In August, Hurst Publishing released “Force and Fanaticism: Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and Beyond” by Simon Ross Valentine (Leeds University and Bradford University). The publisher’s description follows:
Wahhabism is an Islamic reform movement found mainly in Saudi Arabia. Closely linked to the Saudi monarchy, it enforces a strict code of morality and conduct monitored by mutawa (religious police), and governs every facet of Saudi life according to its own strict interpretation of Shariah, including gender segregation. Wahhabism also prohibits the practice of any other faith (even other forms of Islam) in Saudi Arabia, which is also the only country that forbids women from driving.
But what exactly is Wahhabism? This question had long occupied Valentine, so he lived in the Kingdom for three years, familiarizing himself with its distinct interpretation of Islam. His book defines Wahhabism and Wahhabi beliefs and considers the life and teaching of Muham-mad ibn Abd’al Wahhab and the later expansion of his sect. Also discussed are the rejection of later developments in Islam such as bid’ah; harmful innovations, among them celebrating the prophet’s birthday and visiting the tombs of saints; the destruction of holy sites due to the fear of idolatry; Wahhabi law, which imposes the death sentence for crimes as archaic as witch-craft and sorcery, and the connection of Wahhabism with militant Islam globally.
Drawing on interviews with Saudis from all walks of life, including members of the feared mutawa, this book appraises of one of the most significant movements in contemporary Islam.
In October, Palgrave Macmillan will release “The Sunna and its Status in Islamic Law: The Search for a Sound Hadith” edited by Adis Duderija (University Malaya, Malaysia). The publisher’s description follows:
The concept of Sunna, as one of the two normative fountainheads of the
Islamic tradition, is of fundamental importance to the understanding of nearly all of the branches of Islamic knowledge including Islamic law and politics. This volume equips readers with a comprehensive overview of the nature and the scope of the concept of Sunna both in pre-modern and modern Islamic contexts and discussions. The various contributors each examine how Sunna was understood and possibly evolved during the formative (the first three centuries Hijri) and classical periods (ending at beginning of sixth century Hijri) of Islamic religious thought. The book focuses on shedding more light on the context in which the term Sunna in the major works of Islamic law and legal theory across all of the major madhahib was employed during the first six centuries Hijri. The Sunna and its Status in Islamic Law delves into and deconstructs the conceptual, epistemological, and hermeneutical relationship between the concepts of Sunna and the concept of sound (sahih) hadith as understood in various Sunni madhahib as well as in early Islamic history and theology.
In October, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Defining Islamic Statehood: Measuring and Indexing Contemporary Muslim States” by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (the Cordoba Initiative). The publisher’s description follows:
What is the real definition of an Islamic state? How do the majority of
Muslims govern themselves? How much do Muslims and non-Muslims really understand about the elements of an Islamic state? How can a true Islamic state function in a modern world? These questions bear heavily on the international community. They dominate the news. They spawn conflict. They generate misinformation. The answers are complex, but finding them is critical. Harnessing the expertise of leading Sunni and Shia academics, Defining Islamic Statehood searches for answers through dialogue, and seeks to define how an Islamic state forms and functions. It examines how Islamic principles bear on a nation’s governance, jurisprudence, culture and policies, and measures how Muslim-majority countries meet the definition by analyzing how they deal with the aspects of modern life.
Together with a group of eminent contributors, ranging from a retired Prime Minister, a former Chief Justice, and internationally recognized academics and experts on Islamic law and governance, Imam Fesial Abdul Rauf identifies and fulfils the critical need to determine the right balance between institutions of political authority and institutions of religious authority within the context of modern day governance.
In October, the University of Exeter Press will release “Hadith, Piety, and Law: Selected Studies,” by Christopher Melchert (Oxford University). The publisher’s description follows:
The publication of The Formation of the Sunni Schools of Law, Ninth-Tenth Centuries C.E., first as a University of Pennsylvania doctoral dissertation in 1992, and subsequently as a monograph in 1997 (Studies in Islamic Law and Society, Brill), established Christopher Melchert as a pre-eminent scholar of the history of Islamic law and institutions. Through close readings of works on fiqh, meticulous unpacking of data in biographical dictionaries, and careful attention to curricular, pious, pedagogical, and scholarly practices, Melchert has subsequently illuminated the processes and procedures that undergirded the development of Islamic movements and institutions in the formative period of Islam.
The present volume brings together sixteen of his articles, including those considered his most important as well as ones that are difficult to access. Originally published between 1997 and 2014, they are arranged chronologically under three rubrics – hadith, piety and law. The material is presented in a new format, updated by Melchert where appropriate, and indexed. The appearance of these articles together in a single volume makes this book a highly significant and welcome contribution to the field of classical Islamic Studies.
This month, Routledge releases “Halal Matters: Islam, Politics and Markets in Global Perspective” edited by Florence Bergeaud-Blackler, (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France), Johan Fischer (University of Huddersfield Business School), and John Lever (Roskilde University, Denmark). The publisher’s description follows:
In today’s globalized world, halal (meaning ‘permissible’ or ‘lawful’) is about more than food. Politics, power and ethics all play a role in the halal industry in setting new standards for production, trade, consumption and regulation. The question of how modern halal markets are constituted is increasingly important and complex. Written from a unique interdisciplinary global perspective, this book demonstrates that as the market for halal products and services is expanding and standardizing, it is also fraught with political, social and economic contestation and difference. The discussion is illustrated by rich ethnographic case studies from a range of contexts, and consideration is given to both Muslim majority and minority societies. Halal Matters will be of interest to students and scholars working across the humanities and social sciences, including anthropology, sociology and religious studies.
In July, the I.B. Tauris International Library of Iranian Studies will release “Political Islam in Post-Revolutionary Iran: Shi’i Ideologies in Islamist Discourse,” by Majid Mohammadi (Stony Brook University). The publisher’s description follows:
The relationship between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Western World is fraught with challenges and tensions. In order to generate the capacity for greater engagement and dialogue, there is a need for the West to better understand the complex ideological developments that are central to Iran. Majid Mohammadi charts the central concepts and nuances of the ideological map of post-revolutionary Iran, and examines the rise and development of Shi’i Islamism. He recognizes that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iranian political discourse are the outcome of contesting perspectives and ideologies: identity-oriented, socialist, nationalist, authoritarian, Shari’a, scripturalist, mystical, militarist and fascist. This is a comprehensive, comparative contribution to one of today’s most important topics: that of the relationship between Political Islam and the West.
Earlier this year, the New York University Press released “Disagreements of the Jurists: A Manual of Islamic Legal Theory,” by Al-Qadi al-Nuʿman, edited and translated by Devin Stewart (Emory University). The publisher’s description follows:
Al-Qadi al-Nuʿman was the chief legal theorist and ideologue of the North African Fatimid dynasty in the tenth century. This translation makes available in English for the first time his major work on Islamic legal theory, which presents a legal model in support of the Fatimids’ principle of legitimate rule over the Islamic community. Composed as part of a grand project to establish the theoretical bases of the official Fatimid legal school, Disagreements of the Jurists expounds a distinctly Shiʿi system of hermeneutics, which refutes the methods of legal interpretation adopted by Sunni jurists.
The work begins with a discussion of the historical causes of jurisprudential divergence in the first Islamic centuries, and goes on to address, point by point, the specific interpretive methods of Sunni legal theory, arguing that they are both illegitimate and ineffective. While its immediate mission is to pave the foundation of the legal Ismaʿili tradition, the text also preserves several Islamic legal theoretical works no longer extant—including Ibn Dawud’s manual, al-Wusul ila maʿrifat al-usul—and thus throws light on a critical stage in the historical development of Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh) that would otherwise be lost to history.
In July, Edward Elgar Publishing will release “Islam and the Law of Armed Conflict: Essential Readings” edited by Niaz A. Shah (University of Hull, UK). The publisher’s description follows:
This important collection reveals a multiplicity of perspectives on the Islamic law of war and peace. Prefaced by an original introduction, the carefully selected works demonstrate how the concept of Jihad is interpreted or misinterpreted. They also examine the rules applicable during the conduct of armed conflict and the significance of peace and security within Islamic tradition. The collection provides valuable insights into the compatibility of the Islamic law of war and peace and the law of armed conflict, demonstrating how the former could minimise unnecessary human suffering during armed conflict. This book is an essential source of reference for everyone interested in this vital relationship.
This June, Tughra Books will release “General Principles in the Risale-i Nur Collection for a True Understanding of Islam” by Ali Ünal. The publisher’s description follows:
The Risale-i Nur Collection is full of “general principles,” not only related to the Islamic Jurisprudence but also to all the fields of Islam or Islamic life and Islamic branches of knowledge. Based on or specially favored with profound wisdom having its source in the Divine Wisdom or the Divine Name of the All-Wise, the Risale-i Nur Collection contains numerous principles, precepts, or maxims which are standards or brilliant criteria enabling people to think, believe, and live according to Islam, and to evaluate and judge things and events in Islam’s light. They also provide people with the essentials or basic principles on which the branches of Islamic knowledge and Islamic science are based. Thus, we have tried to collect many of these principles in this book under certain titles, and in certain parts or sections according to the fields of thought and branches of knowledge to which they have a greater relevance.
The University of Zurich is soliciting papers for its Electronic Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (EJIMEL). The Journal is seeking a wide range of unpublished scholarly submissions dealing with Middle Eastern and Islamic law from interdisciplinary perspectives:
The Editors … cordially invite both recognized authorities and younger experts in law, as well as related disciplines, and legal practitioners to take part in this discourse by submitting papers dealing with Middle Eastern and Islamic law from a variety of perspectives, and hence reflect Islam’s variety itself. We further encourage scholars to present interdisciplinary research in which law, both Shari’a and secular, is brought face to face with not strictly legal disciplines such as social and political sciences, religion and economics, in order to further a comprehensive understanding of the simultaneity of persistence and change in the area of Islamic and Middle Eastern law in a wider context.
EJIMEL welcomes a wide range of unpublished scholarly submissions such as articles, commentaries, reports on contemporary developments, book reviews, judgments as well as notes on recent legislation, case law and guidelines on future changes from the targeted law orders.
Further information and guidelines can be found here.