Lena Salaymeh is Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) of Law at Tel-Aviv University. A prolific author and public speaker, she is currently writing on the secularization of Islamic law and the role of materiality in Islamic legal history.
The Beginnings of Islamic Law is a major and innovative contribution to our understanding of the historical unfolding of Islamic law. Scrutinizing its historical contexts, the book proposes that Islamic law is a continuous intermingling of innovation and tradition. Salaymeh challenges the embedded assumptions in conventional Islamic legal historiography by developing a critical approach to the study of both Islamic and Jewish legal history. Through case studies of the treatment of war prisoners, circumcision, and wife-initiated divorce, she examines how Muslim jurists incorporated and transformed ’Near Eastern’ legal traditions. She also demonstrates how socio-political and historical situations shaped the everyday practice of law, legal education, and the organization of the legal profession in the late antique and medieval eras. Aimed at scholars and students interested in Islamic history, Islamic law, and the relationship between Jewish and Islamic legal traditions, this book’s interdisciplinary approach provides accessible explanations and translations of complex materials and ideas.
Introduction: genealogies of Islamic law;
1. Legal-historical beginnings - outlining late antique Islamic law;
2. Legal historiography - a case study in international law;
3. Legal-historical hybridity - tracing Islam in its Islamicate context;
4. Legal custom - a case study in ritual law;
5. Legal historicizing: moments in macro-histories;
6. Legal comparisons - a case study in family law; Conclusion.