An Outline of Islamic Customary Law In Ghana
This is an altogether original work in a virgin field. About two decades ago, the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana (the only in existence at the time in the country), introduced the study of Islamic law as an aspect or jurisprudence. The decision was informed by the reality of a significant Muslim segment of the Ghanaian population. It was a brave decision. The halls of academia had never resounded to Islamic law concepts; for up to that point Islamic law was treated as a Cinderella with no place in the legal curriculum, save for a few passing references in regard to marriage and succession laws. Almost single-handedly, I set about developing a corpus of Islamic customary law relevant to the needs of Ghanaian law students. This small volume is the result of efforts to put my thoughts in essay form and to make available to students and the wider public a book-length manual on the nature of Islamic customary law in Ghana. By obtaining and analysing data elicited from community leaders, ordinary Muslims and clerics and evaluating them in the light of settled principles of Sharia law, a distinctly Ghanaian brand of Muslim law emerges. At appropriate points, material derived from court verdicts is interwoven into the text. No attempt has been made here to deal with other systems of Ghanaian family law other than the Islamic.
The author has attempted to present the Muslim laws of family, property and succession within a reasonable compass to aid appreciation of the personal laws of substantial numbers of Ghanaians; and in a form that will be clearly understood.
Aside from Law 111 and the Marriage of Mohammedans Ordinance, Cap 129 (1951 Rev.), Islamic law has been subject to no comprehensive legislative reform. This is perhaps to be expected as the practised law of Muslims was frequently misunderstood, and hardly recognised and understood by administrators and legislators.
The author’s purpose will have been achieved if this book helps to free Islamic law from misconceptions common in our society.
Dr Nii Armah Josiah-Aryeh was born in 1958 at Jamestown in Accra. From Accra High School and Achimota School, he read English, Modern History and Law at University of Ghana and was active in student politics. He was called to the Bar in 1983. In April 1984 he left for the UK for postgraduate education, where he obtained LLM (London), Certificate in Law Teaching (London) and PhD (London). He returned to Ghana in January 1998 as a private legal practitioner and Lecturer at his alma mater.