Group 1-C Workshop
September 25, 1999
The Institute for Cultural and Human Research, Kyoto Bunkyo University


"Modernization of Islamic Law in Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia"

Yoko HANAWA (Lecturer, Kyoto Bunkyo University; Former Professor, Setsunan University Faculty of Law)

"Muslim Family Law"

Michio YUASA (Professor, Aichi Gakuin University Faculty of Law)


Professor HANAWA lectured on the history of codification in Islamic countries, with a focus on Turkey. The development of Turkish codification can be said to be unique as it was much influenced by shariah. The Mecelle (or the Ottoman civil code, compiled from 1869 to 1876) was the first codification of Islamic law in history. It comprised the law of property and some general principles, in particular a number of rules concerning ownership and transaction. However, the code did not touch upon the topics of family or succession, which the Ottoman Family Law of 1917 dictated upon. The Ottoman Family Law aimed at abolishing the privileged status of foreigners and consolidated the laws governing family, regardless of ethnicity or religion. When Turkey became a republic in 1923, the Swiss Civil Code of 1907 was taken up as the model for her civil code. However, because the law was adopted quite suddenly, the judicial system was unable to adapt, and even now, there is a gulf between the law and its practice.

Professor YUASA, a scholar of Japanese civil law, began his lecture with a reflection on his first visit to Hindukush in 1967 and on the impact he received upon visiting Pakistan and Afghanistan. As he observed the difficult life in the mountains, his interest in the law and order unique to the area grew. He then spoke on the Pakistan Family Law of 1961 (which is often regarded as the beginning of modern family law), the divine law, and tribal traditions (which are often borne of necessity), and the seemingly contradictory coexistence of the three.

The two lectures made us re-acknowledge the importance of family law and the fact that the family is indeed the core of Muslim community. We also recognized the difficulty in enforcing such laws once they are passed.

Report by Susumu NEJIMA