Islam and the Everyday World

Public Policy Dilemmas

Edited by Sohrab Behdad, Farhad Nomani

© 2008 – Routledge

242 pages

Purchasing Options:
New in Paperback: 9780415453059
pub: 2008-05-02
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Hardback: 9780415368230
pub: 2006-09-21
US Dollars$168.00

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About the Book

This is a new examination of how Shari’a law affects public policy both theoretically and in practice, across a wide range of public policy areas, including for example human rights and family law.

The process by which public policy is decided - through elections, debates, political processes, and political discourse - has an additional dimension in the Islamic world. This is because Shari'a (divine law) has a great deal to say on many mundane matters of everyday life and must be taken into account in matters of public policy. In addition, matters are complicated further by the fact that there are differing interpretations of the Shari'a and how it should be applied to contemporary social issues.

Written by leading experts in their field, this is the first comprehensive single volume analysis of Islam and public policy in the English language and offers further understanding of Islam and its wider social and political implications.


'This pioneering volume goes beyond formalistic analysis of Islamic states and standard discourses of public policy to underscore the actual significance and limitations of the influence of Islamist normative and legalist discourses on key areas of public policy in the Muslim world.'

- Jomo K. S., editor of Islamic Economic Alternatives

'Does Islamic Law affect public policy? The authors methodically uncover the complex interaction between religion and social change in the Muslim world.'

- Tarik Yousef, Shaykh Al-Sabah Chair in Arab Studies, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University

Table of Contents

1. Islam, Revivalism and Public Policy Sohrab Behdad 2. Ideology and Institutions in Islamist Approaches to Public Policy S.V.R. Nasr 3. Islamism and Economics: Policy Implications for a Free Society Timur Kuran 4. Islamic Jurisprudence and Public Policy Ali Rahnema 5. Islam and Human RIihts Policy Ann Elizabeth Mayer 6. Women, Sexuality and Social Policy in Islamic Cultures Haideh Moghissi 7. Muslim Family Law: Articulating Gender, Class and the State Nahla Abdo 8. Islam, Islamists, and Labor Law Marsha P. Psusney and Karen Pfeifer 9. Commercial Law: the Conflict in Shari'a and Secular Law; Taxation and Public Finance Volker Nienhaus 10. The Problem of Interst and Banking in Islamic Public Policy Farhad Nomani

About the Editors

Sohrab Behdad is Professor and John E. Harris Chair in Economics, Denison University, and is a former member of the faculty of Economics, Tehran University, Iran.

Farhad Nomani is Professor of Economics at the American University of Paris, and is a former member of the Faculty of Economics, Tehran University, Iran.

About the Series

Routledge Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East continues to dominate in the news and current affairs coverage of the media both in global and regional contexts. Despite this growing and intensified interest in recent years, it is widely recognised that the region is largely underrepresented in a range of disciplines in the scholarly and academic domains. 

Routledge is proud to have launched this series since 2003 to widen in-depth analyses and understanding of the economic and political dynamics of this important region. The aim of the series is to publish both specialist and more general titles covering a wide range of issues relating to the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa region. It will feature the latest political economy studies of the Middle East defined to encompass countries from Morocco to Iran.

Submissions from prospective authors are welcomed, and should be sent in the first instance to the series editor ( The series will be open to single-authored books as well as edited volumes and textbooks.  All manuscripts will be subject to international standards of peer review.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Social Policy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Cultural Policy
RELIGION / Islam / General
RELIGION / Islam / Law
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies