Added: January 7, 2017 – Last updated: August 5, 2017


Author: Hina Azam

Title: Sexual Violation in Islamic Law

Subtitle: Substance, Evidence, and Procedure

Place: New York, NY

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Year: 2015

Pages: 286pp.

Series: Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

ISBN-13: 9781107094246 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781316310434 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Medieval History: 8th Century, 9th Century, 10th Century, 11th Century, 12th Century | Prosecution: Laws / Islamic Law



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Author: Hina Azam, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin –


  Acknowledgments (p. ix)
  Introduction (p. 1)
    Sexual Violence in Contemporary Muslim Societies (p. 1)
    Key Themes and Arguments of This Book (p. 8)
    Sources and Periodization (p. 13)
    Terminology: “Sexual Violence,” “Sexual Violation,” and “Rape” (p. 16)
    Limits of This Study (p. 18)
  1. Sexual Violation in the Late Antique Near East (p. 21)
    Ancient Mesopotamian Laws (p. 26)
    Mosaic and Rabbinic Laws (p. 30)
    Roman and Christian Imperial Legislation (p. 40)
    Pre-Islamic Arabian Custom (p. 53)
    Conclusion (p. 59)
  2. Tracing Rape in Early Islamic Law (p. 61)
    Theocentric Ethics and the Moralization of Sexuality (p. 64)
      Theocentric Ethics in the Qur'an and the Notion of Moral Boundaries (Hudūd) (p. 64)
      Sexual Virtue and Zinā as a Transgression against God (p. 67)
      The Legalization of the Hudūd and the Designation of Zinā as a Hadd Crime (p. 69)
      Ramifications of Classifying Zinā as a Hadd Crime (p. 76)
    Legal Agency and Its Impediments (p. 78)
      Interpellating the Individual as Subject of the Divine Address (p. 78)
      Complete versus Defective Legal Capacity (p. 81)
    Proprietary Sexual Ethics and the Idea of Sexual Usurpation (p. 84)
      Sexuality as Commodity in Early Islamic Disourse (p. 84)
      Sexual Transgression in a Proprietary Framework (p. 88)
      Proprietary Sexual Ethics as Foundational to Islamic Rape Law (p. 92)
    Divine Rights (Huqūq Allāh) and Interpersonal Rights (Huqūq al-‘Ibād) (p. 93)
    Constructions of Rape in the Legal Āthār (p. 98)
      Consensus on the Theocentric Framing of Rape (p. 99)
      Disagreement over the Proprietary Framing of Rape (p. 104)
      Comparing Doctrinal Prevalence adn Geographical Affiliation (p. 111)
    Conclusion (p. 113)
  3. Rape as a Property Crime: The Mālikī Approach (p. 114)
    Sexuality as a Commodity and the Dower as an Exchange Value (p. 119)
    Sexual Violation as Property Usurpation: Ghasb and Ightisāb (p. 127)
    Upholding Interpersonal Rights alongside Divine Rights (p. 138)
    Conclusion (p. 146)
  4. Rape as a Moral Transgression: The Hanafī Approach (p. 147)
    The Theocentric Approach to Sexual Violation (p. 150)
    Marriage versus Fornication, Dower versus Hadd (p. 154)
    Additional Reasons for Rejecting the Dower Compensation (p. 162)
    Conclusion (p. 167)
  5. Proving Rape in Hanafī Law: Substance, Evidence, and Procedure (p. 170)
    The Substance of Zinā: Definition (p. 170)
    Exceptions to Zinā (p. 173)
      Lack of Locus ('Adam al-Mahall) (p. 173)
      Nonliability Due to Defective Capacity or Coercion (p. 176)
      Uncertainty of Locus, Ownership, or Contract (Shubhat al-Mahall) (p.178)
      Uncertainty of Liability (Shubha fi'l-fi'l) (p. 181)
      Gender Roles and Legal Liability in Sex Acts (p. 183)
    Punishing Zinā (p. 184)
    Ramifications of the Hanafī Definition of Zinā for Rape (p. 185)
    Evidence and Procedure in Zināand Rape (p. 187)
      Evidentiary Principles (p. 188)
      Procedural Principles (p. 195)
    Conclusion (p. 199)
  6. Proving Rape in Mālikī Law: Evidence, Procedure, and Penalty (p. 201)
    Unity and Diversity in Mālikī Evidence and Procedure (p. 203)
    Evidentiary Foundations: Pregnancy as Evidence of Zinā (p. 204)
    Procedural Foundations: Launching an Accusation of Rape (p. 209)
      Mālik as Doctrinal Inheritor and Doctrinal Innovator (p. 214)
    Pregnancy as Evidence in Later Mālikī Writings (p. 216)
    Calibrating Penalties According to Substance and Evidence (p. 219)
      Corporal Punishments for Rape – Imposing the Hadd Zinā (p. 220)
      Corporal Punishments for Rape – Imposing a Discretionary Punishment (Ta'zīr) (p. 222)
      Monetary Awards for Rape in Various Evidentiary Contexts (p. 224)
      Circumstantial Evidence, Reputation, and the Hadd Qadhf (p. 229)
      Ibn Rushd the Elder's Comprehensive Summary of Classical Mālikī Rape Law (p. 233)
    Conclusion (p. 237)
  Conclusion (p. 239)
  Bibliography (p. 249)
    Secondary Texts (p. 249)
    Primary Texts (p. 256)
  Index (p. 261)

Description: »This book provides a detailed analysis of Islamic juristic writings on the topic of rape. The author argues that classical Islamic jurisprudence contained nuanced, substantially divergent doctrines of sexual violation as a punishable crime. The work centers on legal discourses of the first six centuries of Islam, the period during which these discourses reached their classical forms. It chronicles the disagreement over whether or not to provide monetary compensation to victims, as reflected in debates between the Hanafī and Mālikī schools of law. Along with tracing the emergence and development of this conflict ove time, the author explains the evidentiary and procedural ramifications of each of the two competing positions. This study examines several critical themes in Islamic law, such as the relationship between sexuality and property, the tension between divine rights and personal rights in sex crimes, and justifications of victims’ rights as afforded by the two competing doctrines.« (Source: Cambridge University Press)

Interview: Tareen, SherAli, et al. »Sexual Violation in Islamic Law: Substance, Evidence, and Procedure.« New Books in Islamic Studies New Books Network 2015. – Bibliographic Entry: Info


Semerdjian, Elyse. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 13(2) (July 2017): 315-317. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: Jurisprudence: Fiqh / Hanafi, Maliki | Law: Sharia / Zina