Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law


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Table of Contents

1: Dhimmis, Shari'a, and Empire
2: Reason, Contract, and the Obligation to Obey
3: Pluralism, Dhimmi Rules, and the Regulation of Difference
4: The Rationale of Empire and the Hegemony of Law
5: Shari'a as Rule of Law
6: The Dhimmi Rules in the Post-Colonial Muslim State
7: Religious Minorities and the Empire of the Law

About the Author

Anver M. Emon is Professor of Law at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law. Emon's research focuses on premodern and modern Islamic legal history and theory; premodern modes of governance and adjudication; and the role of Shari'a both inside and outside the Muslim world. The author of Islamic Natural Law Theories (OUP 2010) and Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue (with M Levering and D Novak, OUP 2014), Professor Emon is
the founding editor of Middle East Law and Governance: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and one of the general editors of the Oxford Islamic Legal Studies series.


`Polytheists and the irreligious were anathematized in classical Islam, but it assigned People of the Book, mainly Christians and Jews, to an intermediate protected category, the dhimma. Much writing on this institution takes sides, arguing that it was a mechanism either for interreligious harmony or for persecution of minorities. Anver Emon, in his weighty and original Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law, rejects both opposing views, as well as the concept
of tolerance as a useful analytical tool....
[W]hat gives this study a surprising topicality is the comparison that Emon draws with the arguments deployed by Euro-American courts today when rights of religious minorities conflict with the imperative of social cohesion.'
Jonathan Benthall, Times Literary Supplement
`This brilliant and ground-breaking work of scholarship brings about a revolution in the way non-Muslim minorities are viewed in Muslim societies and Shari'a...This is a must read for anyone interested in the comparative study of religious pluralism in Islamic and Western law.'
James Tully, University of Victoria, Canada
`In this book, Emon offers a reasoned and much needed historical, sociological, and legal frame for understanding attitudes towards the other within Islam. More provocatively, but equally convincingly, he draws comparisons between Islamic law and the travails of contemporary Western legal codes in wrestling with its own other - often in the form of the veiled Muslim woman. The challenges to these legal orders are surprisingly similar, as are the problematic
and (in a liberal individualist light) the 'intolerant' responses of each. Emon's book is to be read carefully.'
Adam Seligman, Professor of Religion, Boston University, USA
`This book is a major contribution to the recent debates on Shari'a, rule of law and pluralism...Emon offers a groundbreaking study of Shari'a as unavoidably embedded in an 'enterprise of governance'. Comparing the legal debates on the dhimmis with recent legal debates on Islam and Islamic law in the West, the author shows that despite claims about freedom and liberty, legal systems cannot avoid being hegemonic against minorities.'
Muhammad Khalid Masud, Former Chairman, Council of Islamic Ideology, Pakistan

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