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The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Council on Foreign Relations Book)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Perhaps no other Western writer has more deeply probed the bitter struggle in the Muslim world between the forces of religion and law and those of violence and lawlessness as Noah Feldman. His scholarship has defined the stakes in the Middle East today. Now, in this incisive book, Feldman tells the story behind the increasingly popular call for the establishment of the shari'a--the law of the traditional Islamic state--in the modern Muslim world.

Western powers call it a threat to democracy. Islamist movements are winning elections on it. Terrorists use it to justify their crimes. What, then, is the shari'a? Given the severity of some of its provisions, why is it popular among Muslims? Can the Islamic state succeed--should it? Feldman reveals how the classical Islamic constitution governed through and was legitimated by law. He shows how executive power was balanced by the scholars who interpreted and administered the shari'a, and how this balance of power was finally destroyed by the tragically incomplete reforms of the modern era. The result has been the unchecked executive dominance that now distorts politics in so many Muslim states. Feldman argues that a modern Islamic state could provide political and legal justice to today's Muslims, but only if new institutions emerge that restore this constitutional balance of power.

The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State gives us the sweeping history of the traditional Islamic constitution--its noble beginnings, its downfall, and the renewed promise it could hold for Muslims and Westerners alike.

Review:

For more than 20 years, Islamists in Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and other Muslim countries have campaigned for popular support by presenting sharia, or Islamic law, as the antidote to authoritarian rule, injustice and repression.

Westerners often wonder how Muslims possibly can believe such claims. We recall the Taliban blowing up ancient statues and preventing girls from going to... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

In this penetrating book, Feldman explores the increasingly popular call for the establishment of the shari'a--the law of the traditional Islamic state--in the modern Muslim world and what that could mean for Muslims and Westerners alike.

Synopsis:

"In Feldman's fascinating intellectual journey through history, Islamic law, and modern politics, you will discover the power of 'justice.' It is both the driving force behind efforts in the Arab world to democratize, constitutionalize, and modernize Islam, and a weapon for the worst kind of abuses and authoritarianism. Feldman's book works through these tensions between theology and power with consummate dispassion and scholarship."--Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and former New York Times columnist

"Noah Feldman has raised a central discussion in Islam about the nature of the Islamic state that is too often missed or misunderstood. Regardless of ideological or religious affiliation, the reader needs to engage with Feldman's clear and sympathetic arguments in order to make sense of what is happening in the Muslim world today."--Akbar S. Ahmed, American University

"Scholarly and sophisticated yet highly accessible, this book makes an extremely important contribution to contemporary discussions of both Muslim politics and Islamic law. Feldman's work provides a historical depth that has often been lacking in studies of law and constitutionalism in modern Muslim societies."--Muhammad Qasim Zaman, author of The Ulama in Contemporary Islam

Synopsis:

Perhaps no other Western writer has more deeply probed the bitter struggle in the Muslim world between the forces of religion and law and those of violence and lawlessness as Noah Feldman. His scholarship has defined the stakes in the Middle East today. Now, in this incisive book, Feldman tells the story behind the increasingly popular call for the establishment of the shari'a--the law of the traditional Islamic state--in the modern Muslim world.

Western powers call it a threat to democracy. Islamist movements are winning elections on it. Terrorists use it to justify their crimes. What, then, is the shari'a? Given the severity of some of its provisions, why is it popular among Muslims? Can the Islamic state succeed--should it? Feldman reveals how the classical Islamic constitution governed through and was legitimated by law. He shows how executive power was balanced by the scholars who interpreted and administered the shari'a, and how this balance of power was finally destroyed by the tragically incomplete reforms of the modern era. The result has been the unchecked executive dominance that now distorts politics in so many Muslim states. Feldman argues that a modern Islamic state could provide political and legal justice to today's Muslims, but only if new institutions emerge that restore this constitutional balance of power.

The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State gives us the sweeping history of the traditional Islamic constitution--its noble beginnings, its downfall, and the renewed promise it could hold for Muslims and Westerners alike.

About the Author

Noah Feldman is professor at Harvard Law School. He is a contributing writer for the "New York Times Magazine" and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of "Divided by God, What We Owe Iraq" (Princeton), and "After Jihad".

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

PART I: What Went Right? 17

PART II: Decline and Fall 57

PART III: The Rise of the New Islamic State 103

Conclusion 147

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 153

NOTES 155

INDEX 177

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691120454
Author:
Feldman, Noah
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Islam and state
Subject:
Islamic law
Subject:
Islam - Law
Subject:
Middle East - General
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Middle East
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Subject:
Middle Eastern Studies
Subject:
Law
Subject:
Islamic countries Politics and government.
Subject:
Government - Comparative
Subject:
Religion, Politics & State
Subject:
Politics | International Studies
Copyright:
Series:
Council on Foreign Relations Book
Publication Date:
April 2008
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
200
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

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The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Council on Foreign Relations Book) New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$29.75 Backorder
Product details 200 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691120454 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In this penetrating book, Feldman explores the increasingly popular call for the establishment of the shari'a--the law of the traditional Islamic state--in the modern Muslim world and what that could mean for Muslims and Westerners alike.
"Synopsis" by , "In Feldman's fascinating intellectual journey through history, Islamic law, and modern politics, you will discover the power of 'justice.' It is both the driving force behind efforts in the Arab world to democratize, constitutionalize, and modernize Islam, and a weapon for the worst kind of abuses and authoritarianism. Feldman's book works through these tensions between theology and power with consummate dispassion and scholarship."--Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and former New York Times columnist

"Noah Feldman has raised a central discussion in Islam about the nature of the Islamic state that is too often missed or misunderstood. Regardless of ideological or religious affiliation, the reader needs to engage with Feldman's clear and sympathetic arguments in order to make sense of what is happening in the Muslim world today."--Akbar S. Ahmed, American University

"Scholarly and sophisticated yet highly accessible, this book makes an extremely important contribution to contemporary discussions of both Muslim politics and Islamic law. Feldman's work provides a historical depth that has often been lacking in studies of law and constitutionalism in modern Muslim societies."--Muhammad Qasim Zaman, author of The Ulama in Contemporary Islam

"Synopsis" by , Perhaps no other Western writer has more deeply probed the bitter struggle in the Muslim world between the forces of religion and law and those of violence and lawlessness as Noah Feldman. His scholarship has defined the stakes in the Middle East today. Now, in this incisive book, Feldman tells the story behind the increasingly popular call for the establishment of the shari'a--the law of the traditional Islamic state--in the modern Muslim world.

Western powers call it a threat to democracy. Islamist movements are winning elections on it. Terrorists use it to justify their crimes. What, then, is the shari'a? Given the severity of some of its provisions, why is it popular among Muslims? Can the Islamic state succeed--should it? Feldman reveals how the classical Islamic constitution governed through and was legitimated by law. He shows how executive power was balanced by the scholars who interpreted and administered the shari'a, and how this balance of power was finally destroyed by the tragically incomplete reforms of the modern era. The result has been the unchecked executive dominance that now distorts politics in so many Muslim states. Feldman argues that a modern Islamic state could provide political and legal justice to today's Muslims, but only if new institutions emerge that restore this constitutional balance of power.

The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State gives us the sweeping history of the traditional Islamic constitution--its noble beginnings, its downfall, and the renewed promise it could hold for Muslims and Westerners alike.

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