The Impossible State
Islam, Politics, And Modernity'S Moral Predicament
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Wael B. Hallaq boldly argues that the "Islamic state," judged by any standard definition of what the modern state represents, is both impossible and inherently self-contradictory. Comparing the legal, political, moral, and constitutional histories of premodern Islam and Euro-America, he finds the adoption and the practices of the modern state to be highly problematic for modern Muslims. By Islamic standards, the state's technologies of the self are severely lacking in moral substance, and today's Islamic state, as Hallaq shows, has done little to advance an acceptable form of genuine Shari'a governance. The Islamists' constitutional battles in Egypt and Pakistan, the Islamic legal and political failures of the Iranian Revolution, and other similar disappointments underscore this fact. Hallaq then turns to the rich moral resources of Islamic history to prove that political and other "crises of Islam" are integral to the modern condition of both the East and the West, and by acknowledging these parallels, Muslims can engage more productively with their Western counterparts.