The following is a guest post by Connie Johnson, a senior legal research analyst at the Law Library of Congress. Connie has previously written posts on an event and associated research guide related to translations of foreign law, one of our Human Rights Day events, and water rights at Star Island. She also jointly wrote a post about a Law Library report on homosexuality laws in African countries.
Islamic law as a subject is well-covered in the collections of the Library of Congress, with over 10,000 titles in a variety of languages. In English alone, there are over 1,900 works that are wholly or partly devoted to discussion of Islamic law, with new additions to the collection constantly arriving. In addition, check out a previous post to this blog by Tariq Ahmad, Islamic Law in Pakistan – Global Legal Collection Highlights (Dec. 24, 2013), for information on the Library’s books on this aspect of Pakistani law.
For a recent bibliography project, I compiled a list of works in English, published from 2009 to 2014, on the topic of Islamic law. The bibliography includes works devoted to the history and origins of Islamic law, some with translations of significant writings; works on contemporary issues in Islamic law in general; and works on particular topics. Some of the writings focus on a particular jurisdiction, while others are more general in nature.
Among the recent books on the history of Islamic law are:
- Arabi, Oussama, David S. Powers & Susan A. Spectorsky, eds. Islamic Legal Thought: A Compendium of Muslim Jurists. 590 pp. Leiden: Brill, 2013.
- Hermansen, Marcia, trans. Shāh Walī Allāh’s Treatises on Juristic Disagreement and Taqlīd: Al-inṣāf fī Bayān Sabab al-Ikhtilāf and ̀Iqd al-Jīd fī Ahkām al-Ijtihād wa-l Taqlīd. 151 pp. Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2011.
- Weiss, Bernard G. The Search for God’s Law: Islamic Jurisprudence in the Writings of Sayf al-Dīn al-Āmidī. 784 pp. Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2010.
The articles within books on the history of Islamic law cover a wide range of topics, including general discussions of the development of Islamic jurisprudence and such subjects as the abolition of slavery, family law, international law, the judiciary, criminal law, and the regulation of science. Here are a few of the articles that discuss Islamic law as it existed in the past:
- Allain, Jean. Acculturation Through the Middle Ages: The Islamic Law of Nations and Its Place in the History of International Law. In Alexander Orakhelashvili, ed. Research Handbook on the Theory and History of International Law. pp. 394-407. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011.
- Gradeva, Rossisa. On Judicial Hierarchy in the Ottoman Empire: The Case of Sofia from the Seventeenth to the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century. In Muhammad Khalid Masud, Rudolph Peters & David S. Powers, eds. Dispensing Justice in Islam: Qadis and Their Judgments. pp. 271-298. Boston: Brill, 2012.
- Powers, David S. Four Cases Relating to Women and Divorce in Al-Andalus and the Maghrib, 1100-1500. In Muhammad Khalid Masud, Rudolph Peters, & David S. Powers, eds. Dispensing Justice in Islam: Qadis and Their Judgments. pp. 383-409. Boston: Brill, 2012.
Discussions of contemporary Islamic law in general can be found in both book-length and article treatment. Some discuss the encounter between Islamic law and Western legal traditions. The bibliography has works in this section that are global in focus and others that cover specific locations. These general works include:
- Ansari, Abdul Haseeb. Contemporary Issues in Islamic Law. 424 pp. New Delhi: Serials Publications, 2011.
- Khanbaghi, Aptin, ed. Interpretations of Law and Ethics in Muslim Contexts. 417 pp. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012.
- Selby, Jennifer A. Construing the Secular: Implication of the Ontario Sharia Debate. In Anna C. Korteweg & Jennifer A. Selby, eds. Debating Sharia: Islam, Gender Politics, and Family Law Arbitration. pp. 351-373. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.
The largest categories of works on the list of materials on contemporary law devoted to particular topics are on commerce and finance, the family, human rights, and women’s rights. This pattern no doubt reflects the topics of interest to those writing in English about Islamic legal systems. Here are some sample titles:
- Ali, Rahail, ed. Islamic Finance: A Practical Guide. 200 pp. London: Globe Business Publishing Ltd, 2014.
- Balchin, Cassandra. Family Law in Contemporary Muslim Contexts: Trigger and Strategies for Change. In Zainah Anwar, ed. Wanted: Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family. pp. 209-236. Selangor, Malaysia: Musawah, 2009.
- Nasir, Jamal J. Ahmad. The Status of Women Under Islamic Law and Modern Islamic Legislation. 225 pp. Boston: Leiden, 3rd ed. 2009.
- Wadud, Amina. Islam Beyond Patriarchy Through Gender Inclusive Qur’anic Analysis. In Zainah Anwar, ed. Wanted: Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family. pp. 95-112. Selangor, Malaysia: Musawah, 2009.
The full bibliography is now available on the Law Library’s website. My earlier bibliography of Islamic law materials, covering the period from 2003 to 2008, can also be viewed. We hope these guides are useful to researchers interested in various aspects of Islamic law as applied in different countries.