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Islamic law (the Shari'a) and its application is a central issue in contemporary Islamic politics and culture. Starting from modern concerns, this book examines the origins and evolution of the Shari'a and the corpus of texts, concepts and practices in which it has been enshrined. Sami Zubaida here considers key historical episodes of political accommodations and contests between scholars and sultans. Drawing on modern examples, mainly from Egypt and Iran, Zubaida explores how the Shari'a has evolved and mutated to accommodate the workings of a modern state. Law and Power in the Islamic World is an original and significant contribution to the debates surrounding Islam and ideas of modernity. As such its appeal and importance range across a wide spectrum of readers.