Islamic Law & Muslim Personal Law

The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 provides that:

“Notwithstanding any custom or usage to the contrary, in all questions (save questionsrelating to agricultural land) regarding intestate succession, special property of females, including personal property inherited or obtained under contract or gift or any other provision of Personal Law, marriage, dissolution of marriage, including talaq, ila, zihar, lian, khula and mubaraat, maintenance, dower guardianship, gifts, trusts and trust properties, and wakfs (other than charities and charitable institutions and charitable and religious endowments) the rule of decision in cases where the parties are Muslims shall be the Muslim Personal law (Shariat)”.

The curriculum of our famous Islamic institutions include these subjects but their content scope and emphasis is quite at variance with what is taught in Indian Law Schools. Firstly Shariah Act is product of statute while Islamic law is canonic law. The lawyers and judges in Indian courts are unable to relate to the canonic law which is the subject matter of our Ulama. Similarly our Ulama are entirely ignorant about the substantive and procedural Muslim personal being applied by the court. There is a total lack of understanding about superseding laws and constitutional supremacy. This is reflected in the great confusion when an issue contested in the court comes in the realm of public interest and debate like that of Shah Bano.

There is also an urge to revive the institution of Kazi. Also the need for Shariah courts and Islamic forum for arbitration and reconciliation calls for trained scholars.

The Course on Islamic law responds to these issues and bridges the gap between the two streams, Modern Law Schools and orthodox Islamic institutions.