Friday, 27 May 2011

Islamic Law


This innovative new programme provides an opportunity for in-depth engagement with the principles and practice of Islamic law.  At the core of Islam, Islamic law governs many aspects of life, from family relationships to business transactions, criminal law, human rights, government and the laws of war.  It faces enormous challenges as it attempts to meet the needs of Muslims living in a changing world.

In recent years, many Islamic countries have begun the process of bringing all areas of their legal systems into compliance with the Shari’ah.  At the same time, Muslim populations in western countries are increasingly trying to find ways to comply with the laws of their faith within the law of their land.

Against this backdrop, there is a need for both Muslims and non-Muslims working in fields such as banking and finance, family law, social services, human rights, and education to have an understanding of the principle of Islamic Law, to allow them to plan effectively, addressing customer and client needs, dealing with issues that arise in the course of thier work.

Programme Aims

Students will focus on the key sources and legal approaches within Islam.  Relating the principles of jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh) and the legal maxims and intentions (al-Qawa’id al-Fiqhiyyah) to the diverse applications of law, in the context of family, criminal and financial issues.


There are no exams.  All assessment is by coursework, with most subjects assessed by a combination of:

  • Critical review (2,000 words)
  • An Essay (3-4,000 words)
  • A Seminar Presentation

Students who undertake an MLitt will also be required to complete a research dissertation of 15-18,000 words.

    Further Study & Careers

    This programme is designed to be taken by legal practitioners, those with a general interest in the law, and also those with a background in Islamic studies wishing to specialise further. It does not, however lead to a recognised ‘legal’ qualification in Islamic law.

    Programme Elements

    Introduction to Islamic Law

    This course provides an overview of the development of Islamic law, clarifies terms used by Muslim jurists and examines the relationship between Shari’ah and Fiqh and the divinity of Islamic law. It also investigates different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, using case studies from around the world.

    Principles of Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh) and Legal Maxims (al-Qawa’id al-Fiqhiyyah)

    This course provides students with the means to understand and extrapolate rulings from Islamic texts through examination of the thoughts of Muslim jurists. It explores the approaches of different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and provides students with an understanding of some of the controversial issues surrounding Islamic law today.

    Optional Course 1

    Students choose one course from:

    • Islamic Family Law & Contemporary Issues
    • Islamic Criminal Law & Contemporary Issues

    Optional Course 2

    Students choose one course (subject to availability) from:

    • Human Rights: An Introduction
    • Core Sources & Approaches in the Study of Islam & Muslims
    • Principles of Islamic Banking & Finance
    • Islamic Ethics: Theory & Issues

    Optional Course 3

    Students choose one course (subject to availability) from:

    • Islamic Family Law
    • Islamic Criminal Law
    • Islamic Legal Issues in the UK
    • The Marriage Contract in Islam: Classical & Modern Perspectives
    • Approaches to Ethics in Islam: Differences & Commonalities
    • Medical Ethics & Islam
    • Legal Ethics & Islam

    Postgraduate Research Methods

    This course addresses various research methods in the humanities and social sciences (e.g. analytical, comparative, historical and social) and introduces an in-depth critical analysis of contemporary research methods. Students engage with qualitative and quantitative methodologies in historical, textual, anthropological (ethnographic) and social scientific disciplines. They are also expected to reflect on different methodologies and select appropriate methodological approaches for their own research.


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