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Speaking in God's Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women Paperback – August 27, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; First Edition edition (August 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851682627
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851682621
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Khaled Abou E1-Fadl studied Islamic Law in Egypt and Kuwait, and has from Pennsylvania, Yale and Princeton. Currently Professor of Law at UCLA, he has served on a variety of committees for Human Rights, and has published several books and numerous articles.

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Customer Reviews

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Dr. Abou El Fadl's excellent book on Islam.
Moderate1
This is a phenomenal book that presents the intersection of knowledge from three dimensions that rarely come together when addressing Islam.
AA
Nonetheless, it's without a doubt a must read for anyone interested in American Muslim scholars.
Tron Honto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Bonne on November 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This brilliant book is the antidote to the stupefying, mind-numbing, Wahhabi rhetoric that is killing the soul of Islam today. If you want to understand how to concretely argue in favor of a moral Islam, and how to answer back to the ridiculous, anti-human and counter-intuitive claims of the so-called "true Islam" that is so popular in mosque-culture today, then this book will educate and liberate you. There is something for everyone in this book. For the hard core scholars and wanna be scholars, the first few chapters will make your head spin with meticulous detail, analysis and other good brainiac food. The methodology presented for establishing Islamic authenticity is powerful and intuitively rational--great stuff! For those who just want to enjoy some very satisfying discussion, argumentation and refutation of the stupid stuff that never made any sense (ie., why women can or cannot wear bras, high-heels, go to graveyards, drive cars, etc.), the last few chapters and appendices are excellent! The appendices translate amazing and shocking Saudi legal opinions, and argue and apply the author's methodology to demonstrate why they can or cannot work. It is fine to jump to the back chapters if you are not interested in the "fine print". This is such an important work--it is the hope for change and a renaissance, to get out of the dark place that Muslims are in today.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
A brillant examination of modern Islamic jurisprudence and how into application some of the leading authorities fails to live to the original greatness of the religion, as they use it to advance thier own agendas. In its scope, moral dignity and intellectual presentation this work compares to the best of Dr. Ali Shariati. El Fadl's thought are important for anyone who cares about the future trends of Islam.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Tron Honto on May 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
This work demonstrates an immense amount of erudition in both Western and Islamic traditions, and perhaps, this quality is what makes this work so engrossing. One can spend hours working through the footnotes alone. On that note, one should mentioned that K. A. El Fadel genuinely tries to present each perspective on a topic. He doesn't decieve his Western audiences by concealing the ugliness of much that exists in Islamic tradition and he doesn't shy away from criticizing many of the sacred cows of his fellow Muslims. In many ways, I found reading this book to be much like peering into the modern condition of religious authority in Islam. El Fadl doesn't paint a pretty picture, but he does demonstrate that there is hope, and the juristic tradition, as moribund as it may at time seems, shall likely continue into the future though in a radically transformed way than its previous incarnation.
Some criticisms of the book are his awkward attempts to merge insights from Western philosophy with Muslim tradition. Thinkers such as Muhammad Iqbal proved long ago that this can be done with grace and skill, but El Fadl does so awkwardly at times. It seems that these elements remain unmixed like oil and water despite various attempts. Also, I wish he would have desisted from always using the Wahhabi CRLO as his main polemical opponent. There are so many other fatwa bodies, international ones at that, that I found this decision to be rather odd. Moreover, I would have liked to have seen a deeper examination of the historical contingencies surrounding these fatwas to be explored. Nonetheless, it's without a doubt a must read for anyone interested in American Muslim scholars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By AA on July 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a phenomenal book that presents the intersection of knowledge from three dimensions that rarely come together when addressing Islam. Khaled Abu el Fadel masterpiece, Speaking in the Name of God, builds on his deep knowledge of traditional Islamic jurisprudence, western thought on divergent topics such as philosophy, anthropology and linguistics and finally scientific research methods.

In this book Abu el Fadel sets about discussing basic fundamentals about the basic text of the Quran, he argues persuasively that the actual text of the Quran is authoritative whereas its interpretations are not necessarily so. Abu el Fadel proceeds to cover the concept of "agency" and the responsibilities that must be assumed by anyone who claims to interpret Islam and produce responsa or "fetwa". A tour de force of traditional Islamic Jurisprudence is presented setting the rules of how a fetwa can be reached, rules of evidence, weighing of multiple or contradictory indications, method of reasoning and ultimately presentation of results or fetwa.

Sharia Law as presented by Abu el Fadel is a far more nuanced and complex legal code than how it is commonly interpreted today in both the West and the Muslim World. A number of examples of Law from Saudi Arabia are presented in particular in relation to the restrictions imposed on women. Abu el Fadel presents the official Saudi Islamic rulings and sets about dissecting them in great detail and examining them under the microscope of traditional Islamic jurisprudence with its restrain and tremendous care not to usurp the intent of God and force one's own will on Islam.

Abu el Fadel goes to the root of some of the "Hadith", Prophet Mohammad sayings, that have been used over the years to limit the role of women in Islam.
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