SMNR: Comparative Middle Eastern Law

Cross-Listed This seminar explores modern legal structures – legislative and judicial – of the Middle East. It introduces students to the process by which traditional Islamic law was transformed into state law in the 19th and 20th centuries CE, by investigating debates on codification, legal modernity and legal borrowing. With the emergence of the modern nation-states across the Muslim World, many countries accorded constitutional status to Islamic law as “a source” or “the source” of law and some states purport to base their entire systems on particular versions of Islamic law. The formation of the modern legal regimes in the Middle East was a hybrid product of Islamic and western legal traditions, which raises questions about legal authority, legality, and the creation of modern legal and judicial institutions. The course aims to encourage comparative legal analysis to assess generalizations about law typically formulated with respect to Western legal traditions. The course discusses cases and codes from Egypt, Malaysia, Northern Nigeria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The topics covered in this course are constitutional law, judicial review, administrative law, obligations, commercial law, family law, human rights and criminal law

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Friday 9:00 am - 12:00 pm BEN 1.118

Examination information not available

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Allowed


  • The Rule of Law in the Middle East and the Islamic World: Human Rights and the Judicial Process - Eugene Cotran, Mai Yamani
      I. B. Tauris
      ISBN: 2000   (required)
  • Introduction to Middle Eastern Law - Chili Mallat
      Oxford University Press
      ISBN: 2009   (required)