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Islamic Law Research

Articles, books, disserations, and primary law sources useful for research on Islamic law

Introduction

Prepared for Prof. Clark Lombardi's E560, Contemporary Muslim Legal Systems Seminar and B556, Islamic Law.

In this class you are asked to write a research paper. Most of the material that will be useful to you is not found in the Law Library, nor is it accessible through popular legal databases like HeinOnline, Lexis, or Westlaw.

Instead, you will be using the University of Washington Libraries catalog to locate books and several non-legal databases to locate articles and dissertations. Many databases are UW Restricted.

See also the 2014 companion research exercise.

Initial Thoughts

Prof. Lombardi kindly shared the following insights to help direct your research.

  • Research on Islamic law is often carried out by philologists, scholars of religion, social scientists, policy experts, and graduate students. Standard legal databases do not include this type of scholarship.
  • Much of the relevant research is written in French (countries in north and west Africa), German, and Russian (central Asia).
  • Effective searching requires you to find and use specific Islamic terms that are often not translated into English. These words or phrases may also appear in Berber, Indonesian, Persian, Turkish, and other languages. This tip is particularly helpful when you are searching full-text sources such as news stories and the Internet.
  • Arabic terms have been transliterated under several different systems. For instance, saria, seriat, shari'a, sharia, and shariat have all been used to represent the same concept.