Islamic Law as a Social Contract: Lessons from the Early Hanafi School

With guest speaker Rumee Ahmed (Associate Professor of Islamic Law & Associate Dean, Communications and Innovation, Arts)

Tuesday, January 17th 2017
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Room 604, UBC Asian Centre, 1871 West Mall

Islamic law is often presumed to contain a set of timeless, divinely-ordained rules for believers to enact in their daily lives so as to create a just and spiritual order. This notion is based on colonial and Protestant views of ‘law’ in general, and ‘religious law’ in particular. In this paper, I will examine the historical roots of the largest Muslim legal school, the Hanafis, to demonstrate how they conceived of law not as primarily concerned with spirituality or even justice, but as a malleable social contract for those who identify with the Muslim community.

This talk is a part of a year-long Colloquium on Religion, Literature, and the Arts, organized by the Religion, Literature, and the Arts Interdisciplinary Program, with the support of UBC Asian Studies. For more information, see:

Image source:  Rumee Ahmed, Narratives of Islamic Legal Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)