?Abd Al-Razzaq Al-Sanhuri (1895–1971)

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˓Abd al-Razzaq al-Sanhuri was one of the most distinguished jurists and principal architects of modern Arab civil laws. Al-Sanhuri, a native of Alexandria, Egypt, obtained his law degree from what was then known as the Khedival School of Law of Cairo in 1917. He held different public posts including that of assistant prosecutor at the Mixed Courts of Mansura and as a lecturer at the Shari˓a School for Judges. In 1921, he was awarded a scholarship to study law at the University of Lyon in France. In France, he wrote two doctoral dissertations, one on English law and the other on the subject of the caliphate in the modern age. In 1926, al- Sanhuri returned to Egypt where he became a law professor at the National University (now the Cairo University), and eventually became the dean of the law faculty. Because of his involvement in politics, and defense of the Egyptian Constitution, he was fired from his post in 1936, and left Egypt to become the dean of the Law College in Baghdad.

After one year, he returned to Egypt where he held several high-level cabinet posts before becoming the president of the Council of State in 1949. Initially, al-Sanhuri supported the movement of the Free Officers who overthrew the Egyptian monarch in 1952, but because of al-Sanhuri's insistence on a return to civilian democratic rule and his defense of civil rights, he was ousted from his position and persecuted. After 1954, al-Sanhuri withdrew from politics and focused his efforts on scholarship and modernizing the civil codes of several Arab countries. Al-Sanhuri heavily influenced the drafting of the civil codes of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Kuwait. One year before his death in Egypt, al-Sanhuri completed a huge multivolume commentary on civil law, called al-Wasit fi sharh al-qanun al-madani, which is still considered authoritative in many parts of the Arab world. He also wrote several highly influential works on Islamic contractual law, the most famous of which are Masadir al-haqq fi al-fiqh al-Islami and Nazariyyat al-aqd fi al-fiqh al-Islami. One of al-Sanhuri's most notable accomplishments was that he integrated and reconciled the civil law codes, which were French based, with classical Islamic legal doctrines. For instance, he is credited with making Egyptian civil law more consistent with Islamic law.

See alsoLaw ; Modernization, Political: Constitutionalism .


Hill, Enid. Al-Sanhuri and Islamic Law. Cairo: American University of Cairo Press, 1987.

Khaled Abou El-Fadl