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

Getting a handle on large research projects

I am drawn to big projects. Small projects are easier to manage: if I focus on a single well–defined question, and answer it using a narrowly circumscribed set of source material, I can go from idea to article in less than a year, before my thoughts and notes and sources become too unwieldy to handle … Continue reading Getting a handle on large research projects

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?

Istanbul conference brings postclassical uṣūl al-fiqh into the limelight

The academic study of Islamic legal theory in the English–speaking world has been marked by several landmark gatherings: in Princeton (1983), Alta, Utah (1999), and Istanbul (2016 and now October 2019). The latest, held October 15–17 at Istanbul University, for the first time gave equal attention to the formative, classical, postclassical, and modern periods of … Continue reading Istanbul conference brings postclassical uṣūl al-fiqh into the limelight

Recent Scholarship: Medieval Islamic Legal Debates

In the latest issue of Studia Islamica, Asma Afsaruddin’s article on “Jihād, Gender, and Religious Minorities in the Siyar Literature: The Diachronic View” compares five medieval works to highlight changing attitudes towards the participation of non-Muslims and women in military jihād. Meanwhile, Omar Farahat’s new book on The Foundation of Norms of Islamic Jurisprudence and … Continue reading Recent Scholarship: Medieval Islamic Legal Debates

SHARIAsource Lunch Talk :: The Social Impact of Legal Patchworking (Talfīq)

Aaron Spevack, SHARIAsource Visiting Fellow 2018-2019, spoke on his current research into legal patchworking (talfīq). He examined debates for and against this legal tool, its role in the creation of sharīʿa-compliant financial instruments within Islamic law, the potential individual harms it can inflict, along with the potential social good. The event was livetweeted and may … Continue reading SHARIAsource Lunch Talk :: The Social Impact of Legal Patchworking (Talfīq)

CASE: Farooq Siddiqui v. Mst. Farzana Naheed (Federal Shariat Court, Pakistan): Judgment on Surrogacy

A baby produced through medical intervention by the sperm and egg of duly wedded couples (without involving a third party) is permissible under Islamic law. However, surrogacy is not allowed because marriage is the only means through which children should be produced under Islamic law. Surrogacy is likely to give rise to innumerable legal problems regarding … Continue reading CASE: Farooq Siddiqui v. Mst. Farzana Naheed (Federal Shariat Court, Pakistan): Judgment on Surrogacy

Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan on Surrogacy: From Judicial Islamization of Laws to Judicial Legislation

Pakistan editor Zubair Abbasi examines the legality of surrogacy under Islamic law. In Farooq Siddiqui v Mst. Farzana Naheed, decided on 16 February 2017, the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) determined the legality of surrogacy under Islamic law. In this case note, Abbasi analyzes the judgment of the FSC on surrogacy. Based on this analysis, he argues that this judgment signifies a historical … Continue reading Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan on Surrogacy: From Judicial Islamization of Laws to Judicial Legislation