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Muslims, Sacred Texts, and Laws in the Modern World

  • Ihsan YilmazEmail author
Living reference work entry

Abstract

Like secular law, Islamic law (Shari’a) also deals with matters of social, political, and economic interactions. This includes marriage, divorce, inheritance, criminal offenses, contracts, commercial transactions, constitutional law, and international law, basically, paralleling secular law. But, unlike secular law, Islamic law also deals with matters of the individuals’ relations to God, such as praying, fasting, giving alms, pilgrimage, and other issues between the individual and God. Matters related to what we would now refer to as ethics, etiquette, and spirituality are also covered by Shari’a. Although Shari’a, to an extent, is enforced by the state and judges, it is fundamentally enforced by the notion of sanctions in the hereafter, making it markedly different to the secular law. Another critical distinction is that the Islamic law is not framed by the state; rather it was developed at the hands of religious scholars and jurists (ulama) without any central authority that unifies the legal doctrine. This study gives a brief account of the most basic concepts of Shari’a and Islam, with a view to understanding the basis for Islamic law. It then briefly explains some of the differences in Muslim interpretations of Shari’a and the reasons for the emergence of these differences. The study also looks at how Islamic laws have always accommodated a wide degree of pluralism from the beginning and how numerous factors played a role in diversity in interpretations. Muslims’ reactions to modernity and Muslims’ different perspectives on living in the West, under Western non-Muslim polities, are also examined in this chapter.

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Further Reading

  1. Al-Fadl, K. A. (2007). The great theft: Wrestling Islam from the extremists. New York: HarperOne.Google Scholar
  2. Coulson, N. J. (1964). A history of Islamic law. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Hallaq, W. B. (2001). Authority, continuity and change in Islamic law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kamali, M. H. (2008). Shari’ah law: An introduction. Oxford: One world Publications.Google Scholar
  5. Nyazee, I. A. K. (1994). Theories of Islamic law: The methodology of ijtihad. Islamabad: The International Institute of Islamic Thought and Islamic Research Institute.Google Scholar
  6. Yilmaz, I. (2016). Muslim laws, politics and Society in Modern Nation States: Dynamic legal pluralisms in England, Turkey and Pakistan. London/New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Professor and Chair in Islamic Studies and Intercultural DialogueAlfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

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