Weekend Scholarship Roundup

  • Niels Valdemar Vinding‘s volume of Annotated Legal Documents on Islam in Europe: Denmark (Lieden: Brill Publishers, 2020)  consists of an annotated collection of legal documents affecting the status of Islam and Muslims in Denmark. The legal texts are published in the original Danish language while the annotations and supporting materials are in English. The legal documents included are texts of legislation, including relevant secondary legislation, as well as significant court decisions. Each legal text is preceded by an introduction describing the historical, political, and legal circumstances of its adoption, plus a short paragraph summarizing its content. The collection focuses on the religious dimensions of being Muslim in Europe, such as individuals’ access to practice their religious obligations and on the ability to organize and manifest their religious life.
  • In “The kitabi Wife’s Conversion to Islam: An Unusual Interpretation by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya” (Islamic Law and Society 27, no. 3 (2020)), Antonia Bosanquet analyzes Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya’s teaching about the legal options open to a woman who converts to Islam while married to a Jewish or Christian husband. She argues that Ibn al-Qayyim’s preferred position is unusual for the 14th century in which he wrote, although it may derive from Ibn Taymiyya’s teaching on the subject. In order to contextualize Ibn Qayyim’s view, Bosanquet summarizes the variety of approaches to the single-spouse conversion that dominated in the first century A.H., and the broad consensus on the topic that developed after this. She goes on to say that although female conversion to Islam has received some attention in historical studies, there has been less focus on the legal discourse surrounding this question, and that she seeks to contribute to this discussion in the article.
  • Charlotte Ku examines how receptive Islamic law states (ILS) are to international law’s tools and forums for the peaceful resolution disputes in “What Can Islamic Law Practice Tell Us About the Peaceful Resolution of International Disputes” (International Studies Review 22, no.3 (2020)). In this article Ku claims to build on Emilia Powell’s study of how receptive Islamic law states (ILS) are to international law’s tools and forums for the peaceful resolution of disputes. She expands on this by saying that this question is important for institutions that are specifically created to adjudicate international disputes across legal systems and cultures, such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Ku concludes that understanding receptivity can help us assess a state’s preferences in choosing among alternative forums for dispute resolution, ranging from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to ad-hoc arbitration.
  • Abdul-Rahman Mustafa examines an ongoing debate in Islamic ritual law concerning the effect of nail polish on one’s ritual purity in “Ritual and Rationality in Islam: A Case Study on Nail Polish” (Islamic Law and Society 27, no.3 (2020)). Mustafa claims that ritual law serves as the canvas on which some of the most intriguing debates on Islamic theology, rationality, and legal reasoning are sketched out as rival conceptualizations of the nature of God and generate rival sets of jurisprudential and legal doctrines. He concludes to say that the study of ritual law also reveals key fault lines in contemporary Sunni Islamic legal and theological thought. He supports this conclusion by highlighting the ways in which scholars expressing varying degrees of sympathy with Salafism create new positions in Sunni law, while continuing to champion principles and precedents valorized in Salafism.

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