INTRODUCTION TO THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF ISLAMIC LAW OF TORT
The Teaching of Islamic Law of Tort in most of our Law Faculties is often hindered by certain difficulties of a technical nature, chiefly to do with the availability of materials in English Language. This is for the simple reason that the main sources of the subject are in Arabic language. Islamic Law of Tort therefore does not receive proper attention in terms of research compared with other aspects of Shariah.
Thus, the choice of this topic i.e. “Introduction to the General Principles of Islamic Law of Tort” is to provide law students, law Teachers, Practicing Lawyers, Area Court Judges and all those persons who have no adequate access to the original sources of Shariah, with a brief treatise giving a lucid, comprehensive and all-embracing view of Islam vis-a-vis its view point to tortuous liability.
The work is divided into six chapters. In the first Chapter we discussed the historical development of Islamic Law of Tort, and this was done by dividing it into three parts i.e. part one dealt with what was happening during the pre-Islamic Arabian Society; the second part talked about the Islamic Era and part three touched on the legal basis or rather authorities of Islamic Tort from the Qur’an, hadith and the views of Muslim Jurists.
Chapter two is an over view of Tort in Islamic Law. Here it discussed limit or rather various issues that fall within the ambit of Tort. This was done by classifying offence into two, i.e. those committed to the person of human being and those committed against his property. We also discussed the right of Allah and the right of individual in respect of some offences committed by a tortfeasor. And at the end of the chapter we
discussed conditions for Damanah or to put it differently, those conditions that must be satisfied before a tortfeasor could be punished.
In chapter three, we discussed vicarious liability and will be done by starting with a brief historical background of the law right from the Jahiliyyah period. We then discussed about authorities for and against the Law. We then end the discussion of this chapter by discussing those relationships and conditions that the law recognised before holding a person responsible for the act of another.
In chapter four, we discussed the liability for animals. Here we discussed about those torts committed by animals against human being and those committed by human beings against the animals. We also discussed the rights and responsibilities of the owners, riders or keepers of animals.
In chapter five, we discussed about the law regarding dangerous premises and chattels. Here we had a bird-eye view on what is attainable under the English Law. We then discussed about the torts of inanimate objects whether the owner of that objects is liable for any injury sustained by another from them. We then discussed the liability of the owners of defective premises and the conditions to be satisfied before holding him liable. We also discussed about the nature and liability for dangerous chattels or weapons and other moveable objects. We then concluded this chapter with a brief discussion on cases of liability without fault. And this emphasised on cases of inevitable accidents.
Finally, in the concluding chapter, i.e. chapter six, a summary of the whole research work was made, observations concerning the application of the law and the perception of the majority of Muslim Ummah to the law of tort generally, and suggestions or recommendations was made on how to improve the application of the law.