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This book is about Islamic law not merely as a doctrinal corpus, object of academic inquiry and analysis, but first and foremost, as a living reality in contemporary Muslim societies where it is enforced as a positive law of the state.
The book shows 19th- and 20th-century Islamic law as a dynamic process casting its net into the 21st century, shaper of major constitutional and legal developments in the Arab and Muslim worlds already underway, and with drastic and far-reaching consequences for the future of these countries and their relations with other states.
The modern process of positivization of Shari'a, that is its ongoing transformation into a law of the nation-state, poses a number of burning questions. What is the legal domain of the new Shari'a? What are its relations to the modern Western-structured judicial apparatus of Middle-Eastern states ? What portions of the historical substantive Islamic rulings are to take precedence in its formulation ? The introduction and nine chapters of this volume provide some answers to these questions.
The book contains three studies on marriage and divorce, of which two deal with recent changes in Islamic marriage law in the 1990s in Egypt and Saudi Arabia; three studies on contract law in the new civil codes of Egypt, Iraq and Syria; one study on the ideological springs of Muhammad 'Abduh's visionary program for the reconstruction of shari'a; one on the place of Islamic law in the judicial doctrine and policy of the Egyptian state as expressed in the 1980s and 1990s rulings and decisions of Egypt's High Constitutional Court; and one study on Legal Capacity, showing Muslim jurists at grips with modern concerns about basic individual rights.
It should prove useful to Middle-East area-specialists, family and women-studies, sociologists and legal scholars and practitioners, as well as to the general reader interested in the richness and variety of world legal systems.