The Mahdī’s Legal Methodology and Doctrine
The Sudanese Mahdī headed a millenarian, revivalist, reformist movement in Islam, strongly inspired by Salafī and Ṣūfī ideas, in late 19th century in an attempt to restore the Caliphate of the Prophet and “Righteous Caliphs” in Medina. As the “Successor of the Prophet”, the Mahdī was conceived of as the political head of the Islamic state and its supreme religious authority. On the basis of his legal opinions, decisions, proclamations and “traditions” attributed to him, an attempt is made to reconstruct his legal methodology consisting of the Qurʾān, sunna, and inspiration ( ilhām) derived from the Prophet and God, its origins, and its impact on Islamic legal doctrine, and to assess his “legislation” as an instrument to promote his political, social and moralistic agenda.
Rethinking the Role of Power and Authority
The public debate on Shariʿa councils in Britain has been heavily influenced by the assumption that the councils exist as religious authorities and that those who use them exercise their right to religious freedom. In Shariʿa Councils and Muslim Women in Britain Tanya Walker draws on extensive fieldwork from over 100 cases to argue for a radically different understanding of the setting and dynamics of the Shariʿa councils. The analysis highlights the pragmatic manoeuvrings of Muslim women, in pursuit of defined objectives, within limited space – holding in tension both the constraints of particular frameworks of power, and the realities of women’s agency. Despite this needed nuance in a polarised debate however, important questions about the rights of Muslim women remain.