Islamic Law and Government

Islamic Law and Government

Islamic Law & Government is a graduate seminar designed for professional and graduate students with interest in the study of Islamic law. Societies, and institutions. Students must be prepared to read the assigned materials in time, lead class discussions, and write a substantive research paper about a relevant topic. All students must read the assigned books and chapters. However, each  class session, one or two students will be selected to summarize the reading assignments, identify the main thesis of the work, determine the disciplinary approach (or approaches) employed by the authors; and moderate the ensuing discussion. In a sense, while this course is primarily a learning experience, it is also a training opportunity for future teachers and professionals. Students enrolled in this course will be exposed to critical analysis of the logic and context of the development of Islamic legal and political legacy since the formative period (7th century).

We will discuss the various theories explaining classical law and governance theories, examine key areas including contract law, homicide, procedure, personal Statutes (marriage, divorce, inheritance…), banking and financial, oversight, public trust, and bequests. We will learn about the principles of Islamic jurisprudence, sources of Islamic law, idea and meaning of sharia, methods of deriving legal rulings, forms of Islamic government, and modern Islamic political thought. Additionally, students will be introduced to major legal and jurisprudential schools of thought including Sunnism, Shi`ism, and Ibadism and the sub-groups thereof. Finally, we will consider secular and Islamic law-based legal codes in key Muslim countries (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, and Pakistan), political trends, and social movements.

Undergraduate students may enroll in this course but must ask for Instructor’s permission before or during the first week of the semester.


In addition to the textbooks below, there will be additional reading materials to be made available to students online..



  • Reading Packets will be made available on ICON; students may download free copies.



Select Bibliography: Sharia, Islamic Law and Institutions

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