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Book: “Islamic Maritime Law” by Hassan S.Khalilieh

The book by Hassan S. Khalilieh examines Islamic maritime law and practice of Muslim mariners during the classical period using Fatwa and Islamic sources.

This volume examines Islamic maritime law and the actual practice of Muslim sailors during the classical period. It contains seven chapters. The first surveys the important terminology of maritime life. The second chapter examines the interrelationship of shipowners, crew, and passengers. The third chapter deals with maritime commercial laws; contracts for the leasing of ships, freight charges, transportation of goods, taxes and tolls in the ports. It also examines losses at sea, describes the laws concerning of jettison and general average, collision, and salvage of jetsam. Chapter four covers military maritime law; chapter five emphasizes the legal significance of territorial waters as interpreted by Muslim jurists, governors, and seafarers. The sixth chapter discusses how Islamic maritime law was adjudicated at sea, while the final one concludes the study by explaining how sea-travel affected the performance of Islamic religious duties.


Table of contents

Chapter One: the ship, its equipment and capacity

Ship terminology

Names of vessels

Capacity and provisions to insure safety


Chapter Two: owners, crew and passengers

The ship-owner

Joint owners of ship

The crew of ship

The crew member and their duties

Hiring hands and condition of payment

Passengers; their rights and duties

Chapter Three: maritime commercial law

Section one: the construction of the ship-leasing contract

Types and rules of ship-leasing

Freight charges

Breach of contract

Section two: transportation of goods

Taxes and tolls

Section three: the laws of Jettison and General Average

The rule of Jettison

Distribution of losses

Commercial commodities and personal effects

Section four: collision

Section five: salvage

Chapter four: military maritime law

Maritime warfare

Rules and practices of naval warfare

Division of spoils

Non-Muslim trade with Dar al-Islam

Chapter five: territorial waters, freedom of the seas and maritime international law

Historical background

Classical Islam

The high seas

Adjacent waters

Inland waters rivers and harbors

Chapter six: disciplinary laws

Adjudication and maritime lawsuit


Victims of shipwreck



Criminal law

Chapter seven: religious tradition at sea

Prayer and fasting

Pilgrimage (Hajj)

Almsgiving (Zakat)

Transport of illicit goods

Maritime burial


Hassan S. Khalilieh, Ph.D. (1995) in Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University, is a Lecturer in the Department of Maritime Civilizations, University of Haifa. His main field is Medieval Islamic maritime civilization with emphasis on Islamic legal history at sea as well as marine archeology.

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