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Level 1: Introduction to Islamic Law and Legal Theory

Time limit: 365 days
10 credits

£400 Enrol

Full course description

As a registered charity, we charge course fees to cover our running costs. However, we aim to make our education accessible to as many people as possible and are therefore able to offer a 65% fee waiver. To make use of this fee waiver, please use the code AMI65 when purchasing your courses.

Students in need of further financial assistance should contact the education team at to enquire about the possibility of further fee waivers. 


This course will focus on the main themes that are discussed in uṣūl al-fiqh (legal theory), and introduce students to the technical terminology of this discipline. Students will learn the definitions of uṣūl al-fiqhqawāʿid (rules), aḥkām (rulings) and adilla (sources) as well as the textual evidences used in the process of deriving Islamic law. They will also learn the linguistic and hermeneutical principles used in interpreting the textual sources of law as well as non-textual evidences used in the process of deriving Islamic law. By the end of the course, the student will be familiar with the main themes discussed in uṣūl al-fiqh, demonstrate a general understanding of the main terms used in uṣūl al-fiqh and understand how Islamic legal rulings are derived from the various sources of law.


Lesson Breakdown

Lesson 1      Introduction to uṣūl al-fiqh: history and development,

Important figures in Shīʿī uṣūl al-fiqh

Major trends in Shīʿī uṣūl al-fiqh (Uṣūlis/Akhbārīs)

The need for uṣūl al-fiqh

Lesson 2      Definition of uṣūl al-fiqh

Lesson 3      Rulings (aḥkām)

Lesson 4      Primary sources of law (al-adilla al-ijtihādiyya): the Qurʾan and sunna

Lesson 5      Chain of transmission (sanad)

Lesson 6      Content of a tradition (matan)

Lesson 7      Commands and prohibitions (al-awāmir wa-l-nawāhī)

Lesson 8      Implicit indication (mafāhīm)

Lesson 9      General (ʿāmm) vs. particular (khāṣṣ); restricted (muqayyid) vs. unrestricted (muṭlaq)

Lesson 10    Linguistic discussions (al-uṣūl al-lafẓiyya)

Lesson 11    Linguistic discussions (al-uṣūl al-lafẓiyya); conflict of evidence (taʿāruḍ al-adilla); the relationship between the Qurʾan and sunna

Lesson 12    Consensus (al-ijmāʿ)

Lesson 13    Reason (al-ʿaql)

Lesson 14    Combining a command and a prohibition (ijtimāʿ al-amr wa-l-nahī)

Lesson 15    Procedural principles (al-uṣūl al-ʿaamaliyya): exemption (barāʾa), choice (takhyīr), continuity (istiṣḥāb), precaution (iḥtiyāt)


Hours of Study

16 hours


Assessment Method

Written exam (100%)


Course Instructor

Dr Hashim Bata

Dr Hashim Bata completed his seminary education at the Al-Mahdi Institute in 2008 whilst simultaneously completing a BA (Hons) in Islamic Studies at The Islamic College and Middlesex University. Following an MA in Islam in Contemporary Societies at the University of Warwick, he completed a PhD in Law in 2013, also at the University of Warwick. His PhD involved a detailed examination of Shiʿi legal epistemology with a specific focus on the pivotal role of the authority of certainty (ḥujjiyyat al-qaṭʿ) in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). Dr Bata is the Managing Director of AMI, the lead for Islamic Legal Studies research, and a Lecturer in Islamic Legal Theory. He is also an Associate Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham where he teaches Thematic Study of Shi’ism: History, Doctrines and Religious Authority. His research interests include Islamic legal theory, the history and development of Shiʿism, Islamic theology, and mysticism. He is currently writing a monograph on Shiʿi legal epistemology.