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Sharia and England: a common law?

The medieval Islamic world influenced the 12th Century foundations of English common law, according to some British Muslims.

Omar Faruk and Griffith-Jones in church.
Barrister Omar Faruk and Robin Griffith-Jones in Temple Church.

The Inns of Court, jury trials, the perpetual endowment and the fundamentals of English contract law could all be derived from Islamic legal institutions, according to British Muslim Navid Akhtar. Can this really be true?

Law in Action reporter Mukul Devichand goes in search of the alleged Islamic origins of some distinctively English legal institutions.

On a journey that takes him from the Inns of Court in London, to Oxford's oldest college and the Italian island of Sicily, Mukul finds some striking similarities between aspects of English law and their Islamic precursors. But is there really a link?

Lou Mendola and Mukul Devichand
Reporter Mukul Devichand and historian Lou Mendola in Sicily.

Interviewees include:

  • Navid Akhtar, broadcaster and journalist
  • Omar Faruk, barrister
  • Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of Temple Church
  • Dr Paul Brand, Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford
  • Lou Mendola, History Editor,

Introduced by presenter Clive Coleman.

Law in Action


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