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Sultany, Nimer (2013)
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: 4000, 8500
This article examines the debate over the constitutionalization of shari’a in post-authoritarian Arab regimes. A shari’a clause would empower judges to review the validity of legislation on the basis of Islamic law. Thus, it raises for the first time the potential counter-majoritarian effect of judicial intervention. This article examines the conceptualist-style approach to the question of Islam and democratic constitutionalism. Such an approach, which has hitherto dominated the debate, seeks to show the compatibility of Islam and democracy, or the lack thereof, on the basis of conceptual analysis of abstract concepts like Islam and democracy. The article maps and evaluates the different discursive moves that moderate Islamists, Salafis, and secularists deploy in this debate. Comparing the debates to the U.S. constitutional debates between originalists and living constitutionalists, I show the unacknowledged methodological similarities between the opposing camps. I argue that the contestability of the basic concepts on which the debate is based shows the futility of the conceptualist debate. Furthermore, ignoring contestability, fleeing to abstraction, and falling prey to formalism produce bad normative effects that are detrimental to the debate. Ultimately, I seek to advance a different kind of conversation: a pragmatic, consequentialist-style analysis that takes into consideration prudential and normative arguments for or against the inclusion of shari’a law in the emerging Arab constitutional orders.
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    • 19 See, e.g., ELIZABETH SUZANNE KASSAB, CONTEMPORARY ARAB THOUGHT: CULTURAL CRITIQUE IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE (2009).
    • 20 See, e.g., Bruce K. Rutherford, What Do Egypt's Islamists Want? Moderate Islam and the Rise of Islamic Constitutionalism, 60 MIDDLE EAST J. 707 (2006); Kristen Stilt, “Islam is the Solution”: Constitutional Visions of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, 46 TEX. INT'L L.J. 73 (2011).
    • 21 See, e.g., Ran Hirschl, Constitutional Courts vs. Religious Fundamentalism: Three Middle Eastern Tales, 82 TEX. L. REV. 1819 (2004).
    • 22 See, e.g., Rabb, supra note 2, at 535-36 (discussing the 2005 Iraqi Constitution).
    • 23 See, e.g., Rutherford, supra note 20 (discussing some of these and other scholars as well as the Muslim Brotherhood); Clark B. Lombardi & Nathan J. Brown, Do Constitutions Requiring Adherence to Shari'a Threaten Human Rights? How Egypt's Constitutional Court Reconciles Islamic Law with the Liberal Rule of Law, 21 AM. U. INT'L L. REV. 379 (2006); MUHAMMAD ABED AL-JABRI, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LAW IN ISLAMIC THOUGHT (2009); NOAH FELDMAN, THE FALL AND RISE OF THE ISLAMIC STATE (2008); Mohammad H. Fadel, Public Reason as a Strategy for Principled Reconciliation: The Case of Islamic Law and International Human Rights, 8 CHI. J. INT'L L. 1 (2008).
    • 24 See Al-Qardawi Yujeeb 'Ala As'aelat al-Mushahedeen [Qaradawi Answers the Viewers Questions], AL-JAZEERA (Apr. 8, 2012), http://www.aljazeera.net/programs/ pages/a6daa716-5111-4508-8ad4-087715373ae2 (Qatar) (interview with Yusuf AlQardawi and transcript); see also Rutherford, supra note 20, at 730.
    • 25 Rachid Al-Ghannouchi, Secularism in the Arab Maghrib, in ISLAM AND SECULARISM IN THE MIDDLE EAST 97, 106 (Azzam Tamimi & John L. Esposito eds., 2000).
    • 26 Rutheford, supra note 20, at 712-19. These attempts at reconciliation are by no means limited to Sunni scholars. Iranian Shiite scholars such as Abdolkarim Soroush made similar arguments. See Rabb, supra note 2, at 559-61 (summarizing his views).
    • 27 See, e.g., KHALED ABOU EL FADL, SPEAKING IN GOD'S NAME: ISLAMIC LAW, AUTHORITY, AND WOMEN x (2001) (criticizing the “misuse and misrepresentations” of the Islamic tradition).
    • 28 See generally KHALED ABOU EL FADL ET AL., THE PLACE OF TOLERANCE IN ISLAM (2002); RACHEL M. SCOTT, THE CHALLENGE OF POLITICAL ISLAM: NONMUSLIMS AND THE EGYPTIAN STATE (2010).
    • 29 ABOU EL FADL, supra note 7, at 5 (references to the Qur'an omitted).
    • 30 FELDMAN, supra note 4, at 57-60; ABOU EL FADL, supra note 7, at 5-10.
    • 31 Mohammad Fadel, Is Historicism a Viable Strategy for Islamic Law Reform? The Case of 'Never Shall a Folk Prosper Who Have Appointed a Woman to Rule Them', 18 ISLAMIC L. & SOC'Y 131 (2011) (distinguishing between two historicizing methods: one based on a progressive interpretation of history and the other based on textual interpretation; claiming that the latter is favorable as it has better chances to gain acceptance amongst Muslims); Anver M. Emon, The Limits of Constitutionalism in the Muslim World: History and Identity in Islamic Law, in CONSTITUTIONAL DESIGN FOR DIVIDED SOCIETIES: INTEGRATION OR ACCOMMODATION? 258 (Sujit Choudhry ed., 2008) (calling for a historicist approach towards shari'a and rejecting the ahistorical application of pre-modern shari'a with respect to non-Muslim minorities).
    • 32 For some of Al-Ghannoushi's interventions, see Min Ro'aa al-Shiekh Rashid alGhannoushi [Visions of Sheikh Rashid al-Ghannouchi], ARABS FOR DEMOCRACY (Jan. 24, 2013), http://arabsfordemocracy.org/democracy/pages/view/pageId/1023 (Egypt).
    • 33 See Al-Shari'ah. . Ma'anaha wa Mabnaha [Shari'a . . . its meaning and structure], ALJAZEERA (Jan. 8, 2012), http://www.aljazeera.net/programs/pages/79cadc56-6db9-4f 28-ad6b-6524b667db5c (Qatar).
    • 34 Taghteyat Sha'ar al-Mar'ah [Covering the woman's hair], QARADAWI.NET (Sept. 26, 2012), http://www.qaradawi.net/component/content/article/5835.html (Qatar).
    • 35 FATIMA MERNISSI, THE VEIL AND THE MALE ELITE: A FEMINIST INTERPRETATION OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN ISLAM (Mary Jo Lakeland trans., 1991).
    • 42 Case no. 34/1990/Supreme Constitutional Court, (Egypt), available at http:// hccourt.gov.eg/Rules/getRule.asp?ruleId=3187&searchWords=.
    • 43 Case no. 20/1985/Supreme Constitutional Court, (Egypt), available at http:// hccourt.gov.eg/Rules/getRule.asp?ruleId=330&searchWords=.
    • 44 Hirschl, supra note 21, at 1829.
    • 45 Lombardi & Brown, supra note 23, at 416-17, 425.
    • 46 See, e.g., FRANK E. VOGUL, ISLAMIC LAW AND LEGAL SYSTEM: STUDIES OF SAUDI ARABIA (2000).
    • 47 Herni Lauziere, The Construction of Salafiyya: Reconsidering Salafism From the Perspective of Conceptual History, 42 INT'L J. MIDDLE EAST STUD. 369 (2010).
    • 48 Scott S. Reese, Salafi Transformations: Aden and the Changing Voices of Religious Reform in Interwar Indian Ocean, 44 INT'L J. MIDDLE EAST STUD. 71, 72 (2012).
    • 49 Id.
    • 50 Id. The word “ijtihad” often refers to the human process of understanding divine commands (that is to say, what shari'a requires from believers) through scriptural exegesis (the Qur'an), the prophet's statements (“hadith”), analogical reasoning (“qiyas”), and consensus amongst the scholars (“ijma'”). See generally Wael B. 33399_bin 31-2 Sheet No. 127 Side A
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