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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Restructuring Islamic law: The opinions of the 'ulamā' towards codification of personal status law in Egypt
by Elgawhary, Tarek A., Ph.D., Princeton University, 2014, 243; 3665313
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the process, effects, and results of codification of Egyptian personal status laws as seen through the eyes of the 'ulamā'. The codification process began in the mid-1800s and continued until the abolishment of the Sharī'a courts in 1955 with the absorption of personal status statutes into the newly drafted civil code and the national courts that administered them. Throughout this time period the codification process entailed finding appropriate rulings from the annals of Islamic law and structuring these rulings using the model and language of European legal codes, usually the French code.

Prior to the abolition of the Sharī'a courts in 1955 the area of personal status law was the exclusive domain of the 'ulamā' and the Sharī'a. In Egypt, personal status laws were exclusively based on Hanafī law, and issues of consolidation and codification of these laws first took place within the framework of classical Islamic law, not outside of it. To understand the significance of the process of codification of personal status law, therefore, one must examine the attitudes of the 'ulamā' regarding it and consider its place within the edifice of Islamic law.

From a prima facie reading it would seem that a codification of Islamic law is something that the 'ulamā' would consider an anathema. There were those, however, who supported it. In fact early drafts of codified personal status and civil laws were written and compiled by certain 'ulamā'. There were also others who had mixed feelings about it. The purpose of this study is to acknowledge and understand these various positions since they have been largely ignored throughout the secondary literature, and when they have been considered, have been viewed as uniform and singular.

Ultimately this dissertation seeks to draw out these nuances and to draw conclusions as to why the codification of Islamic law is today a forgone conclusion amongst the 'ulamā'.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Marmon, Shaun
Commitee: Brown, Jonathan, Gregory, Eric, Zaman, Muhammad Qasim
School: Princeton University
Department: Religion
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Law, Middle Eastern Studies, Near Eastern Studies
Keywords: Codification, Egypt, Sharia
Publication Number: 3665313
ISBN: 978-1-321-37663-0
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