Since Islam: Its Law and Society was first published in 1999, there have been a number of events which have brought Islam and its followers into the forefront of discussion in western society. The most notable of these were the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001 and the subsequent London and Bali bombings which led to unprecedented security legislation in western countries, including Australia, and to a public climate of fear and distrust of Islam and Muslims.
At the same time, there has been a huge expansion of the Islamic finance industry throughout the world, and governments in western countries, including Australia, have been seeking ways of taking advantage of the financial benefits of Shariah compliant banking and finance. Additionally, as Muslims have settled in western countries in larger numbers, there has been much discussion of the ways in which they should integrate into the legal system and culture of their new societies.
This book provides an introduction to Islamic law for western readers. It explains the origin and development of the Shariah (Islamic law). It contains updated chapters on the Islamic laws of War and Peace, including juristic opinions on the legality of suicide bombing and the use of modern weapons of mass destruction. It explains the commonalities and the differences in family laws, and the differences in Muslim opinion concerning the status of women. It contains a completely rewritten chapter on Islamic finance and rounds off with a look at Muslim communities in Australia and the way they live their lives.
Perceptions of Islam and its LawA Brief Survey of Islamic HistoryIslamic JurisprudenceIslamic Laws on War and PeaceWomen in Islamic LawMarriage in Islamic LawIslamic Family LifeDivorce according to Islamic LawInheritance, Wills and WaqfIslamic Law and Modern Medical PracticesIslamic Criminal LawEvidence in Islamic LawIslamic Commercial LawIslamic Banking and InsuranceIslam and Muslims in AustraliaGlossary of Arabic TermsReferencesIndex
Reviews of previous editions:
The book covers a broad swathe of the legal rules and traditions which affect the Muslim community. The first three chapters, covering an introduction to Islamic law, history and jurisprudence, provide a useful foundation for readers unfamiliar with Islam. Thereafter, there are more detailed chapters dealing with Islamic laws on war and peace, the role of women, marriage and divorce, inheritance and wills, as well as more recent issues such as new medical technology and Islamic banking. There are also interesting chapters on Islamic commercial law and a concluding chapter on Muslims in Australia. A useful glossary of Arabic terms appears at the end of the book. …
One of the subtler points which runs throughout the book [is] that there is not one universal interpretation of Islamic law held by Muslims worldwide. …
Generally, I found the book to be informative, fair and quite open in its treatment of sensitive questions, such as the right of Muslim men in traditional Islamic society to have up to four wives simultaneously, is clear and pointed. Such openness is laudable …
Dr Benny Tabalujan, Law Institute Journal (Victoria), September 2004
Jamila Hussain’s book explores many aspects of life and law under Islam including war and peace, marriage, divorce, inheritance, criminal law and commercial law. In each of these areas, the tension between modern and traditional interpretation’s of the Prophet’s teachings is evident. Present-day Islamic nations reflect the differing approaches to life under Islam with Saudi Arabia positioned at the fundamentalist extreme, while Indonesia reflects a more moderate approach.
In each of the areas of law and society she examines, Hussain gives examples of the different approaches and makes it clear that the life experiences of an Islamic person, and more particularly and significantly, an Islamic woman, varies enormously across the globe. …
Hussain says “I believe strongly that ignorance is the cause of most bigotry and hatred and wrote the book to try to give mainstream Australians some knowledge, and hopefully a better understanding, of the Islamic aspects of the cultures of Australia’s closest neighbours to the north.” Readers of Jamila Hussain’s book will effectively gain that knowledge and understanding.
Judge Sarah Bradley, The Queensland Lawyer, December 2004
It addresses a number of commonly held misconceptions … It is interesting reading and a thorough introduction for people who want to know more about Islam.
Educational Book Review (India), January-February 2004