Islamic Law


Afghanistan’s pluralist legal system is heavily influenced by Islamic Law. Sunni Islam has four major schools of jurisprudence, or madhāhib. Throughout Afghanistan’s modern history, Afghans have recognized the authority of the Hanafi madhhab (singular form of madhāhib). Application of Hanafi jurisprudence derives an understanding, or fiqh, of what the law is according to the Hanafi madhhab. Many laws written in the 1970s codified, in whole or in part, aspects of Hanafi fiqh. Recall, in the introduction to the first section of this bibliography, that laws pre-dating the Constitution remain in force until repealed. Furthermore, Article 130 of the 2004 constitution states that

“the courts shall apply provisions of this Constitution as well as other laws. If there is no provision in the Constitution or other laws about a case, the courts shall, in pursuance of Hanafi jurisprudence, and, within the limits set by this Constitution, rule in a way that attains justice in the best manner.”

The references listed below are provided to offer sufficient background materials to understand the basic concepts of Islamic Law, the Hanafi madhhab, and Islamic legal history. Two references are listed first: a search tool for an online Islamic Law library and a comprehensive encyclopedia of individuals who have transmitted canonical sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Thereafter, this section of the bibliography is divided into three parts:

1. Fundamentals of Islamic law


2. Islamic legal history

3. Special topics, such as contracts and family law in Islam.

For legal history pertaining specifically to Afghanistan, see Islamic Law in Afghanistan (section 3.3 of this bibliography).

Online Directories and Collections

Int’l Islamic U. Malay., Library Research Gateway, Islamic Law Digital Library,

Online database of Islamic Law references. Some knowledge of Islamic Law and the Hanafi madhhab is essential to understanding the Islamic component of Afghanistan’s pluralistic legal history.

G.H.A. Juynboll, Encyclopedia of Canonical Ḥadīth (Brill 2007), available at

This is both an introduction to ḥadīth and isnad analysis, as well as a useful reference of individuals associated with canonical tradition.

Fundamental Issues

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Peri J. Bearman, Wolfhart Heinrichs & Bernard G. Weiss The Law Applied (2008), available at

Peri J. Bearman, Rudolph Peters & Frank E. Vogel, The Islamic School of Law (Harvard 2005), available at
This book discusses the concept of an Islamic school of jurisprudence or mahddab.

Wael B. Hallaq, An Introduction to Islamic Law (Cambridge University 2009), available at

N. Hanif, Islamic Concept of Crime and Justice (Sarup & Sons 1999), available at
Provides an overview of crime and justice in Islam, in general, not focusing upon one school of jurisprudence.

Ahmad Hasan, The Doctrine of Ijmāʻ in Islam (3rd ed. 2009).

Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Islamic Society Texts 2003).

Majid Khadduri & R.K. Ramazani, The Islamic Conception of Justice (Johns Hopkins 1984), available at

Rudolph Peters, Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law (Cambridge University 2005), available at
This book discusses the practical application of Islamic law in instances of criminal cases.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam (American Trust 1997).

Bernard G. Weiss, The Spirit of Islamic Law (University of Georgia 1998), available at
This book focuses upon usul al-fiqh.


Muhammad Mushtaq Ahmad, The Notions of Dar al-Harb and Dar al-Islam in Islamic Jurisprudence with Special Reference to the Hanafi School, 47 Islamic Stud. 5 (2008).

M. Cherif Bassiouni and Gamal A. Badr, The Shari’ah: Sources, Interpretation, and Rule-making, 1 UCLA J. Islamic & Near E. L. 135 (2002), available at
Very clear and concise overview of Islamic law. This provides an excellent starting point from which to begin your research if you are unfamiliar with the topic.

Nazeem MI Goolam, Ijtihad and its Significance for Islamic Legal Interpretation, 2006 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1443 (2006), available at
Very clear and concise explanation of ijtihad that draws extensively from authoritative sources and well-regarded authors.

Adham A. Hashish, Ijtihad Institutions: The Key to Islamic Democracy Bridging and Balancing Political and Intellectual Islam, 9 Rich. J. Global L. & Bus. 61 (2010), available at

Muhammad Hashim Kamali, Siyasa Shariah or the Policies of Islamic Government, 6 Am. J. of Islamic Soc. Sciences 59 (1989), available at

Ali Khan, The Reopening of the Islamic Code, 1 U. of St. Thomas L. J. 341 (2003), available at

Clark B. Lombardi & Nathan J. Brown, Do Constitutions Requiring Adherence to Shari’a Threaten Human Rights? How Egypt’s Constitutional Court Reconciles Islamic Law with the Liberal Rule of Law, 21 Am. U. Int’l L. Rev. 379 (2006), available at
This article discusses how Islamic law adapts to a state where the constitution requires adherence to Islam. The article discusses the issue to explore future issues in Iraq and Afghanistan, by drawing historical lessons from Egypt.

Asifa Quraishi, Interpreting the Qur’an and the Constitution, 28 Cardozo L. Rev. 163 (2006), available at
Compares methods of US Constitutional interpretation with methodologies of the Sunni schools of jurisprudence and, in doing so, discusses distinctions among the schools.

Asifa Quraishi, On Fallibility and Finality: Why Thinking Like a Qadi Helps Me Understand American Constitutional Law, Mich. St. L. Rev. (2009), available at

Frank Vogel, An Introduction to the Law of the Islamic World, 31 Int’l J. Legal Info. 353 (2003).

Frank E. Vogel, The Trial of Terrorists Under Classical Islamic Law, 43 Harv. Int’l L.J. 53 (2002).

Frank Vogel, The Closing of the Door of Ijtihad and the Application of the Law, 10 396 (1993), available at

Diana Zacharias, Fundamentals of the Sunni Schools of Law, 66 Heidelberg J. Int’l L. 491 (2006), available at
Discusses the formations of, and distinctions among, the major Sunni schools of jurisprudence.

Islamic Legal History

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Noah Feldman, The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Princeton University Press 2008), available at

Baber Johansen, Contingency in a Sacred Law: Legal and Ethical Norms in the Muslim fiqh (Brill 1998) (1999), available at
This book discusses changes in Hanafi fiqh between the 10th and 12th centuries. Oddly, most of the book is in English, but some chapters are in German.

Christopher Melchert, The formation of the Sunni schools of law: 9th-10th centuries C.E. (Brill 1997), available at

Harald Motzki, The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence (Brill 2002), available at

Nurit Tsafrir, The History of an Islamic School of Law (Harvard 2004), available at

Knut S. Vikør, Between God and the Sultan (Oxford 2005), available at

Special Topics

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Shaheen Sardar Ali, Resurrecting Siyar Through Fatwas? (Re) Constructing ‘Islamic International Law’ in a Post-(Iraq) Invasion World, 14 J. Conflict & Security L. 115 (2009).

J. N. D. Anderson, Invalid and Void Marriages in Hanafi Law, 13 Bulletin of the Sch. of Oriental & African Stud. 357 (1950).

M. Cherif Bassiouni, Evolving Approaches to Jihad, 8 Chi. J. Int’l. L. 119 (2007), available at
Discusses shortcomings in the doctrines of jihad, their impacts, and how redefinitions of jihad are used for political ends.

M. Cherif Bassiouni, Gamal M. Badr, Saad El-Fishawy, Farooq A. Hassan & Erik Peterson, Contracts and Litigation in Islamic Law, 76 Am. Soc’y Int’l L. Proc. 55 (1982).
Short essays discussing International Law, Contract Law, and sources of Islamic Law

Lucy Carroll, The Hanafi Law of Interstate Succession: A Simplified Approach, 17 Modern Asian Stud. 629 (1983).

Mohamed Abdel Dayem and Fatima Ayub, In the Path of Allah: Evolving Interpretations of Jihad and Its Modern Challenges, 7 UCLA J. Islamic & Near E. L. 67 (2009).

Nicholas Garces, Islam, Till Death Do You Part? Rethinking Apostasy Laws Under Islamic Law and International Legal Obligations, 16 SW. J. Int’l L. 229 (2010).

Walid Iqbal, Courts, Lawyering, and ADR: Glimpses into the Islamic Tradition, 28 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1035 (2001).

Baber Johansen, Contingency in a Sacred Law: Legal and Ethical Norms in the Muslim fiqh (Brill 1998) (1999), available at
This book discusses changes in Hanafi fiqh between the 10th and 12th centuries. Oddly, most of the book is in English, but some chapters are in German.

Saim Kayadibi, Ijtihad by Ra’y: The Main Source of Inspiration behind Istihsan, 24 Am. J. of Islamic Soc. Sciences 73 (2007), available at

Liaquat Ali Khan, Jurodynamics of Islamic Law, 61 Rutgers L. Rev. 231 (2009), available at
This is a more advanced article that requires some basic understanding of Islamic law. It discusses the degree to which Islamic law adjusts to different forms of state governance.

Almas Khan, The Interaction Between Shariah and International Law in Arbitration, 6 Chi. J. Int’l L. 791 (2006).

Faisal Kutty, The Shari’a Factor in International Commercial Arbitration, 28 Loy. L.A. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 565 (2006), available at
This article assumes some knowledge of international trade conventions. But, it includes a discussion of Sharia and arbitration that is useful, regardless of one’s knowledge of international trade.

Herbert J. Liebesny, Judicial Systems in the Near and Middle East: Evolutionary Development and Islamic Revival, 37 Middle E. J. 202 (1983).

Jacqueline McCormack, Commercial Contracts in Muslim Countries of the Middle East, 37 Int’l J. Legal Info. 1 (2009).

Kathleen A. Portuan Miller, Who Says Muslim Women Don’t Have the Right to Divorce?, 22 N.Y. Int’l L. Rev. 201 (2009).

Muhammad Munir, The Layha for the Mujahideen: an analysis of the code of conduct for the Taliban fighters under Islamic law, 93 Int’l Review of the Red Cross 81 (2011), available at

Asifa Quraishi, Who Says Shari’a Demands the Stoning of Women? A Description of Islamic Law and Constitutionalism, 1 Berk. J.Middle E. & Islamic L. 163 (2008), available at

Mary F. Radford, The Inheritance Rights of Women Under Jewish and Islamic Law, 23 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 135 (2000), available at

Sadiq Reza, Torture and Islamic Law, 8 Chi. J. Int’l L. 21 (2007).

Sadiq Reza, Islam’s Fourth Amendment: Search and Seizure in Islamic Doctrine and Muslim Practice, 40 Geo. J. Int’l L. 703 (2009).

Tad Stahnke & Robert C. Blitt, The Religion-State Relationship and the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Comparative Textual Analysis of the Constitutions of Predominantly Muslim Countries, 36 Geo. J. Int’l. L. 947 (2005), available at
This is a broad survey constitutions in Muslim countries, with annexes taking up most of the document. But, it is a useful starting point for a comparative study.

David A. Westbrook, Islamic International Law and Public International Law: Separate Expressions of World Order, 33 Va. J. Int’l L. 819 (1993).

Anowar Zahid & Rohimi Shapiee, Customs as a Source of Siyar and International Law, 8 Int’l J. Civil Soc. & L. 36 (2010), available at