"Dr. Aziz Batran's work, advanced in this volume, is pioneering on two important levels.
It is the first work to appear in any language on the tobacco controversy and analyzes it within the frame of the religious and political atmosphere of the first period of its introduction.
Secondly, this book has the merit of discussing the importance of legal opinion [fetwa], a neglected institution little known to Western scholarship.
Taken together, these two contributions add greatly to our knowledge of the history of West Africa and the Maghrib during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century.
Moreover, by its careful analysis of more than thirty relevant Arabic texts, Dr. Batran's history, and offers fertile ground for comparative study in the areas of law and religious history." Professor John Ralph Willis, Princeton University
"Dr. Batran's study is a marvelously informative examination of the processes of legal analysis in Muslim thought and practice.
His analysis of methods of legal argumentation and the development of public consensus on a controversial subject should be required reading for anyone trying to understand the processes of legal decision making in the contemporary world." Professor John Voll, Georgetown University
"This book is a major contribution to understanding the social and political contexts in which religious opinions shape, and in turn are shaped by, the challenges of innovation and change." Professor Dale F. Eickelman, Dartmouth College Dr.
Dr. Aziz Batran is Professor of African history at Howard University, Washington D.C. He is the author of several works including Islam and Revolution in Africa, The Qadiryya Brotherhood in West Africa and the Western Sahara. Dr. Batran's area of interest is the spread of Islam and Sufi Brotherhoods in North and West Africa and the role they played in cementing the religious, cultural and economic unity of these African regions.