This March, Cambridge University Press will publish Ritual Piety in Medieval Islamic Law by Megan H. Reid (University of Southern California). The publisher’s description follows.
The Ayyubid and Mamluk periods were some of the most intellectually fecund in Islamic history. Megan Reid’s book, which traverses three centuries from 1170 to 1500, recovers the stories of medieval men and women who were renowned not only for their intellectual prowess but also for their devotional piety. Through these stories, the book examines trends in voluntary religious practice that have been largely overlooked in modern scholarship. This type of piety was distinguished by the pursuit of God’s favor through additional rituals, which emphasized the body as an instrument of worship and the rejection of the temptation of worldly pleasures and even society itself. Using an array of sources including manuals of law, fatwa collections, chronicles and obituaries, the book shows what it meant to be a good Muslim in the medieval period and how Islamic law defined holy behavior. In its concentration on personal piety, ritual and religious practice the book offers an intimate perspective on early Islamic society.