If you've ever read a news story about radical Islam, you've probably seen "sharia law" mentioned. But for something that is becoming increasingly prevalent in political rhetoric, it's hard to believe how little most people actually know about Islamic law. In this concise and instructive book, Khurram Dara explains not only the history and origins of Islamic law but also the interesting role it has played in the politics of the Middle East and Middle America. Challenging the conventional wisdom that Islamic law is rigid and permanent, Dara argues that the political and cultural realities of its formation suggest otherwise and should change how Islamic law is thought of and discussed in both the East and the West. Combining religious history with legal analysis, Contracting Fear explains Islamic law in the context of the global political climate today.