Intent in Islamic Law

Motive and Meaning in Medieval Sunnī Fiqh

Author: Paul Powers
This book explores the nature and role of intent in pre-modern Islamic legal rule books, including ritual, commercial, family, and penal law. It argues that Muslim jurists treat intent as a definitive element of many actions regulated by the Shari’a, and they employ a variety of means and terms to assess and categorize subjective states.
Through detailed analyses of medieval Islamic texts, aided by Western philosophical examinations of intent, the author presents technically detailed yet lucid arguments about Islamic religious ritual and spirituality, the ethics of business transactions, the role of the inner self in crime and punishment, and Muslim understandings of agency and language.
This is the first extensive exploration of the crucial legal issue of intent in all major areas of Islamic substantive law.

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Paul R. Powers, Ph.D. (2001) in History of Religions, University of Chicago, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of “Finding God and Humanity in Language: Islamic Legal Assessments as the Meeting Point of the Divine and Human,” in Islamic Law in Theory: Studies in Jurisprudence in Honor of Bernard Weiss, ed. A. Kevin Reinhart and Robert Gleave (Brill, 2014).
About the hardback: ...this is a magnificent contribution to the study of Islamic law, recommended to anyone who wishes to understand some of the central concepts defining the field. W. Hallaq in International Journal of Middle East Studies 2007-2. […] Paul Powers’ “Intent in Islamic Law- Motive and Meaning in Medieval Sunnī Fiqh” is a highly important treatise not only for the student and the researcher of Islamic Law but also for anyone interested in the development of Islamic thought. Sotirios S. Livas in Journal of Oriental and African Studies, 2010-2.
List of Tables Acknowledgments Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: Intent in Islamic Ritual Law Chapter Three: Ritual Spirit and Ritual Intent Chapter Four: Intent in Islamic Contract Law Chapter Five: Intent in Islamic Personal Status Law Chapter Six: Intent in Islamic Penal Law Chapter Seven: Conclusion Bibliography Index
All those interested in Islamic law, religion, ritual, ethics, and culture, as well as those interested in religious ethics, legal history, legal philosophy, and comparative or international law.