COMPARATIVE LAW OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Reflections on Authoritarianism
Islamic Law and Constitutions
(with Nathan J. Brown)
in Emon, Anver M., and Rumee Ahmed, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law (Oxford University Press, 2018)
This chapter explores the scholarly interest in the relationship between constitutions and the Islamic legal tradition. It begins with an overview of constitutional texts and what they say about Islam. It then considers whether the Islamic religion in general, and the shari‘a in particular, lend themselves to constitutionalism. Thereafter, it analyzes how a new generation of scholars from other disciplines have joined those older scholarly efforts. More specifically, it examines the shift in focus of recent scholarship from heavily textual methodologies that prioritize specifically religious and intellectual questions, to more contextualized lines of inquiry that address the legal, institutional, historical, and policy implications of Islamic constitutional development. Finally, it looks at three scholarly debates (ones that have been connected to debates among Muslim political and legal thinkers): the relationship between Islam and constitutional texts; who has interpretive authority in such matters; and where debates take place.
Middle Eastern Law
(with Chibli Mallat)
Annual Review of Law and Social Science 9(2013): 405-433
This article maps Middle Eastern law in some of the thousand plateaus where it operates/operated: Mesopotamian law, Roman provincial law, Islamic law, and post-colonial law, with layers within each, such as Elephantine law in Egypt and Jewish and Christian law in Islam's classical age, as well as new worlds of law, such as Byzantine and Ethiopian law, in which scholarship about interaction with other layers of Middle Eastern law is either inexistent or just starting. The focus is directed as much as possible to the extant documentation in the legal record that most affects people's lives: court decisions. For the modern period, we survey, from the point of view of the legal practitioner, lawyer, or judge, the various bodies of case law and codes in the everyday practice of the Middle East lawyer. A legal family analogous to the common or civil law traditions, Middle Eastern law has emerged as a coherent and active discipline that is increasingly a subject of inquiry for historians, social scientists, and others outside of the legal profession. This article presents the field for more sustained attention from lawyers, judges, and law professors.
Egypt's Constitution in Question