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REL4017 Sharia and Muslims in the West

The course will be tought by dr. Amr Ryad, currently associate professor of Islamic Studies at Utrecht University.

Course description

Phrases, such as “American Islam” or “European Islam” have been suggested to designate the position of Muslims within the western polity. Other new concepts, such as “Fiqh al-Aqalliyyât”’ (Jurisprudence of Minorities) or “Fiqh al-Mughtaribîn” (Jurisprudence of Emigrants) in Shi’ite sources have become the most recent common terms dealing with the Sharia legal discourses related to the life of Muslim minorities in the West. One of the most prolific institutions is the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), which was specifically established to respond to the urgent needs of minorities for religious guidelines in their non-Islamic environment (founded 1997). On another level, thorny issues of Islamic family law have arisen in courts all over Europe. For example, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunals now offer dispute resolution in some British cities concerning marriage, divorce and family affairs. Their rulings are binding according to the British law, if both parties have given authority to the arbitrator

Course objectives

The course gives special attention to legal Sharia Muslim thought addressing the increasing vicissitudes of Muslims as minorities in the West. The main objective of the course is to strengthen the knowledge of participants on the institutionalization of such concepts as fiqh, fatwa and Sharia in the western context. Among the issues that will be discussed are the question of residence in a non-Muslim domain, mixed marriages, family law, citizenship, mortgages, political participation, and ethics.  

Mode of instruction

Students are expected to take active participation by carefully reading the given assignments; and giving a brief presentation on the basis of the materials given during the class. The student should make a critical analysis of the selected chapter or article in the light of at least one scientific work (book, chapter, article, etc.) cited by the author. The teacher’s task will be to give scientific supplements and detailed comments on the students’ presentations.

Teaching takes place as an intensive course from April 20. - 30.

The course will be tought in English.

Learning outcome

See  the above stated description of the course.


Term paper, 8-10 pages. More information will be given at the first seminar and published on the semester web page.

Publisert 19. nov. 2014 13:31 - Sist endret 27. nov. 2014 11:15