In the Shadow of Shari’ah: Islam, Islamic Law, and Democracy in Pakistan

In the Shadow of Shari’ah: Islam, Islamic Law, and Democracy in Pakistan is the most approachable yet detailed book on the conflicting relationship among custom, Islamic law and state law in Pakistani Punjab with regard to property rights and women’s disinheritance especially. This book grounds on data collected in archives and law courts in Lahore, Sialkot, and Sarghoda, the three most popular urban concentrations of Northern Punjab in Pakistan. By interweaving micro-sociology, anthropology, and history, the author not only achieves an unprecedented description of the reasons for the massive number of property related litigation afflicting all kinds of jurisdictions in Punjab, but also shows the discrepancies between the purported terms of the litigation and the aims that are in practice pursued by the litigants. In Nelson’s words ….

…. It is the opinion of this reviewer that many of the processes, admirably described by Nelson with precision of details and methodological rigor as being the features of Islamic contexts, are also common to non-Islamic contexts: namely the delay tactics and the shifting arguments in order to circumvent the law. Nevertheless this book is compelling reading ….

Full review under publication on the Journal of Immigration, Asylum & Nationality Law

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