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On British IslamReligion, Law, and Everyday Practice in Shari'a Councils$
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John R. Bowen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158549

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158549.001.0001

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Competing Justifications

Competing Justifications

(p.103) Chapter 7 Competing Justifications
On British Islam

John R. Bowen

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses the anxiety of justification, which asks about the selection among competing types of argumentation and the challenge of arriving at a common judgment from diverse starting points. This challenge is exacerbated for a British shariʻa council, as it lacks a shared set of laws or jurisprudence on which to base decisions. Each scholar has his or her own repertoire of texts and traditions, practical knowledge (of Britain, Pakistan, or elsewhere), and ideas about rights and fairness. They have different educational histories and have developed individual theological allegiances to different Islamic legal schools and to different ways of interpreting scripture. They also differ in what legal scholars call judicial temperament: how to weigh multiple criteria, such as the value of precedent, the practical effects of a decision on litigants, and the intent of lawgivers. The chapter then explores the moral, theological, and epistemological debates regarding the practice of justification.

Keywords:   justification, common judgment, British shariʻa council, Islamic scholars, jurisprudence, educational histories, theological allegiances, judicial temperament

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