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Legal stratagems (hiyal) and usury in Islamic commercial law

Ismail, Muhammed Imran (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the subject of legal stratagems \((hiyal)\) in Islamic jurisprudence, in general and more particularly the \(hiyal\) used to evade the usury \((ribā) \)prohibition. The context of this thesis is the nascent Islamic finance industry in which these \(hiyal\) play a leading role. The \(hiyal\) have been appropriated from the classical Islamic legal corpus without appreciating their historical contextual framework. This thesis seeks to explicate that framework and clarify the purpose and role of those \(hiyal\) as envisaged in the discourse of the classical Islamic jurists. The \(hiyal\) are shown to be premised upon a teleology which demarcates them as normative exits, \(makhārij\). The \(makhārij\) are conditioned by the systematic reasoning of the Ḥanafī jurists, which both justifies their utility and circumscribes their juridical remit. The \(hiyal\) of \(ribā\) are demonstrated to have been utilised primarily as substitutes for philanthropy, and not in the commercial sector. The commercial sector relied on the Islamic prescriptions for equity investment partnerships which precluded the need for interest based loans. Although the jurists sanctioned the \(hiyal\) of \(ribā\) for the poor, they did so at the expense of systematic consistency. This means that these \(hiyal\), as opposed to the \(makhārij\), are not regarded as normative exits, but rather, as transitory concessions. The use of these \(hiyal\) as financial norms is therefore unwarranted. The substantive repercussions of this juridical reassessment were demonstrated using the historical experience of the Ottomans, where the long term use of the \(hiyal\) of \(ribā\) resulted in the negative socio-economic conditions generally associated with usurious economies.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Khir, Bustami
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Theology and Religion
Subjects:HF Commerce
BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1325
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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