Fatwas: diverse in form, diverse in reach

After the first session of my Islamic law seminar this fall, I chose the readings for each class with an eye on the particular interests of the enrolled students. Accordingly, of the three fatwas we read, spanning the fourteenth and twentieth centuries, the first reflected one student’s interest in medical ethics. The fatwa in question … Continue reading Fatwas: diverse in form, diverse in reach

Law in Action, in the Peripheral Vision of the Sources

In my last post I referenced Jack Tannous’s metaphor of “dark matter,” which draws our attention to the scattered traces of the vast majority of premodern Muslims who have left us few direct records of their opinions. In this post I’d like to suggest another metaphor, “peripheral vision.” We can think of the disciplines and … Continue reading Law in Action, in the Peripheral Vision of the Sources

The Making of a Colonial Islamic Law in Northern Nigeria

[This post is a sequel to part 1, addressing secularism and Nigeria's colonial legacy] Situated within a broader research project aimed at disentangling the complex struggles over religion-state relations in colonial Northern Nigeria, my article, “Secularizing Islam: The Colonial Encounter and the Making of a British Colonial Islamic Criminal Law in Northern Nigeria, 1903-58” tells … Continue reading The Making of a Colonial Islamic Law in Northern Nigeria

Different genres, different approaches

For the first session of my graduate seminar “Readings in Islamic Law” this fall, I asked students to read two texts: a hadith on divorce initiated by the wife (al-Bukhārī, Kitāb al-Khulʿ, story of the wife of Thābit b. Qays) and a legal debate between Abū Isḥāq al-Shīrāzī and al-Dāmaghānī in the eleventh century (from … Continue reading Different genres, different approaches

Program in Islamic Law Celebrates Its New English Translation of al-Muwaṭṭaʾ

Earlier this fall, the Program in Islamic Law published the eighth volume in its Harvard Series on Islamic Law, an English translation of al-Muwaṭṭaʾ, the Royal Moroccan Edition, The Recension of Yaḥyā Ibn Yaḥyā al-Laythī. On December 9th, PIL celebrated the book’s launch by bringing together scholars from the accompanying online roundtable in a roundtable … Continue reading Program in Islamic Law Celebrates Its New English Translation of al-Muwaṭṭaʾ

Folk Interpretation and the “Dark Matter” of Pre-Modern Islamic Law

In his recent book The Making of the Medieval Middle East (Princeton University Press, 2018), Jack Tannous draws attention to the overwhelming majority of “simple” Christians and Muslims with minimal exposure to (or interest in) the rarefied doctrinal issues that dominate the received history of Late Antique Christianity and early Islam. He argues that, like … Continue reading Folk Interpretation and the “Dark Matter” of Pre-Modern Islamic Law

:: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Journey of the Muwaṭṭaʾ in different periods of the history of South Asia: Shāh Walīyullāh’s Pursuit of Mālik

By Ebrahim Moosa (University of Notre Dame)  It is one of those twists of history that in a region famed for hosting the largest number of followers of the Ḥanafī school, and large numbers of the Shāfiʿī, Ahl al-Ḥadīth (salafī), Jaʿfarī, and Ismāʿīlī schools, South Asia can also boast a healthy interest in the Muwaṭṭaʾ … Continue reading :: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Journey of the Muwaṭṭaʾ in different periods of the history of South Asia: Shāh Walīyullāh’s Pursuit of Mālik

:: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Mālik, the Muwaṭṭa’, and Sunni Identity

By Jonathan Brown (Georgetown University)  I once found myself trapped on a phone call with an exercised adherent of the Ḥanafī school of Islamic law who made it clear that the conversation was not going to end until I acknowledged that Abū Ḥanīfa (d. 767), the school’s founder, was the greatest Hadith scholar in Islamic … Continue reading :: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Mālik, the Muwaṭṭa’, and Sunni Identity

Weekend Scholarship Roundup

Ashraf Booley argues that Tunisia should be seen as the vanguard of women-friendly legislation in the Arab world in "Progressive Realisation of Muslim Family Law: The Case of Tunisia," Islamic Law & Law of the Muslim World eJournal, (originally published in Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, Vol. 22, 2019). In the chapter "Islamist Turn in Turkey, … Continue reading Weekend Scholarship Roundup

:: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Introduction

Mohammad Fadel (Professor of Law, University of Toronto) and Connell Monette (Vice President of Academic Affairs, American Academy Casablanca) organized a PIL Forum Roundtable on the recent publication of al-Muwaṭṭaʾ – Recension of Yahya b. Yahya al-Laythī (d. 234/848) by Mālik b. Anas, distributed through Harvard University Press. This translation is based on the recently … Continue reading :: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Introduction