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Islamic Law Research: Major Print and Electronic Resources

Boston College Libraries

The titles in this list that are available at Boston College (many through the law library and some through O'Neill) appear in red and hyperlink to the record in the BC catalog.  For books that are not hyperlinked, consider making an interlibrary loan request.  The easiest route is to search for the title in Worldcat and click the "Request Interlibrary Loan" link.  For any items that are available at other BC Libraries, including O'Neill Library, members of the BC Law community should locate the book in the BC Libraries catalog, sign in with BC credentials via the catalog record, and request the book (it can be delivered to the law library). Alternatively, visit the other BC library to check out the item with your BC ID. 


The body of law dealing with wrongs that are punishable by the state with the object of deterrence is known as criminal law. Islamic criminal law recognizes three categories of these wrongs. The first is the ḥudūd (plural of ḥadd or “limit” set by God), the contravention of which leads to a prescribed and mandatory penalty. The second, ta῾zīr, comprises those crimes not included among the ḥudūd because their punishment is discretionary. The term ta῾zīr means chastisement and intends the correction or rehabilitation of the culprit; hence, punishment is left to the judge and might vary depending upon who inflicts it and upon whom it is inflicted. The third category, qiṣāṣ (retribution), is concerned with crimes against the person such as homicide, infliction of wounds, and battery. Punishment by retribution is set by law, but the victim or his next of kin may waive such retribution by accepting blood money or financial compensation (diyah) or by foregoing the right altogether. Because of this waiver, it has been suggested that this crime is in the nature of a private injury, more akin to a tort than to a crime involving a public interest or concern.

-Ziadeh, Farhat J. . "Criminal Law." In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. Ed. John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online.

Works on crime and punishment in Islamic law