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Fiqh and Canons: Reflections on Islamic and Christian Jurisprudence

Mark L. Movsesian

St. John's University School of Law

August 1, 2010

Seton Hall Law Review, Forthcoming
St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-185

This essay, a contribution to a symposium on Religious Legal Theory, compares Islamic and Christian conceptions of law and suggests implications for contemporary debates about religious dispute settlement. Both Islam and Christianity begin with faith, but they express that faith differently – and the difference relates to law. In Islam, a comprehensive body of law, fiqh, sacralizes daily life and connects believers to God. In Christianity, by contrast, law serves an auxiliary function; it is facilitative, not constitutive, of believers’ relationship to God. Moreover, unlike classical fiqh, canon law has a limited scope and is not exegetical. This essay explores these differences and shows how they influence the ways in which Muslims and Christians view religious tribunals today, as evidenced by recent controversies over Islamic family and commercial law arbitration in Canada and the United Kingdom.

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Date posted: August 6, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Movsesian, Mark L., Fiqh and Canons: Reflections on Islamic and Christian Jurisprudence (August 1, 2010). Seton Hall Law Review, Forthcoming; St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-185. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1653995

Contact Information

Mark L. Movsesian (Contact Author)
St. John's University School of Law ( email )
8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
United States
718-990-5650 (Phone)
718-990-2199 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.stjohns.edu/academics/graduate/law/faculty/profiles/Movsesian
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