The notion ‘local’ is more complex than earlier sharp distinctions between, for instance, the concept of ‘great’ and ‘little’ (or ‘folk’) traditions as a means of describing large-scale civilizations such as Islam.
However, it must be emphasized that the notion carries the misleading implication of something provincial, or an inferior and imperfect realization of a ‘genuine’ or ‘high’ culture of religious belief and practice. Although this misconceptualization is sometimes the case, it cannot be generalized, since the term ‘local’ refers to the concepts of culture, religion and law, which are not under the auspices of the state or the leading elite whether ‘genuine’, ‘high’ and ‘perfect’ or not. Local Muslim laws exist in England as well. It is now evident that there is a phenomenon of Muslim ‘legal pluralism’ stemming from the existence of unofficial local Muslim laws operating in England. Expectations of assimilation have not become a reality and Muslims have not jettisoned their local religious laws.
About the Author
Ihsan Yilmaz, research Chair of Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. His research is focused on Islam-state-society relations in Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt and Central Asia along with research into political participation and legal pluralism in Muslim minority communities, particularly in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Title: Is having a personal law system a solution – Journal of Islamic Studies
Author: Ihsan Yilmaz
Published in: Journal for Islamic Studies, Vol. 20, 2000. Pp. 99-124
Length: 25 pages