In “The Mecelle, Sharia, and the Ottoman State: Fashioning and Refashioning of Islamic Law in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,“Law and Legality in the Ottoman Empire and Republic of Turkey, Samy Ayoub explores how the creation of the Mecelle, the first Islamic Civil Law code, in 1876 was justified by its drafters. The author contextualizes her research within a key debate in the field: whether modern civil codes in Muslim majority countries and the codification of sharīʿa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are authentic representations of Islamic law or whether they are alien legal formulations authorized by the modern nation-state under heavy European influence.
James Baldwin explores the meaning of Islamic law in the early modern period, a world of great Muslim empires, in Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo,Edinburgh University Press. The author examines how the interplay of these two conceptions of Islamic law – religious scholarship and royal justice – undergirded legal practice in Cairo, the largest and richest city in the Ottoman provinces.
In “Non-Repugnancy Decisions of the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan: An Analysis of Politico-legal Ramifications,”Islamic Law & Law of the Muslim World, Shahbaz Ahmad Cheema highlights the decisions in which The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) of Pakistan has declared certain laws and customs as non-repugnant to Islamic injunctions. The author posits that the non repugnancy decisions broadly identify a theory of legislative competence and autonomy of a state from an Islamic perspective. Additionally, they extend religious sanctity to laws enacted in the British colonial era, thus, problematizing politically motivated calls for the Islamization of laws throughout the country.
Omar Farahat published The Foundation of Norms in Islamic Jurisprudence and Theologywith Cambridge University Press. The publisher notes that, in this book, the author presents a new way of understanding the work of classical Islamic theologians and legal theorists who maintained that divine revelation is necessary for the knowledge of the norms and values of human actions. Through a reconstruction of classical Ashʿarī-Muʿtazilī debates on the nature and implications of divine speech, Farahat argues that the Ashʿarī attachment to revelation was not a purely traditionalist position. Rather, it was a rational philosophical commitment emerging from debates in epistemology and theology. (This post was originally featured on the Legal History Blog).