Two approaches to Islamic law reform dominate the modern debate. Islamic "liberalists" seek to reinterpret sacred texts in the modern context, while Islamic "utilitarian's" pick and choose among the preexisting rules within the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence. While the liberal approach is often promoted as a path to a more progressive Islamic law, there is danger in adopting it as the "authentically Islamic" form of legal reform. In comparison with the alternative utilitarian approach, the liberal position offers a much wider scope for policy choice, in both progressive and reactionary directions. In a context of increasing conservatism, the extra freedom of interpretation inherent in the liberal approach threatens to legitimize radical rulings contrary to progressive goals. Recent interpretations of Islamic humanitarian law by extremist Islamists illustrate the negative consequences of a legitimized liberal approach.
School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
LLM in International and Comparative Law
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
iv, 26 leaves
Library of Congress Subject Heading 1
Public law (Islamic law)
Library of Congress Subject Heading 2
Library of Congress Subject Heading 3
Hare, David,;Wannūs, Saʻd Allāh,
The American University in Cairo grants authors of theses and dissertations a maximum embargo period of two years from the date of submission, upon request. After the embargo elapses, these documents are made available publicly. If you are the author of this thesis or dissertation, and would like to request an exceptional extension of the embargo period, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Not necessary for this item
(2008).Too much freedom?: the danger of the "Liberal" Islamic reform project [Thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Procaccini, Karl Christopher. Too much freedom?: the danger of the "Liberal" Islamic reform project. 2008. American University in Cairo, Thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.