Sharia has been a source of misunderstanding and misconception in both the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds.
Understanding Sharia: Islamic Law in a Globalised World sets out to explore the reality of sharia, contextualising its development in the early centuries of Islam and showing how it evolved in line with historical and social circumstances. The authors, Raficq S. Abdulla and Mohamed M. Keshavjee, both British-trained lawyers, argue that sharia and the positive law flowing from it, known as fiqh, have never been an exclusive legal system or a fixed set of beliefs.
In addition to tracing the history of sharia, the book offers a critique concerning its status today. Sharia is examined with regard to particular issues that are of paramount importance in the contemporary world, such as human rights and criminal penalties, including those dealing with apostasy, blasphemy and adultery, commercial transactions, and bio-medical ethics, amongst other subjects. The authors show that sharia is a legal system underpinned by ethical principles and is open to change in different circumstances and contexts, notwithstanding the claims for ‘transcendental permanence’ made by Islamists.
This book encourages new thinking about the history of sharia and its role in the modern world.
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The Ismaili Centre London hosted a reception and launch event last month for this newly released book. Click here to watch the video of this launch event.