Islamic Law and Jurisprudence Seminar
This course will focus primarily on Islamic law, and Islamic jurisprudence, in the modern era, using the classical period only as the backdrop against which modern notions and understandings of Islamic law may be tested. We will begin with a brief introduction into the creation and development of Islamic law from its earliest formative period through its golden, classical era in an effort to explore the principles of Islamic jurisprudence. We will then move quickly to address central questions concerning how that law has evolved given that the empires that gave rise to law in the classical era have evaporated and been replaced with nation states that have adopted by and large transplanted political and legal ideas, among them constitutionalism and reliance on secular legal codes to resolve legal questions. In this context, we will discuss the judicial application of Islamic law in Muslim and non-Muslim countries, surveying court practice in states as varied as Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia and Malaysia. We will also address the increased pan-national use of concepts that purport to be based on Islamic law, from Islamic finance to jihad.