Bibliography Islamic Law

The following are some important general overviews of Islamic law as an ideal-theoretical endeavor and some problems of studying Islamic law in practice. The works of Goldziher 1981 and Schacht 1964 represent the first few generations of modern Western (“Orientalist”) scholarship on Islamic law and theology. Their contributions have been built on, and corrected for, by others such as Wael Hallaq.

  • Amanat, Abbas, and Frank Griffel, eds. Shariʿa: Islamic Law in the Contemporary Context. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007.

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    Edited volume by a number of prominent scholars that includes essays examining a range of issues, from modern Muslim discourses on justice, natural law, and the common good, to democracy, the social contract, and “the authority of the preeminent jurist” (Khomeini's vilayet-e-faqih).

  • Bearman, Peri, Wolfhart Heinrichs, and Bernard G. Weiss. The Law Applied: Contextualizing the Islamic Shariʿa. New York: I. B. Tauris, 2008.

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    Collection of essays in honor of Frank Vogel on a wide variety of topics broadly connected to the application of Islamic law.

  • Doi, ʿAbdur Rahman I. Shariʿah: the Islamic Law. Kuala Lumpur: A. S. Noordeen, 2002.

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    Thematic introduction to both jurisprudence and positive law.

  • Kamali, Mohammad Hashim. Shariʿah Law: An Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oneworld, 2008.

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    An introduction to a number of aspects of Islamic law, with a recognizable slant towards Kamali's modernist and reformist views. The chapters on legal maxims and the maqasid al-shariʿa are very helpful, although most readers will find the book less useful for the study of Islamic jurisprudence than his Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence.

  • Goldziher, Ignaz. Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981 [1910].

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    Goldziher's classic lectures on Islamic theology and law from 1910.

  • Schacht, Joseph. An Introduction to Islamic Law. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1964.

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    This work represented the state of knowledge of Western scholarship on Islamic law, along with his Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence. It should now be read alongside more recent works, particularly those by Hallaq.

  • Legal periodical indexes generally only allow you to search the title, citation, abstract, keywords (sometimes author-supplied), and subject terms given to a journal article, rather than the full text.  A benefit to using a legal periodical index is that it will include all issues and volumes of a given journal, without any gaps in coverage, back to a certain date. (For example, Legaltrac's contents go back to 1980.  Full text databases can have gaps in coverage, sometimes many years' worth, for an individual journal.

    • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals
      Indexes non-English language law reviews, yearbooks, festschrifts and some English language law reviews. Provides in-depth coverage of public and private international law, comparative and foreign law, and the law of all jurisdictions other than the United States, the U.K., Canada, and Australia. Coverage 1985-present.
      Produced by the American Association of Law Libraries, the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) is a multilingual index to articles and book reviews appearing in approximately 540 legal journals published worldwide. It provides in-depth coverage of public and private international law, comparative and foreign law, and the law of all jurisdictions other than the United States, the U.K., Canada, and Australia. IFLP also analyzes the contents of approximately eighty individually published collections of legal essays, Festschriften, Mélanges, and congress reports each year.
    • Index to Legal Periodicals and Books [Harvard Law only]
      Provides citations to articles in over 800 legal periodicals such as law reviews, bar association journals, yearbooks, institutes, and government publications from August 1981 to the present. Focus of content is mainly on journals from Anglo-American countries.
    • Legal Journals Index, only on Westlaw [Harvard Law only]
      Indexes articles from legal journals published in the United Kingdom and Europe as well as journals covering topics pertaining to the laws of the European Community and its Member States. Coverage is from 1986 to present.
    • LegalTrac
      Indexes law review articles from English language law reviews. Also available on Westlaw (LRI) and Lexis, where it's known as Legal Resource Index. Focus of content is mainly on journals from Anglo-American countries.
      LegalTrac indexes the contents of nearly 1000 legal periodicals, including academic law journals, bar association publications, and legal newspapers. It also provides citations to law-related articles from business and general interest titles. LegalTrac covers English-language publications from the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the U.K. Abstracts and full text are available for a small number of articles. LegalTrac is also known as Legal Resource Index. It is produced by The Gale Group. The title list is available in a variety of formats at ####Most titles indexed are available at the Law Library. Some are available on LexisNexis Academic, an e-resource. For pre-1980 coverage of legal periodicals, consult the Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective ( the HeinOnline Law Journal Library (

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