Recent events in Pakistan, and more widely in the Islamic world, have sparked an unprecedented level of interest in the relationship between Islam and democracy. Studies of Islamic law (Shari'ah) lie at the heart of this trend, but carefully researched studies of Islamic law as it actually unfolds 'on the ground' remain extremely rare. This book promises to fill that gap, using a detailed study of Islamic laws in Pakistan to show exactly how the relationship between Islam, Islamic law and democracy is understood and, potentially, transformed in different cultural contexts. In the Shadow of Shari'ah reveals that Islam are neither compatible r incompatible in any permanent or specific sense; they simply become more or less compatible owing to the historically embedded choices of individual Muslims regarding specific approaches to the law.
Matthew J. Nelson is Lecturer in the Politics of South Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.