Individual Volumes​

Our Individual Volumes include monographs, festschrifts, and other academic works that illustrate the dynamism of scholarship in and about Muslim contexts.

​​​​What is the S​haria?

Author: Baudouin Dupret

Translator: David Bond

ISBN: 9781849048170​ (HB)

Publication Date: March 2018

Published in association with Hurst Publishers with the support of the French Ministry of Culture​

Available for purchase here​

In the West, ‘sharia’ often calls to mind antiquated laws founded upon gender discrimination and barbaric punishments. In the East, for some it means the ideal standards by which Muslims strive to live; for others, it is the greatest obstacle to modernisation of their societies. These clashing views sometimes lead to violence. Clarification of the term​ has therefore become an urgent necessity.

Sharia is all of these things and much more. It is the legal system of Islam, a series of guidelines and prohibitions. But it is also a concept invested with a whole range of meanings, from the virtuous attributes of an ‘ideal’ society, to the confinement of particular elements to otherness and adversity.​

Moving through history, society and Islamic thought to explore the sources of sharia law, Baudouin Dupret gets to the heart of its uses and abuses in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This short, accessible book provides an invaluable guide for those seeking to understand a matter more complex and pressing today than ever before.

Baudouin Dupret is educated in Law, Islamic Science and Political Science and spent many years as a CNRS researcher in Egypt, Syria and Morocco. He has published extensively on the Sociology and Anthropology of Law, and on legislation in the Middle East and North Africa, including the co-authored 'Law at Work.'

The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond

Editors: Pnina Werbner, Kathryn Spellman Poots & Martin Webb

ISBN: 9780748693351 (PB) ISBN: 9780748693344 (HB) 

Publication date: 2014

Published in association with Edinburgh University Press

A remarkable feature of the Arab Spring and other protests that followed in Egypt, India, Botswana and the UK, among other places, has been the salience of images, songs, videos, humour, satire and dramatic performances.

This book explores the central role the aesthetic played in energising the mass mobilisations of young people, the disaffected, the middle classes, the apolitical silent majority, as well as enabling solidarities and alliances among democrats, workers, trade unions, civil rights activists and opposition parties.

Comparing the North African and Middle Eastern uprisings with protest movements such as Occupy, the authors bring to bear an anthropological and sociological approach from a variety of perspectives, illuminating the debate by drawing on a wide array of disciplinary expertise.

Pnina Werbner is Professor Emerita of Social Anthropology at Keele University; Martin Webb is Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London; Kathryn Spellman-Poots is Associate Professor at AKU-ISMC​.

Understanding the Qur’an Today

Author: Mahmoud Hussein

Translator: David Bond

ISBN: 978 0 86356 849 7 (PB) 

Publication date: 2013

Published in association with Saqi

In Islam, there is a long tradition of interpretation regarding the meaning and significance of Divine revelation, reflecting a plurality of views.

This book argues that whereas God transcends time, His Word is inscribed within time. It is not a monologue, but a living exchange, through which God reveals to His Prophet different orders of truth, weaving together the absolute and the relative, the general and the particular, the eternal and the contingent.

An international bestseller, Understanding the Qur’an Today offers a contemporary perspective on one of the world’s most influential texts and adds an invaluable contribution to the debate on Islam and modernity.

Mahmoud Hussein is the pseudonym of Bahgat Elnadi and Adel Rifaat, French political writers of Egyptian origin.​​

The Construction of Belief: Reflections on the Thought of Mohammed Arkoun

Edited by Abdou Filali-Ansary and Aziz Esmail

ISBN: 978 0 86356 424 6 (PB) ​

Publication date: 2012

Published in association with Saqi

Mohammed Arkoun was one of the most prominent and influential Arab intellectuals of his day. During a career spanning more than thirty years, he was revered as an outstanding research scholar, a bold critic of the theoretical tensions embedded within Islamic studies and an outspoken public figure, upholding political, social and cultural modernism.

This festschrift honours Mohammed Arkoun’s scholarship, bringing together the contributions of eleven distinguished scholars of history, religious studies and philosophy. It offers a comprehensive selection of critical engagements with Arkoun’s work, reflecting on his considerable influence on contemporary thinking about Islam and its ideological, philosophical and theological dimensions.

The authoritative reference study on the work of Mohammed Arkoun, the volume is essential reading for students and scholars of Islam, Muslim societies and cultures, modernity, religious studies, philosophy and semantics.

Abdou Filali-Ansary is the founding Director of AKU-ISMC; Aziz Esmail is a governor of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, where he was the Dean from 1988-98.

Organizing Knowledge:  Encyclopaedic Activities in the Pre-Eighteenth Century Islamic World

Edited by Gerhard Endress

ISBN: 978 9 0041 4697 6​ 

Publication date: 2006

Published in association with Brill

​The contributions in this volume offer the first comprehensive effort to describe and analyse the collection, classification, presentation and methodology of information in the knowledge society of medieval Islam in the disciplines of religious and legal learning, as well as the rational sciences of Hellenistic origin – philosophy, mathematical and medical sciences.

The volume begins with a general discussion of the concept of encyclopaedia. Successive chapters explore the bases of authority in the institutions of religion and law; bibliographical literature and handbooks of law; compendia of scientific and philosophical learning based on Iranian and Greek sources; and the more specialised expositions of mathematics and philosophy. The special character of Muslim institutions, their teaching traditions and syllabi is also put into perspective.

This is a reference work for the principle genres of ‘encyclopaedic’ outlines and manuals – biography, legal handbooks, historiography of knowledge transmission, cosmography, and the philosophical sciences – and a major contribution to the literary and intellectual history of scholarly writing in the pre-modern Islamic world.

Gerhard Endress is Professor Emeritus of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany.