In recent years, Islamic law, or Shari'a, has been appropriated as a tool of modernity in the Muslim world and in the West and has become highly politicised in consequence. Wael Hallaq's magisterial overview of Shari'a sets the record straight by examining the doctrines and practices of Islamic law within the context of its history, and by showing how it functioned within pre-modern Islamic societies as a moral imperative. In so doing, Hallaq takes the reader on an epic journey tracing the history of Islamic law from its beginnings in seventh-century Arabia, through its development and transformation under the Ottomans, and across lands as diverse as India, Africa and South-East Asia, to the present. In a remarkably fluent narrative, the author unravels the complexities of his subject to reveal a love and deep knowledge of the law which will inform, engage and challenge the reader.
Wael B. Hallaq is James McGill Professor in Islamic Law in the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University. He is a world-renowned scholar whose publications include The Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law (Cambridge University Press, 2004), Authority, Continuity and Change in Islamic Law (Cambridge University Press, 2001) and A History of Islamic Legal Theories (Cambridge University Press, 1997).
Part I. The Pre-Modern Tradition: 1. The formative period; 2. Legal theory: epistemology, language, and legal reasoning; 3. Legal education and the politics of law; 4. Law and society; 5. The circle of justice and later dynasties; Part II. The Law: An Outline: 6. Legal pillars of religion; 7. Contracts and other obligations; 8. Family law and succession; 9. Property and ownership; 10. Offenses; 11. Jihad; 12. Courts of justice, suits and evidence; Part III. The Sweep of Modernity: 13. The conceptual framework: an introduction; 14. The jural colonization of India and South-East Asia; 15. Hegemonic modernity: the Middle East and North Africa during the nineteenth and early twentieth century; 16. Modernizing the law in the age of nation-states; 17. In search of a legal methodology; 18. Repercussions: concluding notes.