International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Codification of Islamic Law Premises of History and Debates of Contemporary Muslim Scholars
Najmaldeen K. Kareem Zanki

This study sheds light on the question of codification in the Muslim world. It tries to explain historical attempts made for unification of Islamic law and explore the factors made these attempts fruitless. The study hinges upon a historical and analytical method and concludes some important findings. According to the study, attempts of codification go back to the era of the Abbasid Caliphate. Freedom of Ijtihād was one of the main hindrances making codification of the Islamic law prohibitive. However, the Islamic State had presented different ways to unify the laws, such as recognizing limited schools of law and appointing judges from certain schools of jurisprudence, then selecting certain books of Fiqh to be the reference of Fatwa and judgment and drafting collections of Fatwa by official directives from the State. The final status was promulgation of the official codes of law by the Ottoman Caliphs after enacting the policy of Tanẓīmāt in 1839. Here, the “Majallah” for law of transactions and “Qānūn al-ʿĀ’ilah” for the family law were produced in a way technically similar to the modern styles of codification.

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