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Muhammad Zubair Abbasi

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to provide a concise and brief introduction to the classical Islamic law of waqf. This study is based on the Fiqh literature of four Sunni schools of thought. The primary focus is on the Ḥanafī Fiqh, however, representative texts of the other schools have also been taken into account. There are three major findings in this article. First, the law contained in Fiqh texts is incomplete because it does not encompass ʿurf (custom) and qānūn (imperial decrees). Custom is recognised in these texts in support of Fiqh, but qānūn is totally missing despite references to the power of rulers regarding certain provisions of waqf law. Second, the legal theory is inconsistent, as the majority of jurists hold that the ownership of a founder terminates with the creation of a waqf. However, not only the founder and his legal heirs maintain a limited proprietary interest in waqf property; the waqf also dissolves with the apostasy of its founder. Third, family awqāf (pl. of waqf) come into direct conflict with the law of inheritance and the law of gifts. However, the testamentary waqf and waqf during terminal illness are subservient to inheritance law, and jurists have tried to harmonise waqf law with inheritance law whenever an opportunity arose.

Sharī‘a and State Law

Relevance of Islamic Legal History for the Application of Muslim Family Law in the West

Muhammad Zubair Abbasi

The growing numbers of Muslims in the West have ignited a debate about the compatibility of Sharī‘a with state law. The present article explores the issue from a historical perspective by providing a brief survey of Islamic legal history. It specifically focuses on the interaction of Sharī‘a with the English legal system in colonial India. The main argument of the article is that during its long history, Sharī‘a co-existed with the ruler’s law (siyāsa) and customary law (‘urf). It was formally incorporated into the structure of the state with the active participation of Muslim legal commentators, judges, lawyers, politicians, and the ‘ulamā’ in colonial India. The incorporation of Sharī‘a into the state law was facilitated through the transplantation of legislative and hierarchical judicial institutions, which provided venues for a legal discourse among various stakeholders. Historical evidence suggests the feasibility of incorporating Sharī‘a into state law in Western democratic countries.

Muhammad Zubair Abbasi

In a series of judgments starting in 1959, Pakistani judges reformed Islamic family law by extending women’s right to no-fault based divorce (khulʿ). For this purpose, they directly interpreted the Qurʾān and Sunnah, and removed the requirement of the consent of a husband for judicial khulʿ. This article analyses the methods and the methodological tools that Pakistani judges used to justify the unilateral right of women to no-fault judicial divorce. The analysis shows that instead of following the opinions of classical jurists, Pakistani judges exercised independent legal reasoning (ijtihād). By using judicial ijtihād, Pakistani judgescontinue to play a key role in reforming classical Islamic family law with changing circumstances.


Series:

Muhammad Zubair Abbasi

Abstract

Based on the analysis of reported judgments spreading over 70 years (1947-2017), I argue that the judges of the superior courts of Pakistan have gradually transformed women’s right to divorce from a fault-based divorce (faskh) to no-fault based divorce (khula). By creatively interpreting the primary sources of Islamic law (the Qur’an and Sunnah), the judges removed the requirement of the consent of a husband for a no-fault based judicial divorce (khula), initiated by a wife. As a result, khula (no-fault based judicial divorce) has replaced faskh (fault-based judicial divorce) as the primary mode for the dissolution of marriage. The judges have also developed new legal principles to protect the financial rights of divorced women. This is done by taking into account the reciprocal benefits gained by husbands during the marriage while determining the amount of dower that wives are required to return in consideration for khula. This development is likely to lead to the acknowledgement of the right of divorced women to matrimonial property.