Today's symposium 'After the rule: Interpretation in comparative and cross-cultural perspective' convened by Sam Blanch (CAIS) and Des Manderson (ANU Centre for Law, Humanities and the Arts) brought together a host of speakers with interests in law, history, religion and philosophy. All of today's sessions exhibited both great scholarship and fascinating points of debate and discussion.
Some early highlights of the day were:
In his keynote speech, Professor Ahmad Atif Ahmad (University of California – Santa Barbara) set out to disabuse the audience of some of the commonly-held notions associated with any narrative that speaks of a whole sharia that can be pointed to and distinguished from all other shari'ahs/systems of law and morality. He presented three cases where Sharia came up before American judicial entities (including courts and the Internal Revenue Services) and a sharia advisory session for the Forensics division in the International Committee of the Red Cross (in which he had participated).
Omar Farahat (McGill University) analysing a number of classical debates on the link between revealed language and legal pronouncement, highlighted the possibility of alternative ways of conceiving of source, norm, and interpretation of Islamic law.
Valentino Cattelan (The Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities) a scholar in Islamic law, economics and finance gave a beautifully illustrated account of how shari‘ah-compliance in the market of Islamic finance has altered from medieval trade to today's markets.