Studying Islamic Law in a Changing World


Why do we study Islamic law in a time and place dominated by the laws of modern nation-states? Islamic law is a system of thought, interpretation, and enforcement that evolved over centuries based on the teachings of Prophet Mohammed and the divine revelations he received, which then led to the rise an expansion of a Muslim nation, the central characteristic of which was the following of that legal system. Those of us who study the tradition from the “outside,” which is virtually everyone in Western academic institutions, are faced with difficult methodological questions concerning the assumptions and purposes of our study. This talk will outline the basic features of this historical tradition that are particularly conducive to conceptual difficult in modern scholarship, and discuss the move from colonial, and anti-colonial to the post-liberal and post-nation-state approaches in the study of Islamic law.


This is the fifth presentation of the Comparative Law Series


Islamic law, Sharia, comparative law, legal system, religion