NEWS | 13 Dec 2016
The Long Shadow of England’s Privy Council Cast on the Islamic Law
of Trusts 
in British India

Pakistan editor Zubair Abbasi surveys the influence of England’s Privy Council – also known as the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council – on awqāf (Islamic endowments, or trusts). As the highest court of appeal in the British Empire"[t]he Privy Council contributed towards the development of several legal principles in Islamic endowment law," in attempts to standardize law throughout the colonies. Its jurisprudence in turn altered how Islamic inheritance law operated in Pakistan. Whereas Islamic endowment law had traditionally applied only to land, these newly implemented principles allowed "management schemes" to be a viable method of wealth management of Islamic endowments. As a result, based on the centralized Privy Council principles, Abbasi explains that the scope of Islamic endowments “extended to new forms of immovable properties, such as shares of joint stock companies and securities issued by the state. Less helpful to modernization projects, some cases, such as Masjid Sheed GanjAbul Fata, andRamanadan Chettiar v Vava Levvavi Marakayar, demonstrated the Privy Council's influence on Islamic law in India in a way that did harm to the legal systemIn his review, Abbasi provides a useful chart with a full list of the Privy Council's decisions on cases related to awqāf.  Read more. (SHARIAsource beta access required) Image credit: Western Civilization II Guides

CASE: Abul Fata Mahomed Ishak v Russomoy Dhur Chowdury (1894)

This case exemplifies the complex influence of the British Privy Council on Islamic law (called “Muhammadan law”) in India during colonial rule. While the British rulers instituted their legal system in India, family and inheritance law often remained under the purview of the exponents of Islamic law. This case demonstrates the political and legal complexities of such a system. The court here held that a family endowment could not be formed under Islamic law. The principles underlying this decision, however, bore an uncanny similarity to English inheritance laws. Read more. Image credit: The British Library

CASE: Indonesian Supreme Court Jurisprudence 111K/AG: Familial Beneficiaries (1998)

One of the Supreme Court of Indonesia's judgments on inheritancethe judgment in this case is that the law does not recognize a simultaneous ownership and inheritance dispute when the petitioners or potential beneficiaries (ahli waris in Bahasa, ahl al-wārith in Arabic). Although Indonesia is not an Islamic constitutional countryits legislation is increasingly guided by Islamic law principles. Read more. (SHARIAsource beta access required). Image credit: Library of Congress

Other News

Scholars in the News
Senior scholar Khaled Abou El Fadl (UCLA) recounts his experience being detained at the American-Canadian border. The escalation of events such as these can be attributed in part to a lack of understanding of Islamic law. Abed Awad responds.

POLICY ROUNDTABLE :: Understanding Sharia: Implications for Policy and Conflict Resolution (13 Dec 2016 | Washington, D.C.).  Intisar Rabb, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Founding Editor-In-Chief of SHARIAsource; Leila Mooney, Senior Program Officer, Center for Governance, Law and Society, USIP; Palwasha Karkar, Senior Program Officer, Religion and Inclusive Societies, USIP; and Manal Omar, Associate Vice President, Center for Middle East and Africa, USIP. The discussion will explore the contours of sharīʿa (Islamic law) in the development and critique of policies designed to solve conflicts. The program will consist of experts on Islamic law and foreign policy in discussion with a diverse range of policymakers and executors. The event is co-sponsored by the Islamic Legal Studies Program’s SHARIAsource at Harvard Law School and the United States Institute of Peace. More information to come.

PANEL DISCUSSION ::  “Is There Room in the U.S. Legal System for Halacha and Sharia? Family Law, Public Accommodations, Antitrust, and Arbitration” (06 Jan 2017 | San Francisco, CA). Professors Asifa Quaraishi-Landes University of Wisconsin Law School and a SHARIAsource senior scholar, Haider Hamoudi of University of Pittsburgh Law School and a SHARIAsource contributor, and other scholars of Islamic law and Jewish law will discuss whether and how the U.S. legal system can accommodate Halacha and sharīʿa. They will look at Soleiman v. Soleiman and Garcia v. Church of Scientology, among other cases. This session is one of three  on Islamic law at the AALS Annual Meeting this year, and is jointly sponsored by the Sections on Jewish Law and Islamic Law. Read more.

ROUNDTABLE ::  Islamic Law Teaching in the 21st Century Global Law School (06 Jan 2017 | San Francisco, CA). Professors Intisar Rabb of Harvard Law School, Shaheen Sardar Ali of the University of Warwick School of Law, Mark Cammack of Southwestern Law School, Haider Hamoudi of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and Seval Yildirim of Whittier Law School will discuss recent developments in Islamic legal studies in American law schools with an eye to assessing challenges and opportunities for that field in a modern, global law school. This session is one of three  on Islamic law at the AALS Annual Meeting this year, sponsored by the Section on Islamic law, and co-sponsored by the Sections on Comparative Law and Law and South Asian Studies.

PANEL DISCUSSION ::  Comparative Constitutional Law in South Asia: Sources, Methods, and Applications (American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting  (06 Jan 2017 | San Francisco, CA). This session explores the study of comparative constitutional law in South Asia through presentations that draw on a diverse range of sources, methodologies, and approaches in the field. Building on the joint session on Islamic law pedagogy immediately before this session, scholars will address the range of substantive and methodological problems that arise in connection with comparative law teaching and scholarship, including issues on Islamic law in South Asia where they arise. This session is one of three  on Islamic law at the AALS Annual Meeting this year, and is jointly sponsored by the Sections on Law and South Asian Studies and Islamic Law. Read more.

Junior Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Department of Law and Anthropology (Apr 2017 | Halle, Germany). The Max Planck Institute is establishing a junior research group to investigate the bureaucratization of Islam and its socio-legal dimensions in Southeast Asia. There are three PhD positions open; the positions would be for three years. Applications are due 15 Dec 2016. Read more.

International Conference on Justice and Ethics (ICJECA) ( 15-16 Apr | Mashhad, Iran).  Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Faculty of Theology is looking for papers on what Islam teaches about a just polity, and thways through which Islamic teachings about justice and ethics can be practically implemented. Participants are encouraged to frame their views in the light of Twelver Shia Islam, and how it views ethics and justice. Abstracts and bios due 30 Dec 2016Read more.

Law and Society Association's International Meeting on Law and Society ( 20-23 Jun | Mexico City, Mexico). Nominations for annual awards are open. The awards will be presented at the annual meeting. Nominations for the J. Willard Hurst Award, the Herbert Jacob Book Award, and the Ronald Pipkin Service Award close 2 Jan 2017. All others close 15 Jan 2017. Read more.

Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) 2017-2018 Fellowships (Sep 2017-May 2018 | Cairo, Egypt or Amman, Jordan). CASA offers advanced level training in Arabic language and culture to qualified American students at The American University in Cairo and Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman (pending the security and funding for each location). Applicants to the CASA programs must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and should have a minimum of 3 years of formal instruction in Arabic prior to joining CASA. Applications due 9 Jan 2017Read more.

Engagement Lab @ Emerson College: MA in Civic Media, Art, and Practice (Boston, MA). For those who have an interest in digital Islamic law/humanities, and want graduate training to better prepare for an academic or industry career in the field, the Engagement Lab is accepting applications for their graduate program. Read more.

Second Annual Legal Studies Graduate Student Conference (22-23 Apr | Providence, RI).  The Brown Legal Studies Initiative invites paper submissions on the subject of “Law and Democracy” for its second annual graduate student conference. The conference will consider the interaction of law and democracy in a broad historical and comparatist context. Papers from any discipline, including (but not limited to) jurisprudence, history, ethnic studies, philosophy, anthropology, literature, classics, political science, and sociology are welcome to foster interdisciplinary conversation. Applications are due  15 Jan 2017 Read more.

Abdallah S. Kamel Fellowships in Islamic Law and Civilization (Fall 2017-Spring 2018 | New Haven, CT).  The Abdallah S. Kamel Center is seeking scholars from diverse backgrounds and academic disciplines who have completed or are near completion of an advanced degree (e.g., Ph.D., J.S.D., D.Phil.) and whose work engages with the intellectual and social history of Islam, Islamic legal and political theory, or law in contemporary Muslim societies. Scholars working or studying abroad are welcome to apply. Fellows are expected to be in residence for the duration of the one-year fellowship and will receive a stipend in the range of $45,000 and $60,000 commensurate with their education and experience. Traveling expenses of fellows coming from abroad will be covered. Applications due  01 Feb 2017 . Read more.

Al-Qasimi Chair (Professor/Associate Professor) in Islamic Studies, IAIS, University of Exeter (Exeter, UK). The post holder will be a leading international figure with the ability to attract high quality researchers at doctoral and postdoctoral level to the Islamic Studies research group. Any area of Islamic Studies is an appropriate specialism including (but not limited to) history, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, law, jurisprudence, art and architecture, art history, anthropology and sociology, digital humanities, and any period of the study of Islam. Applications due 01 May 2017Read more.

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