Video: Understanding Sharia: Islamic Law in a Globalised World

The Ismaili Centre London hosted a reception and launch event last month for the newly released book Understanding Sharia: Islamic Law in a Globalised World published by I.B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS). The book encourages new thinking about the history of sharia and its role in the world today.

Based on years of research, the publication has been written by Raficq S. Adbulla and Dr Mohamed M. Keshavjee, both British trained and qualified lawyers. Although the authors claim that this is not an academic book, as it is easily accessible to read, it is an academic and timely piece of research.

The authors suggest that Islamic Law and jurisprudence are neither an exclusive legal system nor a fixed set of beliefs. Instead, the book proposes that sharia is underpinned by ethical principles, and is open to change depending on context and circumstance. As such, the authors encourage new thinking about the history of sharia and its role in the world today.

The numerous themes covered in the book include the historical development, geographical expansion, and multiple manifestations of sharia, as well as a commentary on modern topics of relevance such as human rights, gender considerations, and criminal justice in the context of Islamic Law. Understanding Sharia: Islamic Law in a Globalised World addresses the gaps in our knowledge of sharia.

Their publication has been endorsed by academics of various fields and theologians of different religions; Christian, Jewish, and Muslim alike. The book launch event at the Ismaili Centre London took the form of a conversation with the authors, moderated by Russell Harris, an accomplished writer and translator, who also edited the book.

Understanding Sharia: Islamic Law in a Globalised World is now available to purchase, along with a number of other publications released this year, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the IIS.

Educated in Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford, Raficq S. Adbulla is a founding member of the Advisory Panel of the Muslim Law Shariah Council (UK), and is also the author of three books on poetry. In 1999 he was awarded an MBE for his interfaith work. 

Dr Mohamed M. Keshavjee completed a PhD at SOAS, University of London with a focus on Islamic Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and now speaks on ADR at conferences around the world. In 2016, he was awarded the Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award for his work on peace and human rights education.​

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For more information on the book, including purchasing details, visit the IIS website.