Law and Society in Islam

Publication Year



Amy Singer, Ph.D. 1989.

This book covers significant themes explaining the practice of Islamic law.

The first essay 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 Shiite 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 essay 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 essay 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 of Northern Palestine creates a colorful picture of life in the sixteenth century.

Table of Contents

A.L. Udovitch

Devin J. Stewart
Taqiyyah as Performance: The Travels of Baha al-Din al-Amili in the Ottoman Empire

Baber Johansen
The Valorization of the Human Body in Muslim Sunni Law

Amy Singer
Marriages and Misdemeanors

Markus Wiener Publishers
Princeton, NJ