Washington International Law Journal


Najibah M. Zin


Shari‛a court judges and the decisions they make clearly have an effect on the interpretation and application of Islamic law in contemporary Muslim societies, and the educational background of those who staff these courts obviously informs the way they understand, interpret, and apply the law. To date, however, little research has been done on the educational processes by which judges who serve on Islamic courts are trained to think about Islamic law. Likewise, the means by which Islamic court judges are appointed and regulated has received little scholarly attention. This article offers a descriptive overview of the training, work, and professional regulation of Shari‛a (or “Syariah”) court judges in contemporary Malaysia, presented in a clear format structured to highlight key aspects of how these judges are trained, accredited, and organized. In doing so, this article not only presents new empirical data on an increasingly important class of legal professionals, but also facilitates comparative reflections on their work in relation to that of their colleagues practicing before Shari‛a courts in the neighboring countries of Indonesia and Singapore.

First Page