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European Journal of Law Reform

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Issue 2, 2014 Expand all abstracts
Article

The Place of Shariah among the Legal Systems of the World

Keywords Ijtihad, harmonise, Al-husn wal qubh, Islamic law, Hadith
Authors Issam Saliba
AbstractAuthor's information

    Islamic law has been classified during the International Congress on Comparative Law held in Paris in 1900 as a great original legal system. The basic foundation of Islamic law rests on a moral concept of right and wrong as found in the Koran, the Holy Book of Islam and the traditions of the Prophet Mohammed. Muslim scholars formulated the legal rules and organized into a number of schools of Islamic legal thought. The plurality of opinion among and within these schools attest to the flexibility built into the structure of Islamic law. Later generations of Muslim scholars and intellectual leaders often failed to reach the spirit of the law and to build upon its accomplishments.


Issam Saliba
Lebanese Attorney serving as Foreign Law Specialist at the Law Library of the United States Congress, Washington, DC.
Article

An Introduction to Islamic Law

Keywords foundations of Islamic law, Islamic jurisprudence, Ijthad, Masaleh Mursala, Istihsan
Authors Salma Taman
Author's information

Salma Taman
LLB Alexandria University Faculty of Law (2006), LLM Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis (2009).
Article

Democracy, Constitutionalism and Shariah

The Compatibility Question

Authors A.T. Shehu
Abstract

    This article is a contribution and a response to the debate on the compatibility, or rather the incompatibility, of Islam and Shariah with democracy and constitutionalism. The debate has been both inter and intra; Muslims as well as non-Muslims are divided among themselves on the issue. A careful synthesis of the arguments on both sides shows fundamental problems of semantics and lack of proper appreciation of the issues involved because of divergent construction of the basic rules and normative concepts. This article identifies as a problem the tendency for cultural prejudice and intolerance to largely determine the direction of the debate and endure not only a ‘clash of civilizations’, but also, in reality, a clash of normative concepts. This article contends that Islam is more democratic in nature and that Shariah itself is a system of constitutionalism; needless to say, the objectionists have long forgotten that, in essential formulations, Shariah is the foundation of thoughts on human rights.


A.T. Shehu
Article

Human Rights in Islamic Law, Specifically the Guarantee of Procedural Justice

Keywords Islamic law, procedural justice, human rights, rules of evidence, Cairo Declaration of Human Rights
Authors Mohamed Y. Mattar
AbstractAuthor's information

    International law guarantees several fundamental principles of procedural justice, such as presumption of innocence, the right against self-incrimination, the right to be tried without undue delay, the right to examine witnesses, and the right to legal assistance. In this article I examine whether Islamic law guarantees similar procedural protections and demonstrate how Islamic law provides for basic human rights as well as general principles that may serve as guidelines in procedural justice. These include the principle of non-retroactivity, the principle of personal accountability, the principle of no crime or punishment without law, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the right to defence. The article also identifies rules of evidence provided by Islamic law which are designed to protect the accused.


Mohamed Y. Mattar
Mohamed Y. Mattar is a Senior Research Professor of International Law and the Executive Director of The Protection Project at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Article

Women's Rights in the Islamic Perspective

Keywords Sharey'ah, Alquamah, Qur'an, Nafaqa, ma'aroofe
Authors Omar Alsunaid and Bashar Almofadda
AbstractAuthor's information

    Women in Sharey'ah play an essential role in the Muslim community. In the relationship among men and women, Sharey'ah adopted the theories of integration and justice rather than theories of competition and equality. This leads Sharey'ah to distribute human rights between men and women depending on their nature and personal need. However, many stereotypes and misapprehensions concerning women's rights in Sharey'ah have appeared owing to a lack of understanding of the objectives of Sharey'ah's rules. This article demonstrates women's rights and the Sharey'ah's objectives behind these rights, including Alquamah, political participation, marriage and inheritance. The article then goes on to explain why there is a variation between women's rights in Sharey'ah and the reality of some Muslim communities.


Omar Alsunaid
Omar Alsunaid is a Doctor of Juridical Science candidate at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Bashar Almofadda
Bashar Almofadda is an SJD candidate at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, United States and Lecturer at The Higher Judicial Institute Imam Mohammed Bin Saud Islamic University, Saudi Arabia.

    The purpose of this article is to illuminate one of the contemporary legal dilemmas in Islamic law, namely the appointment of female judges in Muslim countries. The methodology employed is library-based research. The focus of this article is to determine the legal status of appointments of female judges in Shariah courts. It is argued here that female judges can be appointed in Muslim countries and that the main reason for this is that there is no explicit prohibition of it in the fundamental sources of Islamic law. However, the claims that it is contrary to Islamic law to appoint female judges are also discussed here. The outcome of this article is to prove that there is nothing wrong in Islam in appointing female judges as long as they fulfil the necessary conditions.


Aishath Muneeza
Postgraduate Student, Harun M. Hashim Law Centre, International Islamic University Malaysia.
Article

The Manifestation of Religious Belief Through Dress

Human Rights and Constitutional Issues

Keywords religion, religious freedom, burqa, hijab, Muslim
Authors Anthony Gray
AbstractAuthor's information

    Jurisdictions around the world continue to grapple with the clash between religious freedoms and other freedoms and values to which a society subscribes. A recent, and current, debate concerns the extent to which a person is free to wear items of clothing often thought to be symbolic of the Muslim faith, though the issues are not confined to any particular religion. Bans on the wearing of this type of clothing have often (surprisingly) survived human rights challenges, on the basis that governments had legitimate objectives in banning or restricting them. A pending case gives the European Court another chance to reconsider the issues. It is hoped that the Court will closely scrutinise claims of legitimate objectives for such laws; perceptions can arise that sometimes, governments are pandering to racism, intolerance and xenophobia with such measures, rather than seeking to meet more high-minded objectives.


Anthony Gray
Professor of Law, University of Southern Queensland, Australia.
Article

Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and Islam

A Review of Laws Regarding ‘Offences Relating to Religion’ in Pakistan from a Domestic and International Law Perspective

Keywords blasphemy, apostasy, freedom of religion, Ahmadi, minority rights in Pakistan
Authors Ujala Akram
AbstractAuthor's information

    During the struggle for a separate homeland, named Pakistan, for Muslims who were the then religious minority in British India, a promise was inevitably made that the religious minorities will enjoy freedom to hold and practice their belief in this new country. The promise was kept in all three Constitutions of Pakistan where minorities were given the right to practice their religion. However, the subsequent amendments to the Constitution were made with the presumption that Pakistan was created to establish an Islamic State, which stifled the freedom of religion and belief of the religious minorities. In the absence of a domestic mechanism to protect the freedom of religion in Pakistan, international law was supposed to play a major role in the protection of the same. Unfortunately, international law, owing to the lack of sanctions and mechanism to implement the law, proved to be weak in this case. However, through an amalgamation of international law, international pressure, amendments to existing laws and promulgation of new laws to protect the religious freedom of minorities in Pakistan – the minorities may be able to enjoy the freedom of religion as it was envisioned while fighting for the independence of Pakistan.


Ujala Akram
LLM 2007, S.J.D. Candidate, Indiana University McKinney School of Law.
Article

The System of Kafala and the Rights of Migrant Workers in GCC Countries – With Specific Reference to Saudi Arabia

Keywords migrant workers rights, GCC, Saudi, Kafala system, labor
Authors Majed M. Alzahrani
AbstractAuthor's information

    Under the Kafala system, which applies in all Arab countries, migrant workers must attain a work entry visa and residential permit, which is possible only if they are working for a domestic institution or corporation or a citizen of the respective country. Each and every employer is required, based on the Kafala system, to adopt all legal and economic responsibilities for all of the employer's workers during their contractual period. By giving wide-ranging powers and responsibilities unilaterally to employers, the Kafala system subjects workers to abysmal and exploitative working conditions, violence, and human rights abuses. Some of these problems have recently made headlines in the United States and in Europe in connection with the campus being built by New York University in Abu Dhabi. While NYU imposed a code of labor standards on its direct contractual partners, it claimed to have no means of controlling subcontractors. Nor did NYU try very hard, it seems, to verify compliance even by its direct contractual partners.
    Migrant workers make up at least 30 percent of the population of Saudi Arabia and 49 percent of Saudi Arabia's entire workforce. Employers control Saudi Arabia's Kafala system, in which migrant workers are the weakest link. Studies and international organizations report that foreigners employed in Saudi Arabia have returned home with many complaints. In 2006, Saudi Arabia re-examined all laws including its labor law. This re-examination resulted in abolishing some terms used in labor law, such as the kafala system, but the system remains as is. The new labor law includes many positive changes, but not enough according to the assessment of local and international scholars and observers. In this paper, I will reveal laws, practices and patterns that essentially cause the vulnerability of migrant workers, and I will suggest effective alternative strategies. This paper should contribute to our growing understanding of issues of concern for migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries and help to develop specific and necessary legal and institutional responses.


Majed M. Alzahrani
LL.M, Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law. The author would like to thank Professor Frank Emmert for advice and guidance in the production of this article.
Article

International Kafala: A Right for the Child to Enter and Stay in the Member States?

Keywords kafala, adoption, migration, reception, European
Authors Julie Malingreau
AbstractAuthor's information

    Much attention has already been paid to the relationship between European (family) law and law from Muslim majority countries in studies of private international law or of comparative law, often discussing family law institutions such as polygamy or repudiation. Among those institutions, there is one that has largely been neglected: kafala, a form of guardianship that is specific to Islamic law.
    The reception of this institution in the Member States raises several questions, such as its consequences in terms of legal parentage or its conformity with the best interest of the child or with public order. However, this contribution focuses on the migration angle since some difficulties may appear after this particular guardianship was pronounced abroad when the question of the entrance and the stay of the child with their guardians in a Member State arises.
    The research consists of determining whether some EU or international instruments could grant the guardians a right to request that ‘their’ child lives with them in their country and examines whether such a right is always desirable and justifiable. Taking France as an example, the author asks the following question: does not France, as a Member State of the European Union, have to ensure under European law and international obligations that the child and the couple will be able to live together on its territory?


Julie Malingreau
Julie Malingreau is a PhD candidate at the University of Utrecht, and holds an LLM in European Private Law at the University of Amsterdam, as well as a Master Degree in Law in Belgium. She currently works as a lawyer in Amsterdam, assisting with commercial contracts. Her areas of interest include national/European/International family law, Islamic law, Alternative Dispute Resolutions, private international law, human rights, intellectual property and labour law.
Article

Medically Assisted Reproduction in Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Sunni and Shia Legal Debates

Keywords medically assisted reproduction, Islam, Middle East, family formation, law
Authors Andrea Büchler and Eveline Schneider Kayasseh
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since the mid-1980s, biotechnologies have been widely used to assist human conception around the world, and especially in the Middle East. In this article, our main focus is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Saudi-Arabia. In these Muslim-majority countries, an ever rising demand for fertility treatments runs parallel to far-reaching demographic and social changes. While assisted reproductive technologies offer various methods to pursue the desire to have biological children, they do also underscore religious and cultural sensibilities about traditional male-female relationships and family formation.
    In order to outline contemporary opinions and state laws and regulations in the countries mentioned in the outset, core notions and concepts of the Islamic family that are relevant for understanding attitudes regarding reproductive medicine and that have influence on couples seeking fertility treatment are outlined. It is also shown how ethical-juridical considerations have shaped the scholarly discourse about assisted reproduction. In this context, assisted reproductive techniques that include eggs, sperm, embryos, or wombs from third parties have been particularly contentious. In fact, there remain different views among Islamic jurists and senior clerics in Shia Islam regarding ethically controversial issues such as egg and sperm donation, as well as surrogate motherhood. While the number of IVF-clinics is on the rise in all countries discussed in this article, only in the UAE are clinics operating with rather comprehensive legislative oversight.


Andrea Büchler
University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Eveline Schneider Kayasseh
University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Article

Islamic Policy of Environmental Conservation

1,500 Years Old – Yet Thoroughly Modern

Keywords environment, waqf (endowment), khalifa (steward), God's equilibrium, Arab Spring
Authors Mohamed A. ‘Arafa
AbstractAuthor's information

    Any legal system plays a significant role in the principle underlying its legal doctrines. The legal system works in compliance with, or as a consequence of cultural order. In other words, any legal system is restricted to a certain environment and subject to cultural impact. Culture and law operate in conjunction. Politics and economy are, among others, the main disciplines affecting that legal system including environmental laws and natural resources. The present article attempts a comparative analysis of three different legal systems and their approaches to environmental law, contributing to the extensive literature on this area of law in numerous areas of the world such as the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. However, that literature appears to have had little coverage of the treatment of environmental law in Islamic law, one of the three main global legal systems together with common and civil law. The bold spread of Islamic tendency in the Middle East that followed the so-called “Arab Spring” assures major changes in the political and economic sphere, including environmental and natural resource levels. Environmental threats are very pressing all over the world, as the Earth needs to be protected through the adoption of universally applicable legal rules and the right to a healthy environment needs to be elaborated on in international instruments. It is very significant to understand Islam's overall view of the universe to comprehend the gap between Islamic theories and practices in Muslim countries. The universe is full of diversified creatures that aim to fulfill man's needs and prove God's greatness. The Qur'an states: “Have you not seen that God is glorified by all in the heavens and on earth, such as birds with wings outspread? Each knows its worship and glorification, and God is aware of what they do.”All creatures in the universe perform two specific roles: a religious role of evidencing God's perfection and presence and a social role of serving man and other creatures. The final outcome is the solidarity of the universe and the realization of its common good (benefit).
    Man's position in the universe is premised on two principles: the stewardship of man which means that man is not only a creature but also God's khalifa (steward) on earth; God is the only proprietor of earth; and man is a mere beneficiary, and man can exploit nature for his/her and other creatures’ benefit without depleting it and the principle of trust that all natural resources created by God are placed as a trust in man's hand and needs of coming generations must be taken into consideration by man. Islamic environmental law uses a “duty paradigm” in the sphere of the right to healthy environment, as human beings must not destroy, deplete, or unwisely use natural resources but have an obligation to develop and enhance natural resources. Any disturbance of God's equilibrium in the universe is a transgression and athm (sin) against the divine system. Last but by no means least, Islamic law regards man as a creature with elevated status. In Islamic environmental law, the human is not the owner of nature, but a mere beneficiary. Islamic environmental safety is based upon the principle of “use” without “abuse”. Environmental protection under the Islamic legal scheme does not differ from any modern environmental legal system.


Mohamed A. ‘Arafa
Adjunct Professor of Islamic Law at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (USA); Assistant Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at Alexandria University Faculty of Law (Egypt). SJD, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (2013); LLM, University of Connecticut School of Law (2008); LLB, Alexandria University Faculty of Law (2006). Dr. ‘Arafa is a Visiting Professor of Business Law at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport (‘College of Business Management’). Moreover, Professor ‘Arafa is a Domestic Public Mediator under Alternative Dispute Resolution, Indiana Rule ADR 25 (2012) and served as an Associate Trainee Attorney and Executive Attorney Assistant at ‘Arafa Law Firm (2007). Of course, all errors remain the author's.
Article

Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Under Islamic Law

From Tort to Special Privileges

Keywords intellectual property rights, basic property rights, intellectual property privileges, monopoly rights, prohibition of harm
Authors Mahmood Bagheri, Mojtaba Nayyer and Mahdi Moalla
AbstractAuthor's information

    Knowledge and innovation, which are the basis of intellectual property rights, are public goods leading to some kind of market failure in terms of positive externalities. Such a market failure undermines the motivation for production of knowledge and innovation, which in turn would be a social loss and distributive injustice. Therefore, there has to be a response beyond the mere respect for basic property rights under Islamic law according to the Rule of Prohibition of Harm to others. The general application of such a rule and within the private law paradigm confers merely normal protection to intellectual property rights, like any other property rights, which is too little too late. However, affording the extra protection and special privileges to the owner of such rights as a mechanism to compensate the market and private law failure requires a different interpretation of this rule. This article suggests that ownership rights in knowledge and innovation could benefit from this rule at two levels: a general level of basic rights and a special level of privileges based on a social trade-off and distributive justice to avert a social loss. As such, Islamic law is capable of offering such special privileges to the owner of intellectual property rights who is willing to make a deal with society for improved but limited property rights.


Mahmood Bagheri
Mahmood Bagheri is Associate Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran, and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London

Mojtaba Nayyer
Mojtaba Nayyer is LLM in Intellectual Property Law at the Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran

Mahdi Moalla
Mahdi Moalla is PhD Candidate in Private Law at the Research Institute for Islamic Culture and Thought, Qom, Iran.
Book Review

Book Review

Authors Frank Emmert and Salma Taman

Frank Emmert

Salma Taman