Law 549 - Introduction to Islamic Law

Khaled M. Abou El Fadl

Khaled M. Abou El Fadl

Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Professor of Law
B.A. Yale, 1986
J.D. University of Pennsylvania, 1989
Ph.D. Islamic Studies, Princeton, 1999
UCLA Faculty Since 1998
Course Description:

This course introduces the field of Islamic law. Islamic law is one of the oldest and most significant legal systems in the contemporary age, and this course is designed to give students a firm grounding in its principles, concepts, and doctrines. We will study the history, theory, and the role of Islamic law in the contemporary age. No previous familiarity with the field is necessary, and there are no course prerequisites. All readings are in English.

The course will be divided into two main parts: the first will deal with Islamic law in the classical context, while the second will examine the role of Islamic law in the contemporary age. The first half of the course is oriented towards the historical legacy and theoretical framework of the Islamic legal tradition with a special emphasis on the development of the various schools of law. In the second half, we will study the challenges of modernity and Islamic law in the contemporary age, and will examine issues related to Islamic public international law, human rights, women and gender, and violence.


Attendance and participation are mandatory.  Substantial Analytical Writing (SAW) requirement could be fulfilled.

Course Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students in this course will be introduced to the field of Islamic law, one of the oldest and most significant legal systems in the contemporary age.  

  2. Students will study the history, theory, and the role of Islamic law, as well as the challenges of modernity confronting Islamic law in the contemporary age..

  3. Students will study the historical legacy and theoretical framework of the Islamic legal tradition with a special emphasis on the development of the various schools of law.

  4. Students will examine issues related to Islamic public international law, human rights, women and gender, and violence.

  5. By the end of this course, students will have a firm grounding in the principles, concepts, and doctrines of Islamic law, as well as a deeper understanding of the challenges confronting Islamic law in the modern age.

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Khaled Abou El Fadl 19F 549 SEM 1 T 3:20 PM - 5:20 PM 3.0 No Per instructor's discretion