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Studies in Islamic Law and Society accommodates monographs, collections of essays, critical editions of texts with annotated translation, and reference works whose subject-matter lies within the field of classical and modern Islamic law. Both the study of legal texts and legal discourse and the study of the social circumstances in which law has been and is being shaped - the reciprocity of influence of law on society and society on law - are integral to the series, and works representing either type of study or both will be considered for inclusion. Studies in Islamic Law and Society provides a focal point for scholars researching Islamic law both as a medium in its own right and as a phenomenon inviting historical and social analysis.
Author: Irene Schneider
In Palestine, family law is a controversial topic publicly debated by representatives of the state, Sharia establishment, and civil society. Yet to date no such law exists. This book endeavors to determine why by focusing on the conceptualization of gender and analyzing “law in the making” and the shifts in debates (2012–2018). In 2012, a ruling on khulʿ-divorce was issued by the Sharia Court and was well received by civil society, but when the debate shifted in 2018 to how to “harmonize” international law with Islamic standards, the process came to a standstill. These developments and the various power relations cannot be properly understood without taking into consideration the terminology used and redefined in these debates.

Abstract

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared covid-19—the disease caused by the novel coronavirus—a global pandemic. As this coronavirus spread throughout the world, most countries implemented restrictions on public gatherings that greatly limited religious communities’ ability to engage in collective worship. Some religious leaders objected to these regulations, opining that faith would spare their congregants from illness or that their religious freedom is paramount to public health. Meanwhile, growing numbers of covid-19 infections were being traced back to religious leaders or gatherings.

This article explores how governments have balanced freedom of worship and public health during the 2020 pandemic. Through the comparison of controversies in South Korea, India, Brazil and the United States, it highlights the paradoxes in debates about whether to hold religious communities accountable for the spread of this highly contagious and deadly disease.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State

Abstract

This paper explores the connection between the activity of Catholic Church and the covid-19 pandemic through the case of a bishop ordination held in Ruteng, Indonesia. The ordination Mass took place on March 19, 2020, against the background rising numbers of covid-19 cases globally and in Indonesia. The Mass, which was attended by four thousand participants, led to criticisms of the Catholic Church in Ruteng. The Church was accused of jeopardizing the health of the community and failing to adhere to government advisories. It was labeled as selfish and stubborn. This paper discusses the urgency of both the covid-19 situation in Indonesia and of the bishop ordination in Ruteng. Ordination of a new bishop symbolizes a climax in the journey of the Catholic Church in Ruteng. It is a resolution of past conflicts and controversies in the history of the Church in the region. The Church needed ordination as a way of gaining power and legitimacy.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
In: Journal of Law, Religion and State

Abstract

The article provides an overview of anti-covid-19 measures in Germany, especially in Bavaria. Public worship services were banned for seven weeks, but have been permitted again since the 4th of May, 2020, under safeguards. By comparing state law and Catholic canon law, the article investigates whether church norms merely “react” to state norms or are independent of them. Do they correspond to them or even go beyond them in their content? The article also examines whether state orders violate religious freedom. To this end, the relevant case law in Germany is analyzed. Since church and state have coordinated their actions, believers find it more difficult to exercise religious freedom.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
Author: Ciarán Burke

Abstract

Legal responses to the covid-19 pandemic have varied widely. Korea represents an interesting case study, as it seemed particularly well prepared, having enacted legislation in the wake of the mers outbreak, in 2015, to tackle future pandemics. This obviated recourse to emergency powers legislation, and couched Korea’s response in normal legislation, which tends to raise fewer human rights concerns than may arise under emergency measures. Despite this, however, Korea’s response to covid-19 raises significant questions about its compliance with core human rights norms under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, including freedom of religion and non-discrimination. These arose with regard to the state’s treatmennt of members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus (scj), a relatively small, occasionally controversial, religious group. The treatment of the scj by the Korean state raises questions about whether its legal approach to tackling covid-19 was fit for purpose.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State

Abstract

This article studies the fate of a contradiction between practice and prescriptive text in 16th-century Ashkenaz. The practice was fleeing a plagued city, which contradicted a Talmudic passage requiring self-isolation at home when plague strikes. The emergence of this contradiction as a halakhic problem and its various forms of resolution are analyzed as a case study for the development of halakhic literature in early modern Ashkenaz.

The Talmudic text was not considered a challenge to the accepted practice prior to the early modern period. The conflict between practice and Talmud gradually emerged as a halakhic problem in 15th-century rabbinic sources. These sources mixed legal and non-legal material, leaving the status of this contradiction ambiguous. The 16th century saw a variety of solutions to the problem in different halakhic writings, each with their own dynamics, type of authority, possibilities, and limitations. This variety reflects the crystallization of separate genres of halakhic literature.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
Author: Imran Ahmed

Abstract

Religious authorities in many Muslim-majority countries have argued that the suspension of communal prayers during an epidemic does not contravene Islamic law. In Pakistan, such measures have proven difficult to enforce, in part because many religious leaders in the country have opposed the closure of places of worship and the limits placed on public religious gatherings. The question is why? This paper suggests that the distrust of the state in matters of religion in Pakistan can be traced back to the colonial era, and that the political developments following independence have amplified frustration and mistrust between political and religious authorities in the country. Significant sources of contention in matters of religion and state remain unresolved under the prime ministership of Imran Khan. At the same time, the pandemic has thrust earlier conflicts into the spotlight and exposed contests over opinion, expertise, and authority in matters of religion and public health.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State