The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Council on Foreign by Noah Feldman

By Noah Feldman

Might be no different Western author has extra deeply probed the sour fight within the Muslim global among the forces of faith and legislation and people of violence and lawlessness as Noah Feldman. His scholarship has outlined the stakes within the center East this present day. Now, during this incisive ebook, Feldman tells the tale in the back of the more and more well known demand the institution of the shari'a--the legislations of the conventional Islamic state--in the trendy Muslim global. Western powers name it a probability to democracy. Islamist hobbies are successful elections on it. Terrorists use it to justify their crimes. What, then, is the shari'a? Given the severity of a few of its provisions, why is it well known between Muslims? Can the Islamic country succeed--should it? Feldman unearths how the classical Islamic structure ruled via and was once legitimated by way of legislation. He indicates how government energy used to be balanced via the students who interpreted and administered the shari'a, and the way this stability of energy used to be ultimately destroyed via the tragically incomplete reforms of the fashionable period. the outcome has been the unchecked government dominance that now distorts politics in such a lot of Muslim states. Feldman argues smooth Islamic nation may supply political and felony justice to modern Muslims, yet provided that new associations emerge that repair this constitutional stability of energy. the autumn and upward thrust of the Islamic country offers us the sweeping historical past of the normal Islamic constitution--its noble beginnings, its downfall, and the renewed promise it could actually carry for Muslims and Westerners alike.

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Extra resources for The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Council on Foreign Relations)

Sample text

The relevant inquiry is whether these depredations took place inside or outside law, and how effectively the classical Islamic constitutional system operated to reduce the likelihood that these rulers could succeed. The key to the scholars’ resistance against unjust rulers was their ability to insist that the ruler must remain within the bounds of the shari‘a or risk being stripped of his legitimacy. The threat of delegitimation—discussed earlier—gave a ruler a significant incentive to try and demonstrate that his actions were within the sphere of his rightful powers.

Extreme and visible punishments serve as salient remind48 W H A T W E N T R I G H T ? ers to the public to follow the law. More important, if the odds of being caught and punished for wrongdoing are low, as they typically will be in a society without a police force, then the punishment must be set high to produce something approximating the right amount of deterrence. The corporal punishments of the shari‘a were clearly designed originally for such a world of very limited enforcement—much like the English common law that punished every felony with death.

39 Such regulations covered a broad range of subjects: weights and measures, often supervised by a special official (not necessarily a scholar) known as the master of the market; taxation, including taxes not specifically mentioned by the classical Islamic legal sources, which could be administered by tax officials who were not themselves members of the scholarly class; and criminal affairs, in which such regulations sought to resolve difficulties 42 W H A T W E N T R I G H T ? associated with the high standards of proof required by the shari‘a before its permitted corporal punishments could be applied.

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