Administration of Justice in Islam


Al-Qaḍāʼ fī al-Islām (Administration of justice in Islam) contains the text of a lecture by judge, social reformer, and Arab nationalist ʻArif al-Nakadi (1887‒1975). The lecture was delivered on July 29, 1921, to the club of the Arab Academy of Damascus, of which al-Nakadi was a member. It discusses the qada (administration of justice) in Islam, focusing on the development of the judicial process throughout Islamic history, including the development of legal opinion and the emergence of the various schools of jurisprudence. Al-Nakadi presents his arguments in terms of historical “pivots” by examining the administration of justice among the pre-Islamic Arabs, during the time of Prophet Muhammad and his immediate successors, and later during the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties, when the Islamic empire expanded to include peoples and legal traditions outside Arabia. These pivots also relate to specifications for the proper conduct and qualifications of judges, the awesome responsibility of judges and their role in public life, and the comparison between Islamic laws and modern laws. Al-Nakadi weaves into his lecture the four sources of the administration of justice in Islam, namely the Qur’an, the Sunnah (traditions of Prophet Muhammad), the ijmaʿ (scholarly consensus of opinion), and the qiyas (analogical reasoning). The latter is considered by scholars a variant of the general concept of ijtihad (independent reasoning). A Druze of Lebanese origin, al-Nakadi played an important role in the 1925‒27 Sultan Pasha al-Atrash Revolt against the French, also known as the Great Syrian Revolt or the Great Druze Revolt. Published in 1922, this copy of the booklet is from the collections of the Law Library of the Library of Congress.

Last updated: May 9, 2016