Professor Sadiq Reza
This course introduces students to the sources, jurisprudential methodology, doctrines, and actors and institutions of Islamic law in classical and modern times. Readings consist of primary and secondary sources that present the history and theories of Islamic law and depict its implementation and operation in classical and modern legal systems. Topics covered include the roots of the law and the derivation of legal rules from those roots; the respective roles of scholars, judges, executive officials and other actors in determining and enforcing rules of Islamic law; judicial procedure and rules of evidence; reform and the reception of Western law in the 19th and 20th centuries; democracy, constitutionalism, and contemporary theories and forms of “Islamic” states; Islamic law in American courts; and the place and future prospects of Islamic law in Muslim countries today. Case studies in criminal law and family law will provide opportunities for in-depth discussion, and current developments, such as the new constitutions of Afghanistan and Iraq, will provide further points of illustration and discussion. Regular reference to both the common-law tradition and the modern American legal system will provide a comparative dimension. No background in Islamic studies is required.
Grades are based on class participation and a take-home examination.