Law and Society in Islam

TitleLaw and Society in Islam
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsStewart D., Johansen B., Singer A
Number of Pagesxi, 152 p.; 24 cm.
PublisherMarkus Wiener Publishers
CityPrinceton, NJ

This work covers a number of significant themes explaining the practice of Islamic law. The first article treats taqiyyah (literally, “caution”), the concealment of one’s religion when to reveal it would incur danger, which is based on a Koranic passage. The author provides not only a legal and religious analysis of taqiyyah, but also, through the detailed examination of a prominent sixteenth-century Shi‘ite scholar and cleric, reveals a complex pattern of behavior that allows Twelver Shi‘is and other sectarian groups to reduce the risks entailed by participation in societies dominated by a Sunni majority.

The second article inquires into norms for physical and sexual contacts between individuals, even husbands and wives, defining rights to look, to touch, and even to mutilate.

The third article evaluates the Ottoman records of local fines. This report on legal regulations and their execution as well as on practices of law and tradition in villages in northern Palestine create a colorful picture of life in the sixteenth century.