"Shari‘a, Inshallah" Discussion with Mark Massoud
"Shari‘a, Inshallah" Discussion with Mark Massoud

Friday, August 26, 2022
12:30pm to 1:30pm Eastern Time Zone

Mark Fathi Massoud
Professor of Politics and Director of Legal Studies, UC Santa Cruz
Visiting Professor, University of Oxford Faculty of Law


What is the relation between faith, law, and society? How does religion strengthen the rule of law? Is the rule of law a theology or empire?

This discussion will look at how Mark Fathi Massoud's book Shari‘a, Inshallah: Finding God in Somali Legal Politics (Cambridge University Press) answers these questions through historical research, ethnography, and interviews in the Horn of Africa. For nearly 150 years, the Somali people have embraced shari'a, often translated as Islamic law, in the struggle for national identity and rights. Lawyers, communities, and activists have invoked God to oppose colonialism, resist dictators, expel warlords, and fight for gender equality – key steps toward the rule of law. Shari'a, Inshallah upends accounts of secular legal progress and shows how faith in a higher power guides people to the rule of law. Shari‘a, Inshallah was a finalist for the American Association of Publishers PROSE Award for the best book on government & politics published in 2021. The book also received the APSA Ralph Bunche Award and the American Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Section Distinguished Book Award.

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The paper will be circulated in advance to facilitate in-depth discussion and feedback.
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