Sunday, March 16, 2008

New York Times Magazine Article on Shari`ah (Islamic Law)

New York Times Magazine Article on Shari`ah (Islamic Law):
In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world.
The article is well-researched -- distinguishing between Shari`ah and fiqh, and outlining the deficiencies and advantages of various common law traditions. The political dimension of Islamism is generously portrayed as an issue of "rule of law:
The answer lies in a little-remarked feature of traditional Islamic government: that a state under Shariah was, for more than a thousand years, subject to a version of the rule of law. And as a rule-of-law government, the traditional Islamic state had an advantage that has been lost in the dictatorships and autocratic monarchies that have governed so much of the Muslim world for the last century.
Finally, a good western understanding of the rise of political Islamism. Thank you Professor Feldman. Needless to say, there are vulgar understandings of the nature of Islamic law on the part of many Islamists as well as many western observers. The debate over exactly what the Shari`a entails (i.e. contemporary fiqh) is still in its earliest stages.