Demystifying Shariah: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It’s Not Taking Over Our Country

Beacon. Aug. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9780807038000. $22.95. LAW
Corporate lawyer Ali-Karamali (The Muslim Next Door) turns her attention to exploring and explaining the main features of Sharia law, beginning with an outline of the scope and mechanisms for divining Sharia opinions. The second part of the book traces the historical development of Sharia from the time of the early Muslims to contemporary times. While not completely chronological, the narrative does lay bare the intricacies and flexibility imbedded in the process of uncovering Sharia. The conclusion poses the question of what we, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, are going to do about the misinformation spread by extreme groups, both Islamists and the far right. In keeping with Ali-Karamalil’s background, the conclusion primarily addresses Western society. The author expands on the understanding that extreme factions, both within and outside Islam, have polarized our communities and are influencing others through fear-mongering, and gives concrete examples that their misconceptions wither under the scrutiny of academic analysis.
VERDICT Ali-Karamalil’s overarching message is to use analysis for decision-making and action, and she provides examples on how to do so. Highly recommended for readers interested in learning more about Sharia and Muslim American communities.
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