Classical Islamic law recognizes only natural persons; it does not grant standing to imagined, juristic persons. This article identifies self-reinforcing processes that kept Islamic law from developing a concept of legal personhood indigenously. Community building being central to Islam’s mission, the early promoters of Islam had no use for a concept liable to facilitate factionalism. In subsequent centuries the typical Muslim-owned commercial or financial enterprise was too small, and too limited in scope, to justify lobbying for advanced organizational forms; and Muslim rulers made no attempt to supply the corporate form of organization, because in the absence of merchant organizations they saw no structures worth exploiting for their own ends.
Date of this Version
Timur Kuran, "Why the Islamic Middle East Did not Generate an Indigenous Corporate Law" (September 2004). University of Southern California Law and Economics Working Paper Series. Working Paper 16.