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Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari'a

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What should be the place of Shari‘a—Islamic religious law—in predominantly Muslim societies of the world? In this ambitious and topical book, a Muslim scholar and human rights activist envisions a positive and sustainable role for Shari‘a, based on a profound rethinking of the relationship between religion and the secular state in all societies.

An-Na‘im argues that the coercive enforcement of Shari‘a by the state betrays the Qur’an’s insistence on voluntary acceptance of Islam. Just as the state should be secure from the misuse of religious authority, Shari‘a should be freed from the control of the state. State policies or legislation must be based on civic reasons accessible to citizens of all religions. Showing that throughout the history of Islam, Islam and the state have normally been separate, An-Na‘im maintains that ideas of human rights and citizenship are more consistent with Islamic principles than with claims of a supposedly Islamic state to enforce Shari‘a. In fact, he suggests, the very idea of an “Islamic state” is based on European ideas of state and law, and not Shari‘a or the Islamic tradition.

Bold, pragmatic, and deeply rooted in Islamic history and theology, Islam and the Secular State offers a workable future for the place of Shari‘a in Muslim societies.

Review:

An-Na'im is an independent-minded intellectual who has raised sensitive issues (such as his belief that interpretations of sharia have led to discrimination against non-Muslim minorities in the Arab world) that many Muslims and their advocates would prefer to keep out of public debate...The crux of An-Na'im's Islam and the Secular State is that Muslims should be allowed to practice their faith as they see fit and should comply with sharia, but voluntarily. The call from Islamists to impose sharia with the full power of the state will only lead to totalitarianism, he argues. To bolster his claim, he notes that the Koran never mentions the idea of a state and does not prescribe a particular form of government.

Synopsis:

What should be the place of Shari'a--Islamic religious law--in predominantly Muslim societies of the world? In this book, a Muslim scholar and human rights activist envisions a positive and sustainable role for Shari'a, based on a profound rethinking of the relationship between religion and the secular state in all societies.

About the Author

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University.

Emory University

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  1. Introduction: Why Muslims Need a Secular State
  2. Islam, the State, and Politics in Historical Perspective
  3. Constitutionalism, Human Rights, and Citizenship
  4. India: State Secularism and Communal Violence
  5. Turkey: Contradictions of Authoritarian Secularism
  6. Indonesia: Realities of Diversity and Prospects of Pluralism
  7. Conclusion: Negotiating the Future of Shari‘a
  • References
  • Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674034563
Author:
An-na'im, Abdullahi Ahmed
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Author:
An-Na`im, Abdullahi Ahmed
Author:
An-Na'im, Abdullahi Ahmed
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
Islam - Law
Subject:
Islam -- History.
Subject:
General
Subject:
RELIGION / Islam/History
Subject:
Law : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
October 2009
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Middle East » General History
Religion » Islam » History
Religion » Islam » Law

Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari'a New Trade Paper
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Product details 336 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674034563 Reviews:
"Review" by , An-Na'im is an independent-minded intellectual who has raised sensitive issues (such as his belief that interpretations of sharia have led to discrimination against non-Muslim minorities in the Arab world) that many Muslims and their advocates would prefer to keep out of public debate...The crux of An-Na'im's Islam and the Secular State is that Muslims should be allowed to practice their faith as they see fit and should comply with sharia, but voluntarily. The call from Islamists to impose sharia with the full power of the state will only lead to totalitarianism, he argues. To bolster his claim, he notes that the Koran never mentions the idea of a state and does not prescribe a particular form of government.
"Synopsis" by , What should be the place of Shari'a--Islamic religious law--in predominantly Muslim societies of the world? In this book, a Muslim scholar and human rights activist envisions a positive and sustainable role for Shari'a, based on a profound rethinking of the relationship between religion and the secular state in all societies.
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