Everyday practices and Shariʿah interpretations: the dynamics of Shariʿah interpretations in the life of Muslims in Belgium

Makram Ghatas, Ishak (2019) Everyday practices and Shariʿah interpretations: the dynamics of Shariʿah interpretations in the life of Muslims in Belgium. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.

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Muslims of Europe are becoming part of a ‘New Europe’. The question of their settlement and future is becoming not only increasingly important but also a subject of public debate. This research is about the dynamics of multiple interpretations of Shariʿah in the daily life of Muslims in Belgium as a case study as they face daily challenges to engage meaningfully in European life. Besides containing substantial analyses of the data, as qualitative research, the thesis privileges ordinary Muslims and represents their diverse voices throughout. It uses data not only to identify key themes that concern Belgian Muslims but also examines how they seek to differentially address the demands of their affiliations – Islamic and European. In so doing, the thesis also engages with both the broader secondary literature and primary theoretical writings on minority jurisprudence particularly relevant to Europe. The primary sources for this thesis comprise of the data gathered through interviews with 108 informants (in diverse locations such as, cafes, public places, homes, mosques and offices), personal notes, observations, relevant fatwas, writings of Muslim theorists (religious lawyers) and conference documents.

The central research question that guides the thesis is what are the dynamics of Shariʿah interpretations in the everyday lives of Belgian Muslims? I deal with this question in five main empirical data-driven chapters. This is the first comprehensive thesis on Muslims in Belgium that adds a new dimension to the existing theoretical literature on Shariʿah by offering an empirical case of its diverse interpretations and applications in Belgium. The thesis advances a new understanding of Shariʿah interpretations in Europe by focussing not just on Muslim jurists and organizations in developing specific guidance for the practice of Islam in Europe but on the ordinary Muslims who often seek specific guidance for particular issues they face. These Muslims are not mere passive followers but free agents making free choices on a daily basis. This not only explains the diversity of positions but also, most importantly, the development of centrism in the practice of Shariʿah law.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > Oxford Centre for Mission Studies
Item ID: 27295
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2019 08:42
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2019 19:25
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/27295

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