The Rule of Necessity (iḍṭirār/ḍarūrah): Its Use and Development in Iran in the Reconciliation of the Resolution of Housing Problems with Islamic Law

In: Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law Online
M.A. Ansaripour Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, the University of Tehran Tehran Iran

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One of the very well-established rules of Islamic law is the rule of “necessity”. When there is a necessity, i.e. a pressing need, to act or to omit, it would make lawful every act that is unlawful in normal circumstances. The rule applies to different areas of Islamic law including public, criminal and civil law. It can be employed by individuals, where the necessity is private, and by the state, where the necessity is public. The rule has been employed by Parliament in legislation and by the relevant constitutional organs in ratifying certain parliamentary bills that were inconsistent with the primary rules of Islamic law. This paper deals briefly with the definition, effect, establishment and scope of “necessity” as well as the application of this rule by the Iranian authorities to deal with certain economic and social problems, in particular the housing need which was once a major problem in the country. By applying the rule of necessity, the ownership of certain lands came to an end or they were transferred to the government in order to be given to the needy. In addition, the government was allowed to accommodate the homeless in vacant residential buildings, to lease and/or sell the said places to the housing applicants and to borrow foreign loans for retrofitting the residential buildings against earthquakes.

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