Monday, June 5, 2017

Terem on Islamic Law in Morocco

[We don't usually go this far back, but we missed this one earlier. We’re including it because it’s not every day that we see a monograph on the legal history of Morocco (we posted this on Jessica Marglin’s recent book, speaking of which).] 

Etty Terem, Rhodes College, published Old Texts, New Practices: Islamic Reform in Modern Morocco with Stanford University Press in 2014. From the publisher: 
In 1910, al-Mahdi al-Wazzani, a prominent Moroccan Islamic scholar completed 
his massive compilation of Maliki fatwas. An eleven-volume set, it is the most extensive collection of fatwas written and published in the Arab Middle East during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Al-Wazzani's legal opinions addressed practical concerns and questions: What are the ethical and legal duties of Muslims residing under European rule? Is emigration from non-Muslim territory an absolute duty? Is it ethical for Muslim merchants to travel to Europe? Is it legal to consume European-manufactured goods? It was his expectation that these fatwas would help the Muslim community navigate the modern world. In considering al-Wazzani's work, this book explores the creative process of transforming Islamic law to guarantee the survival of a Muslim community in a changing world. It is the first study to treat Islamic revival and reform from discourses informed by the sociolegal concerns that shaped the daily lives of ordinary people. Etty Terem challenges conventional scholarship that presents Islamic tradition as inimical to modernity and, in so doing, provides a new framework for conceptualizing modern Islamic reform. Her innovative and insightful reorientation constructs the origins of modern Islam as firmly rooted in the messy complexity of everyday life.

In praise of the book:

"Are Islamic law and modern social needs compatible? In this thoughtful and engaging study the author provides rare insight into how one man's struggle with this issue produced a body of work that has great currency for the issues now confronting all those who will be impacted by the Arab Spring." -Lawrence Rosen

"This brilliantly conceived and meticulous study revises our understanding of the nature of Islamic reformism. By locating fatwas in their social context, Etty Terem shows how the Maliki jurist al-Wazzani fashioned a characteristically Moroccan response to the societal dangers posed by modernity and colonialism." -Jonathan Katz,

You can read more about the book here.