HSC210 – Principles of Jurisprudence 1


The syllabus for this and the other two Principles of Jurisprudence modules is based on what has now become a standard textbook of the Hawza in this field: Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr’s Al-Halaqat series. Principles of Jurisprudence 1 covers the first half of the first volume of this pioneering work.

  • Definition of the Science of Principles of Jurisprudence
  • Relationship Between the Science of Jurisprudence (Fiqh) and the Science of the Principles of Jurisprudence (Uṣūl)
  • Historical Development of the Science of the Principles of Jurisprudence
  • The Permissibility of the Procedure of Deduction
  • Legal Rulings and their Divisions
  • Types of Derivative Procedure
  • Type 1: Substantiating Arguments (al-Dillāt al-Muḥrizah)
  • Religious Evidence (al-Dalīl al-Shar‘ī)
  • Non-Verbal Religious Evidence (al-Dalīl al-Shar‘ī Ghayr al-Lafẓī)

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, the successful student will be able to:

  • Debate the legal tools employed by a jurist in deriving edicts from primary religious sources. (A1, A2, A5)
  • Assess opposing arguments concerning the permissibility of ijtihād (the process of deducing Islamic laws). (A3, A4, A6, B1, B3, B4,)
  • Critically evaluate contrasting perspectives held by jurists. (A3, B1, B3, B4)
  • Summarise and evaluate opinions held by scholars of jurisprudence . (B1, B3, B4, B5, B6)

This module will call for the successful student to:

  • Articulate the main concepts of Islamic jurisprudence in a clear and concise manner (B5, C1, C2-C4, C6, D3, D6)

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy

Delivery of this module is in the traditional Hawza style, whereby the teacher carefully reads and explains the core text, and discusses areas of particular complexity in more detail. Students are encouraged to examine the text critically and to engage in the discussions. Furthermore, students are expected to discuss material presented in class in their mubāḥathah (study circle) sessions to enhance understanding and retention.

Assessment Modes
Formative assessment is through co-ordinated independent study of reading material, followed by discussion in class to supplement topics covered and is an essential element of the programme. As part of the formative learning process each student will meet at least once with the module leader in order to discuss their critical learning for their assessed review. The tutorial will not be assessed but will form part of the formative learning process with constructive feedback given to the student. A draft of the critical review may be submitted for formative assessment before the 10th week. Additionally, revision sessions are arranged that will cover topics in preparation for exams, providing constructive formative feedback to students. Finally, formative feedback is also gained through mubāḥathah, providing an invaluable opportunity for students to consolidate their learning. Unresolved matters or new ideas resulting from mubāḥathah sessions are researched and brought to the attention of the module leader for feedback as part of the formative learning process.
Summative, graded assessment is by critical review and written examination. The critical review will be of 3,000  words and will require students to summarise and evaluate a book, chapter or article that has been written on a topic covered by the module syllabus. (Outcomes 4, 5). The 2 hour written examination will take place at the end of the semester (Outcomes 1, 2, 3).

Assessment Weighting
Critical review: 40%
Written examination: 60%

Learning materials

Core readings

  • Al-Sadr, M.B., 2003. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence According to Shi’i Law. Translated from Arabic by A.A. Hussain. London: ICAS Press.
  • Shomali, M.A. (2006). Principles of Jurisprudence – An Introduction of Methodology of Fiqh. The Organization of Abroad Islamic Seminaries and Schools.