Is Islamic Purposivism (Maqāṣid Al-Sharīʿa) a Thinly-Disguised Form of Utilitarianism? We are happy to welcome Mohammad Fadel (University of Toronto) as the ISLAMICLAWblog ‘s first guest blogger. His first piece grapples with academic critics of maqāṣid al-sharīʿa (translated by Fadel as “purposivism”), who “have latched on to the inherent connection between purposivism and the idea of maṣlaḥa (often translated as “benefit,” “interest,” or “public interest”) to argue that much of modern Islamic reform is little more than utilitarianism in an Islamic garb, with concepts such as “need ( ḥāja )” and “necessity ( ḍarūra )” displacing the rigorous moral and legal reasoning of prior Muslim jurists.” Fadel argues that while some “appeals to purposivism” should indeed be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism, the absolute conflation of purposivism and subjective utilitarianism is misguided. Fadel turns to historical jurists, including Abū Isḥāq al-Shāṭibī, to distinguish between the two and argue for the consideration of the former in Islamic legal reform. Read more . Image credit: McGeddon/Wikimedia/Creative Commons


Recognition and Regulation of Muslim Marriages in South Africa In 2018, the Western Cape High Court in South Africa ordered the South African government to legislatively recognize Muslim marriages within 24 months. Waheeda Amien (University of Cape Town) considers the ramifications and efficacy of the order. “I have repeatedly argued,” Amien writes, “that recognition of Muslim marriages, while necessary, is not sufficient to afford adequate protection for women’s rights. Regulation of the features of a Muslim marriage and divorce is also required.” She goes on to say, “It is therefore fortifying to see that the language of ‘recognition and regulation’ of Muslim marriages …is peppered across the judgment.” Read more . Image credit: Creative Commons/Wikimedia


New Trends in Regulating Risk in Islamic Finance Innovation occurs as well in ways less tangible than what is traditionally defined as ‘technology,’ as UAE editor Paul Lee‘s piece on Islamic finance suggests. Lee details how U.S. and U.K. courts have attempted to marry Western and Islamic finance without compromising the principle of fair competition. Unlike patents or licenses, however, financial contracts must prioritize uncertain results, acknowledged by Islamic legal systems as ghararand Western court systems’ approaches to regulation. Partly due to this uncertainty, and different strategies in accounting for it, an optimal compromise between Islamic and Western finance remains to be created. As of yet, such regulatory inventions occur on an ad hoc basis. Read more. Image credit: Blog: Brave Organization Never Dies


See the full newsletter.