Cover: Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari`a, from Harvard University PressCover: Islam and the Secular State in PAPERBACK

Islam and the Secular State

Negotiating the Future of Shari`a

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Product Details

PAPERBACK

$24.50 • £19.95 • €22.00

ISBN 9780674034563

Publication Date: 03/30/2010

Short

336 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

World

Mak[es] a powerful theological case for abandoning the very notion of an Islamic state. [An-Naʿim] argues that the claims of these so-called states to enforce the Sharia repudiate the fundamental right of religious choice implicit in a Koranic verse that says there can be ‘no compulsion in religion.’—Malise Ruthven, The New York Review of Books

An-Naʿim lays out with candor and elegance the need for the state to be secular for all citizens, and explores Muslim polities in Indonesia, India and Turkey.—Emran Qureshi, The Globe and Mail

Few books in Islamic studies have been as eagerly awaited or intensely debated prior to publication as Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naʿim’s Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shariʿa… [This book] testifies to the richness of [An-Naʿim’s] life work, and to the courage of an author who deserves to be recognized as one of the most important religious thinkers of our age.—Robert Hefner, The Immanent Frame

[A] controversial and topical book… Although not all Muslim scholars will fully agree with An-Naʿim’s proposals regarding the institutional separation of Islam and the state, his thoughts are a step forward towards a healthy negotiation for the future of Sharia.—Helen Haste, The Times Higher Education Supplement

An-Naʿim 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-Naʿim’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.—Geneive Abdo, The Washington Post Book World

Muslim scholar and human rights activist An-Naʿim has written extensively on law and human rights in the Islamic world. Here, he turns to the subject of the state’s coercive enforcement of Sharia—Koran-based Islamic law—in predominantly Muslim societies, arguing that its promulgation of Sharia is contrary to the Koranic insistence on the voluntary acceptance of Islam and the freely chosen adherence to its commandments.—William P. Collins, Library Journal

Two debates pervade almost all discussions about Islam, Muslim societies and the role of both in the 21st century. The first revolves around the shariʿa, a kind of comprehensive Muslim guide to good conduct, and its applicability within Muslim majority states. The other frames capitalism, socialism and secularism as antipodes to what Islam cannot or should not be. This book engages both, arguing that secularism is not as an unwelcome counter-force to ‘true’ Islam but is the indispensable path to reclaiming Islam to advance pluralism, human rights, women’s rights, civil society and citizenship. Abdullahi An-Naʿim is a public intellectual known far beyond the academy and the American continent. In Africa, in Asia and throughout the Middle East his is a courageous voice for secular Islam. There is no book like this one: brilliant, compelling, and optimistic.—Bruce B. Lawrence, Duke University

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