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Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari'a » (1st Edition)

Book cover image of Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari'a by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im

Authors: Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im
ISBN-13: 9780674027763, ISBN-10: 0674027760
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Date Published: March 2008
Edition: 1st Edition

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Author Biography: Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im

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

Book Synopsis

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.

The Washington Post - Geneive Abdo

An-Na'im's experience in his native Sudan and in the United States has bred the practical assumption that an Islamic state will lead only to tyranny, and that Muslims need a secular state in which to live their faith by their own free choice; for him, this is "the only valid and legitimate way of being a Muslim."

Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 Introduction: Why Muslims Need a Secular State 1

2 Islam, the State, and Politics in Historical Perspective 45

3 Constitutionalism, Human Rights, and Citizenship 84

4 India: State Secularism and Communal Violence 140

5 Turkey: Contradictions of Authoritarian Secularism 182

6 Indonesia: Realities of Diversity and Prospects of Pluralism 223

7 Conclusion: Negotiating the Future of Sharica 267

References 295

Index 311