Leiden, Brill, 1994.
Systematic classification → Municipal law and comparative law
Hefner, R.W. (ed.), Shari'a Law and Modern Muslim Ethics, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2016.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Many Muslim societies are in the throes of tumultuous political transitions, and common to all has been heightened debate over the place of shari'a law in modern politics and ethical life. Bringing together leading scholars of Islamic politics, ethics, and law, this book examines the varied meanings and uses of Islamic law, so as to assess the prospects for democratic, plural, and gender-equitable Islamic ethics today. These essays show that, contrary to the claims of some radicals, Muslim understandings of Islamic law and ethics have always been varied and emerge, not from unchanging texts but from real and active engagement with Islamic traditions and everyday life. The ethical debates that rage in contemporary Muslim societies reveal much about the prospects for democratic societies and a pluralist Islamic ethics in the future. They also suggest that despite the tragic violence wrought in recent years by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq, we may yet see an age of ethical renewal across the Muslim world.
Zee, M., Choosing Sharia?: Multiculturalism, Islamic Fundamentalism and Sharia Councils, The Hague, Eleven International Publishing, 2016.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Proponents of multiculturalism do not usually subscribe to Islamist goals. Yet, across Europe, these are being furthered. Sharia councils are deeply at odds with Western moral and legal principles of equality, freedom, and justice. However, high-profile multiculturalists tend to present a romanticized view of these councils, which obscures both the ideology that motivates them and their practical consequences. Are Sharia councils a legitimate expression of the longing for identity, as multiculturalists claim? What do Islamists really want? And why do multiculturalists find it so difficult to counter their claims? This book explores the implications of multiculturalism and Islamic fundamentalism. It provides a vivid account of what really goes on inside Sharia councils, and it discusses the challenges they pose to liberal democracy. With impressive clarity and vital importance, the book offers insight into two ideologies crucial to Europe's future. *** "Author Machteld Zee draws upon direct experience observing Sharia councils as well as individual case studies as she analyzes the problem and prospective solutions. Choosing Sharia? is highly recommended."
Vanhullebusch, M., War and law in the Islamic world, Leiden : Brill, Nijhoff, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Armed conflict, today, has diverged from war as it was known in generations past, and from this, has tested the means by which conflicts and violence are regulated. Written with an eye to a region plagued by such conflicts, War and Law in the Islamic World examines the origins and roles that two distinct systems of governance – Islamic law and international humanitarian law – have played in conflicts past and present. Meant equally for the scholar or student, this book presents the legal and policy complexities of today’s conflicts in a new light through its careful and well-researched investigation of the past and the present
Rohe, M., Islamic Law in Past and Present, Leiden, Brill, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Islamic Law in Past and Present, written by the lawyer and Islamicist Mathias Rohe, is the first comprehensive study for decades on Islamic law, legal theory, reform mechanisms and the application of Islamic law in Islamic countries and the Muslim diaspora. It provides information based on an abundance of Oriental and Western sources regarding family and inheritance law, contract and economic law, penal law, constitutional, administrative and international law. The present situation and ‘law in action’ are highlighted particularly. This includes examples collected during field studies on the application of Islamic law in India, Canada and Germany.
Ercanbrack, J.G., The Transformation of Islamic Law in Global Financial Markets, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
The role of global capital in relation to human social systems has assumed enormous proportions in liberalised, deregulated markets. States attempt to nationalise it, financial centres spring up in its wake, and INGOs attempt to deal with its de-territorialising, supranational characteristics. A global adjudication system (arbitration) has been introduced to safeguard and buttress its flow. The power of Islamic capital has generated numerous sites of legal contestation and negotiation, ranging from gateway financial centres, international law firms and transnational financial institutions, all of which interact in the production of Islamic financial law (IFL). The process of producing IFL illustrates complex fields of action driven by power dynamics, neoliberal paradigms and the institutional momentum of the global economy. The municipal legal systems under study in this book (the United Kingdom, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and the Dubai International Financial Centre) illustrate globalisation's acceleration of legal, economic and social production.
Kruiniger, P.M., Islamic Divorces in Europe, Bridging the Gap between European and Islamic Legal Orders, The Hague, Eleven International Publishing, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This book examines the issue of the recognition of Islamic divorces in European states. Repudiation-based divorces are particularly notorious for their presumed violation of fundamental rights of women and are consequently often not recognized. The resulting limping of legal relationships affects other fundamental rights of the persons involved, such as the right to marry and the right of free movement. For this reason, the book scrutinizes classical Islamic divorce law and the contemporary divorce laws and practices of Egypt, Iran, Morocco, and Pakistan, as well as the Dutch, English, and French recognition policies and relevant EU (case) law. By introducing various soft and hard law solutions, the book provides legal practitioners with the information and tools to tackle major shortcomings in the recognition of Islamic divorces. It is therefore a must read for legal practitioners, such as registrars, notaries, and members of the judiciary, as well as academics.
Giunchi, E.G., Muslim Family Law in Western Courts, London; New York, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This book focuses on Islamic family law as interpreted and applied by judges in Europe, Australia and North America. It uses court transcriptions and observations to discuss how the most contentious marriage-related issues - consent and age of spouses, dower, polygamy, and divorce - are adjudicated. The solutions proposed by different legal systems are reviewed , and some broader questions are addressed: how Islamic principles are harmonized with norms based on gender equality, how parties bargain strategically in and out of court, and how Muslim diasporas align their Islamic worldview with a Western normative narrative.
Bassiouni, M.C., The Sharīʿa and Islamic Criminal Justice in Time of War and Peace, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This innovative and important book applies classical Sunni Muslim legal and religious doctrine to contemporary issues surrounding armed conflict. In doing so it shows that the shari'a and Islamic law are not only compatible with contemporary international human rights law and international humanitarian law norms, but are appropriate for use in Muslim societies. By grounding contemporary post-conflict processes and procedures in classical Muslim legal and religious doctrine, it becomes more accessible to Muslim societies who are looking for appropriate legal mechanisms to deal with the aftermath of armed conflict. This book uniquely presents a critique of the violent practices of contemporary Muslims and Muslim clerics who support these practices. It rebuts Islamophobes in the West that discredit Islam on the basis of the abhorrent practices of some Muslims, and hopes to reduce tensions between Western and Islamic civilizations by enhancing common understanding of the issues.
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, International Law, Regional Developments: Islam, by Mohammad Fadel.
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Islamic Approach to International Law, by Said Mahmoudi
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Organization of the Islamic Conference, by Said Mahmoudi
Cultucide in Timbuktu: Shari’a and War Crimes
Last weekend the Islamist Group Ansar Eddine (“Defenders of the Faith”) destroyed some of the age-old mausolea of Sufi Saints in Timbuktu. Despite the fact that recently on June 28 2012, these mausolea were placed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger.Read more
Islam and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has helped many childless couples successfully produce families in all corners of the globe. Current developments regarding IVF treatment have sparked debates in many islamic nations among religious groups. This blog will focus on Iran and discuss the differences between Sunni and Shi’a Islam regarding this issue.Read more
- Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources (AMIR)
- Arab Reform Initiative : The leading independent Arab think tank
- The Arabist
- Al-Fanar Media : News and Opinion about Higher Education
- Finding the Law: Islamic Law (Sharia) By Andrew Grossman, Published on August 1, 2002
- Harvard Law School Library : Guide to researching Islamic Law
- Iran : Law Pars Times (2017)
- Islamweb : Fatwas
- Law Research Guide Columbia University Law School by Aslihan Bulut (2011)
- Al-Monitor : the Pulse of the Middle East
- Muslim Law Systems and Mixed Systems with a Muslim Law Tradition
- SOAS-CIMEL Islamic and Middle Eastern Law Materials
- Reforming Islamic family law within the religious framework: the « best practices » strategy by Khalid Chraibi
- Religious Legal Systems: A Brief Guide to Research and Its Role in Comparative Law, by Marylin Johnson Raisch
- Sharia : ITO, Intellectual Takeout, Minnesota
- World Database for Islamic Banking and Finance