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Contemporary Islamic Legal Thought:
Law, State, and World Order

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


General Resources



      Class handout; prepared by Professor Vogel


            Glossary of Islamic Terms and Concepts

            From the Muslim Students Association at USC


            Glossary of Islamic Terms

            From the Council on Islamic Education


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General Background on Islam


            A short background history by Professor John Voll from the Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion


            On-Line Islamic Studies Resources

            From Rutgers University


            Islamic Studies Homepage

            From Godlas at the University of Georgia


Islamic Law

            Islamic Legal Studies Program

            Harvard Law School


            Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL)

            School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London – good source of links and resources on Islamic Law


            Advanced Legal Studies Institute

            Islamabad, Pakistan. From the site: “The students of Islamic law may treat this infobase and the one that follows as a flexible syllabus for studying Islamic law and Islamic banking. In fact, the main idea behind this site is to develop the material on this site keeping the needs of the viewers in sight, especially the needs of the students of Islamic law.”


            Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights


            Law and Justice

            By Joseph Schacht from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Islam.



            Quran Browser

            Search, browse, and compare 6 different English translations


            Holy Quran Center

            The Qur'an in both English and Arabic script, with Arabic recitation by verse or chapter.  Also includes translations in many languages, from Albanian to Urdu. The Qur'an in both English and Arabic script, with Arabic recitation by verse or chapter.  Also includes translations in many languages, from Albanian to Urdu.


            Qur’an Guide Picks

            General Qur’an links from



            Translation of Sahih Bukhari

            From Muslim Students Association at USC


            Translation of Sahih Muslim

            From Muslim Students Association at USC


            Hadith Collection

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Contemporary Thought

General Links

            Theory and Practice of Democracy in Islam

RealAudio proceedings of the Center for Islam and Democracy's First Annual Conference


Islam, Democracy, and the Secularist State

Proceedings of the Center for Islam and Democracy's 2nd annual Conference, inluding papers by various scholars on the connection between Islam and Democracy.


Liberal Islam: Prospects & Challenges

By Charles Kurzman. Also see his Liberal Islam page for links to other works on Liberal Islam and his anthology of contemporary thought.


Islam and Modernism

On-line book surveying major Islamic thinkers of the 20th Century, including Iqbal, Maududi, Qutb, Khomeini, Shariati, and Rahman, among others


Islamic Fundamentalism Reconsidered:A Critical Outline of Problems, Ideas and Approaches

From the Legal Research and Resource Centre for Human Rights in Cairo


Specific Thinkers  

Muhammad Iqbal links:


Fazlur Rahman links:

·         The Message of Fazlur Rahman

Mohammad Arkoun links:


Abdolkarim Soroush links:


Nasir Hamid Abu Zaid links:


Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im links:


Mohammad Sharoor links:


·         Reading the Religious Text – A New Approach


Khaled Abou El Fadl links:


Muhammad Sa’id al-‘Ashmawi links:



Hasan al-Banna links:



Abul A’la Maududi links:


·         Maududi page from Interlink

·         Finality of Prophethood

·         Human Rights in Islam

·         The Moral System of Islam

·         Witness unto Mankind


Seyyid Qutb links:



Al-Farida Al-Ghai’iba links:


  • Faraj and the Neglected Duty: Interview with Johannes Jansen, translator of  Al-Farida Al-Ghai’ba and author of The Neglected Duty: The Creed of Sadat's Assassins and Islamic Resurgence in the Middle East


Hasan Al-Turabi links:



Azizah al-Hibri links:



Ashgar Ali Engineer links:





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Revised: October 3, 2000

Prof. Vogel

`adl (pl. `udul) of good character, a witness

ahadith pl. of hadith

ahkam khamsa five ahkam, or five legal qualifications of acts: haram, wajib, makruh, mandub, mubah

ahkam sultaniyya constitutional and administrative law, subject of special works

ahl al-kitab lit., "People of the Book"; non-Muslims who possess a scripture

`alim one possessing `ilm, knowledge; scholar; scholar of the religious sciences; sing. of `ulama'

`amal practice; labor; doctrine of judicial custom developed in the Maliki school

`amal of Medina judicial practice of Medina

amana fiduciary relationship; deposit on trust; trust

amir lit., "commander," prince, ruler

amir al-mu'minin "Commander of the Faithful," a title of the Caliph

amin trustworthy; one under fiduciary responsibility (amana)

amr bil-ma`ruf ordering the good, the "known" or "approved"

`aqila kinship or other group responsible for payment of blood compensation

`ariyya a loan for use only, not consumption (cf. qard)

`ayb defect

`ayn an individual; a specific thing

batil invalid, null and void

batin inward state, inner truth

bay`a oath of allegiance

bayyina evidence

bughah rebels

da`if weak, used of a faulty hadith

dar al-Islam territory of the Islamic state

dar al-harb territory of the enemy

darura necessity

dhimma covenant; responsibility; obligation; legal capacity of the individual to undertake obligations; situs of obligations and rights in the individual

dhimmi(s) non-Muslim(s) protected by a treaty of surrender

dinar the standard gold coin

dirham the standard silver coin

diwan army list, office or ministry of royal court

diya blood-money

dukhul consummation (of marriage)

faqih (pl. fuqaha') specialist in fiqh

fara'id the portions allotted to the heirs, succession in general; sing. fard, fixed share of an heir

fard duty, obligation imposed by the shari`a; see also fara'id

fard `ayn individual obligation, falling on the specific individual

fard kifaya collective obligation, falling on all capable of it

fasad al-zaman the (ever-increasing) corruption of the times

fasid defective, voidable

fasiq sinner (opp.`adl)

faskh cancellation; rescission of a contract

fatawi (or fatawa) pl. of fatwa

fatwa (pl. fatawi) an opinion by a qualified scholar on a point of law

fiqh the science of the divine law, the sum of man's knowledge of God's law

fuqaha' (pl . of faqih) specialists in fiqh

furu` the "branches", derived legal rules, opposed to usul

gharar risk, hazard, uncertainty

ghasb usurpation

hadana care of the child by the mother

hadd (pl. hudud) a fixed punishment for certain crimes held stipulated in the Qur'an

hadith (pl. ahadith) a report of a saying, action or acquiescence of the Prophet

haja need

hakam arbitrator

halal not forbidden

haqq truth, right, claim

haqq adami right of man (as opposed to a right or claim of Allah)

haqq Allah right or claim of Allah (as opposed to a right of man)

haram forbidden

hawala transfer of a claim or of a debt

hila, pl. hiyal legal artifice, device

hiraba or muharaba crime of "war against God and His Prophet,.. spread[ing] corruption on earth" [Q 5:33], usually understood as highway robbery

hisba the office of the muhtasib

hiyal (pl.of hila) legal artifices, devices

hudud (pl. of hadd), fixed punishments for certain crimes

hukm (pl. ahkam) rule, judgment, status, qualification, value

`ibadat acts of worship, opposed to mu`amalat, or transactions among men

`idda waiting-period of a woman after termination of marriage

iflas bankruptcy

ijara hire and lease

ijma` consensus

ijma` ahl al-Madina consensus of the scholars of Medina

ijma` sukuti tacit ijma`, one where each scholar's agreement is not explicit

ijtihad effort, use of individual reasoning in matters of fiqh

ikhtilaf disagreement

ikhtiyar choice by a scholar among competing views

ikrah duress

ila' oath of abstinence from intercourse by the husband

`illa efficient cause, term used for the basis of analogy in qiyas

`ilm (pl. `ulum) knowledge, a science

imam lit., leader, thus, leader of prayer, caliph, founder of a madhhab

`ina double sale, a device for evading the prohibition of interest

iqrar acknowledgement, confession

isnad the chain of transmitters of a hadith or other historical narration

istihsan "approval", a discretionary opinion in breach of strict qiyas

istishab method of legal reasoning, relates to certain probative presumptions

istislah taking the public interest, maslaha, into account

istisna` contract of manufacture

`itq manumission of a slave

`iwad consideration, countervalue

Jahiliyya age before Islam in Arabia

jahala ignorance, indeterminacy

ja'iz allowed, unobjectionable

jihad striving in God's cause, holy war

jinaya (pl. jinayat) tort, delict

jins genus

jizya poll-tax

kafa'a equality by birth

kafala suretyship

kaffara religious expiation

kafir unbeliever

katib secretary of the qadi; "clerk of the court"

khalifa caliph. Generally, successor, vicegerent

khalwa privacy (between husband and wife)

khamr wine, grape-wine, intoxicant

kharaj land-tax

khul` a form of divorce

kufr infidelity, disbelief

lazim binding

li`an divorce by exchanged oaths after spouse's accusation of adultery

madhhab (pl. madhahib) "school" of religious law

maharim (pl. of mahram)

mahdar minutes, the written record of proceedings before the qadi

mahr nuptial gift

mahram (pl. maharim) person related to another within the forbidden degrees

majalla the Ottoman Code of Obligations based on Shari`a, enacted in 1876

mal property; res in commercio

mal mutaqawwam a property possessed of a value in sight of the law

mal ribawi property susceptible to riba

manfa`a benefit; right of use

marsum "decree", term for legislation by ruler

masalih mursala "unrestricted" utility, utility not enjoined or excluded by revelation

maslaha interest, utility; public interest

mashru` lawful; legitimate

maysir a game of hazard

mayta animals not ritually slaughtered

mazalim see nazar fil-mazalim

mithl just mean, average, fair

mu`amalat transactions among men, opposed to `ibadat, or acts of worship; sing. mu`amala; euphemism for `ina

mubah indifferent (not obligatory, recommended, reprehensible, or forbidden)

mubara'a a form of divorce

mudaraba sleeping partnership

mudarib active partner in mudaraba

mufti a specialist in religious law issuing legal opinions

muharaba or hiraba, crime of "war against God and His Prophet,... spread[ing] corruption on earth" [Q 5:33], usually understood as highway robbery

muharram forbidden

muhsan never married, chaste

muhtasib the Islamic official charged with amr bil-ma`ruf, including inspection of the market

mujahid one who carries out jihad

mujtahid one qualified to practice legal ijtihad

mukallaf legally responsible under the religious law

mumayyiz "intelligent", "discriminating" minor

munkar rejected; improper; evil

muqallid one practicing taqlid

murabaha sale for cost plus a percentage

murtadd apostate

musharaka partnership

mustahabb recommended

mut`a temporary marriage, indemnity payable in certain cases of divorce by the husband

mutawatir category of hadith report; narrated from generation to generation, at each stage by such a large number of narrators as to preclude their collusion

nabidh something thrown or cast; a drink made from steeping fruits in water

nafaqa maintenance and support among family members

nafy banishment

nahy `an al-munkar forbidding the evil, lit., the "rejected"

nass lit., "text," technically, can mean either a text of the Qur'an or Sunna, or a legal rule explicitly given by a text or ijma`

naskh abrogation or repeal (naskh, repealing passage, mansukh, the one repealed)

nazar fil-mazalim "investigation of complaints"; ruler's jurisdiction to right wrongs

naw` species

nikah marriage

niyya intent

nizam, nizam-name "ordinance", used of modern, secular regulations

nukul refusal (to take the oath, &c.)

qabd possession

qada' the art of adjudication, delayed satisfaction of religious obligation

qadhf false accusation of unlawful intercourse

qadi Islamic judge

qadi al-qudah the chief qadi

qanun "law", used of secular acts and administrative law

qanun-name a text containing one or several qanuns

qard loan of fungible objects for consumption

qasama a kind of compurgation

qat` al-tariq highway robbery

qat`i beyond doubt, apodictic, certain, opp. zanni

qatl homicide

qawad retaliation

qawa`id rules, technical principles of fiqh, subject of special works

qisas retaliation

qiyas analogy

rabb al-mal capital investor or sleeping partner in mudaraba

rahn pledge, pawn, security

rasul messenger, prophet

ra'y "opinion", individual reasoning

riba interest; usury; unjust enrichment

ribawi susceptible of riba

riba al-fadl riba by way of increase or excess in exchange

riba al-Jahiliyya riba of period before Islam

riba al-nasi'a riba by way of delay in payment

rida` foster or milk relationship

ridda apostasy

sadaq nuptial gift

sadaqa charity

sahih valid, legally effective

sakk (pl. sukuk) written document

salam contract for delivery with prepayment

sanad same as isnad

sarf currency exchange

sariqa theft

shahada testimony, evidence of witnesses

shahid (pl. shuhud) witness

shar`, shari`a divine law

shari`a divine law

sharika, shirka society, partnership

shurut stipulations in contracts; legal formularies; prerequisites; formal requirements

shaykh al-Islam the chief mufti of the Ottoman Empire

shuf`a pre-emption

shuhud (pl. of shahid) witness

shura consultation

shurb al-khamr wine-drinking

sijill written judgment of the qadi

siyasa "policy", administration

siyasa shar`iyya siyasa within the limits assigned to it by the shari`a

suftaja bill of exchange

sukuk (pl. of sakk)

sulh amicable settlement

sultan authority, dominion, ruling power, ruler

sunna precedent, normative legal custom; recommended

sura chapter of the Qur'an

ta`addin violation of trust (amana)

tafriq a judicial dissolution of marriage

taghrir misrepresentation

tahlil device to remove an impediment to marriage

takaful mutual responsibility; mutual guarantee

talaq divorce by the husband's declaration

talfiq combining the doctrines of more than one school

ta`liq al-talaq declaration of conditional talaq

taqiyya dissimulation

taqlid relying upon the opinion of another, not practicing ijtihad

tarika estate

tasarruf legal right to act as to, of disposal over, property

tawatur narration of a report from generation to generation, at each stage by such a large number of narrators as to preclude their collusion, adj. is mutawatir

tawba repentance

ta`zir punishment discretionary with the qadi

tazkiya accreditation of witness as `adl, lit., purification

`udul (pl. of `adl) professional witnesses, notaries

`ulama' the religious scholars of Islam

`ulum (pl.of `ilm) sciences

`umara' (pl. of amir) commanders, rulers

`urf custom

usul (sing.asl) lit., roots (opp. to furu`), the sources of fiqh (as usul al-fiqh)

usul al-fiqh roots or sources of fiqh, science of legal reasoning and derivation

wajib obligatory, definite, binding, due

wakala agency

wali legal guardian

wali al-amr "one in charge of affairs", general term for de facto ruler of state

wali al-dam the next of kin who has the right to demand retaliation

waqf pious foundation, mortmain

warith heir

wasaya (pl. of wasiyya)

wasi executor and/or guardian appointed by testament

wasiyya (pl. wasaya) legacy

watha'iq (pl. of wathiqa)

wathiqa (pl. watha'iq) written document

wilaya competence, jurisdiction

yamin oath

zahir the literal meaning (of Qur'an and Traditions), apparent, "outward" state

Zahiri "Literalist," follower of the Zahiri school of law

zakat alms-tax

zann surmise, guess, probable truth

zanni see qat`i

zina adultery, unlawful intercourse

1. In preparing this glossary, use was made of the glossary included in J. Schacht, Introduction to Islamic Law (1964).


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