Into the Bazaar

By Fahad Bishara There’s nothing like a global pandemic to get us to appreciate how far we’ve come in thinking about the history of law and economic life in the Islamic world over the last decade or so. In my reading of it, the field is crossing an important threshold: it was once a popular … Continue reading Into the Bazaar

Thank you, Yossef Rapoport!

Many thanks to Yossef Rapoport for joining us as the guest blog editor throughout the month of March. In case you missed any of his blog posts on the theme of customary law, here they are: Problematizing Custom and Customary Law Whose Custom is it? On the Disinheritance of Women Bury the Hatchet, Bedouin Style … Continue reading Thank you, Yossef Rapoport!

Bury the Hatchet, Bedouin Style

By Yossef Rapoport The burying of the hatchets was part of the diplomatic culture among the Iroquois Five Nations of northeastern North America. In negotiating with outsiders, they refer to burying hatchets in a deep hole, over which they planted a tree to symbolize peace. This localized Iroquois custom was encountered by European settlers in … Continue reading Bury the Hatchet, Bedouin Style

On the Disinheritance of Women

By Yossef Rapoport In his introduction to his influential and widely-cited survey on tribal law in the Arab world, Frank Stewart posits that weak pre-modern Muslim states were unable to extinguish the customary laws of the Bedouin, and even allowed these customary laws to take hold in village communities. Following Schacht, Stewart leads us to … Continue reading On the Disinheritance of Women

Whose Custom is it?

By Yossef Rapoport Was custom a valid source of law for Muslim jurists? The straightforward, formal answer is no, as customary practice is not one of the classical four sources. But the historically-grounded answer, based on recent extensive scholarship, is that the Islamic legal tradition developed several mechanisms to grant approval to customary practices, even … Continue reading Whose Custom is it?

Problematizing Custom and Customary Laws

By Yossef Rapoport Recent scholarship on Islamic law tends to accord a positive value to custom. In Wael Hallaq’s compelling narrative, custom and customary law were the medium by which the universal principles of the Sharīʿa were localized and translated into the social order: "Having evolved over the millennia, and adapting to every political, dynastic and … Continue reading Problematizing Custom and Customary Laws

Thank you, Haider Hamoudi

Thank you to Haider Hamoudi for joining us as the guest blog editor throughout the month of February. In case you missed any of his posts, here they are collected for your reference: Will Baghdad’s Government Decide Shi’i Islam’s Future Highest Jurist? Religion-State Entanglements and the Waqf in Iraq The Libyan Supreme Court and the … Continue reading Thank you, Haider Hamoudi

The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law: A Review of Possessed by the Right Hand, by Bernard Freamon

For my final guest post on this esteemed Islamic Law Blog, I wanted to highlight the publication of a recent book on a subject that has not received the treatment it deserves in the Islamic world. This is the highly charged matter of slavery, which Professor Bernard Freamon tackles admirably in Possessed by the Right … Continue reading The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law: A Review of Possessed by the Right Hand, by Bernard Freamon

The Libyan Supreme Court and the Meaning of Ribā: A New Approach?

One of the most vexing problems that modern high courts face when interpreting and applying Islamic law concerns the taking of money interest. The framework of the basic problem tends to be the same, whether the state is Egypt, Iraq, or Pakistan. Libya’s most recent foray into this field deserves some attention, however, because it … Continue reading The Libyan Supreme Court and the Meaning of Ribā: A New Approach?

Will Baghdad’s Government Decide Shi’i Islam’s Future Highest Jurist? Religion-State Entanglements and the Waqf in Iraq

One largely unnoticed development that has arisen in Iraq since the US invasion in 2003 has been the manner in which the Iraqi state and the Shi’i religious establishment known broadly as the marjaʿiyya have bound themselves rather tightly together in the area of waqf law. This is important, because the waqf business in Iraq … Continue reading Will Baghdad’s Government Decide Shi’i Islam’s Future Highest Jurist? Religion-State Entanglements and the Waqf in Iraq