At this joint book talk, we put two new and formidable books into conversation: God’s Property: Islam, Charity, and the Modern State (University of California Press, 2021), by Nada Moumtaz, and Transformations of Tradition: Islamic Law in Colonial Modernity (University of Oxford Press, 2021), by Junaid Quadri.
Each of these works tells a story about the gradual, piece-meal shifts in Muslim discourse and practice brought about by the modern condition. Beginning with the Ottoman Empire, through the 20th century French mandate, and into the post-independence period, God’s Property traces a genealogy of the history of the institution of waqf (Islamic endowment), locating both ruptures and continuities in concepts and practice. Transformations of Tradition explores the 19th and 20th century thought-world of Azhari legal theorist Muhammad Bakhit al-Muti‘i to reveal how modern epistemological assumptions came to permeate the trans-regional networks of Hanafism.
What are the convergences and divergences between how each author traces the effects of modernity and secularization? How does each work articulate a particular conception of change in Muslim life and practice, whether the institution of waqf or the Hanafi legal tradition?