Few deny that in the Muslim world religion and law are intimately linked. However, local legal realities mean that Islamic law is often pushed out of the picture by customary law, which is usually tribal, and by state law. Shattering Tradition concentrates on customary law, which is the least investigated of the three, and considers the ruptures and potential for conflict in Muslim law as well as the continuities and interactions. Shattering Tradition is vital reading for all those interested in the social anthropology of the Middle East and the wider study of Islamic law.
Walter Dostal is Professor Emeritus of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. Since 1956 he has carried out ethnographic fieldwork in many parts of the Arab world and is a pioneer of research on the Arab peninsula. He has taught in Bern, Zurich, Istanbul, Jeddah, Riyadh and has published eight books and articles. Walter Kraus is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. He has carried out extensive fieldwork in Morocco and has published on various aspects of tribal identity in Muslim societies.