Shari'a: Islamic Law in the Contemporary Context

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This volume presents ten leading scholars' writings on contemporary Islamic law and Muslim thought. The essays examine a range of issues, from modern Muslim discourses on justice, natural law, and the common good, to democracy, the social contract, and "the authority of the preeminent jurist." Changes in how Shari'a has been understood over the centuries are explored, as well as how it has been applied in both Sunni and Shi'i Islam.

Debates on the nature, interpretation, reform, and application of Shari'a lie at the core of all Islamist revivalist ideologies and movements of the past two centuries. The demand for the implementation of Shari'a is one of the hallmarks of Islamic fundamentalism, and Shari'a has become one of the most controversial and politicized concepts in Muslim-majority countries today. This is one of the first books to examine how Muslims understand and apply Shari'a in contemporary societies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The contributors to this volume present an important antidote, with in-depth analyses of some of the most important trends in legal thought in today's Muslim world."—John O. Voll, Islamic Law & Society

"What Shari'a means to contemporary Muslims matters to non-Muslims as well. This volume enlightens everyone. It is at once scholarly and accessible, and informative in a deep and reliable way." —Gene Outka, Yale University

"An important and illuminating anthology. This is no dry and pedantic read in the minutiae of arcane legal issues. These essays demonstrate that Shari'a is a living concern to Muslims around the world." —Sohail Hashmi, Mount Holyoke College

"This important and timely volume helps bridge the gap between theoretical aspects of the law and its application in the modern world, and breaks new ground by paying close attention to both Shiite and Sunni uses of Islamic law. The authors, all experts in their fields, write with unusual clarity and precision to help us to understand the complex role of Islamic law in the Muslim world today.Itwill be a vital resource." —Jonathan E. Brockopp, Pennsylvania State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804756396
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/17/2007
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank Griffel is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Yale University. Abbas Amanat is Professor of History and International and Area Studies at Yale University.

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Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Introduction   Frank Griffel     1
Justice in Modern Islamic Thought   Gudrun Kramer     20
The Harmony of Natural Law and Shari'a in Islamist Theology   Frank Griffel     38
Islamic Law and Legal Change: The Concept of Maslaha in Classical and Contemporary Islamic Legal Theory   Felicitas Opwis     62
'Allal al-Fasi: Shari'a as Blueprint for Righteous Global Citizenship?   David L. Johnston     83
Shari'a and Islamic Democracy in the Age of al-Jazeera   Noah Feldman     104
From ijtihad to wilayat-i faqih: The Evolution of the Shiite Legal Authority to Political Power   Abbas Amanat     120
Shiite Theories of Social Contract   Shahrough AKhavi     137
Shari'a and Constitution in Iran: A Historical Perspective   Said Amir Arjomand     156
The Normativity of the Factual: On the Everyday Construction of Shari'a in a Yemeni Family Court   Anna Wurth     165
Afterword   Roy P. Mottahedeh     178
Notes     183
About the Authors     237
Index     243
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