Appendix 1: Portrait of a Seminar: How Senior Fuqaha Saw Shari’a in the Late Twentieth Century
Haifaa G. Khalafallah [+]
Sinai Centre for Islamic Mediterranean Studies
This book offers a long-overdue intellectual biography of the late Egyptian Shaykh Mohammed al-Ghazali (d.1996). But its main purpose is to shed light on Shari’a, a highly politicized concern of our times. Instead of the standard accounts of Islam emphasizing ‘extremists,’ ‘traditionalists,’ ‘moderates,’ or ‘modernists,’ the book introduces a multi-layered approach to understanding the contours of Shari’a rulemaking. It highlights the technical and historical trajectory of this rulemaking process, thereby challenging the prevailing academic narrative as well as popular Muslim narratives. In using this contemporary influential Muslim scholar as a reference, the book assesses what so many Sunni Muslims see in Shari’a, at least in this Egyptian context, and how such devotion could hinder or promote genuine reform.