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Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naʿim
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-03376-4
    Subjects: Religion, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Why Muslims Need a Secular State
    (pp. 1-44)

    In order to be a Muslim by conviction and free choice, which is the only way one can be a Muslim, I need a secular state. By a secular state I mean one that is neutral regarding religious doctrine, one that does not claim or pretend to enforce Shariʿa—the religious law of Islam—simply because compliance with Shariʿa cannot be coerced by fear of state institutions or faked to appease their officials. This is what I mean by secularism in this book, namely, a secular state that facilitates the possibility of religious piety out of honest conviction. My call...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Islam, the State, and Politics in Historical Perspective
    (pp. 45-83)

    The main purpose of this chapter is to show that my proposal for a secular state is more consistent with Islamic history than is the so-called Islamic state model proposed by some Muslims since the second quarter of the twentieth century. An overview of various states or regimes that ruled Islamic societies for many centuries should also help to dispel any romantic notions about Islamic states and pious rulers. But the point I am making is relative. I am not claiming that the historical states of Islamic societies were in fact secular states as defined in this book. Still, a...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Constitutionalism, Human Rights, and Citizenship
    (pp. 84-139)

    In this chapter I will discuss constitutionalism, human rights, and citizenship as an integrated framework for regulating the practical way secularism works to negotiate the tension between the religious neutrality of the state and the connectedness of Islam and public policy. Constitutionalism provides a legal and political framework for realizing and safeguarding equal dignity, human rights, and the well-being of all citizens. The standards of human rights, while authoritatively defined in international and regional treaties and customary international law, can be applied in practice only through national constitutions, legal systems, and institutions. However, the effectiveness of national and international systems...

  7. CHAPTER 4 India: State Secularism and Communal Violence
    (pp. 140-181)

    This chapter examines the tension between the secularism of the Indian state and the realities of communal violence and interfaith relations in current Indian society. This issue is approached with reference to the historical context of the relationship among Islam, the state, and politics, which goes back to at least the eleventh century. The underlying concern is the influence of the relationship between the Indian Muslim community and the state, as well as other religious communities, on legitimizing and securing secularism as a deeply contextual concept and practice that is negotiated over time. This focus raises highly controversial issues, including...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Turkey: Contradictions of Authoritarian Secularism
    (pp. 182-222)

    The end of World War I marked the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the drastic reduction of its territory. Mustafa Kemal soon led a successful revolution against the remnants of the old Ottoman government, and in 1922 a new republic was established. It instituted a series of rapid reforms aimed at thoroughly transforming Turkish political and social life by secularizing and westernizing the country and by strictly limiting—as well as controlling—the role of religion and religious institutions. Kemal’s party, the People’s Republican Party (CHP), ruled Turkey until the beginning of the multiparty system in the mid-twentieth century....

  9. CHAPTER 6 Indonesia: Realities of Diversity and Prospects of Pluralism
    (pp. 223-266)

    It may be helpful to begin this chapter on the dynamics of diversity and pluralism in Indonesia with an overview of the country’s recent history and context. The present state of Indonesia is a product of the struggle against Dutch colonialism. While there was earlier localized resistance to colonial rule in various parts of the archipelago, the initiative for wider opposition to Dutch rule emerged with the rise of Sarekat Islam in 1917, but this mass political movement broke up over ideological and political differences by the late 1920s, and the initiative shifted to the nationalists as the authors of...

  10. CHAPTER 7 Conclusion: Negotiating the Future of Shariʿa
    (pp. 267-294)

    The framework proposed in this book provides the normative and institutional parameters and safeguards for the negotiation and mediation of the role of Shariʿa among Muslims and non-Muslims now and in the future. By negotiation and mediation I mean to emphasize that there is no categorical and permanent resolution of the paradox of how to secure the religious neutrality of the state within the reality of the connectedness of Islam and politics. The conception of the secular state I am proposing offers an alternative vision to perceptions of secularism and the secular state that many Muslims find objectionable. Instead of...

  11. References
    (pp. 295-310)
  12. Index
    (pp. 311-324)