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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines legislation as an instrument of Islamic law in the history of the Islamic world and in Islamic legal theory, with particular emphasis on the scholarly analysis of whether Islamic law can be legislated at all, and if so, how. It first reviews the scholarship on legislation in the Islamic world before the mid-nineteenth-century Ottoman reforms (tanzimat)—the “premodern” centuries. It then considers legislation after the mid-nineteenth century—the “modern” centuries—by looking at scholars’ preoccupations with the apparent novelty of modern legislation and its debatable Islamicity. It also discusses empirical dilemmas underlying these preoccupations and competing scholarly approaches to theorizing and studying the proper relationship between legislation and Islam. The article concludes by suggesting four paths forward in the analysis of legislation as an instrument of Islamic law.

Keywords: code, codification, fiqh, Islam, Islamic law, Islamicity, legal theory, legislation, shariʽa, tanzimat

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