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Islamic Law Lecture Series :: Necessity, Taking Property, and the Dilemma of Compensation in the Islamic Legal Tradition

Dana Lee, Research Fellow, Program in Islamic Law

Nov 12 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm | Austin 102

Jurists in the Islamic legal tradition discussed over centuries whether one must compensate for taking or consuming another person’s property due to necessity, and if so, why this is the case. In this paper, Dr. Lee provides a historically-rooted account of how the jurists engaged the hypothetical case of the starving person taking food to construct and evaluate obligations and claims, test liability and compensation rules, and negotiate foundational values through the law. She examines how and why positions against liability persisted alongside the positions in favor of liability, and argues that these discourses reveal significant differences in theories of and approaches to law and ethics within the tradition.