Syllabus: Introduction to Islamic Law

University of Toronto

This course introduces students to the history, politics, culture and theory of Islamic law, starting from the early 8th century, through to its development through what is often called the “classical period” (i.e., circa 9-14th centuries), and its reintroduction and application in the modern nation state setting. The readings are meant to provide substantive background for students as they listen to and engage each other via the lecture and discussion that occur in the classroom. However, the readings are not value-neutral; rather they present sites of contestation over the definition, purpose, and relevance of Sharia in the modern day. Consequently, part of the class lecture and discussion will concentrate on the various stakes at play when discussing contested issues in the history and politics of Islamic law.

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