Islamic Law

Due to the growing number of Muslims in the UK, as well as the growing interest towards Islamic law and its branches in Western countries in general, and in the UK in particular, the Islamic college in collaboration with Middlesex University is offering this program. The program is structured to meet the needs of those who are looking for employment in the field of law and require expertise in Islamic law and its related branches as well as those who seek to carry on their studies to the PhD level and to become future lecturers or practitioners in the field.

The MA program in Islamic Law offers comprehensive coverage of subjects in Islamic Law as well as comparative studies. It is designed to provide students who are looking for a postgraduate degree in Islamic law to develop thorough knowledge and which offers various choices from a wide range of modules intended to widen knowledge of major areas in Islamic law, and to deepen understanding of particular topics, methods, and concepts.

The program intends to develop:

  • An in-depth knowledge of specialist areas of Islamic Law
  • The application of proper methodological style to the study of Islam and Islamic Law
  • Developing and improving critical thinking, analytical and practical abilities in assembling well-reasoned arguments
  • Productive intellectual interaction during lectures on subjects related to Islam and Muslim cultures and in particular in relation to the contemporary era
  • Skill in conducting research work and independent learning
  • Competence to continue with additional postgraduate studies
  • Dedicated knowledge and expertise that could be used in different professions

To achieve the MA award in Islamic law the students should complete 180 credits, out of which 60 are for the dissertation.

The breakdown of the modules is explained in the following tables:

MA/PG Dip (DE) Islamic Law Full-time Course Structure (all in Year 1)
Module MA Credits PGDip Credits
Sources of Islamic knowledge (Qur’an and Hadith) 20 20
Methods and Perspectives in Islamic Studies 20 20
Islamic Family Law 20 20
One 30-credit designated or two 15-credit designated
(see below for designated modules)
30 30
15-credit designated 15 15
15-credit designated 15 15
Dissertation 60 (n/a)


MA/PG Dip (DE) Islamic Law Part-time
(Autumn start)
Module MA Credits PGDip Credits
Year 1:
Sources of Islamic Knowledge (The Qur’an and Hadith) 20 20
Methods and Perspectives in Islamic Studies 20 20
One 30-credit designated or two 15-credit designated 30 30
Year 2 :
15-credit designated module 15 15
15-credit designated module 15 15
Islamic Family Law 20 20
Dissertation 60 (n/a)
Designated Modules (For full-time and part-time courses)
Module name Credits
Islamic Commercial Law 15
Islamic Jurisprudence 15
Minorities, Rights and the Law 15
Islam and Modern Politics 15
Islam & Modernity 15
Human Rights & Islam 15
Comparative Law and Legal Systems 30

Module Descriptions

Sources of Islamic knowledge (The Qur’an and Hadith) (core, 20 credits)

No study of Islam could be regarded as complete without a thorough study and research of Qur’an and methodical study of its origin and hermeneutics. Based on that, this course covers the Qur’an as the main primary source from which Islamic knowledge is derived. The course discusses the earliest methods of Qur’anic scholarship including the compilation of the Qur’an and its integrity, in addition to the role of qurra (reciters). The course will critically examine the methods of Qur’anic exegesis and the differences between exegetical schools, classical and modern, developed by Muslim scholars. This provides an opportunity for the students to develop their critical analysis skills by analysing the features of the different exegetical schools in Qur’anic hermeneutics, and using the knowledge gained to compare different passages from a number of classical tafsir texts. In addition, the course explores the concept of wahy (revelation), and the theological argument about the huduth (temporality) or qidam (eternity) of the Qur’an and its influences on the Qur’anic context of interpretation.

Hadith is considered as the second major source of Islamic knowledge and law. This course studies the formation and the development of Hadith literature in the first three centuries of Islam both in the Sunni and Shi’i scholarly traditions. The course covers the main compilers and their political and theological trends and the impact of all these on their compilations. It also discusses the reasons behind the acceptance of some of the compilations at the expense of others. In this course the students will be examining some selected texts from the canonical collection of Hadith together with commentaries, which analyse Hadith theologically, legally and linguistically. The course intends to build a critical evaluation of the study of Hadith in Muslim and Western scholarship.

Methods and Perspectives in Islamic Law (core, 20 credits)

This course focuses on researching and analysing Islamic resources for legal purposes. This includes discussing different approaches to ijtihad (derivation of Islamic rulings) and its scope. Based on that, the course examines how Islamic law can meet the demands of modern life. In order to achieve this, the course studies Hans-Georg Gadamer’s and Paul Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics and Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm and historical stages of Islamic Law. In addition, the course focuses on using the Internet and appropriate software for research in Islamic Law. All of these will be followed with students discussing a literature review related to major resources in different Islamic fields, then developing essay writing skills for academic purposes and preparing a presentation of a research report.

Islamic Family Law (core, 20 credits)

This course aims to provide a full picture of Islamic family law from a contemporary perspective. It also covers the general principles of shari‘ah that govern different issues such as marriage, divorce, maintenance, paternity, and custody of children after divorce. In addition, major issues of family law in Islam will be studied. Furthermore it covers the extent to which shari‘ah law in this respect is applied in Muslim communities everywhere. Based on that, the course discusses the law of marriage and its different types. It also covers respective duties, conditions of marriage and defects, terms of marriage, duration of marriage, and mahr (dowry). This will be followed with discussing the rules of divorce and its different forms, the disbanding of the contract, death of a partner and the waiting period, guardianship, the custody of children (walāyah), nafaqah (maintenance), ta‘adud (polygamy), marriage-related Inheritance rules, waṣiyyah (legacy), Islam and gender, and the rights of the women under Islamic law.

After providing an outline of the subjects as well as focusing on specific issues, in each session of this course (mentioned above), the related Islamic legal framework and specific contemporary matters of special note will also be addressed.

Islamic Commercial Law (designated, 15 credits)

The first part of this course introduces the shari‘ah law understanding of commercial contracts within fiqh mu‘ammalat (jurisprudence regarding transactions). The course focuses on fundamental issues such as the requirements of a contract, the classification of a contract such as ‘uqud tamlik (ownership contracts), musharakat (partnerships), niyabat (agency), taba’i, and tabra’i. It also will discuss the mechanism of contract formation and disqualification and the conditions that should be available between the contractual parties. It also will discuss the rules of deputation and guardianship. In addition, the course discusses in-depth risk taking and gharar with its different concepts. Dayn (debt) and remittance will also be discussed. Furthermore, the course aims to provide a focused knowledge in one of the areas of Islamic commercial law. The students will join a discussion group on an agreed subject for at least four sessions, which will focus on one of a specialised area listed below. Additionally, the course will enable students to engage in research and complete a project in one of the following areas:

  • Islamic banking
  • Insurance and assurance
  • Rent and mortgages
  • Zakāt and other forms of taxation in Islam

Islamic Jurisprudence (designated, 15 credits)

This course introduces students to Islamic jurisprudence and discusses the hermeneutical principles discussed in usul al-fiqh. It also will discuss sources of law in Islamic shari‘ah, with a special focus on Qur’an and the Sunnah in addition to ijma‘ (consensus). Intellectual reasoning or dalil al-‘aql (definitive, speculative analogy, and juristic preference) will be also examined, in addition to discussing methods of deduction in the absence of sources (presumption of continuity, principles of precaution, non-obligation, and their types and utility). The course also examines modern reflections on the sources of shari‘ah law and how to develop Islamic models of law in Muslim countries, and finally conflict of evidence.

Minorities, Rights and the Law (designated, 15 credits)

This course provides students with an overview of the special system of protection for minorities, indigenous peoples, children, and women. The course examines the concept of vulnerability under human rights law, the system of minority rights, and peoples’ and indigenous peoples’ rights. It will also discuss the issues of gender and human rights, in addition to discussing children’s rights. All issues abovementioned will be discussed in light of the relevant international legal framework and regional and comparative experience, in addition to particular contemporary issues of special importance for the selected vulnerable group. The second part of the module aims at providing a specialised knowledge in one of the areas of the protection of vulnerable groups. Students will join a discussion group on an agreed theme that will meet on at least four occasions and which will address a specialised area listed below. The second part of the module will enable students to engage in research and complete a project in one of the following areas:

  • Access to justice: comparative constitutional law and minorities
  • Race, religion and human rights
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Muslim minorities in Europe

Islam and Modern Politics (designated, 15 credits)

This course covers politics and the political experience in early Islamic History; it will also discuss Islam and modernity, including Orientalist and other views. It will also provide a historical analysis of Islamic political movements, in addition to discussing some Islamic political movements and ‘hijacking Islam’. The course also offer a study of some Islamic countries such as Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Iran, Algeria, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. It will also provide an overview of Islam and democracy, both in theory and practice. The theory of the clash of civilisations will be examined and critically evaluated.

Islam and Modernity (designated, 15 credits)

This course covers the phenomenon of modernity in its different appearances, various intellectual views of its advance in Muslim societies, and the main streams of thought that have emerged in the Muslim world as a result of the encounter between Islam and modernity. The course also examines some views of influential Muslim thinkers, who have tried to respond to the challenges of modernity. By implementing that, the course provides an introduction to modernity, in addition to examining the historical and philosophical roots of modernity. Beside that modernity, modernism, and modernisation will be examined with later modernity, post-modernity, and anti-modernity. It will also study the concepts of secularisation, the conflict between tradition vs. modernity, Muslim responses to modernity (pragmatic and ideological), and Muslim responses to modernity (rational and post-modern responses). In the second part of this course, the focus will be on specific ethical modern issues, where every session will address one of the contemporary issues that holds special importance from an Islamic point of view. Students will be expected to join the discussion sessions on one of agreed subjects or topics. The subjects covered in the second part of the course include family planning, abortion, genetic screening, artificial fertilisation, crises of modernity towards a new theory of law, surrogacy and cloning, organ transplantation, brain death and euthanasia, and women under Islamic law.

Human Rights and Islam (designated, 15 credits)

This course examines different theoretical issues such as the Islamic approach (monotheistic) to human rights according to different understandings of Islamic rules, and the Western approach (humanism) to human rights. To offer an in-depth view, the course will include comparative studies of human rights between Islam and the West, in addition to basic human rights such as the right to life, individuals and women’s rights, human dignity, the right to a basic standard of life such as freedom and security, and children’s rights. The course also focuses on practical issues related to human rights including political issues such as human security and good governance. Students will be expected to join discussion sessions on agreed topics. The topics covered in the second part of the course will include:

  • Politics and human rights
  • Islamic states and citizen’s rights
  • Basic human rights; ethics and morality
  • Human rights at times of war and peace

Comparative Law and Legal Systems (designated, 30 credits)

This course introduces the key concepts of the comparative approach by presenting the basic comparative method and theory. It will also present three families of law: civil, common, and religious (canonical). In addition, it will discuss the definition of law, illustrating its function and development. It will be followed with a study of the characteristics of the legal basis. This course gives students the opportunity to study the sections and branches of the law, its non-official sources, the rules of practicing law and principles governing it, the definition of ‘right’ and illustrating its types, and the legal protection of rights.

The other part of this course focuses on applications of comparative law with examples from Islamic family law (husband and wife, parents and children) and Islamic commercial law (property and banking). It will also explore law reform in the Muslim world and the application of Islamic Law in diaspora communities. The course includes discussion groups that will meet on at least six occasions in order to practice team work, learning from others, and collaborate on comparative approaches. This would encourage students to develop their own thoughts by applying research and writing essays which would be presented and discussed within the group.

Dissertation (60 credits)

A series of four research methodology seminars will be held in this course. The first seminar will be held in March; this will deal with the design of a dissertation proposal and the arrangement of an abstract. The second seminar will address bibliographical issues and issues related to information technology (internet and database search techniques). The third one will provide an overview of editing and copyright law. And the final one will take place in late April; it will include the preparation of an oral presentation and a review the students’ dissertation proposals, which normally takes place in late April. MA supervisors will reinforce aspects of the research skills seminars when they meet with students individually during the latter part of the spring semester.

This programme was developed and is delivered and assessed by The Islamic College, awarded by and quality assured by Middlesex University.