Reviews

This bibliography is the first dedicated in Russian language to Islamic and customary law practiced by Muslims in general, by those of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union in particular. The volume covers monographs, articles and abstracts of candidate and doctoral dissertations published (in Russian language exclusively) over a period from the end of the eighteenth century to 2009 inclusive. The brief annotations that accompany many references make the bibliography a user-friendly reference book. Each section begins with an introductory chapter, and in the end of the index there is a glossary of key terms of Islamic and customary law used in the bibliography. The bibliography itself is divided up into ten chapters dealing with varied aspects of Islamic and customary law in general in the lands of Islam (from the usul al-fiqh and classical madhhabs to state law, law of contracts, financial law, the law of personal status and women’s rights in Islam, inheritance law, criminal law, judiciary law, and the concept of ‘Islamic international law’ ― with a special historical chapter on Muslim law ‘in the former republics of the USSR, viz. historical works published during the Soviet period on Islamic and customary law in Central Asia [pp. 70-6] and in the Southern Caucasus [76-9] between the eighth century CE and the late 1920s). The main data on the geographical history of Islamic and customary law are displayed in a second part, with uneven chapters dealing notably with Muslim law in Russia [including the Northern Caucasus, 178-205] and with customary law in the Southern Caucasus [246-88], in the Volga-Ural region [288-90], and in Central Asia [290-305]. These last chapters, curiously separated from the previous one, which includes works of the Soviet period, include a number of works published or presented during the past twenty years. Intended primarily for an audience of practitioners of Islamic law and public intellectuals, the bibliography provides in fact very short, uncritical comments which aim at making more explicit for this public the subjects of the mentioned references. Besides being interested only in Russian-language references with no interest in publications in the national languages of the USSR, nor in international scholarship, the volume offers extremely few references on the history of Islamic and customary law in Central Eurasian lands neither during periods prior to the late nineteenth century, nor for the Soviet period despite the activity of the Muslim Spiritual Boards in fatwa enacting after 1943. The volume’s compilers must however be warmly congratulated for their pioneering work, especially as far as the multiform literature produced during the past twenty years is concerned. The sections with references from this period shed light on the current revival of research on the history of Islam in the Caucasus, Northern and Southern, even if the innumerable publications produced in Russian and Tatar languages in the Volga Ural region remain, surprisingly, very poorly represented in the present bibliography ― a further example of the distressing lack of scientific exchanges between the capital and the major centres of Islamic culture of the Volga basin and of the Ural range. The chapter on Central Asia remains also purely anecdotic, since limited to a small amount of mainly Soviet publications in central journals and publishing houses: a further illustration, if ever there was, of the absence of scientific relations between the former metropolis and its former Central Asian republics since the early 1990s.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-1.1.A-7