Junaid QuadriApr 9, 2021
Transformations of Tradition
Islamic Law in Colonial Modernity
Oxford University Press, USA 2021
In his much anticipated and equally brilliant book Transformations of Tradition: Islamic Law in Colonial Modernity (Oxford UP, 2021), Junaid Quadri explores the productive tensions, fissures, and creative interpretive projects enabled by the drive to defend Muslim traditionalism under the looming shadows of colonial modernity. By focusing on the thought and career of the towering 20th century Egyptian scholar Bakhit al-Mutiʿi, Quadri interrogates ways in which new technologies like the telescope and telegraph interacted with traditional norms like moonsighting (for announcing beginning of Ramadan and ‘Id) to generate vexing yet fascinating conundrums of normative knowledge and practice for traditionalist scholars like Bakhit. Much of this book interrogates the hermeneutical strategies, tussles of religious authority, and new conceptions of religion that went into attempted resolutions of such novel conundrums. While maintaining normative fidelity to the tradition, Bakhit also transformed the tradition in indelible ways, Quadri argues. This engaging and provocative book will interest scholars from multiple fields, and spark great conversations in the classroom as well.
SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at email@example.com. Listener feedback is most welcome.