This article reveals new thinking about the meaning of shari’a (roughly translated as Islamic law) in the everyday lives of Muslims. Proposals to ban shari’a, adopted across the United States and overseas, beg the question, “what is shari’a?” Varied individual Mulsim responses to that question appear in this article. Research is based on two years of fieldwork and more than 100 semi-structured interviews conducted by a University of California-based research team. Themes of daily guidance, family, social justice, equality and inequality, Islamic living, excessively legalistic codes, and more emerge from the narratives of identity and of learning religious values and unlearning media-driven stereotypes.
Rethinking Shari’a: Voices of Islam in California
Mark Fathi Massoud is associate professor of politics and legal studies at University of California, Santa Cruz, and visiting fellow at Princeton University’s Program in Law and Public Affairs. He is the author of Law’s Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan.
Kathleen M. Moore is professor and chair of religious studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on the regulation of religious self-determination in secular-democratic societies, emergent forms of Muslim legality and political engagement, and Islam and gender in diaspora. She is the author of The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and Britain.
- Views Icon Views
- PDF LinkPDF
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Mark Fathi Massoud, Kathleen M. Moore; Rethinking Shari’a: Voices of Islam in California. Boom 1 December 2015; 5 (4): 94–99. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2015.5.4.94
Download citation file: