Tag Islam

Notions of Common Law in Medieval Islam

Mohammad Fadel— The great western scholar of Islamic law, the late Joseph Schacht, famously characterized Islamic law as a “jurist’s law,” by which he meant to draw scholarly attention to the central role that scholars of the law—the fuqahāʾ (s. faqīh)—played in the formulation of Islamic law in contrast to

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Translating a Sixteenth-Century Sufi Advice Book

Adam Sabra— Most of what Western readers know about Islamic political thought pertains to institutions such as the caliphate and sultanate or to the role of Islamic law in the construction of an Islamic society and polity. But if we examine texts that are older than our daily newspapers, we

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Bound Together by Law

Jessica M. Marglin— Terrorism; attacks on a kosher supermarket in Paris; fights over who can pray on the Temple Mount, known in Arabic as the Haram al-Sharif. When we juxtapose Jews and Muslims today, these are the sorts of associations that usually come to mind. The conflict in Israel/Palestine, and

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The Future of European Muslims

From our London office: In recent months, the rise of far-right parties in different European countries and events such as the UK’s vote for Brexit have prompted heated debates about immigration and cultural integration across Europe and the world. Tarek Osman, author of Islamism: What it Means for the Middle East and the

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Tolerating Intolerance: Fanaticism and Free Speech

Stephen Eric Bronner— An old friend once told me that being a decent person means having a guilty conscience. And there was enough to feel guilty about as 2015 unfolded. Ethical uncertainty over how a liberal society should deal with the intolerant has become strikingly evident following the murders of four French

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Clinging to Hope Amid the Carnage: A Response to Violent Extremism

Sherman A. Jackson— “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!” This was the cry of the Parisian gunmen fleeing the scene of what they had to know would spell their ultimate doom. For as “committed Muslims,” they had to believe the Qur’an’s promise that their own eyes and ears would finally

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Of Africa

One night in Germany in 2009, after having given a talk that pointed out the atrocities committed on African soil by Islam and Christianity, Wole Soyinka was confronted by a young man, who loudly remarked across the entire dinner table, “Africans, you must admit, are inherently inferior. You must be,

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The Pride of the Veil

When one hears the term dress code, images come to mind of the French teenage media darlings of last winter, fighting for their right to wear skimpier clothes to school. A new school rule had stated that inappropriate clothing choices like short skirts, piercings, board shorts, and clothing with holes

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Voices for Tolerance Raised Above Religious Conflict

Richard Dawkins famously argues that religion is “the root of all evil,” leading inevitably to intolerance, violence, and worse. Yet in Abraham’s Children: Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict, the collection’s editor Kelly James Clark sets himself firmly against such arguments. “How does one determine,” Clark asks,

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Islamic Distinctions

For more than a decade now, “Islam” has been a contentious word, associated alternately with terrorism, political regimes, and a widely misunderstood religious faith. Since September 11, 2001, American political commentators have been split between those who call the acts of terrorism typified by the destruction of the World Trade

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