Islamic Law

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2 or Year 3
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law

Module overview

This module presents, from a comparative perspective, an overview of Islamic law in its historical and evolutional perspective. Islamic legal theory is covered comprehensively in term one. This includes a critical analysis of the legal history, jurisprudential development, the schools of Islamic law, classical and modern theories, evolution of the law up to the present, and its contemporary applications. The module engages with both classical and contemporary scholarship and current critical theoretical debates ongoing in the field. Islamic criminal law and judicial procedure are also covered as aspects of Islamic substantive law in term one.

In term two, Islamic family law is comprehensively covered with principal focus on the law of marriage, dissolution of marriages, guardianship and child custody. These are examined in light of classical rules and recent family law reforms in the Muslim world. Current applicable family laws of selected Muslim-majority states will be examined within the context of the classical rules. Judicial decisions from UK courts in relation to Islamic law, as well as from courts in different parts of the Muslim world will also be examined. The module is based principally on contemporary English-language scholarship and no prior knowledge of Arabic language is required or presumed.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

By the end of this module, students should be familiar with a range of English-language scholarship on Islamic law generally, and have a clear understanding of Islamic legal theory and Islamic family law, and consequently should be able to:

  • reflect critically on topical issues raised in contemporary debates about Islamic law
  • appreciate the scope of reform and application of Islamic family law in modern times
  • Carry out independent research in the field of Islamic law
  • Undertake both written and oral analysis and debate on key issues in Islamic law


  • Weekly 2 hour lecture
  • 1 hour tutorial (please see syllabus for details of when tutorials are scheduled)

Method of assessment

  • Essay: 20% (2000 words)
  • Poster/podcast: 20%
  • Unseen written examination: 60%

Suggested reading

  • Baderin, M.A., Islamic Law: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2021).
  • Baderin, M.A. (ed.) Islamic Legal Theory Vol.1 (Ashgate, 2010), Islamic Substantive Law, Vol. 2 (Ashgate, 2010), Islamic Law in Practice, Vol.3, (Ashgate, 2010).
  • Coulson, N.J., A History of Islamic Law (EUP, 1963).
  • Hallaq, W., A History of Islamic Legal Theories, (CUP, 1997)
  • Kamali, H.M., Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (ITS, 2005).
  • Welchman, L., Women and Muslim Family Law in Arab States (AUP, 2007).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.