Malik, “Foundations of Islamic Governance”

In December, Routledge Publishing will release Foundations of Islamic Governance: A Southeast Asian Perspective by Maszlee Malik (International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur). The publisher’s description follows:

foundations-of-islamic-governanceThe aim of this book is to explore and analyze the Islamic axioms, foundation principles and values underpinning the field of governance in an attempt to construct the architectonics of a new systemic and dynamic theory and formulate the articulation of ‘Islamic governance’. This discursive and abstract, rather than being an empirical exercise, assumes to produce a ‘good governance’ framework within its own formulation through a value-shaped dynamic model according to maqasid al-Shari’ah (higher objective of Shari’ah) by going beyond the narrow remit of classical and contemporary discussions produced on the topic, which propose a certain institutional model of governance based on the classical juristic (fiqh) method. Through an exclusive analytical discursive approach in this book, readers will find that Islam as one of the major religions in the contemporary world with the claim of promising the underpinning principles and philosophical foundations of worldly affairs and institutions through a micro method of producing homo Islamicus could contribute towards development of societies by establishing a unique model of governance from its explicit ontological worldview through a directed descriptive epistemology.

Baldwin, “Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo”

In December, Edinburgh University Press will release Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo by James E. Baldwin (University of London). The publisher’s description follows:

islamic-law-and-empire-in-ottoman-cairoWhat did Islamic law mean in the early modern period, a world of great Muslim empires? Often portrayed as the quintessential jurists’ law, to a large extent it was developed by scholars outside the purview of the state. However, for the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, justice was the ultimate duty of the monarch, and Islamic law was a tool of legitimation and governance. James E. Baldwin examines how the interplay of these two conceptions of Islamic law – religious scholarship and royal justice – undergirded legal practice in Cairo, the largest and richest city in the Ottoman provinces. Through detailed studies of the various formal and informal dispute resolution institutions and practices that formed the fabric of law in Ottoman Cairo, his book contributes to key questions concerning the relationship between the shari‘a and political power, the plurality of Islamic legal practice, and the nature of centre-periphery relations in the Ottoman Empire.

Salaymeh, “The Beginnings of Islamic Law”

In December, Cambridge University Press will release The Beginnings of Islamic Law: Late Antique Islamicate Legal Traditions by Lena Salaymeh (Tel Aviv University). The publisher’s description follows:

beginnings-of-islamic-lawThe Beginnings of Islamic Law is a major and innovative contribution to our understanding of the historical unfolding of Islamic law. Scrutinizing its historical contexts, the book proposes that Islamic law is a continuous intermingling of innovation and tradition. Salaymeh challenges the embedded assumptions in conventional Islamic legal historiography by developing a critical approach to the study of both Islamic and Jewish legal history. Through case studies of the treatment of war prisoners, circumcision, and wife-initiated divorce, she examines how Muslim jurists incorporated and transformed ‘Near Eastern’ legal traditions. She also demonstrates how socio-political and historical situations shaped the everyday practice of law, legal education, and the organization of the legal profession in the late antique and medieval eras. Aimed at scholars and students interested in Islamic history, Islamic law, and the relationship between Jewish and Islamic legal traditions, this book’s interdisciplinary approach provides accessible explanations and translations of complex materials and ideas.

“Shari’a Law and Modern Muslim Ethics” (Hefner, ed.)

In August, Indiana University Press released Shari’a Law and Modern Muslim Ethics edited by Robert W. Hefner (Boston University). The publisher’s description follows:

sharia-law-and-modernMany Muslim societies are in the throes of tumultuous political transitions, and common to all has been heightened debate over the place of shari`a law in modern politics and ethical life. Bringing together leading scholars of Islamic politics, ethics, and law, this book examines the varied meanings and uses of Islamic law, so as to assess the prospects for democratic, plural, and gender-equitable Islamic ethics today. These essays show that, contrary to the claims of some radicals, Muslim understandings of Islamic law and ethics have always been varied and emerge, not from unchanging texts but from real and active engagement with Islamic traditions and everyday life. The ethical debates that rage in contemporary Muslim societies reveal much about the prospects for democratic societies and a pluralist Islamic ethics in the future. They also suggest that despite the tragic violence wrought in recent years by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq, we may yet see an age of ethical renewal across the Muslim world.

Fegiery, “Islamic Law and Human Rights”

In September, Cambridge Scholars released “Islamic Law and Human Rights: The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt,” by Moataz El Fegiery (International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book explores the development of the Muslim Brotherhood’s thinking on Islamic 0378232_islamic-law-and-human-rights_300law and human rights, and argues that the Muslim Brotherhood has exacerbated, rather than solved, tensions between the two in Egypt. The organisation and its scholars have drawn on hard-line juristic opinions and reinvented certain concepts from Islamic traditions in ways that limit the scope of various human rights, and advocate for Islamic alternatives to international human rights. The Muslim Brotherhood’s practices in opposition and in power have been consistent with its literature. As an opposition party, it embraced human rights language in its struggle against an authoritarian regime, but advocated for broad restrictions on certain rights. However, its recent and short-lived experience in power provides evidence of its inclination to reinforce restrictions on religious freedom, freedom of expression and association, and the rights of religious minorities, and to reverse previous reforms related to women’s rights.

The book concludes that the peaceful management of political and religious diversity in society cannot be realised under the Muslim Brotherhood’s model of a Shari‘a state. The study advocates for the drastic reformation of traditional Islamic law and state impartiality towards religion, as an alternative to the development of a Shari‘a state or exclusionary secularism. This transformation is, however, contingent upon significant long-term political and socio-cultural change, and it is clear that successfully expanding human rights protection in Egypt requires not the exclusion of Islamists, but their transformation. Islamists still have a large constituency and they are not the only actors who are ambivalent about human rights. Meanwhile, Islamic law also appears to continue to influence Egypt’s law. The book explores the prospects for certain constitutional and institutional measures to facilitate an evolutionary interpretation of Islamic law, provide a baseline of human rights and gradually integrate international human rights into Egyptian law.

al-Ḥillī, “Foundations of Jurisprudence”

This month, Brill Publishing releases “Foundations of Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Imāmī Shīʿī Legal Theory,” by al-ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī. The publisher’s description follows:

Foundations of Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Imāmī Shīʿī Legal Theory is a critical 91843edition of the Arabic text with a parallel English translation of Mabādiʾ al-wuṣūl ilā ʿilm al-uṣūl by al-ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī, introduced, edited and translated by Sayyid Amjad H. Shah Naqavi.

Al-ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī participated in leading debates of his day and applied his vast erudition in philosophy, logic, and theology to the paramount subject of jurisprudence. This text presents an exemplar of the rich revival of Shīʿī scholarship in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries CE. Concise, yet comprehensive, this work sets the standard for the subsequent development and discussion of Imāmī Shīʿī legal theory, such that its influence can be traced through to modern times. This dual-text edition is indispensible for students and scholars of Imāmi Shīʿī jurisprudence.

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.

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