Islamic Law & Law of the Muslim World eJournal: August 23

This week’s issue of SSRN’s Islamic Law & Law of the Muslim World eJournal includes:

“Economic Harbingers of Political Modernization: Peaceful Explosion of Rights in Ottoman Istanbul” by Asli Cansunar and Timur Kuran

This paper ascribes a fundamental role to prior shifts in wealth toward non-Muslims and away from conservative groups, including Muslim clerics. These shifts, all under way in the 1700s, motivated Ottoman political leaders to begin, with the Gülhane Edict of 1839, to dismantle traditional institutions grounded in Islamic law and sultanic customs of governance. Despite its momentous provisions, the edict generated only minor resistance, because it addressed widespread and chronic grievances, legitimated trends unfolding for generations, and offered Muslim political elites, who had been losing ground, opportunities to catch up with rapidly advancing local Christians. The data, which come from Istanbul’s Islamic courts, allow the tracking of changes in the distribution of wealth, as measured by the founding of waqfs (Islamic trusts) and ownership of equities known as gediks.

“Assessing Social Inclusion through Transgender Legal Reforms in Pakistan”  by Ayesha Umar

This paper argues that social inclusion of LGBTQ community is essential for the well being of the society. LGBTQ members are frequently discriminated, tortured and are victim of other horrors on the basis of their gender identity. Using Sen’s work on social inclusion, the author assesses the recent legal developments in Pakistan for the LGBTQ community as a case study. This paper defines and provides historical background on the LGBTQ community in Pakistan and their activism. The paper concludes by highlighting the work of Akhuwat Foundation through which members of LGBTQ community are finding ways to access their basic freedoms and participate in the well being of the society.


“The Challenges of Islamic Law Adjudication in Public Reason,” by Mohammad Fadel, as part of Public Reason and Courts, edited by Langvatn et al., Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming

Rawls’ conception of public reason precludes the enforcement of rules derived from metaphysically controversial doctrines, such as revealed religions. Accordingly, a commitment to public reason seems to exclude adoption of Islamic legal doctrines as legitimate rules of decision. While that is true as a matter of ideal theory, the relationship of public reason to Islamic law in non-ideal theory is more complex. Islamic law is either directly incorporated in the legal systems of numerous Muslim and non-Muslim jurisdictions throughout the world, or its rules arise incidentally in various cases even where Islamic law is not formally part of the legal order. This chapter argues that the idea of public reason can meaningfully guide public reason minded judges when they are tasked with applying Islamic law in a fashion that vindicates the ideals of public reason. 

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