The Anthropology of Islamic Law: Education, Ethics, and Legal Interpretation at Egypt's Al-Azhar

ISBN : 9780190932886

Aria Nakissa
328 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2019
Oxford Islamic Legal Studies
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The Anthropology of Islamic Law shows how hermeneutic theory and practice theory can be brought together to analyze cultural, legal, and religious traditions. These ideas are developed through an analysis of the Islamic legal tradition, which examines both Islamic legal doctrine and religious education. The book combines anthropology and Islamist history, using ethnography and in-depth analysis of Arabic religious texts. The book focuses on higher religious learning in contemporary Egypt, examining its intellectual, ethical, and pedagogical dimensions. Data is drawn from fieldwork inside al-Azhar University, Cairo University's Dar al-Ulum, and the network of traditional study circles associated with the al-Azhar mosque. Together these sites constitute the most important venue for the transmission of religious learning in the contemporary Muslim world. The book gives special attention to contemporary Egypt, and also provides a broader analysis relevant to Islamic legal doctrine and religious education throughout history.


Section I: Theory, Ethnography, History
Chapter 1: Hermeneutic Theory and Practice Theory in the Study of Cultural, Legal, and Religious Traditions
Chapter 2: Higher Religious Learning in Modern Egypt
Section II: Traditional Islamic Learning and Legal Doctrine
Chapter 3: Sharia, Sunna, and Ethics
Chapter 4: Acquiring Knowledge through Companionship (Suhba)
Chapter 5: The Sanad
Chapter 6: Taking From the Mouths of Shaykhs (Mushafaha)
Section III: A New Perspective on Islamic Legal Doctrine
Chapter 7: The Structure of Islamic Legal Thought
Section IV: Modern Reform
Chapter 8: Reorganizing Time and Space
Chapter 9: Transforming the Act of Reading
Chapter 10: Salafism and Wasatism

About the author: 

Aria Nakissa is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.

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