Hallaq’s Challenge Can the Shari‘ah Save Us from Modernity?

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Ovamir Anjum



Wael Hallaq, a leading western scholar of Islamic law, throws

down the gauntlet in this daring book, challenging not only Orientalist

distortions of Islam but also turning the tables on modernity,

the ubiquitous and ineluctable paradigm that informs nearly all

thinking, Muslim and non-Muslim, about the Shari‘ah. An Islamic

state is impossible, Hallaq contends, not because the Shari‘ah is

undesirable, but because the modern state is inherently contradictory

to Islam’s metaphysics as well as its historical manifestation

as the Shari‘ah. Today’s economic and environmental cataclysms

make it urgent, he insists, to recover the moral universe of the

Shari‘ah and to do so in conversation with other erstwhile and

growing western critiques of modernity.


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