Islamic Law in the News Roundup

Details of France’s proposed bill to counter what President Macron called “Islamic separatism” began to emerge: the bill seeks to criminalize disclosing data about a person’s location to those who might do harm, to provide for summary trials for perpetrators of online hate crimes, to empower judges to prevent individuals with a certain criminal history … Continue reading Islamic Law in the News Roundup

Time and Moral Choice in Islamic Jurisprudence

By Omar Farahat A question that classical Muslim jurisprudents debated vigorously was: how do we undertake our duties when divine commands only give general guidelines in relation to time, or no time-specific determinations at all? At the heart of this question is how divine speech, mediated by the work of jurisprudents, should be seen to … Continue reading Time and Moral Choice in Islamic Jurisprudence

An Experiment in Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Islamic Law :: Part 2 ::

By Mairaj Syed Results I initially decided that I would divide up the Testimony chapter into 7-gram word fragments, because the original evidence canon consisted of seven Arabic words. This created a list of 38,683 7-gram fragments. Being ambitious and hoping to be lucky, I decided to send the google service 1000 texts at a … Continue reading An Experiment in Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Islamic Law :: Part 2 ::

An Experiment in Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Islamic Law :: Part 1 ::

  By Mairaj Syed Project Description and Goals As I briefly indicated in my previous blog post, a fundamental desideratum for the field of Islamic law and ethics is a corpus of texts whose argumentation has been fully mined: conclusions would be distinguished from premises, and the premises categorized according to type of argument. The … Continue reading An Experiment in Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Islamic Law :: Part 1 ::

Canons (Qawāʿid) and Reasoning in Islamic Law and Ethics

By Mairaj Syed Although ethical thought is found in virtually every literary genre of Islamic civilization, it finds the most explicit articulation in works of adab (belles-lettres), akhlāq (virtue ethics), and fiqh (positive law).[1] There are a number of distinguishing features that make fiqh an rich repository of moral thought, especially useful for the types … Continue reading Canons (Qawāʿid) and Reasoning in Islamic Law and Ethics

A New Framework for the Analysis of Islamic Tradition-Bound Rationality

By Mairaj Syed My book Coercion and Responsibility in Islam seeks to organize the insights of the four conceptual approaches in the previous blog post into a coherent structure. It proposes an analytical framework that identifies and tracks the interactions of the key features that explain the content and historical development of concepts within technical … Continue reading A New Framework for the Analysis of Islamic Tradition-Bound Rationality

Four Conceptual Frameworks on Tradition-Bound Rationality

By Mairaj Syed Intellectual production in the premodern period was largely structured by belonging to a given, usually explicit and named, school. This was especially the case for theology and law. The school identities comprising these two disciplines of thought lasted many centuries, and at a minimum required a school-bound scholar to affirm a basic … Continue reading Four Conceptual Frameworks on Tradition-Bound Rationality

Is Islamic Legal Theory Conservative?

There are plenty of reasons to say that it is. The corpus of revealed prooftexts is closely guarded and ranked by the decisions of hadith critics of old. The meaning of each word is governed by prescribed literal interpretations that must be followed in the absence of contrary evidence. When prooftexts conflict, abrogation settles the … Continue reading Is Islamic Legal Theory Conservative?

Is Islamic Purposivism (maqāṣid al-sharīʿa) a Thinly-Disguised Form of Utilitarianism?

Thanks to the efforts of modern Muslim legal reformers, the medieval jurisprudential doctrine of maqāṣid al-sharīʿa has become ubiquitous, not only in the legal writings of contemporary Muslim jurists and scholars of Islamic law, but also among the educated Muslim lay-public. Yet, the appeal to maqāṣid al-sharīʿa – which I will translate as purposivism in this post … Continue reading Is Islamic Purposivism (maqāṣid al-sharīʿa) a Thinly-Disguised Form of Utilitarianism?

Lecture Series: Spousal Abuse and Islamic Law Reform

On Mar 28, Professor Mohammad Fadel of the University of Toronto gave a lecture on "Nushuz, Lawful Discipline and Spouse Abuse in the Maliki Madhab: A History and Its Relevance to Modern Islamic Law Reform." He discussed examples of Muslim judges from Mamlūk and Andalusian courts seeking out cases of spousal abuse rather than waiting for those cases to … Continue reading Lecture Series: Spousal Abuse and Islamic Law Reform