Islamic Law

Department of Islamic Law teaches fiqh (lit. understanding) which Abū Ḥanīfah, the founder of the earliest and largest Islamic legal school, has defined as knowledge of one’s rights and responsibilities (معرفة النفس ما لها وما عليها). Fiqh differs from western conceptions of law in three respects:

  • it is based on revelation
  • it details what is necessary for salvation
  • it encompasses not only rulings that are to be enforced by the state but ethics as well, since it also explicates norms, the application of which depends on the conscience of the individual

Fiqh is an extensive field of knowledge that consists of two main disciplines: Furū’ al-fiqh(legal rulings) and Uṣūl al-fiqh (legal methodology). While furū’ teaches the rulings which have been derived from the sources of Islamic law, the Qurʾān, Sunnah, Ijmāʿ (consensus), and Qiyās (legal analogy), uṣūl discusses the methodology of legal derivation from revelation.

Fiqh encompasses a variety of sub-disciplines including:

  1. al-Qawāʿid al-fiqhiyyah (legal maxims)
  2. Fatāwā (fatwas)
  3. al-Khilāf (comparative law)
  4. al-Aḥkām al-Sulṭāniyyah (state law)
  5. Adab al-Qāḍī (procedural law)
  6. Furūq (legal distinctions between seemingly similar cases)
  7. Nawāzil (unprecedented cases)
  8. iyal (legal devices)
  9. Shurūṭ (legal records)
  10. Farā’iḍ (inheritance law)
  11. Kharāj (land tax)

The department aims to give the student firm grounding in the furū’ and uṣūl of one of the four schools of Sunni law to enable them to do research in all legal fields.

Within the Intermediate Islamic Studies program, the Department of Law teaches furū’ in three levels. At the beginner level, the focus is on understanding legal rulings in classical compendia covering all four major areas of Islamic law, ʿibādāt (law of worship), muʿāmalāt(commercial law), muʿāsharāt (family law) and jināyāt (penal law). Further into the Intermediate program, the student is introduced to ʿilm al-khilāf (comparative law), studying how jurists adduce al-dalāʾil al-naqliyyah wa-l-ʿaqliyyah (evidence based on transmission and thought) to corroborate legal opinions. At the culmination of the Intermediate Islamic Studies program, the student is given a comprehensive understanding of each legal case, integrating furū’, uṣūl, and khilāf.

The Intermediate Islamic Studies program level teaches usūl al-fiqh in two levels. Initially, a short primer is taught to introduce the students to the terminology and basic principles of Islamic legal methodology. At the second level, a classical work of legal methodology is studied in detail. At the completion of this study, students understand all major topics of the subject and are able to conduct further research in the field. al-Qawāʿid al-fiqhiyyah and Iftā (qualifications to be a mufti) are introduced within the Advanced Islamic Law and Islamic Theology program.


Mufti Hisham Dawood

Liaison, Department of Islamic Law

Department Contact Info

Mailing & Physical Address

550 Regency Dr.
Glendale Heights, IL 60139

Mon – Thu 8:00A.M. – 3:00P.M. CST
Fr 8:00A.M. – 12:00P.M. CST

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