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Mind the Gap: Islam, Secularism, and the Law

Mind the Gap: Islam, Secularism, and the Law Mind the Gap Islam, Secularism, and the Law rajbir singh judge A review of Julia Stephens, Governing Islam: Law, Empire, and Secularism in Modern South Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018); Brinkley Messick, Shar¯ıʿa Scripts: A Historical Anthropology (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018); and Talal Asad, Secular Translations: Nation-State, Modern Self, and Calculative Reason (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018). Cited in the text as gi, ss, and st, respectively. “Everyone appeals to past authorities all the time,” Hussein Ali Agrama writes in his introduction to Questioning Secularism, “but it does not follow that all such appeals are therefore traditional.” This appeal to past authority is quite noticeable, Agrama tells us, in modern law, with its references to earlier precedents or previously enacted codes. Modern law, however, is hardly considered tradition- al, since its orientation appears to fragment authority, progressing onward to a liberating albeit deferred future. The appeals to the past within Islam, on the other hand, become quintessential expres- sions of traditional authority’s permanence, which continually af- firm the past for its own sake. In its claim to the past, then, Islam qui parle Vol. 29, No. 1, June 2020 doi 10.1215/10418385-8241949 © 2020 Editorial Board, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences University of Nebraska Press

Mind the Gap: Islam, Secularism, and the Law

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © Editorial Board, Qui Parle
ISSN
1938-8020

Abstract

Mind the Gap Islam, Secularism, and the Law rajbir singh judge A review of Julia Stephens, Governing Islam: Law, Empire, and Secularism in Modern South Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018); Brinkley Messick, Shar¯ıʿa Scripts: A Historical Anthropology (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018); and Talal Asad, Secular Translations: Nation-State, Modern Self, and Calculative Reason (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018). Cited in the text as gi, ss, and st, respectively. “Everyone appeals to past authorities all the time,” Hussein Ali Agrama writes in his introduction to Questioning Secularism, “but it does not follow that all such appeals are therefore traditional.” This appeal to past authority is quite noticeable, Agrama tells us, in modern law, with its references to earlier precedents or previously enacted codes. Modern law, however, is hardly considered tradition- al, since its orientation appears to fragment authority, progressing onward to a liberating albeit deferred future. The appeals to the past within Islam, on the other hand, become quintessential expres- sions of traditional authority’s permanence, which continually af- firm the past for its own sake. In its claim to the past, then, Islam qui parle Vol. 29, No. 1, June 2020 doi 10.1215/10418385-8241949 © 2020 Editorial Board,

Journal

Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Jul 4, 2020

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