Richard A. Debs analyzes the classical Islamic law of property based on the Shari'ah, traces its historic development in Egypt, and describes its integration as a source of law within the modern format of a civil code. He focuses specifically on Egypt, a country in the Islamic world that drew upon its society's own vigorous legal system as it formed its modern laws. He also touches on issues that are common to all such societies that have adopted, either by choice or by necessity, Western legal systems.
Egypt's unique synthesis of Western and traditional elements is the outcome of an effort to respond to national goals and requirements. Its traditional law, the Shari'ah, is the fundamental law of all Islamic societies, and Debs's analysis of Egypt's experience demonstrates how Islamic jurisprudence can be sophisticated, coherent, rational, and effective, developed over centuries to serve the needs of societies that flourished under the rule of law.