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Islamic Natural Law Theories - Anver M. Emon

Islamic Natural Law Theories - Anver M. Emon

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Published by MuslimThunder
A native Californian, Anver M. Emon joined the Faculty of Law in 2005 and is Associate Professor of Law. Professor Emon's research focuses on premodern and modern Islamic legal history and theory; premodern modes of governance and adjudication; and the role of Shari'a both inside and outside the Muslim world.

His general academic interests include medieval intellectual and religious history; law and religion; legal history; and legal philosophy. He teaches Tort Law and offers specialized seminars on Islamic legal history, gender and Islamic law, and law and religion.

Additionally, he supervises graduate students in advanced research in Islamic law and history. The author of Islamic Natural Law Theories (Oxford University Press, 2010), Professor Emon is the founding editor of Middle East Law and Governance: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and sits on the editorial board of The Journal of Law and Religion.

BA, UC Berkeley; JD, UCLA School of Law; MA (History) Univ. of Texas at Austin; LLM, Yale Law School; PhD, UCLA History Department; JSD, Yale Law School.

http://www.law.utoronto.ca/faculty_content.asp?itemPath=1/3/4/0/0&profile=78&cType=facMembers

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http://www.law.utoronto.ca/faculty_content.asp?profile=78&perpage=172&cType=facMembers&itemPath=1/3/4/0/0
A native Californian, Anver M. Emon joined the Faculty of Law in 2005 and is Associate Professor of Law. Professor Emon's research focuses on premodern and modern Islamic legal history and theory; premodern modes of governance and adjudication; and the role of Shari'a both inside and outside the Muslim world.

His general academic interests include medieval intellectual and religious history; law and religion; legal history; and legal philosophy. He teaches Tort Law and offers specialized seminars on Islamic legal history, gender and Islamic law, and law and religion.

Additionally, he supervises graduate students in advanced research in Islamic law and history. The author of Islamic Natural Law Theories (Oxford University Press, 2010), Professor Emon is the founding editor of Middle East Law and Governance: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and sits on the editorial board of The Journal of Law and Religion.

BA, UC Berkeley; JD, UCLA School of Law; MA (History) Univ. of Texas at Austin; LLM, Yale Law School; PhD, UCLA History Department; JSD, Yale Law School.

http://www.law.utoronto.ca/faculty_content.asp?itemPath=1/3/4/0/0&profile=78&cType=facMembers

Download articles by the author here:

http://www.law.utoronto.ca/faculty_content.asp?profile=78&perpage=172&cType=facMembers&itemPath=1/3/4/0/0

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: MuslimThunder on Aug 24, 2010
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Islamic Natural Law Theories
Anver M. Emon
This book offers the first sustained jurisprudential inquiry into Islamic natural law theory. Itintroduces readers to the central figures in the Islamic natural law tradition and their canonicalworks, analyses the historical development of Islamic jurisprudence and explains the major contrasts with Western traditions of natural law. In popular debates about Islamic law, modernMuslims perpetuate an image of Islamic law as legislated by God, to whom the devout arebound to obey. Reason alone cannot obligate obedience; at most it can confirm or corroboratewhat is established by source texts endowed with divine authority.This book shows, however, that premodern Sunni Muslim jurists were not so resolute. Instead,they asked whether and how reason alone can be the basis for asserting the good and the bad,and thereby justifying obligations and prohibitions under Shari'a. They theorized about theauthority of reason amidst competing theologies of God. For them, nature became the linkbetween the divine will and human reason. Nature is the product of God's wilful creation for the
 
benefit of humanity. Since nature is created by God and thereby reflects His goodness, nature isfused with both fact and value. Consequently, as a divinely created good, nature can beinvestigated to reach both empirical and normative conclusions about the good and bad. Theydisagreed, however, whether nature's goodness is a result of God's justice or grace uponhumanity, thus contributing to different theories of natural law.By recasting the Islamic legal tradition in terms of legal philosophy, the book sheds substantiallight on an uncharted tradition of natural law theory, and offers critical insights aboutcontemporary, global debates about Islamic law and reform.
Readership :
Suitable for scholars and advanced students of legal philosophy, comparativelaw, religion, and Islamic and Middle Eastern studies.
Contents:
1. IntroductionAbstract: This introductory chapter provides the theoretical framework that guides thebook's argument. It situates the debate on Islamic natural law in terms of more generalscholarly work on natural law theory, and specifies why ‘nature’ and ‘natural law’ offer animportant focal point for recasting premodern debates in Islamic law. It provides anoverview of the scholarly and popular debates about reason and authority in Islamic law.And lastly, it provides an overview of the basic argument, with special attention to theterms of art used throughout the book, namely Hard and Soft Natural Law. Generallyspeaking, the chapter offers a comprehensive summary of the entire book, and isespecially useful for scholars who do not specialize in Islamic law, and for studentsstudying the debate for the first time.2. Islamic Hard NaturalismAbstract: This chapter introduces the reader to three different approaches to a particular type of Islamic natural law theory, herein called Hard Natural Law. It reviews the writingsof three premodern Sunni Muslim jurists, all of whom are concerned with whether empirical evaluations of the good and the bad can lead to Shari'a norms, whoseauthority participates in or draws upon the authority of the Divine Will. Their theoreticalapproaches show how nature provides the foundation for the authority of reason as asource of Shari'a. The three Hard Natural Law jurists fuse fact and value in nature, andsituate their use of reason within a natural teleology directed to the
telos
of humanfulfillment in both this world and the hereafter. Their version of natural law is called ‘hard’because their conception of nature as a bounty to humanity is fixed and not vulnerable toa divine ‘change of mind’.
 
3. The Voluntarist Critique of Hard Naturalism: The Indeterminacy of Nature and The Need for aLegislative WillAbstract: This chapter explores how Voluntarist jurists, who rejected Hard Natural Law,nonetheless developed their own natural law theory by fusing fact and value, butnonetheless upheld their voluntarist commitment to divine omnipotence. Soft NaturalLaw jurists relied on a theology of God's grace (
tafaddul, fadl 
), and the authority of source-texts to fuse fact and value in nature, but contingently so. By fusing fact andvalue on the basis of divine grace (
fadl 
), Soft Natural Law jurists allowed for thepossibility that God may change His mind. Divine grace in Soft Natural Law permits thefusion of fact and value in nature, while at the same time rendering nature contingent ina way that Hard Natural Law theorists did not allow. The chapter provides an overview of different jurists' Soft Natural Law theories, illustrating both the core concepts of SoftNatural Law, as well as the different approaches to this type of natural law theory.4. Soft Naturalist Jurisprudence: Divine Command Teleologies of the GoodAbstract: This chapter explores how Voluntarist jurists, who rejected Hard Natural Law,nonetheless developed their own natural law theory by fusing fact and value, butnonetheless upheld their voluntarist commitment to divine omnipotence. Soft NaturalLaw jurists relied on a theology of God's grace (
tafaddul, fadl 
), and the authority of source-texts to fuse fact and value in nature, but contingently so. By fusing fact andvalue on the basis of divine grace (
fadl 
), Soft Natural Law jurists allowed for thepossibility that God may change His mind. Divine grace in Soft Natural Law permits thefusion of fact and value in nature, while at the same time rendering nature contingent ina way that Hard Natural Law theorists did not allow. The chapter provides an overview of different jurists' Soft Natural Law theories, illustrating both the core concepts of SoftNatural Law, as well as the different approaches to this type of natural law theory.5. ConclusionAbstract: This concluding chapter summarizes the book by utilizing two ironies. The firstirony is that despite the contested theological positions of Hard Natural Law and SoftNatural Law jurists, their philosophies of natural law nonetheless share much incommon, namely the fusion of fact and value in nature. The second irony concerns theway in which the Soft Naturalist model of reasoned deliberation is utilized by modernMuslim reforms. Although Soft Natural Law theorists permitted a role for reasoneddeliberation, they limited its scope by creating certain methods of analysis, in particular the maqasid model of legal reasoning. Modern Muslims seeking to reform Islamic lawfrom within, however, grasp onto the maqasid model in order to enable and enhance thescope of reasoned deliberation in the law, despite the maqasid model's original design.

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