Michael Cook's magisterial study in Islamic ethics, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought, was published to much acclaim in 2001. It was described by one reviewer as a masterpiece. In that book, the author reflected on the Islamic injunction, incumbent on every Muslim, to forbid wrongdoing. The present book is a short, accessible survey of the same material. Using anecdotes and stories from Islamic sources to illustrate the argument, Cook unravels the complexities of the subject. Moving backwards and forwards through time, he demonstrates how the past informs the present. By the end, the reader will be familiar with a colourful array of characters from Islamic history ranging from the celebrated thinker Ghazzali, to the caliph Harun al-Rashid, to the Ayatollah Khumayni. The book educates and entertains - at its heart, however, is an important message about the Islamic tradition, its values, and the relevance of those values today.
• An ingenious and erudite study of morality and justice in the Islamic tradition by a master in the field • Narrative covers a wide history to bring Islam and its peoples to life • This is scholarship at its best, entertaining and informative: a compulsive read
1. Introduction; 2. The elements of the duty of forbidding wrong; 3. How is wrong to be forbidden; 4. When is one unable to forbid wrong; 5. What about privacy?; 6. The state as an agent of forbidding wrong; 7. The state as an agent of wrongdoing; 8. Is anyone against forbidding wrong?; 9. What was forbidding wrong like in practice?; 10. What has changed for the Sunnis in modern times?; 11. What has changed for the Imamis in modern times?; 12. Do non-Islamic cultures have similar values?; 13. Do we have similar values?
'The author's approach is historical but not chronological, and he moves backwards and forwards in time with an erudition which is outstanding ... I can heartily recommend it.' History Today
'One of the virtues of Michael Cook is his skill in taking the discourse beyond the terrain of dry academic preoccupations and anchor the discussion in how our outlook on this perspective of law affects our whole view of morality and society. An excellent abridgment offering a comprehensive and accessible overview of the subject. Cambridge University Press is to be congratulated on this, their third in the series Themes in Islamic History.' The Queensland Lawyer
'It is no doubt the best (and probably the only serious) work on forbidding wrong …'. The Muslim World Book Review
'… every modern student of Islamic law should study this work seriously.' Afzal Sumar, Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies