Women’s Contractual Capacity: Islamic Legal Perspective

About the Research

This book will look at the status of women in Islam in terms of their ability to engage in contractual agreements freely and independently. It will investigate how much pre-Islamic Arab culture has influenced Islamic law and women’s right to engage in contracts.  

It is claimed that Islam affords women their due rights, rights that they were deprived of before Islam. Yet, at least from a modern context, there seems to be an uneven and unfair balance in terms of their contractual rights under law. This book aims to investigate the juristic principles which Muslim scholars used to determine women’s contractual rights. It wishes to establish the extent to which pre-Islamic cultural practises influenced Islamic law and juristic thought, if indeed they did at all.

Most books which talk about women in Islam focus on issues dealing with areas related to marriage and divorce and how they are treated on a sociological and anthropological level. This book will stand out from the rest in two main ways: firstly: the book will cover a larger area not covered by other books. It will look at the concept of rights from their inception and the developmental stages of these rights in human life. At times and where appropriate women’s rights will be compared to and contrasted with the rights afforded to men. This will be done to establish the reason or rationale the law makes in having different laws for different sexes. Through this it will strive to uncover the true aim of the law; was it subjugation, liberation or something else.  

The research will explore the leading scholars and their schools of thought through the formative period such as: Abu Hanifa, Malik bin Anas, Muhammad bin Idris al-Shafi‘i, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Muhammad bin Hasan al-Shaybani, Yaqub bin Ibrahim, Zufar bin Huzayl, Sufyan al-Thawri, al-Awaza‘i, Muhammad bin Hazm, and the like. 

In order to identify ‘development’ the research will examine the primary sources of Muslim law and the law’s different historical developmental stages from the time of the Prophet Muhammad and the first three generations after him, and then compare and contrast this to contemporary perspectives. 

Project Lead: Dr Shahrul Hussain

Project type: Book : to be published with Palgrave Macmillan - 2019