Publications

"A Theory of Islam, State and Society" in New Directions in Islamic Thought: Exploring Reform and Muslim Tradition

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  • Format: Chapter
  • Published: 2008

In this chapter, An-Na'im is concerned with promoting the view that the future of Shari'a, the normative system of Islam, lies among believers and their communities, and not in the enforcement of its principles by the coercive powers of the state.  By its nature and purpose, the Shari'a can only be freely observed by believers, and its principles lose their religious authority and value when enforced by the state.

About the Author: Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na`im is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University. Prior to joining Emory in 1995, he was Executive Director of Human Rights Watch/Africa. In February 2009, An-Na`im received an Honorary Doctorate from the Universite catholique de Louvain (UCL, Louvain-la-Neuve) and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U. Leuven, Leuven), Belgium. He also served as Global Legal Scholar at the Law School, University of Warwick, UK (until August 2010); and Extraordinary Professor at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (until December 2010). An-Na`im has published more than 60 articles and book chapters on human rights, constitutionalism, Islamic law and politics. As a 2009 Carnegie Scholar, he is working on a book manuscript for Oxford University Press, tentatively entitled: “What is an  American Muslim,” in which he is applying the thesis presented in his 2008 book, Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari`a.  This book is available for download free of charge in eight languages of Islamic societies at (http://sharia.law.emory.edu).

 

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