This volume presents ten leading scholars' writings on contemporary Islamic law and Muslim thought. The essays examine a range of issues, from modern Muslim discourses on justice, natural law, and the common good, to democracy, the social contract, and "the authority of the preeminent jurist." Changes in how Shari'a has been understood over the centuries are explored, as well as how it has been applied in both Sunni and Shi'i Islam.
Debates on the nature, interpretation, reform, and application of Shari'a lie at the core of all Islamist revivalist ideologies and movements of the past two centuries. The demand for the implementation of Shari'a is one of the hallmarks of Islamic fundamentalism, and Shari'a has become one of the most controversial and politicized concepts in Muslim-majority countries today. This is one of the first books to examine how Muslims understand and apply Shari'a in contemporary societies.