RELG 475B (001) Topics in Religion: Islamic Law and Legal Theory
Islamic law has become something of a proxy in modern debates for larger theories and ideologies. Muslims across the world call for a “return to Islamic law” as a panacea for the ills of modernity. Several states in the United States have introduced bills that would ban Islamic law from being practiced and enforced within their borders. Muslims and non-Muslims contest the definition and applicability of Islamic law, in what has become a heated global argument.
Beginning with the origins of Islamic law and tracing its trajectory alongside the political fortunes and misfortunes of the Muslim empire, this class will explore the development and application of Islamic law. We will read primary sources in translation that will help us understand how Muslims conceived of Islamic law, and we will read secondary texts that will situate those conceptions in a socio-historical context. Class lecture and discussion will center around complicating our ideas about what is “Islamic” as well as what constitutes “law.”