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Introduction to Islamic law LA3028

Introduction to Islamic law is offered as an optional module to students studying on the Standard Entry and Graduate Entry LLB courses.

It is also offered as an Individual Module. Credits from an Individual Module will not count towards the requirements of the LLB.

The module offers an overview of Islamic law covering its religious historical and contemporary dimensions. The module addresses first the religious and historical foundations of Islamic law before going on to address its application in contemporary jurisdictions.

Topics covered

Part I

  • Introduction: Understanding Islamic law; Islamic law in the modern age and its role in international law; Its importance as part of the legal system in modern states; Meaning of Shar’iah.
  • Origins and History: Pre-Islamic Arabia; Arab tribal law; The life of Muhammed; The Al-Rāshidūn caliphs; The Ummayyads and the Abbāsids. The Ahl al-ra’y and the Ahl al-hadīth. The role of Al-Shāfi’ī.
  • Sources, methods and principles of Islamic law: The Qur’an as a law text; The Sunnah of the Prophet; Hadīth material and authentication; The controversy of authentication; Ijmā‘, Qiyās, Istihsān, Maslahah, Darūrah, Istishāb, Ijtihād.
  • Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence:The Sunnī and Shī’ī. The Sunnī Schools: Hanafī, Mālikī, Hanbalī, Shāfi’ī. The Shī’ī schools: Ithnā Asharī, Ismā’ilī, Zaydī.

Part II

  • Penal law: Hadd offences; Ta’zir offences; Qisās offences; Pakistan’s Huddood Ordinances.
  • Civil law:Contracts and tort; Freedom of Contract, Murābahah, Pre-emption; Gifts; Tortious actions and liability.
  • Family law.Marriage contract; Rights and duties; Guardianship; Maintenance; Stipulations; Dissolution of marriage; Legitimacy; Child custody.
  • Succession:Intestate and Testate Rules, Qur’anic heirs, Agnates; Death sickness; Waqfs.
  • Courts and procedure:The Qādī’s court; General rules of procedure and evidence.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to:

  • Know the outline of the history of Islamic law and its role in the contemporary world;
  • Understand the origins, sources and methods of Islamic law;
  • Comprehend basic issues in Islamic legal theory and Islamic substantive law;
  • Appreciate basic features of the administration of Islamic justice including: the role and function of Islamic courts, judges, evidence and proof.
  • Analyse the operation of Islamic law in relation to matters concerning crime, contract, tort, family and succession.
  • Evaluate basic questions on Islamic law and produce reasoned and evidenced responses;
  • Employ accurate legal terminology relevant to this area of law.


3hr 15 mins unseen examination

Essential reading

The essential reading for this course is the subject guide and reading pack provided. The extracts are from:

  • Coulson, N. A history of Islamic law. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994, reprinted 2007) [ISBN 9780748605149].
  • Hallaq, W, An Introduction to Islamic Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) [ISBN 9780521678735].
  • Kamali, M.H., Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 2003) third edition [ISBN 9780946621828].
  • Quadri, A. A. Islamic jurisprudence in the modern world. (New Delhi: Adam Publishers and Distributors, 2007) [ISBN 9788174355225].