The Egyptian State as a Muǧtahid: Law and Religion in the Jurisprudence of the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court

In: Arab Law Quarterly
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas, The University of Texas at Austin, 204 W 21st Street Stop F9400, Austin, TX 78712, USA
  • | 2 University of Texas School of Law, University of Texas at Austin, 727 East Dean Keeton Street, Austin, TX 78705, USA
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



This article explores two recent decisions issued by the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) to demonstrate how the Court resolves conflicts involving Islamic and Christian law: (1) a decision to maintain the constitutionality of the wife’s obedience (ṭāʿat al-zawǧa) articles in the Personal Status Law for Christians, and (2) a decision to extend Muslim mothers’ exclusive custodial claims over children until they reach the age of 15. The article argues that the SCC takes upon itself to decide — based on its own internal logic — the normative legal positions for Christians and Muslims. The SCC rulings reinforce a vision of the Egyptian State as the exclusive holder of legal authority (walī al-amr) with the power to determine the meaning of Islamic/Christian legal norms in a court of law. In these judgments, the Egyptian State is personified as an independent jurist (muǧtahid) that can legislate on behalf of Egyptian Muslims and Christians.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 82 82 9
Full Text Views 7 7 1
PDF Views & Downloads 0 0 0