Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module SGIA41615: Islamic Law and Financial Transactions

Department: Government and International Affairs

SGIA41615: Islamic Law and Financial Transactions

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to T6KP07
Tied to T6KQ07


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of key concepts of Islamic law related to commercial and financial transactions.
  • To enable students to critically evaluate the process of law making in Islam.
  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of the principles and implications of Islamic law for financial transactions.
  • To critically examine the application of Islamic contracts in Islamic financial institutions and different legal jurisdictions.


  • Introduction to Islamic Law: Brief history of Islamic law. Difference between Shari’ah and Fiqh. General Principles of Islamic law related to transactions.
  • Methodology of Islamic Law (Usul-al Fiqh): Primary Sources of Islamic law (Quran and Sunnah). The process of obtaining legal rules from Shariah through ijtihad using other sources and methods including the following: Ijma (consensus), al-qiyas (analogy).
  • Riba and Gharar: Definition and types of riba (riba al-fadl and riba al nasiah). Definition and types of gharar (Gharar in the essence of contract and the object of the contract). Implications of riba and gharar for contemporary financial transactions.
  • Types of Traditional Nominate Contracts: Contracts of exchange—sale contracts (Bai), hire contract (ijarah), work done for reward (juala). Accessory contracts—agency (wakala), partnerships (sharika), assignment (hawala), pledge or mortgage (rahn). Gratuitous contracts—loan (qard), deposit (wadia), gift (hiba), guarantee and personal security (daman or kafala).
  • Application of Islamic contracts in Contemporary Financial Transactions: Approaches to develop financial products from traditional contracts. Examples of major instruments used in Islamic finance.
  • Shari’ah Governance: Functions of Shari’ah Supervisory Board in Islamic finance. Role of Shari’ah Supervisory Board in the pre- and post-product development stage. Critical issues in Shari’ah supervision.
  • Issues Related to Application of Islamic Law in Financial Transactions:
  • Islamic Banking Law/Statutes. Standardization of Shari’ah Rules. Dispute Settlement/Conflict Resolution Institutions. Application of Islamic contracts in common and civil law jurisdictions.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • An advanced knowledge of the nature and scope of Islamic Law and its application in financial transactions.
  • Advanced understanding the application of Islamic contracts in contemporary financial transactions.
  • An advanced knowledge of the issues related to implementing Islamic contracts in different legal jurisdictions.
  • An advanced understanding of organizational and legal issues related to applying Islamic law during contemporary times.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability to evaluate the principles of Islamic law and its applications in financial transactions.
  • The ability to explain convincingly the rationale for the prohibition of riba and gharar its implications for Islamic finance.
  • The ability to critically review the contracts used in Islamic banking and finance.
  • An advanced ability to analyse the role of Shari’ah boards in product development and compliance at Islamic financial institutions.
  • The intellectual capacity to ascertain the problems of implementation of Islamic financial transactions under different legal jurisdictions.
Key Skills:
  • Independent learning within a defined framework of study at an advanced level.
  • Independent thought in analyzing and critiquing existing scholarship on the subject area and in evaluating its contribution.
  • The ability to work to a deadline and complete written work within word limits.
  • Advanced essay-writing skills.
  • The ability to seek out and use relevant data sources, including electronic and bibliographic sources.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The modes of teaching are seminars, which allow the students to discuss freely the assigned topics. Guidelines will be given by the tutor. At MA level, seminars are appropriate for the students because they are from different academic backgrounds. Seminars also allow a better exchange of views and ideas.
  • Assessment is through formative presentation and discussion, as well as a summative essay on a specific topic and 90 minutes exam in May-June period. Essay writing is an appropriate method with the maximum freedom for the students to respond with what they have learnt, as summative assessment by written assignment will test students' knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter, their critical judgement and problem-solving and critical skills. 1.5 hour exam with written answers will test students’ depth of understanding, their analytical skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 Every week 2 hours 16
Seminars 4 Fortnightly 1 hour 4
Preparation and Reading 130
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1,500 words 100%
Component: Exam Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Exam 90 minutes 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Individual presentation and discussion. Presentation outline (500 words).

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University