Syllabus: Islamic Law

University of Washington, School of Law

This course provides an introduction both to classical Islamic law and to a range of modern versions of Islamic law that guide the lives of contemporary Muslims. It explores how Muslims over the years have tried to understand God’s ethical command and how they have built from their rich body of ethical speculations, bodies of state law that reflect Islamic values. After introducing the history and basic concepts of classical Islamic ethical speculation and law, the course examines how modernity caused some Muslims to question their traditional assumptions about ethical and legal reasoning. The course concludes with several case-studies of "Islamic law" in action today. Taken together, the different sections of the class highlight the constant evolution of Islamic legal thought over time and place and the diversity of contemporary interpretations of Islamic law.

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