Analytical Review of Noel James Coulson Book’s A History of Islamic Law

  • Dr. Muhammad Ilyas Assistant Professor, Faculty of Usuluddin, Islamic international University, Islamabad
  • Dr. Zainab Ameen Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic Studies, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University, Peshawar
Keywords: N. J. Coulson book, A history of Islamic Law analytical Critical review, forsaken, Sharia of medieval Islam


The Western Orientalism movement had resulted in the creation of a large academic asset of Islamic literature. The Orientalists had struggled in two ways; by introducing and editing old Islamic manuscripts, and by commenting on the various aspects of the Prophet’s (PBUH) life and his traditions. Moreover, some Orientalists had worked on the Islamic jurisprudence, too. As   Coulson, have been discussed analytical studies of Islamic jurisprudence,  in this regard his book, “ The History of Islamic Law”, is a sorely needed book; it will substantiate a highly impactful, direly beneficial and effective book; and above all, it is a remarkably well-constructed book.

Mr. Coulson’s compact volume is a clear, comprehensive, and authoritative treatment of the genesis and history of Islamic law in theory and practice, and of the central problem of legal reform now confronting Muslim society. Islamic law, the Sharia of medieval Islam, is for Muslims and the comprehensive catalogue of God’s commands and recommendations laid down for the guidance of man… In recent times, with the wholesome adoption by Muslim countries of western legal ideas and institutions, the Sharia has seemingly been all but forsaken and abandoned… Unless the idea of a law system based on religion is to be abandoned entirely… [Coulson] points out, the task for modern Muslims, like that of their medieval predecessors, is once more to ascertain and impose the central ethical criterion norms of Islam upon the functioning’s of their society. N. J. Coulson was a chair of oriental laws at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. In this article the analytical and critical review is discussed.