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Codification and Islamic Law: The Ideology Behind a Tragic Narrative

Codification and Islamic Law: The Ideology Behind a Tragic Narrative This article repositions historigraphically a particular thesis in Islamic legal studies that characterizes Islamic law as utterly incompatible with codification, and by implication the modern administrative state. This article departs from that argument by situating codification efforts in Muslim majority polities alongside other efforts at codification, specifically 19 th century Germany and the United States. The article shows that the thesis of incompatibility relies on a constricted reading of the “Islamic”, an overdetermined conception of the state, and an under-appreciation of the populist-cum-democratic ideology that animates the thesis in the first place. A more fruitful way forward is to reify the “state” rather than rarefy it as a theophanic specter. To better appreciate the relationship between Islamic law and codification, the argument suggests, requires that scholars attend to the “state” while resituating the history of the “Islamic” in terms of a history of the “legal”. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Middle East Law and Governance Brill

Codification and Islamic Law: The Ideology Behind a Tragic Narrative

Middle East Law and Governance , Volume 8 (2-3): 275 – Nov 28, 2016

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2016 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Field Notes
ISSN
1876-3367
eISSN
1876-3375
DOI
10.1163/18763375-00802008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article repositions historigraphically a particular thesis in Islamic legal studies that characterizes Islamic law as utterly incompatible with codification, and by implication the modern administrative state. This article departs from that argument by situating codification efforts in Muslim majority polities alongside other efforts at codification, specifically 19 th century Germany and the United States. The article shows that the thesis of incompatibility relies on a constricted reading of the “Islamic”, an overdetermined conception of the state, and an under-appreciation of the populist-cum-democratic ideology that animates the thesis in the first place. A more fruitful way forward is to reify the “state” rather than rarefy it as a theophanic specter. To better appreciate the relationship between Islamic law and codification, the argument suggests, requires that scholars attend to the “state” while resituating the history of the “Islamic” in terms of a history of the “legal”.

Journal

Middle East Law and GovernanceBrill

Published: Nov 28, 2016

Keywords: Islamic law; codification; historiography; tragedy; state; Germany; United States; Field Codes; Savigny; Sanhuri

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