Weekend Scholarship Roundup

  • In a book review titled “Isn’t the Opposite Equally True?” written for the London Review of Books, former Program in Islamic Law fellow Lawrence Rosen (Princeton University) reviews two recent publications, Laurence Louër’s Sunnis and Shi‘a: A Political History (Princeton University Press, 2020) and Kim Ghattas’s Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East (Henry Holt and Co., 2020). 
  • In a podcast by the New Books Network, Nurfadzilah Yahaya (National University of Singapore) talks about how she became interested in Islamic law scholarship as well as her recent book titled Fluid Jurisdictions: Colonial Law and Arabs in Southeast Asia (Cornell University Press, 2020), which sheds light on how colonial administration of the institution of philanthropy, in the form of implementing distorted rules of the Islamic waqf, roughly defined as an Islamic charitable institution,  resulted in dispossession for many Muslims in Southeast Asia. 
  • In “Seeing Like a Khedivate: Taxing Endowed Agricultural Land, Proofs of Ownership, and the Land Administration in Egypt, 1869” (Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 63, (2020)), Adam Mestyan (Duke University) focuses on nineteenth century Egypt, a semi-autonomous Ottoman province, to test extant theories of state modernization vis-a-vis sovereignty and government capacity. Mestyan’s argument is that endowed agricultural land played an important role in Egypt’s modernization, which also intervenes in ongoing debates around the compatibility of Islamic endowments and modernization and economic development.
  • Salma Waheedi’s (Harvard Law School) and Musawah’s teams have put together an interactive project mapping out recent developments in the family laws of thirty-one Muslim-majority countries. Titled “Mapping of Muslim Family Laws Globally,” the project seeks to document progress in family law and practice across Muslim nations with an additional focus on the extent to which these countries comply with their CEDAW obligations.
  • In an article originally (in Arabic) appearing in the Saudi daily al-Watan (October 28, 2020), Islamic law scholar Ahmad Al-Rudaiman (University of Hail) contends that emotional and violent reactions against blasphemous depictions of and statements against the Prophet contradict the practice of the Prophet’s companions, who “restrain[ed] their anger and ke[pt] their distance from the infidels.”
  • In his essay titled “A Knowledge Tree of Mālikī Fiqh Texts and Authors,” David Drennan (The University of Sydney) maps out the evolution and transmission of Mālikī jurisprudence from Mālik, the school’s eponymous founder, to his followers today. Drennan traces notable figures who played a crucial role in the chain of transmission as well as the key texts that were transmitted. Among these texts is the Muwaṭṭaʾ which Mālik taught for forty years and of which multiple recensions exist. The Program in Islamic Law recently celebrated its publication of an English translation of the Muwaṭṭaʾ  by Mohammad Fadel and Connell Monette, and hosted an online roundtable on the English translation.

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