Author: Noel J Coulson
Publisher: The Other Press (2006)
Pages: 118 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
The conflicting interest of stability and change in law is a problem common to all the world’s legal systems. But nowhere is the problem of adapting established law to the changing standards and values of society more acute than in contemporary Islam. Islam law- as a manifestation of divine will- has known continuity and a settled form for more than twelve centuries; the notion of permanence is therefore particularly deep-rooted. And yet the impetus for social change, under the influence of Western Civilization, is equally strong. Consequently, Islamic jurisprudence is seeking a basic system of principles with which to answer the needs of present-day Muslim society while preserving the continuity of traditional doctrines.
Professor Coulson’s method is to examine the principal currents of Islamic legal thought through a series of conflicting concepts. The six polarizations he has devised are revelation and reason, unity and diversity, authority and liberty, idealism and realism, law and morality, and stability and change.
Although clearly relevant to general Islamic studies, this book is intended primarily as a study in comparative law. This follows the trend of recent developments in the Islamic legal system itself. In the past, Muslim law has been regarded essentially as a brand of religious studies. Now, however, it is being separated from religion and becoming a province of legal science rather than a matter of religious expertise. It is conforming its modes of expression and techniques of application to the standards of a general law – commercial and civil – which is a foreign, specifically, European, origin.