Studying and Teaching Man-Made Laws
Muslims can study and teach man-made laws as long as they have enough knowledge of Islam and Islamic laws. They will also get a great reward if they aim to explain such laws flaws and the superiority of Islamic law.
Studying and Teaching Man-Made Laws
- Specializing in man-made law;
- Teaching man-made law.
Is it permissible for a Muslim living outside the Muslim world to study man-made laws that are at variance with Islamic law? Especially if to do so he needs to study law in a university and then specialize in such subjects. Is it also permissible for Muslims to teach man-made law to students?
There is no harm in studying man-made laws that are contrary to Islamic law, or to teach these laws so as to learn about them and to see how Islamic law is superior to these, or to work as a lawyer with the aim of helping people suffering injustice and secure their rights for them. The only condition is that such a person should have enough knowledge of Islam and its law to ensure that he will not be helping others in furthering evil and aggression. This is the conclusion arrived at by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America in its second convention held in Copenhagen . 
This view is endorsed by the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa. In answer to a question about the permissibility of studying man-made laws, the Committee said: ‘If a student has good insight and knowledge to enable him to distinguish truth from falsehood and has solid Islamic conviction that ensures that he will not deviate from the truth or be tempted by falsehood, and if he wants to be able to show the superiority of Islamic law over all man-made laws and how Islamic law covers all that people need to put their life on the right footing, upholding the truth and abandoning falsehood, and to answer those who allege that man-made laws are perfect, comprehensive and sufficient, his study is perfectly permissible. Otherwise, it is not.’
The same view was expressed by Shaikh Abd al-Azeez ibn Baz who said that those who study man-made laws may be divided into three groups: the first includes people who study or teach such laws to understand their nature, who know the superiority of Islamic law and benefit by it in what does not contravene Islamic law or help others to so benefit. There is nothing wrong in that. Indeed, such a person may earn reward from God if he aims to explain the flaws of such laws and the superiority of Islamic law.
The second group includes those who study or teach man-made law to implement it or to help others to implement it, believing at the same time that it is forbidden to judge according to what is contrary to God’s revelations. He is motivated by personal desire or the income he is likely to receive. This is certainly forbidden and whoever does it runs a great risk.
The third group includes those who study or teach man-made law believing that it is lawful to judge according to it, whether he believes that Islamic law is superior to it or not. Such people are unbelievers according to all Muslims. Considering it lawful to judge according to man-made law, which is at variance with God’s law, means that he considers lawful what is essentially known to be forbidden in religion.
In addition to what has been said earlier we may say in support of the permissible situation that studying man-made laws may be necessary in order to work as a lawyer in non-Muslim countries with the aim of supporting people suffering injustice, helping people to obtain what is rightfully theirs and to understand the superiority of Islamic law.
- Decisions by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America.
- Fatawa by The Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa.
- Abd al-Azeez ibn Baz, Fatawa.
- The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA): www.amjaonline.org.