This article examines the relationship between emergent LGBTQ movements and the state in the Arab world over the past two decades. Focusing on the efforts of various LGBTQ social movements to confront the criminalization of homosexuality in the Arab region, the article puzzles over a cascade of legal victories for LGBTQ rights advocates in Lebanon in recent years in spite of a hostile justice sector mired with corruption. It interrogates a set of prevalent assumptions about the effect of regime type (democracy v. authoritarianism) on gay rights activism and litigation. This article explains how some LGBTQ Arab movements have successfully relied on strategic litigation to confront criminalization laws while others have had less success in pursuing overtly confrontational approaches. The paired comparison between Tunisia and Lebanon shifts our focus back to the agency of judges and social movement leaders in shaping legal outcomes for LGBTQ citizens.
Legal status and associated rights to access state services become even more important at times of crises like the Covid-19 pandemic. By reviewing legal amendments, central government and municipalities’ policies and policymakers’ statements, this article examines the example of Turkey, which is home to around 4 million undocumented migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. The Turkish state-provided Covid-19 treatment in the ‘emergency’ scope of healthcare for all residents irrespective of their legal status. However, structural problems left undocumented migrants and refugees faced with three significant obstacles. These obstacles were the requirement to test positive for Covid-19; the requirement to access primary healthcare to be referred to hospitals and to reside in the city of registration to access that primary healthcare; and the fear of losing employment, being evicted from housing or being deported by the authorities. Additionally, growing political uncertainty and a deteriorating economic situation have contributed to growing anti-migrant movements in the country. Not only have undocumented migrants and refugees had limited access to public health provisions, but they were also at greater risk of being considered to be a threat to public health and public security. The article concludes by showing that legal precarity brings even more vulnerability at times of crisis and by suggesting future areas of research.
It is not self-evident to associate revolution with law. The disruption of political order that usually underlies revolutionary outbreaks is thought to affect legal rules so that they are no longer orienting actors. However, if law might be a source of constraints, ontologically it is more surely a discursive register tied to a state’s legitimacy. When the state’s control is at stake, as in a revolutionary situation, one can therefore understand that actors pay attention to the legal significance of their actions. The article will draw on this to analyze the Egyptian army’s arrival to power and Mubarak’s departure during the Revolution of 25 January 2011. By framing their acts as ruptures with constitutional legality (constitutional breakdowns), the article will suggest a richer and more nuanced narrative to the one commonly put forth by the literature. It will point to institutional strategies likely underpinning both actors’ decisions and show that the army’s initial intervention and Mubarak’s resignation might have been less definitive at the time. It will also suggest new ways to think about the relation between law and revolutionary politics. By drawing notably on an understanding of law as a system of meaning from which actors make sense of events and act on them, it will show that legal studies can shed light on revolutionary moments beyond the issue of revolutionary processes’ institutionalization.
What determined how governments in the Middle East and North Africa reacted to the global covid-19 pandemic? We develop a theoretical argument based on the political costs of different policy options and assess its empirical relevance. Distinguishing between the immediate costs associated with decisive action and the potential costs of uncontrolled spread that are likely to accrue over the long term, we argue that leaders who have fewer incentives to provide public goods to stay in power will lock down later than their more constrained counterparts. We find empirical support for this argument in statistical analyses covering the 1 January – 30 November 2020 period using the Oxford covid-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) and our own original data on the timing of mosque closures and strict lockdowns across the region. We also illustrate our argument with a description of the response to the pandemic in Egypt.
The Imami Shiʿa are usually treated as a community defined by belief. By analysing a letter attributed to the ninth Imami Imam, Muḥammad al-Jawād dated to the year of his death in 220/835, I show that the Imami Shiʿa were defined also by institutional structures that tied them to their Imam in his capacity as community leader. Details of transmission, form and content suggest that the letter may well be authentic, giving us a unique window onto the Imamic administration. The letter is a tax demand, encouraging payment of the khums levy upon the spoils of war and other items. My analysis suggests that the understanding of khums and ghanīma among Imamis at this time continued to be fluid, subject to the Imam’s adjustment, and that implementation influenced the elaboration of the law. Subsequently, hadith scholars and jurists were thus forced to interpret how such ad hoc, pragmatic acts fit into Islamic law, which is conceived as eternal and divine.
Despite the adoption of the mixed approach in the application of corporate governance (CG), largely based on the ‘comply or explain’ principle, the Kuwaiti corporate governance system still faces major limitations that have become particularly noticeable from the event of voluntary delisting by a slew of companies after the new Kuwaiti Code of Corporate Governance (KCCG) came into force in 2016. One apparent limitation is caused by the widespread culture of non-compliance, an observation supported by the Capital Market Authority Report on Voluntary Delisting from 2010 to 2016. Empirical analysis was conducted on a sample of 29 companies, all of which were delisted during application of the new KCCG of 2015 until April 2020. This voluntary delisting also indicates other salient limitations such as deficiencies in the CG legal framework, the asymmetrical concentration of share ownership in the hands of larger shareholders, and the passivity of shareholders in Kuwaiti-listed shareholding companies.
Digital humanities has a venerable pedigree, stretching back to the middle of the twentieth century, but despite noteworthy pioneering contributions it has not become a mainstream practice in Islamic Studies. This essay applies humanities computing to the study of Islamic law. We analyze a representative corpus of works of Islamic substantive law (furūʿ al-fiqh) from the beginnings of Islamic legal jurisprudence to the early modern period (2nd/8th-13th/19th c.) using several computational tools and methods: text-reuse network analysis based on plain-text annotations and html tags, clustered frequency-based analysis, word clouds, and topic modeling. Applying machine-guided distant reading to Islamic legal texts over the longue-dureé, we study (1) the role of the Qurʾān, (2) patterns of normative qualifications (aḥkām), and (3) the distribution of topics in our corpus. In certain instances the analysis confirms claims made in the scholarly literature on Islamic law, in other instances it corrects such claims.
This essay examines qur’anic “exhortation” and “legal paraenesis” in light of pre-Islamic Arabic poetry and late antique biblical traditions. It analyzes the verb waʿaẓa and related forms in narrative and legal/legislative sections of suras that can be assigned to different chronological stages of the Qur’an’s textual genesis. Qur’anic exhortations initially occur in narratives about messengers sent to unbelieving peoples. The word mawʿiẓa then becomes part of the self-referential vocabulary of the Qur’an and is used to characterize the contents of Moses’ Tablets. This linguistic development anticipates a process of legal and regulatory actualization, specification, and exposition: in the Medinan period, legal discourse is framed with the verb waʿaẓa. The emerging Medinan legal paraenesis puts emphasis on social applicability, but it is neither parochial nor does it break with Meccan ethics. Instead, it connects the communication and implementation of laws, rulings, and commands to human volition in a specific social context.
The purpose of this research is to identify and explore the factors that have contributed to the prevention of women from working in the Saudi Arabian judiciary from the viewpoints of male Saudi judges. The study applies the qualitative research method and uses interviews to obtain the required data. It uses primary and secondary resources to support the arguments. The data analysis reveals three main themes under which these factors fall: the legal constraints, the religious constraints, and the cultural constraints. Finally, the study concludes with some findings and recommendations with regard to employing women in the judiciary.
This article explores how jurists articulated the distinction between free and enslaved Muslim women through sartorial norms in the formative and early post-formative periods of Islamic law. Drawing on works of fiqh (positive law), tafsīr (Qurʾān commentary) and ḥadīth (Prophetic and non-Prophetic reports), I posit that this distinction attests to the tensions between “proprietary” and “theocentric” sexual ethics, as noted by Hina Azam. Specifically, I track the variant transmissions of a widely-cited report featuring the Caliph ʿUmar (r. 13–23/634–44), and trace how jurists responded to the free-slave binary in their discussion of “modesty zones” (ʿawrāt) and veiling practices. Based on a detailed examination of fiqh sources to the early fifth Islamic century (with some attention to subsequent material), I argue that Islamic modesty norms are best understood in light of the proprietary/theocentric binary, and that the divergence between juristic expectations of free and enslaved women increased in the post-formative period.