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BOOK REVIEWS œ 127 (26-30), one ofChosroes II's other wives and, according to more fanciful sources, the daughter ofthe Byzantine Emperor Maurice. The final sections ofthe book cover the history ofthe Shirin motif in literature, both medieval and modern. He discusses the popularity of the Persian material, its reception and translation in Turkish cultures, and ultimately its introduction to the West and use by Goethe in his West-ÖstlicherDivan. Baum is thorough in his study ofliterary references to Shirin, and his work will be a valuable research tool to anyone wishing to study the dissemination ofthe Shirin legend. His literary analysis, however, is limited to the brief observation that Shirin is represented as an archetypal personification of love. While Baum never discusses in detail any aspect of Shirin's significance as a literary character, Shirin: Christian-Queen-Myth ofLove is a carefully researched overview of the primary source material. Islam and Social Policy Stephen P. Heyneman, ed. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2004. 218 pp. Asma Abdel Halim, Women's and Gender Studies, University ofToledo This is an important book that brings one side ofIslam to the West that since 9/11 has shown a growing interest in Islam and Muslim societies. It is accessible to different levels ofreaders and as such succeeds in explaining some ofthe legal and social aspects ofIslam and Muslims. Islam is a religion that has been developing for about fifteen centuries within different cultures around the world. It has, not surprisingly, absorbed some of the existing cultures and norms that preceded its advent. The interpretation ofthe Qur'an varied by the time and the place; interpreters are human beings who strove and are still striving to make Islam the main source for development and law for Muslims without isolating Muslims from the world around them. Islam and Social Policy consists offive chapters and an introduction. In the first chapter, Ahmad Dallai tackles waqf, one ofthe Islamic institutions that preceded Islam but has been adopted under the general rule of accepting good, beneficial norms existing in the nations with which 128 «» JOURNAL OF MIDDLE EAST WOMEN'S STUDIES Muslims came in contact. Dallai provides the history, the religious basis, and the historical development of the system under Islamic rules, and explains how Islam is a gradual revolution that has assimilated many practices in existence before its advent and added to them. The second and third chapters, "Islamic Law and the Position of Women in Islam" and "Islamic Law and Family Planning," form the bulk ofthe book and are written by Donna Lee Bowen. She covers more than just the social position ofwomen; her article expands to cover all types of law affecting the legal status ofwomen. Giving an overview ofthe historical development ofthe law and the legal systems, she starts with the early schools ofinterpretation into the present legal systems and their adoption of one interpretation or the other, always ensuring the basic arguments are not confused with the political interests of governments. I enjoyed reading her immensely, especially her clear explanation ofcertain issues such as the husband's claim to a wife's body in SharFa and the lack ofthe same claim by the wife to a husband's body. This claim has an important legal implication that affects the status of women. Bowen covers some of the contemporary interpretations and ideas for reform; however, she excludes some ofthe controversial reinterpretations produced by Muslim thinkers such as Mahmoud Taha ofthe Sudan and publications ofEgyptian Scholar Nasr Hamid Abuzied. Both suffered dire repercussions for their criticism oftraditional schools ofinterpretations. As a Muslim reader I needed to see the sources for some of the statements made in the article. For example, on p. 57 she claims a woman is entitled to half the "bride-price" but doesn't give the source for this statement, which is in direct contradiction to the well-known Sharlca rule that all the mahr is the property ofthe wife. The expression "bride-price" takes away the real meaning ofmahr in Islam, as dowry may have been the word that has a closer meaning to mahr. Dowry may move from a man to a woman or vise versa. On p. 59, Bowen makes...


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pp. 127-130
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