Robinson, “Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives”

In November, the University of California Press will release Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives: The First 1,000 Years by Chase F. Robinson (City University of New York). The publisher’s description follows:

islamic-civilization-in-thirty-livesReligious thinkers, political leaders, lawmakers, writers, and philosophers have shaped the 1,400-year-long development of the world’s second-largest religion. But who were these people? What do we know of their lives and the ways in which they influenced their societies?

In Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives, the distinguished historian of Islam Chase F. Robinson draws on the long tradition in Muslim scholarship of commemorating in writing the biographies of notable figures, but he weaves these ambitious lives together to create a rich narrative of Islamic civilization, from the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century to the era of the world conquerer Timur and the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in the fifteenth.

Beginning in Islam’s heartland, Mecca, and ranging from North Africa and Iberia in the west to Central and East Asia, Robinson not only traces the rise and fall of Islamic states through the biographies of political and military leaders who worked to secure peace or expand their power, but also discusses those who developed Islamic law, scientific thought, and literature. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of rich and diverse Islamic societies. Alongside the famous characters who colored this landscape—including Muhammad’s cousin ’Ali; the Crusader-era hero Saladin; and the poet Rumi—are less well-known figures, such as Ibn Fadlan, whose travels in Eurasia brought fascinating first-hand accounts of the Volga Vikings to the Abbasid Caliph; the eleventh-century Karima al-Marwaziyya, a woman scholar of Prophetic traditions; and Abu al-Qasim Ramisht, a twelfth-century merchant millionaire.

An illuminating read for anyone interested in learning more about this often-misunderstood civilization, this book creates a vivid picture of life in all arenas of the pre-modern Muslim world.

Syed, “Coercion and Responsibility in Islam”

In November, Oxford University Press will release “Coercion and Responsibility in Islam: A Study in Ethics and Law,” by Mairaj Syed (University of California, Davis). The publisher’s description follows:

In Coercion and Responsibility in Islam, Mairaj Syed explores how classical Muslim theologians and jurists from four intellectual traditions argue about the thorny issues 9780198788775.jpegthat coercion raises about responsibility for one’s action. This is done by assessing four ethical problems: whether the absence of coercion or compulsion is a condition for moral agency; how the law ought to define what is coercive; coercion’s effect on the legal validity of speech acts; and its effects on moral and legal responsibility in the cases of rape and murder.

Through a comparative and historical examination of these ethical problems, the book demonstrates the usefulness of a new model for analyzing ethical thought produced by intellectuals working within traditions in a competitive pluralistic environment. The book compares classical Muslim thought on coercion with that of modern Western thinkers on these issues and finds significant parallels between them. The finding suggests that a fruitful starting point for comparative ethical inquiry, especially inquiry aimed at the discovery of common ground for ethical action, may be found in an examination of how ethicists from different traditions considered concrete problems.

Salomon, “For Love of the Prophet”

In October, Princeton University Press will release For Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan’s Islamic State by Noah Salomon (Carleton College). The publisher’s description follows:

For some, the idea of an Islamic state serves to fulfill aspirations for cultural sovereignty and new forms of ethical political practice. For others, it violates the properfor-love-of-the-prophet domains of both religion and politics. Yet, while there has been much discussion of the idea and ideals of the Islamic state, its possibilities and impossibilities, surprisingly little has been written about how this political formation is lived. For Love of the Prophet looks at the Republic of Sudan’s twenty-five-year experiment with Islamic statehood. Focusing not on state institutions, but rather on the daily life that goes on in their shadows, Noah Salomon’s careful ethnography examines the lasting effects of state Islamization on Sudanese society through a study of the individuals and organizations working in its midst.

Salomon investigates Sudan at a crucial moment in its history—balanced between unity and partition, secular and religious politics, peace and war—when those who desired an Islamic state were rethinking the political form under which they had lived for nearly a generation. Countering the dominant discourse, Salomon depicts contemporary Islamic politics not as a response to secularism and Westernization but as a node in a much longer conversation within Islamic thought, augmented and reappropriated, as state projects of Islamic reform became objects of debate and controversy.

Among the first books to delve into the making of the modern Islamic state, For Love of the Prophet reveals both novel political ideals and new articulations of Islam as it is rethought through the lens of the nation.

Wood, “Islamic Legal Revival”

In November, Oxford University Press will release Islamic Legal Revival: Reception of European Law and Transformations in Islamic Legal Thought in Egypt, 1875-1952 by Leonard Wood (Harvard University). The publisher’s description follows:Islamic Legal Revival.jpg

In this meticulously researched volume, Leonard Wood presents his ground breaking history of Islamic revivalist thought in Islamic law. Islamic Legal Revival: Reception of European Law and Transformations in Islamic Legal Thought in Egypt, 1879-1952 brings to life the tumultuous history of colonial interventions in Islamic legal consciousness during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It tells the story of the rapid displacement of local Egyptian and Islamic law by transplanted European codes and details the evolution of resultant movements to revive Islamic law. Islamic legal revivalist movements strove to develop a modern version of Islamic law that could be codified and would replace newly imposed European laws. Wood explains in unparalleled depth and with nuance how cutting-edge trends in European legal scholarship inspired influential revivalists and informed their methods in legal thought.

Timely and provocative, Islamic Legal Revival tells of the rich achievements of legal experts in Egypt who disrupted tradition in Islamic jurisprudence and created new approaches to Islamic law that were distinctively responsive to demands of the contemporary world. The story told bears important implications for understandings of Egyptian history, Islamic legal history, comparative law, and deeply contested and highly transformative interactions between European and Islamic thought.

Ali, “Modern Challenges to Islamic Law”

In October, Cambridge University Press will release Modern Challenges to Islamic Law by Shaheen Sardar Ali (University of Warwick). The publisher’s description follows:Modern Challenges to Islamic Law.png

The diversity of interpretation within Islamic legal traditions can be challenging for those working within this field of study. Using a distinctly contextual approach, this book addresses such challenges by combining theoretical perspectives on Islamic law with insight into how local understandings impact on the application of law in Muslim daily life. Engaging with topics as diverse as Islamic constitutionalism, Islamic finance, human rights and internet fatawa, Shaheen Sardar Ali provides an invaluable resource for scholars, students and practitioners alike by exploring exactly constitutes Islamic law in the contemporary world. Useful examples, case studies, a glossary of terms and the author’s personal reflections accompany traditional academic critique, and together offer the reader a unique and discerning discussion of Islamic law in practice.

Polat, “Regime Change in Contemporary Turkey”

In September, the University of Edinburgh Press will release Regime Change in Contemporary Turkey: Politics, Rights, Mimesis by Necati Polat (Middle East Technical University, Ankara). The publisher’s description follows:

Regime Change in TurkeyTurkey has undergone a series of upheavals in its political regime from the mid-19th century. This book details the most recent change, locating it in its broader historical setting. Beginning with the Justice and Development Party’s rule from late 2002, supported by a broad informal coalition that included liberals, the book shows how the former Islamists gradually acquired full power between 2007 and 2011. It then describes the subsequent phase, looking at politics and rights under the amorphous new order.

This is the first scholarly yet accessible assessment of this historic change, placing it in the larger context of political modernisation in the country over the past 150 or so years.

Mahallati, “Ethics of War and Peace in Iran and Shi’i Islam”

In September, the University of Toronto Press will release Ethics of War and Peace in Iran and Shi’i Islam by Mohammad Jafar Amir Mahallati (Oberlin College). The publisher’s description follows:

War and Peace in IslamNearly four decades after a revolution, experiencing one of the longest wars in contemporary history, facing political and ideological threats by regional radicals such as ISIS and the Taliban, and having succeeded in negotiations with six world powers over her nuclear program, Iran appears as an experienced Muslim country seeking to build bridges with its Sunni neighbours as well as with the West.

Ethics of War and Peace in Iran and Shi’i Islam explores the wide spectrum of theoretical approaches and practical attitudes concerning the justifications, causes and conduct of war in Iranian-Shi‘i culture. By examining primary and secondary sources, and investigating longer lasting factors and questions over circumstantial ones, Mohammed Jafar Amir Mahallati seeks to understand modern Iranian responses to war and peace. His work is the first in its field to look into the ethics of war and peace in Iran and Shi’i Islam. It provides a prism through which the binary source of the Iranian national and religious identity informs Iranian response to modernity. By doing so, the author reveals that a syncretic and civilization-conscious soul in modern Iran is re-emerging.

Farrar & Krayem, “Accommodating Muslims under Common Law”

This month, Routledge releases “Accommodating Muslims under Common Law: A Comparative Analysis,” by Salim Farrar (University of Sydney) and Ghena Krayem (University of Sydney).  The publisher’s description follows:

The book explores the relationship between Muslims, the Common Law and Shari’ah post-9/11. The book looks at the accommodation of Shari’ah Law within Western 9780415710466Common Law legal traditions and the role of the judiciary, in particular, in drawing boundaries for secular democratic states with Muslim populations who want resolutions to conflicts that also comply with the dictates of their faith.

Salim Farrar and Ghena Krayem consider the question of recognition of Shari’ah by looking at how the flexibilities that exists in both the Common Law and Shari’ah provide unexplored avenues for navigation and accommodation. The issue is explored in a comparative context across several jurisdictions and case law is examined in the contexts of family law, business and crime from selected jurisdictions with significant Muslim minority populations including: Australia, Canada, England and Wales, and the United States. The book examines how Muslims and the broader community have framed their claims for recognition against a backdrop of terrorism fears, and how Common Law judiciaries have responded within their constitutional and statutory confines and also within the contemporary contexts of demands for equality, neutrality and universal human rights. Acknowledging the inherent pragmatism, flexibility and values of the Common Law, the authors argue that the controversial issue of accommodation of Shari’ah is not necessarily one that requires the establishment of a separate and parallel legal system.

“Reclaiming Islamic Tradition” (Kendall & Khan, eds.)

Next month, Edinburgh University Press releases Reclaiming Islamic Tradition: Modern Interpretations of the Classical Heritage, edited by Elisabeth Kendall (Oxford) and Ahmad Khan (Oxford). The publisher’s description follows:

Recent events in the Islamic world have demonstrated the endurance, negReclaiming Islamic Traditionlect and careful reshaping of the classical Islamic heritage. A range of modern Islamic movements and intellectuals has sought to reclaim certain concepts, ideas, persons and trends from the Islamic tradition. This book profiles some of the fundamental debates that have defined the conversation between the past and the present in the Islamic world. Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic law, gender, violence and eschatology are just some of the key themes in this study of the Islamic tradition’s vitality in the modern Islamic world. This book will allow readers to situate modern developments in the Islamic world within the longue durée of Islamic history and thought.

Crone, “The Iranian Reception of Islam”

In June, Brill released “The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands,” by Patricia Crone (Princeton University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Patricia Crone’s Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history,41vto0um7ol-_sx326_bo1204203200_ arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes. Volume 2, The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands, examines the reception of pre-Islamic legacies in Islam, above all that of the Iranians. Volume 1, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters, pursues the reconstruction of the religious environment in which Islam arose and develops an intertextual approach to studying the Qurʾānic religious milieu. Volume 3, Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness, places the rise of Islam in the context of the ancient Near East and investigates sceptical and subversive ideas in the Islamic world.

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