John Makdisi

John Makdisi

Professor of Law Emeritus



St. Thomas University College of Law
Faculty Suite (209)
16401 NW 37th Ave
Miami Gardens, FL 33054


B.A., Harvard College
J.D., University of Pennsylvania
S.J.D., Harvard Law School
M.A., St. Vincent de Paul Seminary
M.Phil., Catholic University of America
Ph.D., Catholic University of America


Islamic Property Law
Natural Law
Property Law

John Makdisi

Professor Makdisi has written extensively on American and Islamic property law among other subjects. His book on Estates in Land and Future Interests is now in its 7th edition. In 2017 Professor Makdisi completed ten years of study in moral theology with a Ph.D. dissertation on The Object of the Moral Act: Understanding St. Thomas Aquinas through the Work of Steven Long and Martin Rhonheimer. His article on The Islamic Origins of the Common Law, 77 N. Car. L. Rev. 1635 (1999), offers a new theory for connections between Islam and the West.

From 1981-1991, Professor Makdisi was a faculty member at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where he also served as Associate Dean from 1988-91. He served as Dean of the University of Tulsa College of Law from 1991-1994, returned to faculty from 1994-96, and then became Dean at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law from 1996-1999. From 1999-2003, Professor Makdisi served as Dean of St. Thomas University College of Law in Miami, Florida, as well as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2000-2001. In 2003, he returned to faculty where he taught Property, Natural Law, Remedies, and Evidence. In 2019 he retired as Emeritus Professor of Law.  He continues to teach Ethical Moorings in the Intercultural Human Rights Program.

Scholarship & Research



John Makdisi, Estates in Land and Future Interests: Problems and Answers (7th ed., 2018, Wolters Kluwer) (Previous editions: 6th ed. 2014, 5th ed. 2008, 4th ed. 2004, 3rd ed. 1999, 2nd ed. 1995, 1st ed. 1991). (Co-author Daniel B. Bogart for 4th, 5th and 6th eds.).

John Makdisi, The Object of the Moral Act: Understanding St. Thomas Aquinas Through the Work of Steven Long and Martin Rhonheimer, (Proquest 2017).

Daniel B. Bogart & John Makdisi, Inside Property Law: What Matters and Why (2009, Aspen Publishers).

Michael Makdisi & John Makdisi, Introduction to the Study of Law: Cases and Materials (3d ed., 2009, LexisNexis Matthew Bender) (Previous editions: 2nd ed. 2000; 1st ed. 1990). (Co-author for 3rd ed.).

John Makdisi, Florida Property Law Volume 2: Conveyancing and Governmental Controls (2007, Carolina Academic Press) (with Teacher’s Manual).

John Makdisi, Florida Property Law Volume 1: Possession, Estates, and Tenancy (2006, Carolina Academic Press) (with Teacher’s Manual).

John Makdisi, Islamic Property Law: Cases and Materials for Comparative Analysis with the Common Law (2005, Carolina Academic Press) (with Teacher’s Manual).

John Makdisi, Workbook on Estates and Future Interests (1987, Carswell).

John Makdisi, Law School Orientation: Cases and Materials (1986, Carswell).

John Makdisi, Ladner on Conveyancing in Pennsylvania (rev. 4th ed., 1979, Bisel) (1976 Supplement to 3d ed.).

Book Chapters:

John Makdisi, The Kindred Concepts of Seisin and Hawz in English and Islamic Law, in The Law Applied: Contextualizing the Islamic Shari’a (Wolfhart Heinrichs, Bernard Weiss & Peri Bearman, eds., 2008, I.B. Taurus).

John Makdisi, Chapter 30 and §§17.01, 18.01, 19.01, 23.01, 28.01, in Thompson on Real Property (D. Thomas ed., 1994, Michie Co.).

John Makdisi, An Inquiry into Islamic Influences During the Formative Period of the Common Law, in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence 135 (N. Heer ed., 1990, University of Washington Press).


John Makdisi, A Christian Response to Laws that Require Immoral Acts, 19 Nova et Vetera 1147 (2021).

John Makdisi, The Transformation of Marriage as a State Institution, 14 Intercultural Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 371 (2019) (co-author with June Mary Makdisi).

John Makdisi, A Thomistic Perspective on Natural Law Reasoning in the Supreme Courts, 45 Ohio N.U.L. Rev. 301 (2019).

John Makdisi, Aquinas’s Prohibition of Killing Reconsidered, 57 J. Cath. Leg. Stud. 67 (2018).

John Makdisi, Uncaring Justice: Why Jacque v. Steenberg Homes Was Wrongly Decided, 51 J. Cath. Legal Stud. 111 (2012).

John Makdisi, A Survey of AALS Law Schools Teaching Islamic Law, 55 J. Legal Educ. 583 (2005). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, Improving Education-Delivery in the Twenty-First Century: The Vital Role of the Law Librarian, 95 Law Lib. J. 431 (2003). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, A Reality Check on Istihsan as a Method of Islamic Legal Reasoning, 2 UCLA J. Islamic & Near E. L. 99 (2002).

John Makdisi, Dean’s Welcoming Remarks, 13 St. Thomas L. Rev. 7 (2000). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, The Islamic Origins of the Common Law, 77 N.C. L. Rev. 1635 (1999). HeinOnline

John Makdisi & Marianne Makdisi, Islamic Law Bibliography: Revised and Updated List of Secondary Sources, 87 Law Lib. J. 69 (1995). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, Hard Cases and Human Judgment in Islamic and Common Law, 2 Ind. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 191 (1991). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, Justification in the Killing of an Innocent Person, 38 Clev. St. L. Rev. 85 (1990). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, Proportional Liability: A Comprehensive Rule to Apportion Tort Damages Based on Probability, 67 N.C. L. Rev. 1063 (1989). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, How to Do a Perpetuities Problem, 36 Clev. St. L. Rev. 95 (1988). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, Islamic Law Bibliography, 78 Law Lib. J. 103 (1986). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, Legal Logic and Equity in Islamic Law, 33 Am. J. Comp. L. 63 (1985). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, Formal Rationality in Islamic and Common Law, 34 Clev. St. L. Rev. 97 (1985). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, An Objective Approach to Contractual Mistake in Islamic Law, 3 B.U. Int’l L.J. 325 (1985). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, Fixed Shares in Intestate Distribution: A Comparative Analysis of Islamic and American Law, 1984 BYU L. Rev. 267 (1984). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, The Vesting of Executory Interests, 59 Tul. L. Rev. 366 (1984). HeinOnline

Book Reviews:

John Makdisi, The Islamic Conception of Justice by Majid Khadduri, 27 Harv. Int’l L.J. 315 (1986) (book review). HeinOnline

John Makdisi, Judicial Practice in Morocco by Henry Toledano, MESA Bull. (Middle E. Stud. Ass’n, New York, NY), July 1983, at 41 (book review).

John Makdisi, Mahkama! Studies in the Egyptian Legal System by Enid Hill, 12 Int’l J. Middle E. Stud. 551 (1980) (book review).

John Makdisi, Law Reform in the Muslim World, 20 Harv. Int’l L.J. 739 (1979) (book review). HeinOnline

Additional Publications:

John Makdisi, Future Interest Rules, CALI Lesson, (2004),

  • Ethical Moorings: Philosophical and Religious Foundations