With the emergence and growth of the Islamic finance industry, Muslims now have at their disposal comprehensive Sharīʿah-compliant financial services. However, the notion of Sharīʿah compliance has rarely been deconstructed; essentially, it constitutes a prohibition-driven enterprise. While avoidance of the forbidden (ḥarām) is fundamentally important, Islam encompasses a great deal more than the impermissible. Approaching relevant issues from the perspective of Sharīʿah compliance, where legal aspects are overemphasized, leads to legalism where the principles, norms and values based on the Qurʾān and Sunnah are largely ignored or compromised. Limiting itself to merely avoiding the ḥarām has significantly handicapped the industry from identifying and endeavouring to address synergistically the broader socio-economic challenges. In this article, a modified conceptualization based on a more nuanced framework of ‘Islam-compliance’ is proposed and explored, especially from the perspective of value-orientation in Islam. The notion and framework of Islam compliance has broader implications beyond Islamic finance.
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.
This study aims to discuss a legal principle that has not been settled in Saudi tax tribunals, namely, the Saudi authority subjecting the adjusted annual net profit to zakāt when the zakāt base of the taxpayer is less than the adjusted annual net profit. This study discusses the religious viewpoint by considering zakāt as one of the pillars of Islam, and, from a legal and accounting viewpoint, to propose enhancements for the Saudi legal environment to be more attractive to taxpayers.
In February 2022, the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court (FSC) issued a decision concerning the (controversial) question of whether the Iraqi Kurdistan Region may independently export oil and enter into agreements with international oil companies for the exploration and production of oil in this region. The issue has been in dispute many years between the Iraqi Federal Government and Kurdistan Region, which has the status of a ‘federal region’ under the 2005 Iraqi Constitution. The FSC confirmed the position of the Federal Government that the production of oil in entire Iraq is under the control of the Federal Government and dismissed the Kurdistan Regional Government’s line of argument that all fields developed in the Kurdistan Region after 2005 are subject to Kurdish control. The FSC declared the Kurdistan Oil and Gas Law (2007) unconstitutional, putting the validity of oil contracts between the Kurdistan Regional Government and international oil companies into question.
This study relies on the life story narratives of 48 young members of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers in identifying the different reasons behind their political disengagement in the aftermath of the 2013 military coup. Unlike the smt scholarly writings addressing Islamists’ political disengagement within a limited scope of analysis that focuses on members leaving their groups rather than politics, this study presents a multi-layered approach that examines the interplay between youth’s personal experiences, the repressive macro political conditions, and the organizational decay in shaping young Muslim Brothers’ positions towards political activism.
This article analyses several authoritarian practices in Syria since 1971 and demonstrates that, since the 2011 uprising, its authoritarian regime has successfully remained resilient instead of collapsing. The post-2011 Syrian Government under Al-Assad is no longer the Ba`thist government of old, albeit still autocratic but adept at adapting to hostile changing political environments. Al-Assad’s regime no longer relies on Ba’ath Party loyalty and appearances of legitimacy but both during and post-war has depended more on social re-engineering to sustain its political, economic power. The Syria example demonstrates that, when threatened, authoritarian regimes may thicken the layers of their autocratic rule to sustain their grip on power, even changing the composition of its citizenry to create a new population to rule. We demonstrate how the Syrian Government has used urban planning, housing, and property laws to re-engineer its demographics so that friendly foreign nationals will receive permanent citizenship and displace indigenous citizens.
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.
This article is an inquiry into the ability of the constitutional judiciary in Arab Gulf monarchial systems to act to protect women’s rights and the conditions that enable such autonomous exercise of judicial powers. Looking specifically at Kuwait and Bahrain, the empirical findings of this article demonstrate that one must look beyond constitutional or legal text in conducting this analysis. In these largely comparable political systems with very similar constitutions, subtle contextual political differences can lead to divergent outcomes when it comes to the practical exercise of constitutional judicial power. The experiences of Kuwait and Bahrain are insightful as they shed light on the different dynamics that may exist in similar monarchial systems and how even a limited divestment of political power, as in the case of Kuwait, can enable judicial institutions to carve a role for themselves in protecting citizens’ rights.