Law 338 - Islamic Jurisprudence

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 students to the field of Islamic law. It is designed to give students a firm grounding in the principles, concepts and terminology of Islamic law. Islamic law is one of the oldest and most significant systems of law in the contemporary age. We will study the history, theory and the role Islamic law in the contemporary age. No previous familiarity with the field is necessary and there are no course prerequisites. All readings will be 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. We will begin by considering the question of Why study Islamic law? We will then move on to the history and theory of the Islamic legal system with a special emphasis on the development of the various schools of thought in Islamic law. We will place Islamic law in a comparative context and investigate whether the methodologies, processes, and purposes of Islamic jurisprudence are fundamentally different from other major world legal systems.  In the second half of the course we will survey Islamic commercial, criminal and family laws and their influence on the modern age. Furthermore, we will examine Islamic public international law, human rights and Islamic law and the Muslim minorities in the United States, and other Western democracies.

Grading will be based on a final examination and class participation.


Course Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Develop a firm grounding in the principles, concepts and doctrines of Islamic law, one of the oldest and most significant legal systems in the contemporary age;
  2. Be familiar with the history, theory and role of Islamic law in the contemporary age
  3. Understand the historical legacy and theoretical framework of the Islamic legal tradition and be familiar with the development of the various schools of law.
  4. Recognize the challenges of modernity and Islamic law in the contemporary age, especially with regard to issues in Islamic public international law, human rights, women and gender and violence.
Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Khaled Abou El Fadl 20F 338 LEC 1 TR 5:30 PM - 6:55 PM 3.0 No Per instructor's discretion
Textbook Information:
Textbook for Fall 2020 LEC 1
Abou El Fadl, Khaled. Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age     
ISBN: 9780742552333. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. REQUIRED $30.00
Abou El Fadl, Khaled. Speaking in God's Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women    
ISBN: 9781851682621. Oneworld Publications. REQUIRED $46.00
Abou El Fadl, Khaled. The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists    
ISBN: 9780061189036. HarperOne. REQUIRED $13.06
Hallaq, Wael B. An Introduction to Islamic Law    
ISBN: 9780521678735. Cambridge University Press. REQUIRED $37.76