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Liberal theory and Islam: (re)imagining the interaction of religion, law, state and society in Muslim contexts

Jamal, A.A.; (2010) Liberal theory and Islam: (re)imagining the interaction of religion, law, state and society in Muslim contexts. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Within the global phenomenon of the (re)emergence of religion into issues of public debate, one of the most salient issues confronting contemporary Muslim societies is how to relate the legal and political heritage that developed in pre-modern Islamic polities to the political order of the modern states in which Muslims now live. This study seeks to develop a framework for addressing this issue by drawing upon two sources. The first is an interpretative understanding of the history of Muslim contexts emphasising, in particular, the diversity of views about what Islam mandates that have always been a part of Muslim experience and the distinction between political and religio-legal authority that developed in practice in these environments. The second source is a variety of contemporary liberal theory which this study develops and calls ‘justice as discourse’. The central argument is that liberal theory, and justice as discourse in particular, though it may have emerged in a different social and cultural milieu, can be normatively useful in Muslim contexts for relating, religion, law, state and society. It is argued first, that Muslim contexts are facing issues similar to those out of which liberal theory emerged. Additionally, it is argued that both Muslim contexts and liberal theory are dynamic and continually developing and that this shared dynamism means that there may be space for convergence of the two. Just as Muslim contexts have developed historically (and continue to develop today) the same is the case with the requisites of liberal theory and this may allow for liberal choices to be made in a manner that is not a renunciation of Muslim heritage.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Liberal theory and Islam: (re)imagining the interaction of religion, law, state and society in Muslim contexts
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Laws
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/19210
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