Review: An Introduction to Islamic Law

An Introduction to Islamic LawAn Introduction to Islamic Law by Wael B. Hallaq
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book will prove uncomfortable for all readers. For those Westerners who think they know what Shari’a is this book will show them that they are, in fact, probably incorrect. For Muslims who think that Shari’a has always been the same immutable legal code, this book will suggest to them that they too are incorrect.

Although an introductory text, this book by Wael B. Hallaq, Professor of Humanities at Columbia University, covers a basic description of Islamic Law (Shari’a) and its history and development in broad strokes from the formative period of Islam to the contemporary milieu of the modern nation-state.

Given the ongoing conversations around extremist versions of Islam, and their particular rigorist interpretation of Shari’a, this book is a must read for anyone wishing to engage in that public conversation – if only so they are aware of what it is they are talking about.

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