Kamali studied law at University of Kabul and completed his LL.M. in comparative law, and a PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern law at the University of London, 1969–1976.
Mohammad Hashim Kamali served as Professor of Islamic law and jurisprudence at the International Islamic University Malaysia, and also as Dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought & Civilisation (ISTAC) from 1985-2007. He is currently the CEO of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia under the newly appointed Chairman of the Institute, Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi.
He served as Assistant Professor at Kabul University, and subsequently as Public Prosecutor with the Ministry of Justice, Afghanistan, 1965-1968. After finishing his studies at the University of London, he was then employed by the British Broadcasting Corporation as part of its broadcasting support staff in Reading, UK, 1976-1979. Dr. Kamali served as Assistant Professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University in Montreal, and was subsequently a Research Associate with the Canada Council for Social Science and Humanities, 1979-1985. He was Visiting Professor at Capital University in Ohio in 1991, and later served as Visiting Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, Germany.
He is currently a Fellow of that Institute and also a member of the Royal Academy of Jordan. He served as a member and sometime Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission of Afghanistan, May–September 2003. He is currently on the International Advisory Board of eleven academic journals published in Malaysia, USA, Canada, Kuwait, India, Australia and Pakistan. In May–June 2004, and subsequently in October 2007, he served as a UN consultant on constitutional reforms in the Maldives, and as a UN constitutional law expert on the constitution of Iraq, 2005-2006.
He is currently a Shariah Advisor with the Securities Commission of Malaysia, Member of the CIMB Shariah Board, and Chairman of Shariah Board, Stanlib Corporation of South Africa. Professor Kamali has addressed over 120 national and international conferences, published 16 books and over 110 academic articles. He delivered the Prominent Scholars Lecture Series No. 20 at the Islamic Research and Training Institute of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 1996, and the Multaqa Sultan Ahmad Shah Lecture in Kuantan 2002.
Kamali is the author of Islamic Commercial Law (2000), a study of the application of Shariah principles to some crucial financial instruments, options and futures contracts. He takes a much more permissive view of these instruments than do most Islamic scholars.
In his book, Islamic Commercial Law (2000), Kamali wrote, for example, that many have "passed prohibitive judgments on futures and options" who have "not only failed to produce decisive evidence in support of their positions but have done so on the assumption that futures trading has no social utility and has no bearing on the welfare... of the people."
Among the scholars who pass the "prohibitive judgments" with which Kamali disagrees are Muhammad Akram Khan and Umar Chapra.
Freedom of Expression in Islam (Cambridge, 1997); Freedom, Equality and Justice in Islam (Cambridge, 2002); and A Textbook of Hadith Studies (Leicester, UK. 2005) are used as reference works in leading English speaking universities worldwide. His “Fundamental Rights and Liberties in Islam” series, published in Cambridge by the Islamic Texts Society over a decade, includes pioneering work on the application of the principles of fiqh to contemporary issues.
Kamali received the Isma’il al-Faruqi Award for Academic Excellence twice, in 1995 and 1997, and he is listed in a number of leading Who’s Whos in the World.Freedom of Expression in Islam (1994)
Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Reprint, Petaling Jaya, 1999)
Islamic Commercial Law (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society 2000)
A Textbook of Hadith Studies (Islamic Foundation, UK, 2005)
An Introduction to Shari’ah (Oneworld Publications, Oxford 2008)
Shari'ah Law: An Introduction (Viva Books 2009)
“Constitutionalism in Islamic Countries: A Contemporary Perspective of Islamic Law,” in: Constitutionalism in Islamic Countries: Between Upheaval and Continuity (eds. Rainer Grote and Tilmann Röder, Oxford University Press, Oxford/New York 2011).