Defining Islam for the Egyptian State: Muftis and Fatwas of the Dar al-Ifta

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This book traces the history of the Dār al-Iftā, the Egyptian State Mufti's administration, from its inception in the 1890s to the present. Often uncomfortably positioned between a state bureaucracy and an emerging Muslim public concerned with the transmission of Islamic values, the various State Muftis have been striving to reinterpret Islamic law and demonstrate its relevance in the modern age.
The history of the Dār al-Iftā thus provides a rare insight into major themes of 20th-century Islamic thinking. Four case studies demonstrate how fatwas can be used as sources for legal, social, intellectual and mentality history.
Defining Islam for the Egyptian State will be of great interest to students of Islamic law and social and intellectual history of the modern Middle East.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'The author is to be commended on this valuable study and on bringing to light the different Islamic perspectives on some of the crucial issues simmering in contemporary Egyptian society. This is an important study.'
Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabí, Journal of Church and State, 1999.
'In casting light on the attempts by some contemporary Islamic thinkers to construct an Islamic response to modernity while combating the near ideological hegemony which radical Islamists have enjoyed both in the Muslim world and in the West, this volume is to be warmly welcomed.'
Vincent Durac, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 1999.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute, The University of Copenhagen.
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Table of Contents

A Note on Transliteration
I Introduction 1
II The Background: 19th Century Political, Educational, Legal and Religious Developments 36
III Case Study I: The Telegraph and the New Moon 80
IV The Formation of the Dar al-Ifta 1895-1928 100
V 1928-1954: The Emergence of other Fatwa Bodies 146
VI 1954-1978: Muftis in Eclipse 182
VII 1970-1990: Islamization on the Agenda 199
VIII The Dar al-Ifta Responds: Jadd al-Haqq (1978-1982) 227
IX The Dar al-Ifta Today: Sayyid Tantawi (1986-) 251
X Case Study II: The Fatwa on Savings Certificates 295
XI Case Study III: Never Change your Sex in Cairo 319
XII Case Study IV: Religion and Risk: Fatwas on Insurance 335
XIII Conclusion 374
App. A Muftis of the Egyptian Dar al-Ifta 387
App. B The Dar al-Ifta Records 389
App. C Fatwas on Insurance 395
App. D. Glossary 398
Bibliography 401
Index 413
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