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Demystifying Shariah: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It's Not Taking Over Our Country

Demystifying Shariah: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It's Not Taking Over Our Country

by Sumbul Ali-Karamali


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on May 12, 2020


A direct counterpoint to fear mongering headlines about shariah law - a Muslim American legal expert tells the real story, eliminating stereotypes and assumptions with compassion, irony, and humor

In 2010, a growing number of anti-shariah activists began amassing and depositing the word "shariah" (or "shari'ah") as a scare word into the public discourse. "Anti-shariah" protests started infesting towns throughout the United States and Europe, despite no evidence of any imposition of shariah - as puzzling as if Americans suddenly began protesting the Martian occupation of Earth.

This anti-shariah movement was of course nothing spontaneous, but a deliberate misinformation campaign to appropriate Islamic academic terms and redefine them to frighten non-Muslims, alienate Muslim Americans and Europeans, and portray Islam as incompatible with the Constitution.

But what is shariah? If it's as draconian and oppressive as the anti-shariah activists say, then how can 1.6 billion people abide by it? If it requires the oppression of women, then why have at least thirteen Muslim women been presidents or prime ministers in recent decades? If it requires violence, then why haven't Muslims - nearly a quarter of the world's population - taken over the world by now?

This book explains shariah, how it operates in the lives of Muslims, and what it means in terms of law. How do Muslims engage with shariah? What does it have to do with our Constitution? How did it develop and why was its development disrupted? What does it have to do with the way the world looks like today? And why do we all - Muslims or not - need to care?

Sumbul Ali-Karamali draws on scholarship and her degree in Islamic law to explain shariah in an accessible, engaging narrative style, illustrating clear explanations with personal anecdotes. This is no book of abstract religious law! It's shariah, Islam, and Muslims described by a Muslim American in her real-world context, with compassion, irony, and humor.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807038000
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 05/12/2020
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

About the Author

Sumbul Ali-Karamali is a Muslim American who grew up in California, answering questions on Islam as a matter of course, ever since she can remember. After becoming a corporate lawyer, she earned an additional degree in Islamic law. She specializes in synthesizing academic material for general audiences and is the author of The Muslim Next Door: The Qur'an, the Media, and that Veil Thing and Growing Up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam. A popular speaker on topics related to Islam and Muslims, she hopes to promote intercultural understanding with her work, at least when she's not watching Star Trek reruns, listening to opera, or (reluctantly) white-water rafting with her husband.