ISC210 – Islamic Jurisprudence


The module covers the following key areas:

  • Major hermeneutical principles discussed in usul al-fiqh
  • Speculative (zanni) and definitive (qat’i)
  • Manifest (zahir) and explicit (nass)
  • General (‘amm) and specific (khass)
  • Literal (haqiqi) and metaphorical (majazi)
  • Implications (dalalah) of a given text
  • Ijtihad
  • Primary and secondary sources of Islamic law: Qur’an, Sunna, Consensus and Intellect and the extent of their authority
  • The value of solitary reports (khabar al-wahid) in legal judgements and how to deal with conflicting reports
  • Juristic preference (istihsan) and utility (maslahah)
  • Methods of deduction in the absence of sources: principle of presumption of continuity (istishab), principle of precaution (ihtiyat), principle of non-obligation (bara’ah)

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Discuss different principles of jurisprudence. (A1, A2, A4)
  • Evaluate the main differences between various schools of Islamic law. (A3)

 This module will call for the successful student to:

  • Critically analyse how jurisprudential principles are applied in the very process of law making. (B2, B3, B5, C1, C3, D1)
  • Break down the key themes of Islamic jurisprudence. (B1, C2, D3)
  • Compare and contrast significant differences in jurisprudential methodologies. (B1, B4, C1, C5, D6)

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy

Lectures provide the basic structure of the module. Each topic will begin with contemporary questions, refer to the historical background and to subsequent development, then return to contemporary questions.  The extent and nature of the historical material will vary as is appropriate to each individual topic. A wide range of material is covered in lectures and it would be unreasonable to expect students to answer exam questions based randomly on this material. Some specific topics will be selected for more detailed study and reading lists will be provided for each. The exam questions will be based on these topics.

Assessment Mode

Formative Assessment:
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. The module leader will regularly give feedback to student regarding the progress of their coursework, a draft copy of the completed coursework need be handed in to the module leader before the 10th learning week as part of the formative learning process. Additionally, revision sessions are arranged that will cover topics in preparation for exams, providing constructive formative feedback to students.

Summative Assessment:
Assessment is by coursework and written examination. The coursework will require students to write an essay of 3,000 wordsthat demonstrates a critical understanding of one of the main topics covered in class (Outcomes 3, 5) as well as a 2 hour written examination that will take place at the end of the module (Outcomes 1, 2, 4).

Assessment Weighting
Coursework: 50%
Written examination: 50%

Learning Materials

Core readings

  • Kamali, H. (1989) Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. Cambridge: The Islamic Text Society.
  • Milani, F. (2011) Thirty Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, London: Islam in English