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Article

Changing Realities

Islamic Veils and Minority Protection

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords European Court of Human Rights, freedom of religion Islamic veils, minority protection
Authors Dr Gábor Kardos LLM, PhD.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Most of the immigrant communities in Europe do not show any signs of giving up their identity. Just the contrary, they seem to be more and more committed to preserving their culture, traditions, language and religion. Their growing numbers and adherence to their culture and traditions have raised the question of whether it would be necessary to accept them as permanent factors in the society, and consequently, to secure for them, beside equality and freedom of religion, other minority rights such as the right to preserve their cultural and language identity. This change might presuppose a renewal of the traditional understanding of the concept of the national minority. To raise the standards for minority rights of immigrants and at the same time to maintain the level of protection of homeland minorities is not an easy but a necessary solution. But even the accommodation of certain aspects of the freedom of religion of migrants is a problem in practice. As far as the public use of Islamic veils is concerned, the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights proved to be too lenient towards those state parties which put secularity of public institutions before the freedom of religion of the individual. The dissenting opinions correctly emphasize that the role of the authorities is not to remove the cause of tension by eliminating pluralism but to ensure that competing groups tolerate each other. If the Islamic veils are symbols of pressurization, oppression and discrimination, or proselytism, the intervention of state authorities may be justified but the law cannot presuppose that the aforementioned situations are the prevailing ones. If it does so, the collateral damage at the expense of a basic human right of certain true believers is too high.


Dr Gábor Kardos LLM, PhD.
LLM, PhD. Dr Habil. Professor of International Law, International Law Department, Faculty of Law, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary.
Article

Credibility of Sunnah

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Sunnah, Hadith, traditions of Prophet Muhammad, sources of Islamic Law, rules of Hadith acceptance
Authors Ahmad Alomar
AbstractAuthor's information

    Islamic Law (Sharia) consists primarily of the Qur’an, the actual word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime. The Qur’an itself is relatively short, compact and immutable. It was revealed in Classical Arabic and in a very poetic and elaborate format. Many parts of it are not easy to understand even for educated speakers of Arabic. In order to understand the meaning of some of its provisions and to be able to apply its teachings to changing times and societies, recourse is often made to other sources of Islamic law, first and foremost the Sunnah, or traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. The Sunnah consists of historic records of things the Prophet did or said in various situations during his lifetime. Because of the Prophet’s exalted position as God’s messenger, his words and deeds are considered supreme guidance for Muslims anywhere, as they are seeking to understand the teachings of Islam and its application to their lives. The problem with the Sunnah is, however, that the historic record of the words and deeds of the Prophet is not always clear and reliable. Therefore, giving the force of law to these words and deeds can be problematic. Distinguishing reliable and unreliable Sunnah is critically important. Muslim believe in many hadiths that may directly contradict the Qur’an, scientific evidence, fundamental principles of law and human rights, or each other. This article examines the Sunnah and the science of verifying hadith and argues that a more cautious approach should be taken and that Muslims around the world are being taught many rules that are supposedly rules of Islamic law where at the very least we cannot be sure. Instead of declaring thousands of weak hadith to be binding elements of Islamic law, we should be more discerning between strong and weak hadith and only treat those that are verifiable as binding. Other rules can still be persuasive if they meet certain conditions, in particular compatibility with the Qur’an itself, but they must not be used to impose rules on Muslims against their will, let alone against the provisions of the Qur’an.


Ahmad Alomar
S.J.D Candidate at IU McKinney School of Law, Faculty Member at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
Article

Consolidating Family Law in Kenya

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2015
Keywords family law, matrimonial, marriage, equality, reform
Authors Dr. Lucyline Nkatha Murungi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Following the adoption of a new Constitution in 2010, Kenya embarked on an extensive process of law reform in order to give effect to the provisions of the Constitution. Accordingly, in 2014, two main statutes were adopted in the area of family law: the Matrimonial Property Act and the Marriage Act. In addition, parliamentary discussion of a Bill on domestic violence was underway as of March 2015. The main outcome of the Marriage Act is the consolidation of family laws that were previously covered in multiple statutes, customary law, and common law in one Act. The Matrimonial Property Act is the first Kenyan legislation on the subject, and is therefore a critical development in Kenya’s family law. The new family laws embrace a number of significant developments at the national and international levels in relation to matrimonial relations. However, the new laws also raise concerns in a number of areas of family law including; the equality of men and women in marriage, the capacity of persons with disabilities to consent to marriage, the rights of spouses to matrimonial property, kinds of marriage, and registration of marriages. This article discusses the approach of these laws to selected issues in marriage and matrimonial property, and highlights areas of concern in this regard.


Dr. Lucyline Nkatha Murungi
Dr. Murungi is a Kenyan national, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, and a researcher in human rights with a keen focus on children and disability rights. She holds a Master of Laws in human rights from the University of Pretoria and a Doctorate in Law from the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa. Dr. Murungi is currently the Head of the Children and the Law Programme at the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) based in Addis Ababa – Ethiopia, and a Research Fellow of the Community Law Centre, UWC.

    This article studies the significance of insights from non-legal disciplines (such as political science, economics, and sociology) for comparative legal research and the methodology connected with such ‘interdisciplinary contextualisation’. Based on a theoretical analysis concerning the nature and methodology of comparative law, the article demonstrates that contextualisation of the analysis of legal rules and case law is required for a meaningful comparison between legal systems. The challenges relating to this contextualisation are illustrated on the basis of a study of the judicial use of comparative legal analysis as a source of inspiration in the judgment of difficult cases. The insights obtained from the theoretical analysis and the example are combined in a final analysis concerning the role and method of interdisciplinary contextualisation in comparative legal analysis conducted by legal scholars and legal practitioners.


Elaine Mak Ph.D.
Endowed Professor of Empirical Study of Public Law, in particular of Rule-of-Law Institutions, at Erasmus School of Law. Contact: mak@law.eur.nl.
Article

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

Sunni and Shia Legal Debates

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
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

An Introduction to Islamic Law

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
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

Islamic Policy of Environmental Conservation

1,500 Years Old – Yet Thoroughly Modern

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
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

Women's Rights in the Islamic Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
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.
Book Review

Book Review

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Authors Frank Emmert and Salma Taman

Frank Emmert

Salma Taman
Article

Access_open Unity in Multiplicity: Shared Cultural Understandings on Marital Life in a Damascus Catholic and Muslim Court

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords Syria, personal status law, Eastern Catholic law, patriarchal family, marital obligations
Authors Esther Van Eijk Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Family relations in Syria are governed by a plurality of personal status laws and courts. This plurality manifests itself on a variety of levels, including statutory, communal and individual. In this article, the author argues that, albeit this plurality, Syrian personal status law is also characterised by the prevalence of shared, gendered norms and views on marital life. Based on fieldwork conducted in a Catholic and a shar’iyya personal status courts in Damascus in 2009, the author examines the shared cultural understandings on marital relationships that were found in these courts, and as laid down – most importantly – in the respective Catholic and Muslim family laws. The article maintains that the patriarchal family model is preserved and reinforced by the various personal status laws and by the various actors which operated in the field of personal status law. Finally, two Catholic case studies are presented and analysed to demonstrate the importance and attachment to patriarchal gender norms in the Catholic first instance court of Damascus.


Esther Van Eijk Ph.D.
Esther Van Eijk is a postdoc researcher at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. She recently defended (September 2013) her Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘Family Law in Syria: A Plurality of Laws, Norms, and Legal Practices’ at Leiden University, the Netherlands. This study is based on her PhD fieldwork (including interviews and participant observation) conducted in March-April 2008, and October 2008-July 2009 in Syria.

Jacqueline Gray
PhD candidate, UCERF, Utrecht Universiteit.
Article

The Accommodation of Minority Customs in Sweden

The Islamic Law of Inheritance as an Example

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2010
Keywords multiculturalism and law, private international law, Islamic law of inheritance
Authors Dr. Mosa Sayed
AbstractAuthor's information

    Sweden, as well as many of the other member states of the European Union, has transformed into multicultural societies. In these increasingly culturally differentiated societies demands are raised by immigrant groups for the recognition of their cultural identity and uniqueness. Minority customs may in some cases conflict with fundamental values in the state law. In this article the author is elaborating on the Swedish private international law rules and the multicultural dilemma in relation to the Islamic law of inheritance, which is often considered to belong to those areas of the Islamic law that express principles that are incompatible with the core values of Swedish law.


Dr. Mosa Sayed
Mosa Sayed is Doctor of Laws at Faculty of Law, Uppsala University and researcher within the multidisciplinary research programme Impact of Religion: Challenge for Society, Law and Democracy, founded as a Centre of Excellence at Uppsala University.

Barbara Pozzo
Barbara Pozzo is Professor of private comparative law at the School of Law of University of Insubria, Como, Italy.
Article

Access_open Sharia - A Flexible Notion

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2006
Keywords claim, model, bank, bear, E-business, handelsnaam, interest, internet, kind, rechtsstaat
Authors M. Berger

M. Berger
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