NEWS | 28 Mar 2017
Pakistan’s Federal Shariat Court and the Islamization of Prison Laws Judgment of 2009: Continued Expansion of Jurisdiction

Student editor Noor Zafar examines how the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan expanded its jurisdiction through its interpretation of "injunctions of Islam." "In the 'Islamization of Prison Laws' judgment of 2009, the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan (FSC) expands its original jurisdiction by broadly construing the term 'injunctions of Islam.' It construes the term to both include general Islamic principles and 'the letter and the spirit' of said principles. This latter construction also gives the FSC wide interpretive discretion. In this judgment, the FSC was required to determine whether certain aspects of the Prison Rules of 1978, The Prisons Act of 1894, and the Code of Procedure of 1898 were 'repugnant to the injunctions of Islam' and in violation of the Pakistani Constitution. The petitions were filed by individuals complaining about, among other things: the unequal treatment of prisoners based on social class, the placement of women in the custody of male wardens, and various inequities in criminal procedure of hearing.The FSC is jurisdictionally limited to reviewing only laws that are potentially repugnant to Islam, that is, on constitutional grounds. Before it can proceed to the merits of the case, it engages in a three-part repugnancy test to determine whether the challenged laws fit within its jurisdiction.

  • Step 1: Determine whether the stated injunction of Islam covers the impugned provision of law or both are related.
  • Step 2: Determine whether the provision of law being challenged and the injunction of Islam can be harmonized.
  • Step 3: Determine whether the impugned provision of law can be given effect without violating 'the letter or spirit' of the injunction of Islam."

Read more. Image credit: Pakistan Supreme Court

Pakistan Penal Code (Act No. XLV of 1860)

"This is the original and current Pakistani criminal code, dating from the British Raj. It has been amended and revised over the years." Pakistan's Federal Shariat Court analyzed this code, along with many others, for its 2009 "Islamization of Prison Laws” judgment of whether contemporary penal codes were in violation of Islam.  Read the code. Image credit: The Express Tribune Blog

Islamic Law in U.S. Courts: Husein v. Husein and Husein, WL 842023 (Ohio Ct. App. 2001)

This case examines how matters of divorce and inheritance under Islamic law can be decided in U.S. courts when the circumstances have multiple people claiming to be a deceased individual's living spouse. This is part of SHARIAsource's Islamic Law in U.S. Courts series. Read more. Image credit: United States Supreme Court

Other News

ILSP Paper Prize on Islamic Law for HLS Students
Islamic Legal Studies Program Prize on Islamic Law (Cambridge, MA). Each year the Law School awards several prizes for the best papers written by Harvard Law School students in particular areas of the law. Graduating prize winners are noted in the Commencement Program and prize-winning papers are eligible to be published in the School’s public paper series. ILSP will award a prize of $1,000 annually to the Harvard Law School student writing the best paper in the field of Islamic law or on the intersection between other religious legal traditions and Islamic law. Papers eligible for consideration will be ones written during the current academic year, addressing any topic in Islamic legal history and theory, Islamic law and society, and Islamic comparative law – including these topics as related to other religious legal traditions. Papers are due in the Office of Academic Affairs (Lewis 208) by 5:00 pm on 28 Apr 2017. Read more.

ILSP: SHARIAsource Fellow's Lecture :: Sohaira Siddiqui (24 Apr 2017 | Cambridge, MA).  Lecture by Sohaira Siddiqui, Policy Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource; Assistant Professor of Theology and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar, on her current research over lunch. 

ILSP: SHARIAsource Fellow's Lecture :: Mubasher Hussain (1 May 2017 | Cambridge, MA). Lecture by Mubasher Hussain, ILSP: SHARIAsource Fulbright Fellow; Head, Sirah Unit, Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan, on his current research over lunch. 

Launch of "The Zaydi Manuscript Tradition: A Digital Portal" (11 Apr 2017 | New York, NY). The Institute of Advanced Study's launch event of "The Zaydi Manuscript Tradition: A Digital Portal" will be on April 11, 2017 at the residence of the German Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. Register here for the event.

Call for Papers: American Society for Legal History 2017 Annual Meeting (26-29 Oct 2017 | Las Vegas). The 2017 annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Program Committee invites proposals on any facet or period of legal history, anywhere in the world. We also strongly encourage thematic proposals that traverse traditional chronological or geographical fields. Proposals are due 3 Apr 2017Read more.

Temple Bar Scholarships (2-27 Oct 2017 | London). The Temple Bar Foundation is accepting applications for its scholarship program. Selected scholars will have the opportunity to shadow a barrister and observe and discuss English trial practice, spend time with a justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, observe appellate arguments, discuss legal issues with the country’s highest judges. Applications due 30 Apr 2017 . Read more.

International Conference on Transnational Families and Divorce: Revisiting Marital Break-Up in Times of Global (Im)mobilities) (27-29 Sep 2017 | Nijmegen, Netherlands). This conference examines transnational divorce, as its causes, processes, and after-effects increasingly take place across national and socio-cultural borders. It takes into account the different socio-legal and cultural contexts within which it occurs, notably how state policies influence the process of marital dissolution.  We particularly welcome papers from young scholars in the field of socio-legal studies, sociology,  anthropology, history, and other disciplines. We also encourage studies that employ a transnational  and/or intersectional approach (Crenshaw 1989) paying attention to structuring factors such as  gender, class, race and ethnicity. After the conference, selected papers will be published as parts of  an edited volume on transnational families and divorce. Abstracts due 30 Apr 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 1 May 2017 Read more.

Call for Panels: Comparative Law, Faith and Religion: The Role of Faith in Law (26-28 Oct 2017 | Washington, D.C. ).  The American Society of Comparative Law and American University College of Law invites all interested scholars to consider submitting a panel proposal for the upcoming Annual Meeting of the American Society of Comparative Law that will be held between Thursday, October 26, and Saturday, October 28, 2017, at American University Washington College of Law, Washington D.C.  entitled Comparative Law, Faith and Religion: The Role of Faith in Law. Panel proposals should include up to four speakers, a panel title, and a one-to-two-paragraph description of the ideas that the panel will explore. Proposals are due 1 Jun 2017. Read 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.

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