Baghdad Booksellers, Basra Carpet Merchants, and the Law of God and Man: Legal Pluralism and the Contemporary Muslim Experience
Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law (Inaugural Issue), Vol. 1, No. 1, 2008
45 Pages Posted: 5 May 2008 Last revised: 3 Oct 2014
Date Written: 2008
There is a crisis in our law schools in the study of Islamic law and the law of the Muslim polities. The current approaches either focus exclusively on national codes to the derogation of other vitally important influences on the legal order, most importantly the body of norms and rules derived from Islamic foundational texts known as the shari'a, or they regard as secondary, and at times irrelevant, the actual legal order of the societies in favor of an academic construction of the theories of medieval Muslim jurists. Neither of these approaches reflects with a necessary degree of accuracy the actual form of legal order in any Muslim society. Adopting a legal pluralist model, this Article relays the actual workings of commercial order in two industries in Shi'i Iraq in order to demonstrate that in understanding the operation of law, and in particular commercial law, in at least parts of the modern Muslim world, both the ever present reality of the national law and contemporary manifestations of the shari'a need to be taken into account.
Keywords: Iraq, Iraqi commercial law, Iraqi commerce, Islamic Law, Islamic commerce, Islamic finance
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