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Book: The Justice of Islam, Comparative Perspectives on Islamic Law and Society

The book “The Justice of Islam, Comparative Perspectives on Islamic Law and Society” was written by Lawrence Rosen and published by Oxford University Press.

One out of five people in the world today lives subject to Islamic law, but stereotypes of rigid doctrine or harsh punishment obscure an understanding of the values and style of reasoning that characterize everyday Islamic adjudication. By considering its larger social and cultural context Islamic law is shown to be a kind of common law system: justice is sought through a careful assessment of persons, more than facts, and justice resides not in equality but in a quest for equivalence.

Through ordinary court proceedings the style of reasoning is seen to be embedded in a set of cultural assumptions, thus rendering the study of Islamic legal proceedings a window on Muslim society generally. Using data ranging from the courts of North Africa to the treatment of Islam in American courts, from a reinterpretation of the Prophet’s sociological jurisprudence to the analysis of Islamic concepts of responsibility and trust these essays demonstrate the enduring appeal of Islamic law in the lives of everyday adherents.

Table of contents
Part One: The socio-logic of Islamic legal reasoning
1. Equity and discretion in Islamic law
2. Islamic case-law and the logic of consequence
3. Islamic law as common law: Power, culture, and the reconfiguration of legal taxonomies
4. Responsibility and compensatory justice in Arab culture and law

Part Two: In and out of court
5. From courtroom to courtyard: Law and custom in popular legal culture
6. On the docket: Changing conventions in a Muslim court, 1965-1995
7. Local justice: A day in an alternative court
8. Who do you trust? Structuring confidence in Arab law and society

Part Three: Justice past and present
9. Islamic concepts of justice and injustice
10. Muhammad’s sociological jurisprudence
11. Private thoughts, public utterances: Law, privacy, and the consequences for community
12. Islam and Islamic culture in the courts of the United States

Author (Lawrence Rosen) of the book is Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Princeton University.

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