East Africa


Islamic law, or shari’a, is a series of principles that are interpreted, negotiated, and debated by legal scholars and adapted in the lives of Muslims in order to bring their actions in line with God’s vision for a just and good life. On the everyday level, Islamic law regulates when and how a Muslim prays, what is considered permissible to eat, business transactions, almsgiving, fasting, and so on. For observant Muslims, Islamic law creates the structure, to varying degrees, by which they organize their lives and decisions; shari’a literally means “the way...

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Somalis form the largest ethnic group in Somalia and constitute large minorities in neighboring countries. The Somali language was made the official state language upon independence in 1960. Somalis are predominantly pastoral nomads who organize themselves into lineage-based clan and subclan groups; the largest include the nomadic Darod, Isaq, Hawiye, and Dir, and the agriculturalist Rahanwayn and Digil.