by MATT LONG for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on SEPTEMBER 23, 2015: 

51vgUjZ2OcL._SL160_The Second Formation of Islamic Law: The Hanafi School in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2015) is a new contribution to the study of Islam and more specifically to the history of Islamic Law and its development. Guy Burak, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies librarian at New York University, explores the Ottomans’ adoption of one branch of the Hanafi legal tradition as the official school (madhhab) of the dynasty. The period of time in which this process occurred was during the 15th to 18th centuries, and Burak focuses on the lands of Greater Syria. What Burak seeks to illustrate is that through the adoption of an official school of law, the Ottoman hierarchy played a significant role in how the school of law was shaped. Examples Burak provides to demonstrate this phenomenon are the institutionalization of the position of mufti, the formalization of genealogical literature (tabaqat), and the canonization process of books essential to the school. In addition to examining the propagators of official Ottoman positions, Burak also examines how scholars not part of the Ottoman mainstream branch functioned and responded to these changes. Overall, this work represents and important contribution to the study of Islam, the history of Islamic Law, and Ottoman Studies.

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH BURAK

In September 2014 the Duke Islamic Studies Center (which manages the Transcultural Islam Project of which TIRN is a part), announced its official institutional affiliation with New Books in Islamic Studies — a bi-weekly audio podcast featuring hour long conversations with authors of exciting new research. For an archive see HERE.

by ARI ARIEL for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on JUNE 20, 2015: 

61pOfUOi1FL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_During the early twentieth century, Yemeni Jews operated within a legal structure that defined them as dhimmi, that is, non-Muslims living as a protected population under the sovereignty of an Islamic state. In exchange for the payment of a poll tax, the jizya, and the acknowledged of supremacy of Islam, their lives and property were to be inviolable. Although this framework burdened Jews with some legal disadvantages, for example a Muslim’s witness testimony was worth double that of a Jew’s in court, it allowed for the integration of Jews into Yemen’s complex hierarchical social structure, and not always at the bottom of that structure.

Mark S. Wagner’s book Jews and Islamic Law in Early 20th-Century Yemen (Indiana University Press, 2015) examines how Jews negotiated this Islamic legal system, both in shariah courts and in extralegal settings. Wagner employs numerous Arabic and Hebrew sources, particularly the memoirs of prominent Yemeni Jews such as Salim Said al-Jamal, Salih al-Zahiri, Salim Mansurah, and others, and the primary document collections they have preserved. Through their first-hand accounts, anecdotes, and archives, Wagner interrogates how the Yemeni Jewish elite understood its social and political position in Yemen. These men used their knowledge of Arabic and Islamic law, and their status as intermediaries between the state authorities and the Jewish community, to preserve their own positions and to benefit other members of the Jewish community. Wagner’s work deepens our understanding of Muslim-Jewish relations in Yemen and the place of non-Muslims in Islamic law in general.

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH WAGNER

In September 2014 the Duke Islamic Studies Center (which manages the Transcultural Islam Project of which TIRN is a part), announced its official institutional affiliation with New Books in Islamic Studies — a bi-weekly audio podcast featuring hour long conversations with authors of exciting new research. For an archive see HERE.

by KRISTIAN PETERSEN for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on JUNE 2, 2015: 

Marion Homes Katz
Marion Homes Katz

Recently, there have been various debates within the Muslim community over women’s mosque attendance. While contemporary questions of modern society structure current conversations, this question, ‘may a Muslim woman go to the mosque,’ is not a new one. In Women in the Mosque: A History of Legal Thought and Social Practice (Columbia University Press, 2014), Marion Holmes Katz, Professor of Islamic Studies at New York University, traces the juristic debates around women’s mosque attendance.

Unknown-1Katz outlines the various arguments, caveats, and positions of legal scholars in the major schools of law and demonstrates that despite some differing opinions there was generally a downward progression towards gendered exclusion in mosques. were engaged in at the mosque, the time of day, the permission of their husbands or guardians, attire, and the multitude of conditions that needed to be met. Later interpreters feared women’s presence in the mosque because they argued it stirred sexual temptation.

Katz pairs these legal discourses with evidence of women’s social practice in the Middle East and North Africa from the earliest historical accounts through the Ottoman period. In our conversation we discuss types of mosque activities, Mamluk Cairo, women’s educational participation, the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the transmission of knowledge, European travelers accounts of Muslim women, night prayers, mosque construction, debates about the mosque in Mecca, and modern developments in legal discussions during the 20th century.

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH HOLMES KATZ 

In September 2014 the Duke Islamic Studies Center (which manages the Transcultural Islam Project of which TIRN is a part), announced its official institutional affiliation with New Books in Islamic Studies — a bi-weekly audio podcast featuring hour long conversations with authors of exciting new research. For an archive see HERE.

Fachrizal Halim, Department of Religion and Culture at the University of Saskatchewan, has announced the publication of his new book: Legal Authority in Premodern Islam (Routledge 2014) 

by FACHRIZAL HALIM via SOCIOLOGY OF ISLAM LISTSERV, DECEMBER 2014: 

Unknown-1Offering a detailed analysis of the structure of authority in Islamic law, this book focuses on the figure of Yahya b. Sharaf al-Nawawi, who is regarded as the chief contributor to the legal tradition known as the Shafi’ madhhab in traditional Muslim sources, named after Muhammad b. Idrs al-Shafi’? (d. 204/820), the supposed founder of the school of law.

Al-Nawawi’s legal authority is situated in a context where Muslims demanded to stabilize legal disposition that is consistent with the authority of the madhhab, since in premodern Islamic society, the ruling powers did not produce or promulgate law, as was the case in other, monarchic civilizations. Al-Nawawi’s place in the long-term formation of the madhhab is significant for many reasons but for one in particular: his effort in reconciling the two major interpretive communities among the Shafi’ites, i.e., the tar?qas of the Iraqians and Khurasanians. This book revisits the history of the Shafi’? school in the pre-Nawawic era and explores its later development in the post-Nawawic period.

Presenting a comprehensive picture of the structure of authority in Islamic law, specifically within the Shafi’ite legal tradition, this book is an essential resource for students and scholars of Islamic Studies, History and Law.