The Future of Shari’a: Secularism from an Islamic Perspective
This project is the current initiative of Prof. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory School of Law.
The project celebrates and seeks to contribute to the struggle of Islamic societies to define themselves in the context of the local and global conditions under which they live. A key aspect of this process is the constitutional and legal dimensions of the post-colonial experiences of Islamic societies, especially the relationship among Islam, state and society.
To learn more about The Future of Shari’a project, you can read our summary in your browser using the following document or download a pdf here.
From Professor An-Na’im:
This project is the culmination of my life’s work, the final statement I wish to make on issues I have been struggling with since I was a student at the University of Khartoum, Sudan, in the late 1960s. I speak as a Muslim because this is what I am accountable for as my own religion, and not simply as a hypothetical academic argument. However, I am arguing here for the secular state as a framework for negotiating the future of Shari`a, without claiming or seeking to examine all the theoretical or practical implications of this theory.
In this initial statement, I am only seeking to initiate debate around these issues, rather than attempt to prescribe solutions. What might follow from the argument I am making will depend on how Muslims perceive, receive, modify or reject my proposal. I also want to emphasize that the proposition I am presenting here relates to the public role of Shari`a, and not matters of religious doctrine and practice in the private, personal domain. Starting from the premise that Shari`a will indeed have a paramount role in the public life of Islamic societies, I am primary concerned with clarifying and safeguarding the most conducive conditions for the negotiation of that role.