Mohammad H. Fadel

Canada Research Chair in Law and Economics of Islamic Law

Tier 2 - 2005-10-01
Renewed: 2011-10-01
University of Toronto
Social Sciences and Humanities


Research involves

Analyzing the substantive rules of Islamic law using the methods applied to secular legal systems.

Research relevance

This research will uncover points of tension and harmony between traditional Islamic legal concepts and modern liberal ones and explore possible convergence between both.

A New Approach to Understanding Islamic Law

Many historians examine Islamic law as a product of theological reasoning and an attempt to discover divine intention.

But Dr. Mohammad Fadel, Canada Research Chair in Law and Economics of Islamic Law, is taking another approach. He is studying Islamic law using the methods traditionally applied to secular legal systems. This approach removes the discussion of Islamic law from the more narrow theological religious values of Islam and places it squarely in the realm of comparative legal studies.

Fadel is concentrating on the legal rules of Islamic law to demonstrate how they can be understood from the perspective of ordinary public policy concerns.

He is also exploring the relationship between the legal systems of Islam and liberal democracies by using the fundamental similarities and differences between the two as a guide. His research is based on the premise that Islamic legal values are harmonious with contemporary views of law as vehicles for securing social prosperity and individual autonomy.

Fadel's research will provide a framework in which citizens of liberal democracies—including policymakers in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government—will be able to discuss issues involving Islamic law while minimizing entanglements in the theological views of individual citizens.