NEWS | 7 Jun 2017

Sharīʿa Clauses in Constitutions of the Muslim World:
Where Did They Come From? What Do They Mean?

This week focuses on the meaning of Islamic constitutionalism -- the practice in some Muslim-majority countries of including Islamic law (or sharī ͑a) as a part of state law, together with rights and structures that borrow from American and European constitutions. Alicia Daniel reviews senior scholar Clark Lombardi's article, “Constitutional Provisions Making Sharīʿa ‘A’ or ‘The’ Chief Source of Legislation: Where Did They Come From? What Do They Mean? Do They Matter?” Called “sharīʿa clauses,” these provisions typically name some undefined version of Islamic law as “a chief source” or “the chief source” of national state law. Although the phrasing of these clauses seems quite similar, aside from the use of "a" or "the," some scholars and government officials have ascribed special significance to the differences between them. But the history and interpretation of these sharīʿa clauses reveals otherwise. Moreover, examination of these clauses historically and in view of court precedents from the constitutional courts interpreting each, suggests important insights into ways in which sharīʿa clauses interact with liberal ideas about governance and about the role of religion in law in Muslim-majority countries that officially recognize some aspect of Islamic law. Read more. Image credit: The National (UAE)

Islamic Finance: New Developments in Morocco’s Sharīʿa-Compliant Banking

Morocco editor Ari Schriber recently interviewed Nour-Eddine Qaouar, a sharīʿa auditor at Dar Assafaa, the Islamic window of Attijariwafa Bank in Morocco. The interview sheds light on Morocco's recent efforts to develop a system of sharīʿa-compliant banking. The interesting feature of Morocco's attempts is that it must confront Issues unique to its preferred school of law, Mālikism, with the other main Islamic finance systems (in SE Asia and in the Gulf), which tend to adopt the interpretations of other Islamic legal schools of how a sharīʿa-compliant financial system should look. Read more. Image credit: Morocco News

Circulaire Bank al-Maghrib

The shari’a board of the Central Bank of Morocco issued a new memorandum (circulaire) in January 2017 with a diverse set of fatwās and regulations governing Islamic financial instruments in Morocco. This new memorandum follows a recent  practice of The Central Bank, which has been gradually increasing the rate at which it issues such memoranda since the Participatory Finance Law 103.12 was issued in 2015 in favor of Islamic finance industry. See the document. Image credit: Middle East Confidential

Other News

SHARIAsource Portal Update
English translations for China editor Matthew Erie's symposium, The Legal Basis of Female Clerics among Chinese Muslims, are now available on the portal. Read here

SHARIAsource News Update
We issue newsletters each month, along with regular publication of a wide array of research and resources on Islamic law: portal primary sources and commentary, blog posts, occasional papers, and books with the Harvard University Press. We'll continue to update you with new developments. For regular updates, please visit the portal and the blog.  And researchers should always feel free to contact us to join the community of Islamic law scholars and submit their own sources, posts, and manuscripts.

The Honorable Deputy Chief Justice Adel Omar Sherif :: Theory and Political Praxis in Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court: From its Founding to 2011 (14 & 15 Jun 2017 | Cambridge, MA). Dr. Adel Omar Sherif, the Deputy Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, will be speaking on Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court at Harvard Law School, Wasserstein (WCC), on June 14th and 15th from 4-6 pm. This event is co-sponsored with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Islamic Legal Studies Program: SHARIAsource. Read more.  

Summer School: The Challenges of Democratic Transitions in the Arab World (29 Jun - 1 Jul 2017 | Copenhagen, Denmark).  This program will feature lectures by international experts on the challenges of democratic transitions in a number of countries since the beginning of the so-called “Arab Spring,” including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Yemen, and the Gulf region. In addition to these country-specific case studies, lectures will also explore cross-cutting issues relevant to the whole region, including the relationship between state and religion. Participation in the summer school is free of charge. Applications are due 8 Jun 2017 . Read more

Conference: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Religious Communities and Communities of Knowledge (12-14 Jun 2017 | Princeton, NJ). Sponsored by t he Institute of Advanced Study and the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies. See the program here  

Annual International Meeting on Law and Society: Walls, Borders, and Bridges: Law and Society in an Inter-Connected World (20-23 Jun 2017 | Mexico City, Mexico). The Law and Society Association's annual meeting will be in Mexico City this year, and jointly sponsored by the Law and Society Association, the Research Committee on the Sociology of Law, with the participation of the Socio-Legal Studies Association, the Japanese Association of the Sociology of Law, and the Canadian Law and Society Association, and other groups. Sessions on Islamic law will be held every day. Look for the CRN Code 30 or "Islamic Law and Society" CRN in the Program. See the schedule here. Register here.

USSPIP Project: Islamic Law and Sex/uality Workshop (22 Jun 2017 | Exeter, UK). The University of Exeter will host a one-day workshop under the auspices of the USPPIP project (Understanding Sharia: Past Perfect, Imperfect Present), exploring representations of the past by modern Muslims in a range of societies on topics relating to sex and sexuality in Islamic Law. Read more

Call for Applications: Iran Graduate Student Workshop at University of Pennsylvania (4-5 May 2017 | Philadelphia, PA). The University of Pennsylvania will host the second gathering of this joint workshop, which will consist of PhD students who are near ABD status and preparing their dissertation proposals related to Iran, other countries of the Persianate world, or diasporas, or conducting relational histories and comparative work; and should come from disciplines and programs in the humanities and social sciences, including anthropology, art history, economics, history, literature, politics, sociology, and related fields. To apply, please send the following materials by 15 Aug 2017.  Read more

Call for Papers: Governance and Violence in Islamic Law (14 Nov 2017 | Exeter, UK). The Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, invites paper proposals on “Governance and Violence in Islamic Law” for this one-day workshop, held under the auspices of the USPPIP project (Understanding Sharia: Past Perfect, Imperfect Present). The workshop covers the specific focus of two elements of the project – violence and governance. The workshop is convened by the USPPIP team members Drs Omar Anchassi and Eirik Hovden and Professors Robert Gleave and Knut Vikor. Paper proposals of a maximum of 200 words are due before 4 Sep 2017. Read more

Call for Papers: Rethinking Halal: Genealogy, Current Trends, and New Interpretation (24-25 Apr 2018 | Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium). The Université Catholique de Louvain Chair of the Law and Religions Research Institute in Religions, Societies, Cultures, Spiritualities invites scholars and researchers to speak on the genealogy of halal since Muslim religious scholars started to instruct a written knowledgeable debate on ‘halal’ and to unravel Muslim social practices toward it. The conference will discuss how the main stake holders in the halal industry (‘ulama, state, halal certificate bodies, scholars) are producing halal norms and standards applying to ‘others’. Abstracts are due by 8 Jan 2018 . Read more

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