The Ashgate Research Companion to Islamic Law: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Ashgate Research Companion to Islamic Law

1st Edition

By Peri Bearman

Edited by Rudolph Peters


360 pages

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pub: 2014-08-18
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This unparalleled Companion provides a comprehensive and authoritative guide to Islamic law to all with an interest in this increasingly relevant and developing field. The volume presents classical Islamic law through a historiographical introduction to and analysis of Western scholarship, while key debates about hot-button issues in modern-day circumstances are also addressed. In twenty-one chapters, distinguished authors offer an overview of their particular specialty, reflect on past and current thinking, and point to directions for future research. The Companion is divided into four parts. The first offers an introduction to the history of Islamic law as well as a discussion of how Western scholarship and historiography have evolved over time. The second part delves into the substance of Islamic law. Legal rules for the areas of legal status, family law, socio-economic justice, penal law, constitutional authority, and the law of war are all discussed in this section. Part three examines the adaptation of Islamic law in light of colonialism and the modern nation state as well as the subsequent re-Islamization of national legal systems. The final section presents contemporary debates on the role of Islamic law in areas such as finance, the diaspora, modern governance, and medical ethics, and the volume concludes by questioning the role of Sharia law as a legal authority in the modern context. By outlining the history of Islamic law through a linear study of research, this collection is unique in its examination of past and present scholarship and the lessons we can draw from this for the future. It introduces scholars and students to the challenges posed in the past, to the magnitude of milestones that were achieved in the reinterpretation and revision of established ideas, and ultimately to a thorough conceptual understanding of Islamic law.


’Our understanding of the nature, function and development of Islamic law has greatly increased and improved in recent decades. Building on their deep knowledge of the field, Peters and Bearman have conceived and collected an excellent book: comprehensive in its treatment without getting lost in details, incisive in the perspectives it provides without falling into easy discrediting of past research, stimulating in both its positive evaluations and its criticisms, and more importantly, paving the way to the future by the careful and balanced assessment of where we stand.’ Maribel Fierro, Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Spain ’Any student of Islamic law - past, present, or future - will want to keep this lucid, authoritative, and comprehensive Research Companion close at hand.’ David S. Powers, Cornell University, USA ’This is currently the most up-to-date survey of Islamic law available. The authors are all knowledgeable and take pains to cover their subject clearly and thoroughly. While the coverage is thorough, what is most useful is the full engagement with current scholarship. The reader will learn a great deal about both Islamic law and its study from this helpful, lucid, and well-conceived book.’ A. Kevin Reinhart, Dartmouth College, USA

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction: The nature of the Sharia, Rudolph Peters and Peri Bearman. Part I The Historical Islamic Law: The origins of the Sharia, Knut S. Vikør; The divine sources, Herbert Berg; The schools of law, Paul R. Powers; Deriving rules of law, Robert Gleave; The judge and the mufti, Brinkley Messick; State and Sharia, Mohammad Fadel; Qanun and Sharia, BoÄŸaç A. Ergene. Part II Substantive Islamic Law: Equality before the law, Gianluca P. Parolin; Gender relations, Christina Jones-Pauly; Socio-economic justice, Hiroyuki Yanagihashi; Public order, Christian R. Lange; Constitutional authority, Andrew F. March; War and peace, Sohail H. Hashmi. Part III Islamic Law through the Prism of the Modern State: Sharia and the colonial state, Léon Buskens; Sharia and the nation state, Maurits S. Berger; The re-Islamization of legal systems, Martin Lau. Part IV Present-Day Discussions about Sharia: Sharia and finance, Abdullah Saeed; Sharia and the Muslim diaspora, Mathias Rohe; Sharia and modernity, Kristine Kalanges; Sharia and medical ethics, Birgit Krawietz; Epilogue: the normative relevance of Sharia in the modern context, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na›im. Glossary; Index.

About the Author/Editor

Rudolph Peters is Professor Emeritus of Law, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Peri Bearman is Associate Director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program (retired), Harvard Law School, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Public
RELIGION / Islam / Law