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Conference series on "Shari’a or the Sacred Law of Muslims"

From March 16, 2021 until September 19, 20217:00 p.m.
CORDOBA
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9) and on social media channels. 7:00 p.m. You must sign up in advance (coming soon on this website)
Capacity is limited due to the health situation. The decision on whether to hold these activities in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. Thank you for your patience.   

From March 16 to September 29 at our headquarters in Cordoba, we will be giving this series of twelve conferences coordinated by Delfina Serrano Ruano, senior scientist at the CSIC’s Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East. 

This series of conferences seeks to provide a closer look at the concept of the shari’a among a wider audience, with explanations to help filter and make better use of the wealth of information existing on this subject in both traditional formats and digital media.

These specific speakers were selected in order to meet the need to address three issues: 1) ignorance about an intellectual tradition to which basic contributions were made from Al-Andalus, the study of which, given its complexity, constitutes an academic discipline that requires a high degree of specialization; 2) the confusion existing over this concept, a problem sometimes even more serious than the aforementioned ignorance itself; 3) the paradox represented, on the one hand, by the bad press given to the shari’a in the collective imaginary, even among Arabists and Islamologists themselves, and on the other hand, the relevance held by the shari’a as a basic reference point for the ideals of ethics and justice among a large majority of Muslims in the world. Because of the last of the issues on this list, shari’a is a concept which, if manipulated and distorted, lends itself to being instrumentalized for direct or indirect political purposes, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. 

Although researchers from other countries will be attending, one of the goals sought by this event series is also to publicize the ongoing research work on the subject of shari’a carried out by Spanish academic institutions. 

The presentations will cover everything from the development of shari’a as a science to its various manifestations in pre-modern periods (in other words, prior to Europe’s colonization of territories with a majority Islamic population, from which the modern nation-states of the Middle East, Gulf region and Africa would emerge after independence) and contemporary periods. 


All of the conferences, if they can be held in person, will take place at Casa Árabe’s headquarters in Cordoba at 7:00 p.m. Prior registration is required for the session on March 16 and for the session on March 17. Given the current health situation, upcoming conferences and dates are subject to change. For specific information on new event formats and schedules, please look up the details on each specific conference.
Conference series on "Shari’a or the Sacred Law of Muslims"
  • What is shari’a? Introduction to its methods, history, intellectual tradition and institutions 

    What is shari’a? Introduction to its methods, history, intellectual tradition and institutions 

    From March 16, 2021 until March 17, 20217:00 p.m.
    CORDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9) and on social media channels. 7:00 p.m. In order to attend this meeting in person, you must sign up in advance.
    The decision on whether to hold this activity in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. The number who may attend has been reduced, and mask use is required throughout the entire event. Thank you for your patience.   
    In Spanish.
    On March 16 and 17, we will be receiving Arab and Islamic Studies researcher and specialist Delfina Serrano Ruano to discuss the topic os shari’a law. 

    On March 16 and 17, we will be receiving Arab and Islamic Studies researcher and specialist Delfina Serrano Ruano to discuss the topic of shari’a law.

    At these two sessions, she will be providing a brief chronological overview of the history of shari’a law, from the earliest times of Islam and preaching by the prophet Muhammad up to the modern day. The meaning of basic concepts will be explained, including that of sacred law (shari’a), fiqh (jurisprudence), siyasa shar’iyya (good governance); qanun or governmental law and codified law, madhhab (legal school), qadi, mufti, fatwa, and so on. At the same time, different eras and intellectual developments will be identified which, though they did not amount to a drastic break with the past, were decisive in the concept’s evolution and the role played by shari’a throughout throughout the history of Islamic societies. 

    Delfina Serrano Ruano is an Arab and Islamic Studies specialist and a Senior Scientist with the CSIC’s Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East. Her research work revolves around the study of Islamic jurisprudence (‘fiqh’) and its ties with other Islamic religious sciences such as ‘kalam,’ or discursive theology, and Sufism. Her publications deal with these topics in terms of doctrine and praxis, and within specific socio-historical contexts, including the contemporary era. Her work has been published in international scholarly journals such as Al-Qantara, Der Islam, Islamic Law and Society, Bulletin d’Études Orientales, Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée, Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World (Hawwa), Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, and by publishers including the CSIC, Brill, Routledge, Oxford University Press, Harvard University Press and Brepols. She has led two research projects and directed one doctoral thesis. She forms part of the editorial committee at the journal Al-Qantara and directed the editorial series Estudios Árabes e Islámicos (CSIC)  until 2020. 

    In order to attend this event in person , you must sign up in advance. These are the links to  register for the session on March 16 and the session on March 17.

     
  • Legal schools in the Islamic world: scope and limits of Sunni legal pluralism 

    Legal schools in the Islamic world: scope and limits of Sunni legal pluralism 

    March 24, 20217:00 p.m.
    ONLINE
    Casa Árabe’s YouTube channel. 7:00 p.m.
    In Spanish.
    On Wednesday, March 24, we will be showing the third session in our conference series devoted to the "shari’a" on our YouTube channel. It will be given by Maribel Fierro, of the CSIC. 

    Disagreements among Muslims on issues key to their beliefs (such as community leadership) and practices (including the times when hands should be raised in prayer) arose soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (632). These differences (ikhtilāf in Arabic) largely explain the formation of distinct legal schools (maḏāhib) between Sunni and Shia Muslims. 

    At this conference, starting out with the advent of the ikhtilāf and the initial use of the mechanism of the taqlīd (imitation), Professor Maribel Fierro will mainly be analyzing the emergence and development of the Sunni schools. One of these schools, the Maliki, was almost exclusively predominant in North Africa and Al-Andalus, though this did not imply the existence of homogeneous stances on issues, because ikhtilāf may also be found within the same legal school. Likewise, the criticism of taqlīd by some thinkers and currents of thought will be analyzed, as well as the threat that this criticism posed in terms of upholding the framework of legal schools, especially within contexts of modernity.

    Maribel Fierro
    A researching professor at the CSIC’s Center for Human and Social Sciences. Her research focuses on Islamic law and the intellectual and religious history of Islamic societies, above all in the Islamic West (North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula). Her books include Abdarramán III y el califato omeya de Córdoba (Abd al-Rahman III and the Umayyad Caliphate of Cordoba, published by Nerea in 2011) and The Almohad revolution: Politics and religion in the Islamic West during the twelfth-thirteenth centuries (Ashgate, 2012). She also edited “The Western Islamic world, eleventh-eighteenth centuries,” in The New Cambridge History of Islam (Vol. II) (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
     
  • Conference: "Personal status in the Shari’a (religion, freedom and slavery)" 

    Conference: "Personal status in the Shari’a (religion, freedom and slavery)" 

    April 13, 20217:00 p.m.
    CORDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9) and on social media channels. 7:00 p.m. In order to attend this in-person event, you must sign up in advance.
    In Spanish.
    On April 13, we will be holding the fourth session in our series on the Shari’a. The conference, which will be given by Cristina de la Puente, a CSIC researcher, will be held live in Cordoba. 

    The conference will focus on the various personal statuses which Islamic jurisprudence has foreseen over the centuries. From a legal standpoint, “personal status” includes all those matters referring to individuals and their status within a community and is therefore the cornerstone that determines a human being’s rights and obligations. Like other legal systems, Islamic law does not grant all individuals the same rights and obligations, but instead these differ in accordance with a range of criteria: being of legal age or not, gender, religion, being free or a slave (prior to the abolition of slavery), and so on. All of these factors will determine, on the one hand, whether the individual has “full legal capacity” and, on the other, which are the person’s “abilities to act” in different legal situations: in marriage, divorce, trade, torts, emancipation, etc.
     
    Cristina de la Puente is a researcher in the Department of Jewish and Islamic Studies at the CSIC’s Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East. Her research focuses mainly on the social and religious history of the Islamic West in pre-modern times through legal and theological sources. She has placed special attention on two fields of research: the transmission of knowledge among the Andalusian ulema and their activities as a social group (worship, participation in jihad, etc.), and slavery in Maliki Islamic jurisprudence. She is currently heading a research project titled “Gender, Family and Slavery: Sexuality and legal status in the structuring of Muslim families.”

    In order to attend this live event, prior registration is required. It will also be broadcast live on our YouTube and Facebook channels.

    The decision on whether to hold this activity in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. The number who may attend has been reduced, and mask use is required throughout the entire event. Thank you for your patience. 
  • Childhood, family and shari’a 

    Childhood, family and shari’a 

    April 27, 20216:00 p.m.
    CORDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9) and on social media channels. 6:00 p.m. In order to attend this in-person event, you must sign up in advance.
    In Spanish.
    On April 27, we be holding the fifth session in our series about the Shari’a. The conference, to given by Amalia Zomeño, a CSIC researcher, will be taking place live at our headquarters in Cordoba. Sign up now to attend in person.  

    This conference will focus on the issue of children in Islamic law as of the medieval era and up to the encoding of statutes governing individuals in Arab and Islamic countries. As in other legal systems, according to the Shari’a, minors hold a specific legal status which, on the one hand, ensures their care and protection, while on the other, it places limits and boundaries on their ability to take action.

    By looking at specific cases, the conference will examine different situations in which the protection of minors is established and regulated through guardianship, custody and child care funding within families, as well as the institutions that protect orphans according to the law. Similarly, some cases will be studied to show a few of the situations which demonstrate the limits placed on children according to the law, by searching in the jurisprudence for the establishment of the age of majority.

    Last of all, childhood within families will be discussed, examining cases in which we can see the relationships between parents and their children, pregnancies, wet nurses and breastfeeding periods, as well as the marriage of minors and arranged marriages, and the opinion of legal experts regarding such practices.

    Amalia Zomeño is a senior scientist at the Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East (CCHS-CSIC, Madrid). She has a PhD in Arabic Philology from the University of Barcelona and was a visiting fellow at Princeton University (1998-2000). The main topic of her research is Islamic Law, and she authored a book titled Dote y matrimonio en al-Andalus y el norte de África (Dowry and Marriage in Al-Andalus and North Africa, Madrid, 2000). She is currently studying marriage and family relations in accordance with medieval Islamic law.
  • Shari’a in the discourse of Islamist movements

    Shari’a in the discourse of Islamist movements

    May 18, 20217:30 p.m.
    CORDOBA / ONLINE
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9) and on social media channels. 7:30 p.m. In order to attend this event in person, you must sign up in advance.
    Register by following this link.
    In Spanish.
    On Tuesday May 18 in Cordoba, we will be hosting another conference in our series about the Sharia, to be given by Hana Jalloul. Register to attend in person or follow the event live on YouTube and Facebook Live
    Taking part in the event along with Jalloul will be sociologist Manuel Castells and Delfina Serrano, the series’ coordinator and a senior scientist at the CSIC’s Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East. The event will be presented by Pedro Martínez-Avial, the General Director of Casa Árabe.

    Dr. Hana Jalloul Muro will analyze different aspects of the Shari’a, understood as a sacred law during the caliphates, and its separation of legal and political spheres, as well as its more contemporary aspects (as of the twentieth century), its use in Islamist discourse, its use in the religious terminology of Islamist discourse and the process of politicization which it is currently undergoing.

    Hana Jalloul Muro has a PhD from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in the Department of International Relations and International Public Law. Master’s degree program on the European Union. EU Resource Management and International Relations. She has worked as a Junior Expert on two European Commission projects in Lebanon, and as a political assistant for the European Union Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the elections to the Lebanese parliament (2009). A professor at several universities and in Spanish Master’s degree programs, she has been an advisor to the technical office of the National Government Delegate in Madrid and a member of Madrid’s Autonomous Regional Assembly. Now the Government of Spain’s State Secretary for Migration (2021), she is currently a Member of Parliament for the Autonomous Region of Madrid. Hana has given national and international conferences and has authored works published about the topics of radical and moderate Islamism, the deconstruction of radical Jihadist/Islamist discourses, initiatives for the prevention of radicalization leading to violence and de-radicalization, and international politics.  
    Manuel Castells is a professor emeritus and chair of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is editor of the book “Muslim Europe or Euro-Islam?” (with Nezar Al-Sayyad), translated in Spain by Alianza Editorial in 2003.
  • Shatibi’s Theory of the Objectives of Sharia

    Shatibi’s Theory of the Objectives of Sharia

    June 15, 20217:30 p.m.
    ONLINE
    Casa Árabe’s YouTube channel. 7:30 p.m.
    In English.
    On Tuesday, June 15, we offer a new session of our lecture series dedicated to sharia, by Judge Muhammad Khalid Masud. It can be seen from 7:30 p.m. on our YouTube channel (Spanish and English versions available).
    Shatibi developed the theory of Maqasid in the context of the impasse to which Islamic legal reasoning had reached in the socio-economic context in al-Andalus in the fourteenth century. It was based on a critical analysis of the debates among the Sufis, theologians, and jurists on the limits of the sources, principles, and methods of reasoning in Islamic legal tradition.  The main point in this theory was that Maslaha, or human welfare was the foundational objective of Sharia. This objective is found in the intent  of God as lawgiver in his communication, legal obligation, and legal obedience. Inductive study of the sources of Sharia sources led him to conclude that the protection of the following five areas of human welfare are the objectives of Sharia: religion, life, reason, genealogy, and property. He explains this system of protection in terms of concentric circles of necessities, legal needs and cultural requirements supported by supplementary and complementary legal considerations.  Shatibi was opposed by his contemporary jurists except by his prominent disciples who continued following him in their writings. It was several centuries later in early twentieth century that Shatibi’s theory attracted the attention of  reformists and Islamic modernists. The theory provides way forward in areas like finance, economics, banking, management, bioethics, and environment  that were not considered strictly the domains of Islamic law. Critical studies by the traditionalists, and moderate Islamists also keeps this theory alive. My presentation is, however, limited to an introduction to al-Shatibi’s theory and its critical study by Tahir b. Ashur

    Muhammad Khalid Masud
    Presently, an Ad Hoc judge of the Shariat Appellate Bench, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Dr Muhammad Khalid Masud has been formerly the Chairman, Council of Islamic Ideology, Director General, Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan, Academic Director  ISIM, and Professor of Islamic law at Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands, Distinguished  Professor of Islamic law, International Islamic University, Malaysia, and Senior Lecturer, Centre for Islamic Legal Studies, Ahmadu Bello University  Nigeria. His areas of research interests include  Islamic law, history of Islamic law in south Asia and Spain, Islamic political and legal theories, modernity, and contemporary Sharia Debates. In addition to more than 60 book sections and more than one hundred  research articles in journals of international repute, his major publications include Shatibi’s Philosophy of Islamic Law (1995), Iqbal’s Reconstruction of Ijtihad (1995), Shari’a Today (2013), edited and co-edited volumes Islamic Legal Interpretation (1996), Travelers in Faith (2000), Dispensing Justice in Islam (2006), Islam and Modernity (2009), Freedom of Expression in Islam (2021), and  Sharia in the Twenty First Century (forthcoming 2021).


April 13 “Personal status in the shari’a (religion, freedom and slavery)” (Cristina de la Puente, CSIC, Madrid).

April 27 “Childhood, family and shari’a” (Amalia Zomeño, CSIC, Madrid).


June 15 “Shatibi's Theory of the Objectives of Shari’a” (Muhammad Khalid Masud, Islamabad).*

June 22 “The principle of cooperation with Muslims in Spain” (Fernando Amérigo, Universidad Complutense, Madrid).

June 30 “Shari’a and criminal law in medieval and modern times” (Intisar Rabb, Harvard Law School).*

September 14 “Islamic Finance” (Adday Hernández, CSIC, Madrid). 

September 21 “Fiqh and shari’a in the Moroccan legal system” (Carmelo Pérez Beltrán, University of Granada). 

September 28 “Shari’a and gender” (Amira Sonbol, Georgetown University, Doha - Qatar). **

September 29 “The fatwa as a product and vector of Islamic legal culture” (Francisco Vidal, University of Jaén).

* Virtual conference shown live on Casa Árabe’s YouTube channel, in English, with simultaneous translation into Spanish.
** Conference in English, with simultaneous translation into Spanish.