In December 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) considered the question whether Muslim citizens who lived in the Greek province of Thrace could be required to submit to the jurisdiction of Islamic law, as detailed by local experts called muftīs. In Greek law, Islamic law usually governed matters of family law—such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance—in cases involving the Muslims in Thrace. This arrangement was a legacy of the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres and the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. When the ECHR considered whether this arrangement should persist, it considered a case in which a Muslim man had died, leaving everything to his wife in his will. His sisters contested the will, arguing that it improperly circumvented the authority of the muftīs. Greece’s highest court agreed with the sisters. With the will invalidated, the muftī distributed one-fourth of the estate to the widow, and the rest to the sisters, in accord with Islamic inheritance law. The widow appealed to the ECHR. This Court determined that the Greek government had misinterpreted the treaties, which did not require a separate legal framework for Muslims. It further noted that Greek case law was inconsistent about “whether the application of Sharia law [sic] is compatible with the principle of equal treatment and with international human rights standards.” In addition, the Court emphasized a right to "free self-identification”: people should be free to opt out of differential treatment from the government on the basis of belonging to a minority group, and the government should not force minorities into a special legal category in the name of protecting them. The Court held that Greece, by compelling the Muslim minority of Thrace to follow Islamic law, had violated Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.
The Muwaṭṭaʾis the first extant treatise on Islamic law, written by the eighth-century Medinan jurist Mālik b. Anas (d. 179/795). It provides an unparalleled window into the life of the early Muslim community of Medina—where the Prophet Muḥammad lived and died after immigrating from Mecca—as well as the rituals, laws, and customs that its members upheld years after his death. Harvard’s Program in Islamic Law, in conjunction with Harvard University Press, published an English translation of the Muwaṭṭaʾin 2019, edited and translated by well-known Islamic law scholars Professors Mohammad Fadel and Connell Monette. This translation is based on the recently published critical edition of the Muwaṭṭaʾ, The Royal Moroccan Edition (Rabat: Ministry of Endowments, 2013). With its extensive notes, the English edition is intended to make this important early legal text widely accessible to a broad spectrum of readers, including those interested in both legal history and Islamic Studies. This Online Companionto the Muwaṭṭaʾmakes the full texts of both the original Arabic edition and its English translation freely available online. We gratefully acknowledge the Moroccan Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs for permissions to make the full Arabic text available online.
This source is part of the Online Companion to the print edition al-Muwaṭṭaʾ, the Royal Moroccan Edition: The Recension of Yaḥyā Ibn Yaḥyā al-Laythī (Harvard Series in Islamic Law), edited and translated by Mohammad Fadel and Connell Monette (PIL/HUP, 2019).
Following the administrative court decision that annulled the Cabinet Decision of 1934 that converted Hagia Sophia into a museum, President Erdogan made the decision to transfer the management of the site to the Presidency of Religious Affairs and restore it as a mosque open to worship.